Monday, December 30, 2013


It has been a long process for one approval.

10/8 - Mailed off our I-600A application.
10/11 - USCIS receives our application.
10/16 - We are logged into the system.
11/1 - We receive an RFE (request for further evidence).
11/5 - FBI fingerprinting!
11/14 - Mail off RFE paperwork.
12/17 - Discover Jeff's birth year is incorrect on the home study.
12/18 - Home study is corrected.
12/19 - APPROVAL!! (We don't know it yet)
12/27 - We receive verbal confirmation of approval.
12/30 - We receive approval in the mail.


Today is a monumental day. First, we received the approval we need to progress with the dossier. And today marks exactly six months since we decided to adopt our girl. We can't wait to officially become her mama and baba!

*Post edited - Because Z has refused adoption, I have removed her pictures to protect her privacy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Still no immigration approval

I was feeling very frustrated this afternoon that we still have not received the decision on our I600-A application. I know the officer told us that it would be 7-10 days before we received notice but I was really, really hoping to know before Christmas. Maybe it will arrive Thursday, as that would be one week after Jeff talked to the officer.

I'm having a hard time with the unknown. I keep reminding myself that God knows best. That His timing is working out perfectly so far so that we can pay all of the adoption fees as they come due. But it's still hard to wait. I am such an impatient person.

Today I came across this quote:

Sometimes we see what God sees as "better" and it makes sense. Sometimes we don't. The joy of God is that we don't have to see it - we can just know that His is better. All the time. No matter what. For His is the eternal view with everlasting impact based in love. His love for me. -Casa de Alegria

I am grateful for the reminder and I pray for patience to wait on God. His way is better. His timing is better. I just have to trust Him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Medical Clearance - Completed!

We received a voicemail from the doctor's office on Saturday afternoon that our medical clearances were ready to be picked up. Hallelujah! As soon as they opened this morning, I was in their office picking up our precious forms. My favorite line:

Is the adoption applicant’s state of health suitable for raising a child? Yes!

And that assurance is signed and notarized. Woohoo!

The last big piece of paperwork needed before dossier submission is the I171-H approval, which gives us authorization to bring a child into the United States. When Jeff talked to USCIS last Thursday, they said we should have the decision in the mail sometime this week. We hoped it would arrive today. I stalked the mailbox. But no approval today. Maybe tomorrow?

We've been waiting for this immigration approval since the beginning of October and it has been nerve-wracking. We feel that it's the last approval that judges us as potential parents. Everything after this point is just paperwork, just formalities. We have been scrutinized under a microscope and the immigration approval gives that final vote of approval that we need.

A friend has reminded us that it WILL come because God has had His hand all over our adoption process thus far. I'm still asking God to help grow my faith!

Friday, December 20, 2013


It has been a roller coaster week. I'm so glad that the Sabbath is almost here!

1 - We flew down to Phoenix for my husband's annual company holiday party. It was great to see some of the coworkers and to see the boss face to face. Hubby is very blessed to have his boss. He's a great boss but he has also provided a personal reference letter for our adoption and has been fully supportive of the adoption, giving time off as needed for extra doctor appointments, seeing the notary, etc.

2 - While in Phoenix, I was able to spend two days with my mom. We had fun playing games and hanging out. My mom and I keep in contact frequently via text and phone but it was nice to see her in person! This trip is probably our last before we travel to Taiwan sometime in 2014.

3 - I visited an eye specialist this week, as my optometrist found a concerning growth on my eye. She referred me to the specialist, who diagnosed it as a Salzman's nodule. He said that surgery might be an option in the future but for now we have nothing to worry about and can just monitor it. I need to make sure to visit my optometrist regularly so that she can keep an eye on it, no pun intended.

4 - We had a flurry of emails and phone calls between our social worker, our agency, and USCIS. Apparently, even though we read it twice, we missed a typo on the first page of our home study. According to our home study, my husband is actually two years older than his real age! Oops. We're grateful the mistake was caught now instead of by a Taiwan judge, but it held up our USCIS application. According to the last update call, we should be receiving the final decision in the mail sometime next week.

