Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fashion Show!

This year Munni and I were honored to be the cover family for the Cincinnati Children's Hospital fundraiser for the International Adoption Clinic.  Dr. Staat is responsible for saving Munni's life so this was an emotional experience!  I can't say enough about how amazing Dr. Staat is!  Munni of course, was thrilled to be in a fashion show :)

This is program.  The invitation was the same!  The photo was taken by my talented cousin, Anne Gregoire
First, we went to the salon to get her hair done…


This little girl was all smiles from the moment we walked into the salon!  Thank you Molly for styling Munni's hair so beautifully!

Next, we headed to the event so the children could have a dress rehearsal.  If you live in the greater Cincinnati area, I strongly encourage you to attend this event!  The silent auction has so many wonderful gifts and the raffle is amazing too!  My dad won a raffle by putting all of his tickets in one basket :)  He won the Valentine's Day basket which he ended up giving to us since Valentine's Day is our Forever Family day :)
This year's theme was India.  The drinks were a Taj Mahal (a delicious concoction of liquor and fruit juices!) and a shandy.  The food was "around the world" theme and uh-mazing.  They also had a woman there from Mumbai doing Henna.  My mom, my sister, my niece and I all got henna tattoos.
This woman was amazing and whipped these designs out in less than 5 minutes!
After the appetizers and silent auction were finished, it was time for dinner and the main event!
Munni was the first one on the catwalk!  She was a little disappointed that she didn't get to do her little hip fling and hair toss that she had been practicing all day lol!  But that didn't stop her from looking adorable :)  I made the hard decision to NOT bring my camera…I wanted to be able to be in the moment and I can get carried away when taking pictures so these are all from the event photographer.




She was so in her element!
I did run to the front of the stage to video it though….I couldn't help myself.

This is her glam shot :)

We had SUCH a wonderful time and I can't wait until next year when Baby R can join in the festivities!
If you are in need of a year end tax write off, I can't say enough about the International Adoption Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  Literally, ^^^that beautiful, smiling, happy girl is proof positive of the amazing work they do!

I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with the ones you love the most!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Orphan Sunday 2014

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”  -David Platt
She was ignored.  
Passed over many times.  
Too scary.  
Too many unknowns.  
And yet,

This...  

This is what was lying underneath, waiting to be discovered.  Waiting to be loved to the point that she could blossom.  Waiting for a family that would allow her a safe place to finally let go and become all that God intends for her to be.  Hoping for a day when she could live a life that every child should live- with a family.  



Munni and Marleigh -  BFFs :)
Munni was 6 years and 9 months old when we became a family forever.  In the year and 9 months since she's been home, she's grown 6.5 inches, gained 14 lbs, and went from an 11/12 shoe size to a size 2.  She has gotten straight A's in school and has made many friends.  She's involved in soccer, swimming, tennis, golf, art, and floor hockey.  She has flourished in so many ways, but it has not been without struggles, pain, and difficulties.  However, you will never, ever hear from me that she wasn't worth it.  The agonizing wait, the gazillion hurdles, the emotional healing, the medical unknowns…. SHE WAS WORTH ALL OF IT.  Anyone who has followed our story - you have seen the amazing transformation that has taken place in Munni.  

That kind of transformation is still out there.waiting. for the 160 million orphans worldwide today.
I know that number is staggering and at least for me, impossible to grasp.  You hear that number and I get why it's easy to ignore it because it feels so overwhelming.  How can I make a difference with a number like that?  Well, you can.  ALL of you who supported me whether through prayer, monies, encouragement, hugs, emails, letters, ALL OF YOU made a difference.  You made a difference in Munni's life.  And because of that, her life has made a difference in countless others.

This year, I am advocating for a sweet, precious, Chinese girl who goes by the screen name of "Jessalin."  She will be 5 next month.  I became aware of her late last winter.  I, along with many others, advocated for her.  There is something so sweet about this little girl that has grabbed our hearts.  And yet, she is so sad.  She reminds me so much of how Munni was when I found her.  Every time I look at Jessalin's sad eyes, it breaks my heart because I KNOW there a scared, lonely child in there who NEEDS to find her forever family quickly.  Two families have come forward for her in the past but due to unexpected circumstances, both families had to stop their adoptions.  I pray for this little girl daily- hoping that she will find her family soon.  What I would give to be able to see her transformation into a beloved daughter.  Her official diagnosis is that she is Hep B +.  She was also visited by a western doctor last June who thinks she may also be suffering from Speech Apraxia.  I have pictures and videos of this sweet girl.   Are you her family?  Do you know someone who you think could be her family?

