Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scrapbooking Outlaw

I have been a scrapbooker for years. I have an album for every major vacation we have ever been on, an album for every year of our marriage, even our dogs have their own album! Imaging my delight when I learned of a magical thing called a "lifebook"!
Until we started looking into adoption, I'd never even heard of a lifebook. It's basically a scrapbook with a few pictures, a lot of stories about the adoption, and a lot of background history concerning birthparents (what little information if any we will be given) St. Petersburg, the orphanage and other information about an adopted child's roots. People that were raised in "biological families" sometimes take for granted the stories about our parents, grandparents, and tales of the day we were born. I guess in a way, a lifebook is a way to celebrate the things we do know about an adopted child and our journey to each other. Anyway, I went to our scrapbook mega store (it's amazing! It has a bed and breakfast and a restaurant inside it) I mean you would not believe all the stuff this place has! Aisles and aisles of everything imaginable..... EXCEPT........ Anything about Russia and NOTHING about adoption! Can you believe it? Half of the store is devoted to children's scrapbook items and half of that is for babies/toddlers! But nothing even mentioning the word adoption! Not a single sticker, album, or piece of paper! So I went and talked to the owner. I know I have such a problem keeping my opinions to myself! BUT REALLY.....5000 SQUARE FEET OF SPACE AND NOT ONE "ADOPTION" DECAL OR A STINKIN' RUSSIAN FLAG? Come on people.
I told her I "kinda" understood the Russia thing (believe it or not it's not a #1 tourist destination, maybe it has something to do with the 9 months of winter....) But NOTHING for adoptive parents or children? However, there was 4 different types of decorative papers with "first trimester, second trimester....eight trimester....."whatever..... but nothing for me and baby Deetz? You have an aisle dedicated to John Deer and Harley Davidson, but nothing that mentions "birthmother", "Your trip home", "Where you lived", nada?
What an injustice! Flossy (we'll call her that to protect the innocent) just blinked and nodded at me. I know she probably doesn't do the ordering, but I asked her to let the manager know. So after listening to me rant Flossy recommended a site called and much to my relief they had oodles of Russia goods and tons of adoption items! And free shipping to boot! I am anxiously awaiting my box of goodies as we speak. (Waiting.....hmmmm......notice the theme here?) Can't wait to show you all of my adoption friendly goods! The stuff was so good I don't think I'll be going back to the scrapbooking establishment anytime soon. That and they may have put my picture up on the wall, you know, next to the pictures of the people that write the bad checks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shoe Therapy

Have you heard the saying "the best way to forget your troubles is to wear shoes that hurt your feet"? Well I would like to tell's true!
I should have known when I was packing my lunch this morning that the pinching feeling in my heel and rubbing on my baby toes would not improve as the day went on. But at that point, I was fully dressed, they matched my outfit so nicely, AND they are really I thought maybe they would stretch out as the day went on. WRONG! I bought them on clearance at the end of the season last year. Obviously, no matter how good the deal was- it wasn't worth it! It did work, however, to make me forget that we haven't gotten the final draft of our home study back nor the original even in the mail..... So another week has dragged on and I am hoping not to let that old familiar feeling seep back in. But I honestly didn't think about it all day, I was really focused on my feet and carefully planning my trips to the bathroom when I would have to get up from my desk and walk down the hall.
Now that the shoes are in the pile waiting for my sister or my mother-in-law to claim them (we all wear the same size) I am feeling frustrated once again..... I think I'll go and put the shoes back on and walk around the house a few times.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When Love Takes You In....

Today's blog is short and sweet, but captures our emotions so perfectly. Here is a beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I heard on the radio today on my way to church. In case you need a good is the link to watch the video. It is a beautiful tribute to the Chapman's own adopted children and normal, everyday people like us that want to share the love we've been given through adoption.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream
Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in
And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever cause this love to lose its hold
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Weekend Resume