5 - In addition to the eye specialist, we also visited a regular M.D. this week to fill out our medical clearances. After a long doctor's visit and two blood draws, we were deemed healthy enough to adopt. The doctor asked that I type up the form for him so that it wouldn't be rejected due to illegible handwriting. I dropped off the forms this afternoon and he's going to sign and notarize them this weekend.

6 - Phew. No wonder my husband ended up sick. It was a stressful week! Not all bad stress, but stressful. Now he's out with a cold and fever and I'm praying that I don't get sick as well. I hope he feels better soon!

Next week is Christmas and I pray we receive our completed medical clearances and USCIS approval before Tuesday afternoon. That would be a great Christmas present!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy birthday, dear one!

Even though we can't celebrate with her, we wanted to celebrate our future daughter's birthday.

*Post edited - Because Z has refused adoption, I have removed her pictures to protect her privacy.

Happy birthday, dear one! We hope to celebrate with you next year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Talk to a Skeptic - a book review

Every month, Bethany House sends out an email to book addicts like me. This email contains a list of titles that are available to read and review. I love books and I love free books even more.

I chose How to Talk to a Skeptic because of its subtitle: An Easy-to-Follow Guide for Natural Conversations and Effective Apologetics.

Last year, a gentleman emailed me after coming across my blog and seeing that I'm a Christian. His intent was to convince Christians one by one that God doesn't exist. We chatted via email for about a year, discussing topics like the reliability of the Bible, the character of God, the age of the earth, whether miracles really occur, etc. It didn't take me long to realize that even though I knew way more about the Bible than my correspondent, he was better able to form coherent thoughts and arguments. I felt like a failure because I couldn't explain why I believe God exists, why I trust the Bible, and why I believe God is love.

How to Talk to a Skeptic is supposed to aid in those types of discussions. I hoped, when accepting it for review, that I would be able to learn a lot about how to talk to unbelievers and how to express my beliefs.

Well, it's definitely not a book to be read lightly if the reader is not already familiar with apologetics (and this reader is not). Johnson starts off with some remarkable advice: listen! Instead of jumping in to defend your faith or your beliefs, start asking questions. Find out what the other person believes and why. "Specifically, you want to find out first what is his own worldview, and second, what he understands to be the Christian worldview" (46). By doing so, you will not waste time trying to convince someone of something he or she already believes. Also, and more importantly, it lets the other person know that you actually care about him or her as a person and are interested in what he or she believes.

Unfortunately, I cannot compare this book to others on apologetics. It's not a topic I am familiar with; this is my first introduction to apologetics. I do believe that How to Talk to a Skeptic is great fodder for prayer, thought, and discussion. It definitely left me with issues to ponder. This would be a great book to study alongside Adler's How to Read a Book.

Many thanks to Bethany House for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Outrageous Courage - a book review

When I received an email offering me a chance to read and review Outrageous Courage, I jumped at the opportunity. I love missionary stories, especially the modern day tales that show how God is working today.

The subtitle of this book is: What God Can Do with Raw Obedience & Radical Faith.

Wow, does it deliver! The story of Tracy Evans, a woman who decides to follow God wherever He leads, is beyond inspiring. Tracy follows God to a garbage dump in the Philippines. Out of all the stories, this one touched me the most. Vivid descriptions of what it's like to barely eke out an existence on top of a pile of rotting garbage. Afraid to get close to children in the camp because you have no idea which of them will die that day from disease or malnutrition. One of our sponsored kids is in the Philippines and I cried, thinking she could have been one of those children. The Philippine stories hit close to home even though I've never seen that life myself.

What can God do if you follow Him without reservation? Miracles! People were healed who were hours away from death. A dead woman was raised to life. Essential supplies were provided even though the funds were not available. Tracy's story was amazing to read. I finished the book in under 24 hours and found myself wishing there were more of her stories included.

There is a paragraph toward the end of the book that really has me thinking.

I would rather die boldly than live as a coward. I would rather take a step, even in presumption, than stay frozen in uncertainty and insecurity. Too many times I have stalled out in mediocrity, thinking I was waiting for God, when actually I was just hiding in fear. As someone once said, you cannot steer a car unless it is moving. I have come to trust that God will guide me, but unless I am in motion, He will not do what He does best! (Outrageous Courage, 145).

My husband and I had a really long discussion on stepping out in faith versus waiting for God to give you a green signal. Which is correct? Or are both attitudes toward life correct? However you look at it, it's hard to deny that God is working in Tracy Evan's life. What will He do in my life if I start trusting Him even more?

