Monday, January 30, 2012

January Date

Posted by Angie at 7:16 AM 3 comments
Adoption involves a lot of waiting!  To help pass the time, I planned 12 dates for my husband and I.  Some are goofy, some are sweet, all are inexpensive (many are free).  So far we have enjoyed four adventures, in our August date, September date, October date, and December date!  November's date still needs to happen...that was a busy month!

January!  A time of New Year's Resolutions.  How's that going for everyone?  I had resolutions on the mind when I created this fun date for my husband and I back in July.  On the first of this month, Future Papa opened his date card envelope and found this inside.

After we finished giggling about the various exercise cartoons I found online (just do a search for "exercise cartoons" and hundreds come up), we looked at our calendars and planned the date, which would consist of exercising together and then getting some smoothies.

This past Saturday, we drove to a nearby park we had never visited before, bringing our dog Dasher with us.  Future Papa and I walked, chatted, and tried to teach our beloved pup not to jump on people as they jogged by.  He just gets so excited!  Then, we jogged a little, walked some more, and really enjoyed our morning in the sunshine.  After about an hour of exercise, we dropped Dasher off at home and picked up two of our favorite smoothies.  Yum!

We really enjoyed our little January date!  Another weekend gone, another weekend closer to our first child!

Much love,
Future Mama

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fortune Cookie Fun!

Posted by Angie at 9:17 PM 4 comments
First off, I know it's Thursday night and not Friday morning, as usual for my posting. But we have a repair man coming bright and early tomorrow to fix a couple things, so I figured I would go ahead and write something now! It's amazing how an upcoming home study visit motivates you to get things finally checked off the to-do list! Yahoo!!

Also, I am trying something new tonight, so please excuse any funky formatting on the post! I am testing out a potential new way to post that is not on my computer...you know...so I am prepared to post in Taiwan ;-)

Look at what my fortune cookie told me and Future Papa the other night...

I'm not usually one for fortunes, but I hope this one is right!!

Happy weekend all!

Much Love,
Future Mama


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My mom's favorite baby goes home!

Posted by Angie at 7:07 AM 2 comments
Another His Hands baby joined her forever family last week!  Meet Anna and her family :-)
{from His Hands Face*book Page}
YAY!  My mom had proclaimed Anna her favorite when she saw this Christmas picture of all the His Hands babies in December.  When I asked why, she replied that the baby looked like she had a fun personality.  I agree!
{from His Hands Face*book Page}
Anna has a BEAUTIFUL post written about her by one of the His Hands volunteers.  If you have a minute, it is worth your time to read it.  And, of course, it has more pictures!  I love the heart of His Hands.

These posts are really one of my favorite ones to write.  I love looking at all the families who have come together while we have been waiting...and wondering who will be next!

Much love,
Future Mama 

Slowly but surely, we are movin' on up the list to a referral! 
July Babies: 
A Referral Story 
Another His Hands Family Created! 

August Baby:

October Baby:

November Baby:

December Baby:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Home Study Visit #2: Check!

Posted by Angie at 7:15 AM 3 comments
Sorry to those of you who came looking for a post Friday!  You see, I didn't have time to write a post last Thursday night...because we were meeting with our social worker!  Woo hoo!

For this round of fun, our social worker spoke with Future Papa and I separately.  Future Papa got off work early and we drove to the meeting, which took place at the same coffee shop where we had our first meeting.  Since I tend to get nervous when I am waiting for something, we decided I could have the first interview slot.  I strolled in, ordered a soothing cup of hot chocolate, and settled myself at a table.  After waiting a couple of minutes, the social worker joined me and we went through all the paperwork I had completed since our last visit.  This included copies of our drivers' licenses, car insurance, health insurance, water bill (to prove we are on public water), doctors forms, proof of pet rabies' vaccinations, and marriage certificate.  Whew!  We still have more to complete, but I would say we are about halfway through with the paperwork.

Future Papa and I had also completed (lengthy) questionnaires for her, and this formed the basis for our talk.  We filled out the questionnaires separately and were instructed not to talk about them.  I was SO curious to know what Future Papa wrote down for some of the answers.  Overall, things went well, as I talked about my family, family traditions, our marriage, and our experience with children.  45 minutes later, it was Future Papa's turn.  From the sounds of it, his went even better than mine did!  He and our social worker have a lot in common and a similar sense of humor.  And with that, our second home study visit is complete!