What a whirlwind weekend. And we are just hitting the home stretch. If I were to create a resume reflecting this weekend alone it would be:
1-Nutrition specialist (I've been to Bi-Lo Grocery store twice already and forgot I am making dinner for guests on Monday night so I'll be going back there tomorrow after church)
2- Musical sound check. As the praise band played at the church spring fling today I shouted "that's too loud!"
3- This is the weirdest one, Tattoo Artist. I ran the airbrush tattoo "parlor" at the festivities today. I brushed dragons, roses, snakes, dolphins, crosses, even those little hearts with "mom" inside of them on the kids (and a few adults)
4- Personal shopper. I helped Britt pick out the perfect bathing suit for her trip home next week. If you've ever shopped for a bathing suit you can imagine how much work that can be.
5- Chef. I made a delicious ice cream sandwich dessert for dinner with the Mathis' tonight. It's really easy.
24 ice cream sandwiches
16 oz. fudge ice cream topping
8 oz. Peanut Butter
2 big tubs cool whip
3/4 c. chopped peanuts
In a bowl melt hot fudge and peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds so you can mix it all up. Let it cool down while you:
Layer half ice cream sandwiches in baking dish.
Spread half of the cooled fudge mixture over ice cream sandwiches
Spread 1 tub of cool whip over that
Sprinkle on half the peanuts
Repeat the layers with the other 12 ice cream sandwiches, fudge, cool whip and peanuts. Put in freezer for a few hours to harden up.
6-Creative writer. I need to think of things to say to you while we wait for the final copy of our home study to come so that we can get things moving!
7- Mom in practice. By wearing all these hats, I think it's good practice for being a supermom! We've all seen those "Mom Salary" spreadsheets. If moms really got paid for all the work they did-It would look something like this according to CNN Money.....

Here are 10 top duties mothers perform, the time they spend on them every week, and the annual salary they could generate.
Housekeeper -22.1 hours
Cook -13.6
Day care center teacher -15.7
Laundry machine operator -6.7
CEO -4.2
Facilities manager -5.8
Van driver -4.2
Psychologist -3.9
Computer operator -9.1
Janitor -6.3
Total weekly hours -91.6
There you go. Moms everywhere- I give you a raise. I am so tired and I don't even have kids yet!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Test, Test, 1,2,3

I have a new toy and I wanted to test it out- As you may know, I can update the blog via text message AND e-mail! So I wanted to try out the e-mail. Which I guess would be really great if I forgot the name of my blog or didn't have the link to sign on- which I do, so I'm not really sure why this is cool. I guess if I had e-mail technology on my phone (like an iphone or blackberry) then it would be a mobile way to keep the blog up to date. But I guess I had to try it out at least once, just so I could say I've done it. So here it is- Blog by e-mail. Ooohhhh.....Ahhhh.......Beautiful!
Last night was BUNCO night, so I was really tired from all that dice rolling. Britt won a prize AND the BUNCO booty ($12, every player chips in $1) so it was her lucky night..... Me, NADA. I go for mediocre. Then you are never disappointed.
Yesterday I sent our corrected home study to our case manager and Portia for corrections to be made. I haven't heard anything yet. Hopefully it won't take too long to polish up and be finalized. Keep your fingers crossed.
Chad and I also attended a phone conference with Anya and all the other CWA families that are adopting from St. Pete and Pskov (right next to St. Pete). We didn't really learn anything new, but it was nice to hear other families voices with crazy concerns and irrational fears. It makes us look a little more normal- like we aren't the only ones with worries and weird questions.
That was yesterday in a nut shell.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy Toast Batman!

I was driving home tonight doing some "car thinking" (I do my best thinking in the shower and in the car by the way) And I thought to myself- what are we going to talk about when things have slowed down and we are just waiting? I guess getting our home study draft has kind of put things in perspective. My personal goal is to have our registration packet and immigration approval forms filled out and in route to Russia in 2-3 weeks (definately before summer holiday in Russia) After that.....then what? I want to talk to you everyday, sometimes I think it's for my own benefit, but it has become a habit, and I hope you are enjoying reading the blog..... But what if our wait is 9 more months or gasp..... longer? Are you going to get bored of my random thinking? Are you going to lie to me and tell me that you "love the blog" even though you haven't signed on in weeks? Or worse yet, ARE YOU GOING TO BREAK UP WITH ME? I just don't think I could handle that!
Am I so self absorbed that I think I could hold your attention for 9 months? Then I thought, well I could just blog on say, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Then I thought I could pick a rotation of topics to correspond with the day of the week. But I think I am too ADHD for that kind of structure. Then I thought I could just continue to talk to you everyday even if it's about whatever strikes my fancy, like today, my friend Falecia sent me this story in our local newspaper about a lady that saw the face of Jesus in her cheese toast. It had a picture of the lady (from Lake Bowen, SC by the way- like 30 minutes from here) and she was holding up this piece of toast with some cheese burnt to it. I could not see Jesus in the toast to save my soul. (No pun intended) I guess if you squint your eyes and hold your head just right, you can kind of see a face, but it looks more like John Lennon to me.... Here, you can see for yourself. The article was titled "Holy Toast". Can you believe this is news worthy? I mean I can write about it because I just have a lil' ol' blog- but a real circulating newspaper? Anyway, whether you can see a face or not, I just decided to write about whatever I want, when I want. I will totally understand if you get bored of me (but please don't break up with me all together!) But if you keep reading- I'll keep writing, O.K? I make no promises about the content or quality of my work in the months to come! However, I am open to suggestions, comments, and will accept any food items with faces or words hidden in them for future topic ideas when things get really desperate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Breaking News.....