I know that not everyone is called to adopt and I know that not everyone is in a place where they are able to adopt.  But there are many other ways that you can help.  Here are a few:

Advocate!!  Get the word out!  If you know someone who is adopting, help spread their story!
Pray! I can't emphasize this enough :)
Encourage- notes, messages, texts…. they mean more than you will ever know.
donate money
donate  your stuff - I know many families who were able to raise a ton of money through garage sales!
donate your time - once they are home, life is CRAZY.  Help walk their dogs :), rake their leaves, etc
If you are creative, help them brainstorm fundraising ideas!

Adoption is not easy- by any means.  It literally takes a village.  I would have been completely lost without all of the support I had.  YOU are invaluable to a child who still waits for his/her family.  How will you change the world for one today?  Let's stop ignoring that huge number and instead focus on making a difference - one child at a time.  Let's link arms and raise our voices together to advocate for these precious ones.  If you are interested in Jessalin or know someone who might be, please contact me for more information.  Let's join forces and fight for these children who are so worth it.  Every. Single. One.




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The BEST Three Letters in Indian Adoption!!!

NOC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  Her birthday is Thursday- what an AWESOME gift!!!  

Next up is court and then passport and then…..TRAVEL!!!!!!!!!!

Please keep praying that things would keep moving!!!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dear Ayah

Dear Ayah,

I think about you every day.  I wonder, how many times you have held Sweet Baby R in your arms?  Did you kiss a boo boo today?  Did you laugh as she accomplished something new?  Did you hug her?  Did you sing to her as you combed her hair?  You see, I knew you existed but ever since I've seen a picture of you with Baby R, you are more "real" to me.  My prayers for you have taken on new meaning and deeper sentiment.  I constantly waiver between feelings of jealousy and being overwhelmed with gratitude for the love you have showered upon her.  I covet the fact that as you cradled her, you breathed in her infant skin.  When she cried, your touch was a soothing balm.  You were there when she first cooed.  I wonder, does she call you mama?  You witnessed her healing and incredible growth.  I visualize you encouraging her as she rolled over for the first time.  I'm quite certain you were holding a toy in hopes to lure her into crawling towards you.  You were the one to first hear her giggles and see her first smiles.  I try to imagine the sound of your voice encouraging her to take her first steps and the look on her face as she excitedly made her wobbly way towards you.  I hope you scooped her up and kissed her when she finally crashed into your arms.

I can tell from the photos of you two together that you love her very much.  I hope that one day R will trust me the way she obviously trusts you.  I long for her to bury her head in my knees the way she did with you.  You are her safe place.  She feels your love.  You are her home.  I confess that I am jealous because those special moments that you witnessed are treasures that I will never call my own.

And then, my heart breaks for you when I let myself dwell on the magnitude of the gift you have given me by loving her well, and the price you will pay when the day comes that you place her in my arms.  I will never be able to repay you for the offering of love that you have bestowed upon us.

Geographically and culturally there is a great abyss between us.  However, love is the bridge that crosses that expanse.  Love is the catalyst that binds us together; each of us pouring out our hearts upon a child with whom neither of us share blood.  They say that blood is thicker than water, but I say that love is thicker than blood.

 Dear Ayah, it doesn't matter that we don't speak the same language.  Even if we did, I would never be able to find the words to express the affection I have for you and the enormity of the sacrifice you have made for R.  I have been praying for your heart.  Praying that God will comfort you in a way that no other can.

 You saw photos of me and now can picture my face when you think of R's new family.  You have seen pictures of Munni as well.  I hope that your heart is filled with joy when you think of R playing with her new sister.  I pray that thoughts of two Indian princesses united by love will quell the pain of goodbye.