Next up is the home visit of the home study.  On February 4th, the social worker will come see our house and conduct our final visit.  That means that this weekend we will be cleaning, organizing, and doing some light baby-proofing!  I can hardly believe the final visit is almost upon us.  Thursday was another step completed, and another step closer to our first child!

And since no post should be without a picture, here is a picture of some of the babies currently at His Hands.  They were on their way to temporary visit homes around Taiwan and give the nannies a break for Chinese New Year!
{from His Hands Face*book Page}
Much love,
Future Mama

P.S.  Reminder:  We are the January family over at Home for Hire!  You can read the feature post about us by clicking here.  And for even more fun, 25% of all her sales will be donated to our adoption fund this month, so be sure to peruse her store by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old songs, new meanings...

Posted by Angie at 7:30 AM 5 comments
Isn't it funny how you can hear a song a million times, but in a different context, a totally new meaning emerges?  Exhibit A for today is Jordin Spark's "One Step at a Time."



What do you think, my readers who have adopted or are adopting, appropriate?  Right now, we are still taking steps to complete our home study.  So much paperwork!

Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Jesse Tree: Made for under $40!

Posted by Angie at 7:37 AM 2 comments
Meet our family's new Jesse Tree!

Last year was the first I had heard of a Jesse tree.  Here's a more detailed explanation, but essentially it is an advent activity that weaves its way through the Old Testament and the ancestry of Christ to the birth of Jesus.  The ancient church would paint or carve a Jesse tree in the chapel to share the biblical stories with those who could not read.  The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, that "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."

Today, there are several devotionals and books that share the stories told with a Jesse tree.  To make the activity more interactive, you can make (or purchase) your own Jesse tree and hang an ornament each night with each devotion. A Jesse tree can be made in all sorts of ways, like this one over at Christmas Your Way.

Unfortunately, I am not much of a sewer, so that knocked out cute ideas like this one below from the blog So Happy.

My Jesse tree needed to be a simple do-it-yourself project that wouldn't break the bank (or take weeks to complete)!  Here is what I did.

First, I ordered Geraldine McCaughrean's The Jesse Tree book.  There are lots of great Jesse Tree devotionals out there, like the free one from A Holy Experience, but I wanted something child-friendly and tangible.  I really do love a glossy book.  After reading the glowing reviews, I ordered McCaughrean's book and am not disappointed!  There are 24 beautifully written stories, each only 2-3 pages long.  The illustrations are GORGEOUS too!  

I picked up an artificial tree after Christmas (on sale!), so my next step was to make ornaments that coordinated with the stories.  I contemplated all sorts of ideas, like painting (but I can't paint), sewing (would take me forever), modge podge on wood (a possibility), but when I saw these ornaments (again, on sale after Christmas), I knew I had my Jesse tree ornaments!  These little glass ornaments came 6 to a pack and are heart-shaped.

At the top of each page in my Jesse tree book is an drawing of the symbol that the carpenter in the story was carving that day.  So, I took a picture of each of the images (a scanner would work too, but I don't have one of those), uploaded the pictures onto my computer, and cropped each one so I just had the image.  I tossed all the images into a word document and made them all the same size (about an inch by inch square), added a number to it, and printed them out!  It may sound like that took a lot of time, but it was only an evening of computer time on the couch while watching a What not to Wear marathon!


I printed out two copies of my word document so I had two copies of each image.  Then I taped the images back to back because I did not want there to be a blank side.  Make sense?  In other words, the seventh image is of Joseph's multicolored coat, so I took the two multicolored coat cutouts and taped them together, images facing outward.  One by one, I cut out the little squares, stuck them to one another, and stuffed them into the ornaments.  Easy peasy!

And when they all hang together, they look just beautiful!

Now I just needed something to store them all in.  Again, there are a lot of cute ideas out there, like this one from The Crafty Nest.

But I was going for ease!  So, I purchased this plastic container from Wal*Mart's tool section.  Guess how many storage slots it has?  24!  Doesn't get much more perfect than that!

I decorated the box by lining the bottom with some cute scrapbook paper I found at Hobby*Lobby and added a label to the front of the container.

All the ornaments fit perfectly!

Here is a close up of some of the ornaments, so you can get a better idea of what they look like.  I used twine for their hangers to add a bit of rustic charm (and because I already had it on hand!)

Here's another close up.

In each square, I added a little number sticker, so that we would remember where they all went.  It will probably also be good to practice counting skills with the future kiddo(s).  As you remove each ornament, the little numbers become visible.

Here is what the box looks like empty.

And now for the financial breakdown!  Technically this project cost me nothing (thanks to a variety of Christmas gift cards) but here is what I would have spent.