Exciting News for the Day:
1- We sold over $1,000 in Pampered Chef products for our fundraiser (Thanks Meagan and everyone that bought some stuff!) ~AND~
2-We've gotten the draft of our Home Study!

Tonight we will make some minor changes and then send it back to Portia and copy Anya on the changes.

The home study is a true representation of our lives and our character, but I'm a little worried about how much God and prayer is mentioned. In our initial information provided by C.W.A. they said to keep "God talk" at a minimum that we are allowed to "mention that we go to church and pray every now and then" (that's a direct quote) but to leave out the details concerning our faith. It is my understanding that despite the cold war ending, Russia is still a very religion-less place. BUT-it's kind of hard to leave that part out of our story since 1-Christianity is our foundation for everything we do; 2-Chad is a pastor, his mom is retired from Campus Crusade for Christ, His dad is a pastor, Bev (Chad's step mom) works at a church and my mom works at a church too and 3- We pretty much live at the church. All of our extra activities center around church activities and the youth group.

We'll just have to see if Anya wants to tone it down a little bit. It really hurts me to say that, I feel like a hypocrite- but I don't want a piece of paper (a very expensive and long awaited piece of paper nonetheless) to hurt us in any way. Of course we will raise our child in a loving, Christian home. Yes we are so blessed by God. And by no means are we "ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ." But if a Christian adoption agency says "leave it out" then should we listen? Moral dilemma #1. My gut says to just leave it in there. "I yam what I yam" But, on the other hand, would it hurt to tone it down? Couldn't they just "read between the lines"?

In any event, the home study was favorable and now we can move on with our lives! We'll leave the details to the experts.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Our friend Sharon mentioned that her daughter had an interest in learning how to speak Russian a few years ago and they had purchased the "Rosetta Stone" computer program for her to earn a home school foreign language credit. She said she would let us borrow it to learn how to speak Russian and we've had it for a few weeks, but I haven't had time to look at it.
Well.... yesterday was the first opportunity I had to try it out. What can I say.....Russian is very....uhhhh...... interesting. I would like to know enough to ask for directions, order food, and ask where the bathroom is when we travel. So far I know how to say dog. After working on it for an hour in addition to "dog" I think I am suppose to know- cat, boy, girl, man, woman, car, airplane, horse, elephant, and ball. But I definitely have "dog" or "sa-boak-a" down pat. Here is my Russian so far....
Vladamir: "Excuse me ma'am (do they say ma'am in Russian?) Would you like a taxi to your hotel room?"
Sarah: "Dog"
Vladamir: "No, a taxi.... we do not transport dogs, only people. Would you like a ride?"
Sarah: "Dog"
O.k. well, dog is a start. I'll keep working on it. My only question so far.....will my Russian have a southern accent?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend in Review....

We arrived at the church at 6:30AM on Saturday for the Rummage Sale. I promised you a picture- and here it is! We had more stuff than we knew what to do with. It was incredible. The picture really doesn't do it justice, but if you look closely (think "Where's Waldo") you can see #1 blogger Bob in the picture.
My job at the sale was the official "haggler". If someone wanted to haggle, they had to come see me. It was a VERY interesting job to say the least. My first line to every haggler was "you know this sale is to provide our kids a way to New Orleans this summer for our Mission Trip" That made my job a little easier.
We were so exhausted Saturday night it was unbelievable. And dirty. Yuck. We got home around 6:30pm. I am really glad Rummage only comes along once every three years. We raised over $7,300 which is incredible considering most of our items were between 10 cents and 2 dollars!
Today was Confirmation Sunday at church. This picture is of Holly, my "mintee" as I liked to call her during the 8 weeks of preparation we had together for this day. Every Sunday we would meet for an hour, listen to a guest speaker, and then have some one on one time to do some worksheets and talk about what it means to be a Christian. Holly was such a joy and a "talker" just like me! We talked and laughed and learned a lot together- she is such a joy! It is always such a blessing to be around these young people that will be joining the youth group in August (ALL 21 OF THEM!) They are true reminder for us to be joyous and excited about being children of God! They have so much energy, it's contagious! Today, they took their vows with their parents by their sides in front of the church. In every parent's eyes I saw a combination of pride, joy, and hope that their child would continue to grow in things that are good, true, and pure. This year I looked at those parents with different eyes, being a "parent to be". You just can't pray enough that your child will make good choices and do good in the world around them. You do all this work of teaching them what is right and then you have to start to letting go a little and trust that their teachers, mentors, and the friends they choose will lead them down the right path. Today it was a demonstration of letting go, just a little, and hoping that you've equipped your child to make good decisions.
Now to wrap up the weekend- I'm going to take care of my much neglected house and then head off to D-Group with my 9th grade gals to wrap up our 8 weeks of "purity" lessons, I have been their teacher, teaching them purity (sexual and otherwise). Now that has been an interesting endeavor. A necessity for this day in time, but can you say awkward? I don't know how I got elected for that one! But they are darling girls and I hope I've done them justice about making REALLY important choices in their lives.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Hey good news about our home study, huh? Finally! I am so relieved. The end is in site and we can move forward. I was starting to get dusty..... oh wait, that's just all the grime on me from other people's rummage.
On that note- the Rummage set up is over! Yeah! The gym is packed full of "Everything Under the Sun" as the name lends itself. You would not believe the crazy, dirty, odd, unusual, expensive, wacky, stinky and/or wacky stuff we've gotten in this week. And several pairs of used underwear to boot. But being a volunteer every night has it's perks- you see something you want, you snatch it up! I got some great books for Baby Deetz and Chad found a really nice umbrella stroller. Of course we also found some items for us- brand new shoes, books, a Longerberger basket (for $5!!!) and some other lovely things, Chad got a Methodist hymnal from 1905 and a Nave's Topical Concordance from 1897! Basically, every day I would come home with a box of "new" stuff from the rummage, unload it, and fill it up with our old stuff from the house to donate to the sale. It totally defeated the purpose, I know.
Tomorrow is the big sale and I can't wait to tell you how much we raise selling 10cent-20 dollar items. I am definitely bringing my camera so that you can see how much stuff is in the gym!
Oh and did you see my previous post via text message- how cool is that? Technology is so amazing. Just think 6 years ago I didn't even have a cell phone!