Dear Ayah,  you and I are forever joined by the choices we made to love this beautiful, precious, baby girl who is so deserving of a mother's love.  Different color skin.  Different languages.  And yet, we are kindred spirits.  I pray that we don't lose touch.  I pray that you will see this beautiful child grow into all that is intended for her.

But my dear Ayah, if it should happen that one day communication slips through our fingers and fades away,  my hope is that on the other side of eternity, I will have the honor of placing a crown on your head; a reward for your heart and your incredible decision to choose love.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Origami Owl

If I've said it before, I've said it a thousand times - the community of fellow adoptive mamas has been the biggest support system that continues to blow me away.  I "met" Sara through the Congo adoption group.  I had the privilege of watching Sara bring home from the Congo her beautiful daughter Emily a few months before I was finally on a plane to meet Munni Bird for the first time.  Sara has been such an incredible supporter in both of my adoptions.  So when she approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like her to throw me a fundraising party, I couldn't scream YES loud enough!!!!  Sara has such a beautiful heart for adoption and has been involved in many projects that help orphans.  Recently, she became a Designer for Origami Owl Jewelry.  She wants the business to help families raise money for their adoptions.  Isn't that amazing??!!!!!  So here's the deal:  This online "Party" will be open until Saturday, August 30th at 8 p.m. - short and sweet :)   20% of anything you purchase will go directly towards the last part of Baby R's adoption- THE TRAVEL PART!!!!  But here's where it gets even better.  If you purchase ANY part of one of the two Signature Pieces, I will receive 30%!!!!  Isn't that incredible?  Origami Owl has so many beautiful pieces and the possibilities and combinations are endless :)

I am going to get the girls matching "Gotcha Day" necklaces with charms of the elephant and their birthstones.  If you are in the process of adoption and haven't figured out your Gotcha Day gifts, maybe you could create something meaningful  here!  Just please be sure to use this link when purchasing or else I won't get the credit :(

Here are the two Signature Pieces:

Or this one:


In case you were wondering what these pieces mean and why they are important to me :
Elephant- for those of you who know me well, you know that I've been crazy about elephants ever since I can remember. It probably sounds corny, but I have this strange connection to them  Anyway, India is known as "The Land of Elephants"
The Heart- Spread More Love  Last spring when I was praying about adopting again from India, God put that phrase on my heart one morning while I was in the basement taking clothes out of the dryer. God uses the most spectacular moments to speak  It was a moment where I knew it was from him. I went and googled "Spread more love" and immediately popped up Mother Teresa's famous quote, "Spread more love wherever you go" Obviously, Mother Teresa had a huge connection to India serving and loving the orphans there 
Milagro ~ One of my favorite words in Spanish. It means "Miracle." I started speaking Spanish when I was 26 and taught Spanish for 14 years. These two girls have been the biggest miracles to ever happen to me! 
There it is!!!  Thank you for all the support and encouragement you have given to me throughout this journey.  It means more than I will ever be able to express in words!
~ Love to all of you!!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Featured!

The community of fellow adoptive mamas that I've met through this whole process has been a HUGE blessing in my life.  They have been extremely supportive and beyond encouraging.  I love how we rally around each other, holding each other up and at times, dragging each other through the deepest, darkest of pits.  We do whatever we can to have each other's backs and that is a beautiful thing to witness!

I was so honored when one these amazing mamas asked if she could interview me for her blog.  It was a great experience for me.  I was able to pause and reflect on all that I have experienced and learned throughout Munni and Baby R's adoptions.  I hope that my story will encourage others ~ wherever they are in the process.

Please check out the interview on Lucy's blog and also see how God has been writing their beautiful story!  You can see it all HERE!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

One Step Closer!!!!

LOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE starting the week off with good news!

My cw called me to tell me that I have the state level clearance!!!  WOOOHOOOOOO!!!

She said to expect the federal clearance in about 2 weeks.  After that, my case goes to court and passport.  This step could be anywhere from 3-6 months.  So…. travel could be anywhere from December to March.  But again,  as I've learned from the past, all things are subject to change :)

For today, Munni and I are going to celebrate that we just passed another huge hurdle and are one step closer to bringing her baby sister home!

Thank you for the prayers!!!!