Book: 9.99 (Christmas sale at Christianbook.com and I had a coupon for free shipping)
Artificial tree: 10.70 (66% off at Hobby*Lobby)
Ornaments: 6.81 (4 packages, 6 ornaments in each package, on sale at Mich*aels)
Plastic container: 3.97 (from Wal*mart)
Scrapbook paper to line the plastic container: 1.18 (59. each, bought 2 sheets from Hobby*Lobby)
Stickers to mark the date: 2.98 (2 packs, one in read and one in green, from Hobby*Lobby)
Total: 35.63

Other Notes:
I printed the ornament images on normal printer paper
I already had the twine to hang the ornaments in my craft bin
I taped the two images for the ornaments (back to back) together with acid free scrapbook tape 

And there you have it, our family's new Jesse Tree!  

I'm seriously in love with it!  Probably more than the tree art I made last year for our guest room/nursery.

How about you?  Does your family have a Jesse tree tradition?  Did you complete any fun projects over the break?  Are you going to pin this on your pinterest board for next year?  Seriously, I already have so many ideas for things I want to do in the future on that website!

Much love,
Future Mama 

It's a new year so I am trying something new...Linky Parties!  I'm linking this post up to: 

Monday


We're getting closer to a referral!  Please consider donating to our adoption today.  Adopting a child won't change the world, but for that one child, and for our family, the world will change.  Thank you!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's not about time, it's about timing.

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 10 comments
Sometimes, while filling out forms or waiting for an e-mail, I feel like our adoption journey looks like this:

When I want it to look like this:

It winds...

It branches...

It requires that we move slow and careful...

It goes sideways...

And, at times, it seems never-ending.

I want to see this!

Straight.

Clear.

Predictable.

But, alas, this is not the journey of adoption.  Like many things in life, it is full of twists, turns, and surprises.  Thinking about the next step, fretting about the next turn, and worrying about potential surprises is not beneficial.  Yet, to put all that aside can be hard!  At least, it is for me.  Luckily, I married a man who is the calm to my storms.  He helps me to remember that if I focus too much on the destination, I miss this: 

The beauty of our journey.  The details.  The small moments.  The adventure in our grand adventure. 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

I've said it before, and will likely say it again.  Waiting can be hard, whether it is waiting for a referral or waiting on a piece of paper you need for the home study.  Patience is not a strength of mine.  This process is a tremendous exercise in trust.  And though I have my days, like today, when I wonder why there are so many steps, I know we will get there.  It's not about time, it's about timing.  And God's timing is always perfect.  

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December Date

Posted by Angie at 7:32 AM 2 comments
Adoption involves a lot of waiting!  To help pass the time, I planned 12 dates for my husband and I.  Some are goofy, some are sweet, all are inexpensive (many are free).  So far we have enjoyed three adventures, in our August date, September date and October date!  November's date still needs to happen...that was a busy month!

Another month, another date!  For December I had planned something to spread a little Christmas cheer.  Here is the is the date card Future Papa opened last month.


We baked cookies!  Decorating Christmas cookies to give to family and friends is one of my favorite holiday memories and one I was excited to share with Future Papa.  So, one Saturday morning last month I laid out all the ingredients and we got to work!


We had a "sweet" time, hehe.  No technology, just the two of us, baking up a storm.  Future Papa even made a dinosaur to honor the future tike to come.

How about you?  Did you enjoy any fun dates over the holidays?

Much love, 
Future Mama

Monday, January 9, 2012

We are Featured!

Posted by Angie at 7:05 AM 5 comments
Happy Monday everyone!

First off, our first home study meeting went well!  A special thanks to those of you who prayed for us and commented on this post (many of you putting things into perspective, whew).  Our social worker was sweet, cute as can be, and encouraging.  She suggested a lot of great resources for us to check out (especially some books on trans-racial adoptions).  I'll update you on those as we work our way through them.  The questions were pretty straightforward (why adoption, is your family supportive, tell me about the process to adopt through Taiwan, etc) and the conversations flowed nicely.  Next up will be our individual meetings with the social worker.  We just have one more form to fill out before we can schedule these, which we hope to finish up this week!  And for those of you who are curious, Future Papa tossed on a blue striped sweater and a pair of khaki pants.  I wore a darker blue sweater (we didn't intend to match, I promise!), black dress pants, and a funky (fake) pearl necklace.  ;-)  A special thanks to reader Laura who reminded us of Matthew 6:25 (Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?).  Made deciding what to wear so much easier, ha!