Text Test

I'm trying this out via text message. Spoke to Portia Tonight. Home study draft will be in the mail tomorrow! We should have it by monday.
xoxo, Sarah

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Mysterious.


We live in an ever changing world.....Tonight when I came home from the rummage sale (post immediate bath) I signed on to talk to you and let you know how things are going since I missed a night and MY HOW THINGS CHANGE!
I saw a "Russia Update" on my e-mail before signing onto the blog, which in past experiences is never a GOOD thing. I read the LONG e-mail, then re-read it. I'm really not sure if it's good or bad, mostly mysterious. With a lot of things I just don't think we are getting the big picture...... Recap- things are slowing down more in Russia (bad), but the failure of Russia's foster system with the increased world financial disaster, things could start to speed up (good, well kinda). C.W.A. is still very strong and highly admired in Russia (good) but the Harrison Case Verdict (see blogs past) still looms heavily in Russia's courts (bad). If you don't ask for a specific boy or girl it's faster (good) and if you raise your age requirement it's faster too (good). However, some regions are starting to change their requirements (BAD) and we'll receive a phone call if we are being effected (BAD and MYSTERIOUS). Anyway, I'm just not going to sweat all this. It's whatever. I'm more upset that we haven't gotten our home study draft back yet. All of this just sounds like more things that are out of our control. And when you're not in control of anything, what's a few more things you aren't in control of?
The last paragraph of the e-mail was interesting though, it basically said "It's not too late to change to another country or adopt a sibling group, since they are so difficult to place" The part about the encouragement to change to another country was interesting me (Mysterious).
OTHER things that have changed- I can now update the blog from my e-mail and cell phone. How cool is that? I am looking forward to the day when I can text the Blog from abroad to say "Got Baby. Bringing home baby Deetz" However, that could be in 6 months (good) 12 months (bad) or from Ethiopia instead of Russia (mysterious). In the meantime, we'll just stay the course- it's all we can do.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Every night this week after work I'll be volunteering at the Youth Rummage Sale (set-up), so I cannot guarantee a blog every night, but I will try my best.....last night by the time I got home after 9:00, I wanted to take a shower (it's amazing how filthy you get digging through "rummage") and go to bed! It was a very LONG day. Basically, we get in 100's of items every hour that people have donated. We carry them in if Chad and the boy crew pick them up at donor's homes, sort them by price, place the clothes on hangers, price the items, and carry them to the appropriate section. After one night, our huge gym is 50% full already and people can drop things off all week! Yikes. I'll definitely take a few pictures by the end of the week so that you can fully appreciate the magnitude of this project. All of the proceeds benefit the Youth Mission Trip this summer to New Orleans. Then on Saturday (the day of the actual sale, I'll work 6AM-2:00 or so. Awe Rummage!#$&*#@
Maybe this week we'll have some good news about the home study draft..... In the meantime, I'll continue to rummage my little fingers to the bone. I love the word rummage, I think it works well as a noun, adjective, verb. It's great. Digging through 100's of people's junk, not so great.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter in Pictures.....

We started out the day worshiping, Christ has Risen! Youth praise band did a fantastic job playing the music in our contemporary service. It was definately one of the most lively Easter services I have experienced! We were so thankful to share the day with mom, dad, and Britt. It was nice to have family here....

Then we opened the baby's Easter baskets......(and presents) yes, I did say basket(s). This will be the world's most spoiled Grandchild on the face of the planet.

Then we made the traditional Easter bunny cake (Annie, Uggie, and Me)

Daddy made sure Easter dinner wasn't poisonous......
Chad serenaded us with some lovely music............While Alex and Mommy kept a lookout for the Easter Bunny.
Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter's Eve!

My Mom and Dad are in town this weekend for Easter and today, our main goal was to find a crib. I know it's early, but we wanted to get a jump on nursery shopping. That way when we are having our BIG wait, we'll have months to get everything ready and take our time with painting, matching fabrics, redoing the bathroom, you know fully taking advantage of a longer than 9 month "gestation" period. Well, that, and I just want one!
So we got up early and headed out to Greenville with 4 stores programmed into the GPS. First stop- Baby USA. Brittany was hoping that no one thought either one of us were pregnant (thus looking pregnant when neither one of us really are!) I told her if anyone asked, we would say Mom was having a baby....
Anyway, Baby USA had beautiful stuff! Every nursery was set up in a little room- all painted and decorated. Then we went out to Babies-R-Us, we saw one set that Chad and I could agree on "kind of liking". Then to some posh place called "Nest" yeah, I saw a onesie that cost $65. I don't think so. Then off to "Wood You" seeing what unfinished pieces they had for baby- uhhhh, none. So we headed back to Baby USA. I liked their stuff the best because the wood was very durable, the hardware was all hidden, and every crib converts into a toddler bed and then into an adult bed. A definite plus not knowing how old our baby will be and how soon a toddler bed will be needed. We walked around and around and around. We narrowed it down to two models. They have these huge comfy rocking chairs set up all over the store, at some point Britt, Mom, and Chad were sitting in rockers, I was sitting on top of a baby table, and Daddy was sitting in one of those mini-kiddie recliners (which was hilarious) and we were having a furniture debate like we were deciding the next president of the United States. Our conclusion? We were all starving, so we walked next door and had some Sushi. THEN we went BACK to the store and finally made a decision.....DRUM ROLL PLEASE........
We also got the dresser in the second picture (without the hutch) because you can use it as a diaper changing table now and then it converts into a plain dresser (gone are the days of a diaper changing table that you only use for a few years). It's a beautiful curvy piece, the picture really doesn't do it justice. Our struggles- All the cribs now look so "mature" they are very sophisticated. And- Chad likes darker wood (Normally I do too, as all our furniture at home is dark) but when it comes to baby furniture, I am a big fan of white or antique white. The problem with white is- it's very girly, which is o.k. for a tiny baby boy, but not so nice for a 8 year old boy.
With the "Espresso" finish it will look great with baby blue/brown combo or pink/brown combo. So we made the first compromise (of many) and went with something more practical than a white crib. AND don't get me wrong- its a beautiful piece of furniture. AND it takes 10-12 weeks to arrive in the store, you think maybe be then our home study will be done? Sorry, I was doing good and I was going to try not to mention it, but I just can't help myself.
So the tradition continues- My mom's grandmother bought her crib, my grandma bought my crib, and now my parents made that purchase for our baby too! I didn't think this moment in our lives would ever come, and to be honest with you, as many times as we walked around that store that was easy to believe!
Thanks Mom and Dad....... I can't wait for you to be Grandparents!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Strong as an......

Something you may not know about me.....normally I am pretty together, but when I get too much on my plate that's the first thing to go. I start forgetting things, I start losing things, I walk into a room and forget why I'm there...."O.K. I'm in the kitchen, but I'm not hungry or thirsty.....why am I here?" Well now I can add a new problem to the list- my brain forgets familiar phrases and I forget where my thumb is. Let me explain.
On Wednesday I lost my keys. I found them today smashed into the car seat. Today we were waiting for a table at the Mexican restaurant and I left my pursing sitting where we were waiting. I got finished eating and all the way out to the car before I even missed it. Chad told me I had sour cream on my thumb at lunch and I stared at my fingers looking for it with my thumbs tucked in thinking he was the one that had lost his mind....then I remembered "thumbs are the short ones below the fingers, you know the ones on the SIDE of your hand".
So the phrase thing, I signed up for this cool new thing (thanks Heidi) called You basically input your sizes and brands that you like and it emails you clearance items in your size, your husbands size, your kids size. So I sign up for boy and girl clothes, size 6mo-24mo and twice a week they send me super deals on clothes. Well, there were these onesies marked down to $3.74 from Children's Place..... here they are.....