Second, we are thrilled to announce that we are the January family over at Home for Hire!  You can read the feature post about us by clicking here.  And for even more fun, 25% of all her sales will be donated to our adoption fund this month.  Woo hoo!  So be sure to peruse her store by clicking here.  I LOVE her style.

Much love,
Future Mama

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Your world's about to turn upside down..."

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 10 comments
That's what my doctor said to me as he walked out the door on Wednesday.  He was halfway into the hall when he turned around.  "Your world's about to turn upside down," he smirked before walking off to his next patient.  A comprehensive health examination is required for our home study.  Our doctor is an older gentleman, in his 60s, I suppose, and I think I was his first adoptive health check.  He also informed me that I was also the first patient of the day under the age of 80!  That made me feel slightly better about the comment the receptionist had made when she filed my forms.  "You don't look old enough to be married!"  A compliment, true, but an odd comment to respond to when one is filling out a form to become a parent.

And tomorrow, we meet our social worker at a coffee shop at 10am.  Seems simple enough, but whew, it makes my heart skip a beat!  I may or may not have already looked at their menu online (I don't drink coffee) to figure out what I might order, so I don't have to waste a minute staring blankly at the board when we arrive.

As for deciding what to wear, you can only imagine the process that has been for someone who over-thinks things as much as me!  What is the proper mix of "we are ready to be parents" but "we are still young and fashionable" yet "we don't waste all our money on clothes?"  Ha, I'll try to remember to let you know what that perfect outfit is on Monday.  Until then...say a little prayer at 10am tomorrow to soothe our nerves!

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Isaiah 40:28-31

Posted by Angie at 7:37 AM 5 comments
A new year.  2012.  Wow, already?  Could this be the year?  The year of a referral?  Right now we are swimming in a sea of paperwork, pulling together all the documentation we need to complete our home study.  And I LOVE it!  I love having something tangible to do for our adoption.
 
I can hardly believe we have our first meeting with the social worker on Saturday.  This Saturday!  I have found great comfort in Isaiah 40:28-31 these last few days.

28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary, 
 they will walk and not be faint. 

This could be the year.  The year we become parents.
But today, it is not about the year, but this week. 
And this week, I am going to be working on this...
...our HOME STUDY PAPERWORK!


Much love,
Future Mama

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December Swap

Posted by Angie at 7:01 AM 3 comments
Friends for Adoption is a "buddy system" that links adopting families together so that they can encourage each other through the twists and turns of the process.  Each month, you and your Friend send and receive encouragements (with a $15.00 limit) in the mail.  This post is about my gift to Brooke.  Even though my husband and I are saving up for our own adoption, we believe we should support others financially, with prayer, and with encouragement as we are able.  Find out more about Friends for Adoption, including how to sign up, here.  

A year ago today, I started this blog with this post.  We had thought about adopting and prayed about adopting for months.  I read the blogs, saw a sign, and researched agencies.  And on January 1, 2011, we took the first public step forward on our journey and decided to not wait anymore.  In some ways, it feels like it was just days ago.  In others, it's hard to believe it has only been a year.  And what a year it has been!  We decided on Taiwan, found an agency that was a perfect fit for us, made an adoption video and told our folksfounded Leaves of Love, cheered as unwanted babies found homes, and cried for all those who have not.  Flipping though my old posts linked in the toolbar on the right, I am reminded of what God has done for us so far and how He continues to guide us through this journey.  One of the things he has done is brought Brooke and Friends for Adoption into my life for love, support, and encouragement!   

So for December, I wanted to find something extra special, and the internet did not let me down!  Meet Say your Piece, a store that makes personalized and custom ceramics.  After searching through the beautiful items in the store, I found something perfect for my purposes.  Eileen, the sweet woman who creates these pieces, happily customized it for me and mailed it straight to Brooke.  Here it is!  


Hopefully this ornament will be a happy reminder to Brooke and her husband of their last Christmas as "just the two of us."  And in the years to come, their future daughter can hang it on the tree and remember just how much she was loved even before they knew who she was.

Brooke was just as thoughtful in her gift to me got something for my entire family!  Skip over to her blog to see all the little goodies!

Also, this post is a reminder to all of you involved in Friends for Adoption...it's now December!  Which means you have 2 weeks to get your encouraging gift/letter/package of smiles ($15 or less) in the mail to your Friend!

Much love,
Future Mama

Want to catch up on our past swaps?  Need some gift ideas?  Here's the July's swap, August swap, September swap, October Swap, and November Swap!

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