Then I get to this one.......

And I think to myself- "no wonder that only costs $3.74! That's a typo!
Strong as an bull! How can they even sell that! That teaches children grammatical errors! AN BULL?
I was even talking about it with dismay on the way to the concert this Wednesday. Brittany then says "uh..... isn't it "strong as an OX?"
Oh Yeah. An ox. hmmmmm....... that makes sense.
Hopefully I won't completely lose my mind before this is all said and done and I'll break myself of the habit of losing things before the baby comes!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eggs and Bowling Balls

Tonight it was so good to be back in church for Maundy Thursday Services. I think part of my funk has been being away from our biggest support system, our church family! With Spring Break and Chad and the leadership team being gone to New Orleans, we haven't had normal church activities in almost two weeks..... I really missed being able to talk to people that I know are lifting me us up in prayer and want to know all the juicy details of the adoption. Bob said he has been reading the blog daily and was concerned for my sulking mood, he said he could tell I wasn't myself!
Then to complete the night I caught up with Chad's mom, for our usual LONG weekly conversation and then talked to my mom for our short DAILY conversation. (I think I talk to them both equally as much, just for different durations throughout the week, I'll have to start keeping track of that. It may be an interesting science experiment while we're still waiting for our stinkin' home study draft) Anyway- my parents are in route to our house! They will be here tomorrow! Yippeee! I am so excited- I can't wait to see them, I haven't seen them since Christmas I think. Wow. On Saturday we're going nursery furniture shopping, I can't wait!
Anyway, when I was talking to Donna on the phone tonight, we talked a great deal about transition, as they prepare for retirement and are getting ready to do some serious traveling; And as we prepare for this adoption journey, not just the burden of the here and now, but having a son or daughter in our lives forever! We agreed that the biggest challenge (whether it's cross country or jumping through bureaucratic hoops) is letting go of your routine, your life that you have a death grip on, and grabbing hold of something new, something unknown. Right now we are both juggling, trying to keep all of the balls in the air while adding in some new ones.
It reminds me of something we saw on our family cruise last September. We went to a stage show where these two amazing guys do all these stunts. One of their acts was juggling a bunch of eggs back and forth to each other and then throwing a bowling ball into the mix. Imagine the light touch needed to juggle 3 or 4 eggs (OK, I can't even image juggling 2 eggs, not much less 4 on a rocking cruise ship) AND then adding a 10-15 pound bowling ball into the rotation. Your hands would have to handle the eggs with such care and gentleness and then your muscles would really have to kick in to keep that bowling ball flying around. Adding a new element into our life is a lot like that- tossing around a bowling ball, we have to keep our routine in balance without making a mess; While at the same time, show this new heavy monster so much care and attention to keep it in flight. Check this out.... for a rough idea.
Fortunately, Chad and I rely a big God, have a loving support group of friends, and an amazing family to help us when everything around us is about to drop! And when it does drop (and it will) we have so many people to eat some scrabbled eggs with and then go to the bowling alley! We are so blessed.....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

God of Russia too ;0)

For Christmas this year Pete and Karen got us (and them) four tickets to see Israel Houghton and Chris Tomlin, did I mention 4th row tickets? It was awesome. We were so close! I forgot my glasses when we left the house, since we were in a hurry! (Concert started at 7:00 in Greenville, I didn't get home from work until 5:30, Britt and Todd came over at 5:45, we had to stop and get some $ and dinner on the way....) Ohh..... but my glasses (I almost forgot again) I DIDN'T NEED THEM! I could actually see the people on the stage! Here is Isreal.... he has the best voice, you should check him out for something new!Then Chris Tomlin took the stage. The best part, and I wish I would have know to have the video rolling on my phone was when Chris Tomlin started singing "How Great is Our God". He shared what a privilege it was for him to travel to hundreds of different countries to worship with people from all walks of life. He said he tried to learn that song in every language of the countries he visited because he said how awe-inspiring it was to stand on stage, from his vantage point, and to listen to God speak in every language imaginable through His people. First he sang a little in Spanish, then he started singing in Russian! It was so moving.....and it was a real reminder that God isn't just God of Greenville, South Carolina, but God of Russia too. (Edited: I found it! Listen by clicking here.... all of our frustration these last four weeks, that's very easy to forget. We like to come up with a timeline in our heads of how we think the events of our lives should play out. We like to try to put God's timing in our "box" that we create. What we forget is that God can never be placed inside of a neat man made timeline and when we try to do that, we miss out on the blessings he has planned for us.

I almost forgot, Chris also talked about his mission organization- One Million Can. You'll have to check out his story about the orphans his charity is helping all over the world..... here is the link,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Picture is worth a thousand words

I thought for tonight's blog you may enjoy some visual aids instead of my rantings. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the biography our life right now. When you feel like this......

Try this.......

You should try it, it really does work wonders. If that doesn't work, here is an alternative.....

See that was fun, huh? But if you find the frustration creeping back in, you can always try this proven remedy and my personal favorite......

Monday, April 6, 2009

Congratulations you are the 1000th blog-ey

I wish I was a super computer genius, I would have put one of those blinking "Congratulations! You are the 1,000th visitor to this site" thingies on the page! But, you are lucky I even figured out how to put the counter on the page, that was a major accomplishment for me. But please know that if I could have I would have, but at least this way in your mind, you are all the 1,000th blog-ey to "From Russia With Love". You are all winners in my book!
Brittany e-mailed me this morning around 11:00 to let me know the blog got it's 1,000th hit today, she also thought it was ironic that the Russian word of the day was "bitter" since I am trying to keep anger from turning into bitterness with the wheels on the adoption wagon turning so slowly. It's like when you are stuck in traffic and you think to yourself "If I got out and walked I would make it there faster!" Well at this point we are still waiting in the car, idling. But in a task where timing is everything, we are trusting God's perfect timing in our lives. Maybe this is just a lesson in endurance and patients for the big wait that lies ahead of us......
Keep praying for speed and perseverance for us as we are parked in neutral, watching the world go by!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Waiting.... But not the BIG wait....

This weekend we kept very busy, ate a lot of good food, hung out with good friends, and tried not to dwell on things that are out of our control.
Here we are with Mark and Dale at Maggiano's in Charlotte. Boy it was good food. And ALOT of it. We ate family style and it was really tasty!

Our case manager, Anya, comes back from her month long trip to Russia tomorrow. I spoke with Portia on Friday and she said that she was going to have a few days to work on our home study this week. We'll see if maybe by THIS weekend we'll be a little more productive getting things ready to be sent to Columbia. I guess the bottom line is that I'm just disappointed. I thought the waiting would come in only when we were waiting for a baby. But this Saturday will mark one month of waiting for nothing but our home study to be finalized. It seems like such a waste to me, but maybe this normal.
Hopefully early next week I'll have some good news for you instead of all this moping around! I just HATE all this "hurry up and wait" buisness!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Homes for Life

Last night we were invited by Jana's brother, "Uncle Kyle", to a fundraiser at Pizza Inn for his organization- Homes for Life. I really wanted to tell you about what a great time we had last night and all the cool things that Homes for Life does, but I wanted to talk with Kyle first before sharing what a great thing is happening right in our own backyard that a lot of people probably don't even know about!

Homes for Life is a shelter for homeless young adults that provides support services in a home environment while modeling Christian values that encourage the development of a personal relationship with Christ in these young men that are otherwise society's forgot children. The boys are between the ages of 16 and 21, all of them have no where else to go, some have been abused or neglected, or many of them have simply "aged-out" of foster care or other state run programs. The program is designed to not only meet basic needs of food and shelter, but to teach them life skills that will ultimately lead to employment and self-fulfillment. Kyle is the Residential Director (which means he lives there 24/7 caring for the boys) He has given of himself 100% towards this program and I can't tell you enough great things about Kyle and his passion for this ministry.

Last night we ate pizza until we were sick and the guys from the home did all the work (drink refills, bus boy duty) for a portion of the proceeds. It was a great night and it was such a blessing to see the joy on the boys faces that people in our community care for them and support them.

I thought this topic fits perfectly into the adoption blog because as you know God calls each of us to "care for the widows and orphans" whether that orphan is baby living thousands of miles away or an abused and forgotten 20 year old with no family of their own. Some of us are called to foster children, adopt children, mentor children, be a Sunday school teacher, read books to children in hospitals, and some of us are called to eat pizza and give a donation to a worthy cause. Some of us, like Kyle, are called to give 100% to something greater than ourselves on a daily basis. No matter how we are called, we are all called to do what is right because we are so blessed.

If you would like to find out more about how you can help Homes for Life succeed, you can reach Kyle at they are always in need of donations, volunteers, mentors, and people that will spread the word about their ministry!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

10 things I've learned this week......

1. Waiting makes your face break out in pimples and gives you your first gray hair (Yes, both have happened to me this week)
2. Waiting makes you eat everything in site to fill the time and because you are stressed and emotional.
3. On that note, both Little Debbie snack cakes and Reece's individually wrapped peanut butter cups cost more, but have gotten smaller, I would say roughly by 30%. I'm no mathematician, but they are definitely smaller.
4. No matter what your adoption circumstance, someone else is in a more frustrating position than you are- (see Ashley and Amy's Blog on this site- "To Russia With Love") Please pray for them too ;0)
5. When you are missing a part from Ikea on something you purchased (ie: the support bar holding up the back legs of a highchair) you have to talk to 12 people before they send you the part in the mail. They were very nice though and I think one person in customer service was actually Swedish which was cool.
6. Barbecue smell from a neighbor's brush fire in their yard takes approximately 2 days to dissipate from your house.
7. My dreams always have babies in them now.
8. Penn State should have made it into the NCAA tournament, but it's ok because they JUST won the NIT tournament. 66th place is best place! (that is what Chad learned this week).
9. Don't waste your time being angry about things you can't control. (Ok, I just listed that one because I thought it was the right thing to say..... I'm still really mad.)
10. Pet stores sell only one sex of any given animals. (ie: The Petsmart in Spartanburg only carries MALE hamsters, the Petsmart in Greenville only carries FEMALE hamsters) That's why you don't ever see baby hamsters/gerbils/ferrets at pet stores. I'm not adopting anymore animals into our house, I just overheard a phone conversation with a sales associate while buying dog food this week and thought I would pass this fascinating fact onto you.

Won't you be glad when I have some real news to report on? Aren't you looking forward to the BIG wait when we are waiting on a referral? Imagine all the knowledge you'll gain then..... I might open my own school of thought. I'll call it "Sarah's Academy of Useless Trivia"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Weighing In....

Breaking news! Chad and I are moving to Russia. We've heard that you can finalize adoptions in less than three months if you actually live there! Since we are planning on being over there for 1 month anyway, we thought what's two more? Can someone pick up our mail while we are gone?

April Fools!!!! Anyway......

Since unfortunately I have no new news to report tonight about waiting for our home study to be finalized..... argggg....... don't get me started........ I came across this article last night. I am not usually "news savvy" but this story has been splashed all around, celebrity adoption. For the thousands of families waiting for a child and the families I've been in contact with whose home study agencies have been "black listed" and they are having to redo their home studies, costing them precious time, energy, and money I'm sure that this topic strikes a nerve. On one hand, you know that any child waiting to be adopted by any person is sitting in an orphanage and no matter who adopts them, celebrity or not, at least they will have a forever family to love them. AND these children will live in the lap of luxury, beyond anyone's wildest imagination, it still begs the question- what about the rest of us? What about families that are unable to have children and desire a child more than anything else in the world but financially cannot foot the bill? What about the families that are being delayed months or even years because of a technicality or a misprint in a document? When it boils right down to it, I think what infuriates me more than "celebrity fast-track adoption" is the flawed system in general. If America had more of a working relationship with these countries, the rules for adoption were consistent across the international board, if money was not the key to providing children homes.....then Madonna and Angelina would not be the exception, they would be the rule. Every safe and loving home could give an orphan a home after a reasonable amount of research and time and adoptive families would be able to do so within 9 months time. Period. Regardless of the country or age of a child. Here's the story..... what do you think?

Are Adoptions Fast-Tracked for Angie and Madonna?
Today 2:00 PM PDT by

Is it easier for celebrities to get approved for adoption?—Queen of Shoes, via
If you're assuming the answer is yes, you're not alone. (In fact, you just may be cynical enough to be a tiny me. Hi, tiny me!)
Human-rights groups in Malawi—
Madonna's adoption country of choice—are also saying that Madonna is getting fast-tracked in her efforts to adopt a 4-year-old girl to keep little David Banda company.
Madge is denying any star treatment, of course. And
Angelina Jolie, who has adopted three foreign-born moppets, also has said she got no special handling in those cases. But some facts seem to contradict that...
• Child advocacy groups have lined up against Madonna's proposed adoption of a girl named Mercy. "We feel Madonna is behaving like a bully," Undule Mwakusungula, chairman of the Human Rights Consultative Committee, told the Associated Press. "She has the money and the status to use her profile to manipulate, to fast-track the process."
• Malawian law on foreign adoptions is vague and largely untested. Regulations state only that would-be parents undergo an 18- to 24-month assessment period—but that rule was essentially thrown out the window when Madonna was allowed to almost immediately spirit her first Malawian child, David, to London.
• Yes, that's unusual. "It's not the way it's ordinarily done," says Dr. Howard Altstein, an international adoption expert at the University of Maryland. "An ordinary person would not have that kind of experience. It would take them much longer."
• Regarding La Jolie: Vietnam requires potential adopters to be either a married couple or a single parent—no shacker-uppers, like Brangelina. But when Jolie—arguably one half of the most famous unmarried couple on the planet—applied to adopt son Pax as a single mother, no one blinked.
• Again, that is just not normal. Says Altstein: "I don't think, if a noncelebrity would say 'I'm single' and actually be living with someone—I don't think they would get a child in Vietnam."