Thank you to Chosen for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions in this post are my own!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow hat!

I'm so excited! Another Compassion sponsor has offered to hand deliver a small package to our sponsored girl in Thailand. I'm knitting her a hat and scarf!

My project so far has gone from this:

To this:

The hat is almost complete, other than seaming up the back side. I wish it had been written to knit in the round, but the pattern said knit flat and seam. All that's left is the seaming! I've also started on the scarf but there isn't really enough to show yet. I've been praying while knitting for her. I know our girl's favorite color is green; I hope she likes the hat and scarf!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No news... still...

We have heard nothing from USCIS since we mailed in the extra paperwork they requested on November 15. We are stalking the mailbox, hoping for an approval or a request for a home study revision. Either of those would be fantastic!

Jeff calculated the average wait time for USCIS approvals and determined that we can reasonably call and request an update on December 18. Only two more weeks to wait until we can phone our case manager.

We did receive a piece of non-news. Our medical clearance requires the signature of an MD. Our primary care physician is an ND (naturopath). She suggested we ask our agency if Taiwan will recognize her signature as valid. The Taiwan facilitator responded that she has heard of paperwork getting sent back because the signature was not MD. To be on the safe side, we have to find another doctor who can complete this medical clearance form. I'm not very happy about it... I love my doctor and don't like having to find a new one for just a visit or two. Oh, well. We will do whatever we need to do to get an approval from Taiwan!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Simply Jesus, a book review

I had such a hard time writing this book review. It wasn’t because I couldn’t figure out what to say. In fact, I had a hard time figuring out how to stop talking about it!

Simply Jesus was written by Joseph M. Stowell, the president of Moody Bible College. I will admit that I know very little about Moody Bible College and did not recognize Stowell's name. I read this book with no preconceptions about the author’s belief system and enjoyed the book simply for what it is – a concise look at how to strip away our misconceptions and religious traditions about Jesus Christ.

We preach and teach about His will and His ways; tell His stories by heart; celebrate Him in worship; and serve Him with enthusiasm. Yet underneath it all (if we are truly candid), there is a gnawing sense that there should be something… well, more to this relationship (6).

Bingo. I feel that way. I was raised as a Christian, have read the Bible cover to cover several times, attend church most weeks, spend time in Bible study or devotional reading almost every morning, and still feel like I’m missing something. What am I missing? And why?

Jesus intends for you to experience the pleasure and reassuring peace of His presence at the core of your life. He wants to be more than just another volume in your encyclopedia of biblical facts. He didn't die for you to simply strike a deal guaranteeing heaven. He died for you to make His own and to grant you the unspeakable privilege of experiencing Him personally (6).

Look! Here I stand at the door and knock.
If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in,
and we will share a meal as friends
(Revelation 3:20, NLT).

First, so there is no confusion, keeping clear ledgers in our lives is basic to experiencing Christ. As long as there is residual sin in our hearts, there will always be distance. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). And the tenses in that pronouncement are not futuristic but present. In other words, if you are not pure in heart today, don’t count on experiencing Christ in a compelling way (12).

Ouch. The author gives examples of bitterness, unresolved anger, sensual thoughts and actions, pride, untruthfulness, or slander and gossip. I struggle with selfishness, a quick temper, and a harsh tongue. Does that mean that I cannot experience Jesus on a personal level until I conquer those things? Or can I experience Christ more and more as He continues to mold me into His character?

The author showcases this text as a way to cleanse our hearts:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there by any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139:23-24

Stowell next talks about what two attitude shifts are necessary to help the believer experience Jesus. The first attitude shift is to always rejoice in the Lord.

This is what the Lord says:
"let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!"
Jeremiah 9:23-24, NLT

Boasting is a healthy activity when it centers on Jesus. You can introduce Him to others with as long a string of superlatives as you want. You can list His accomplishments, cite His wonderful qualities, talk constantly about His kindness and mercy and love, and sing His praises for the rest of your life … if you and I are ever going to experience Jesus in the way we love to experience Him, we need to learn how to get beyond ourselves and our achievements to get all the way to Him. We need to cultivate a reflex response that immediately triggers gratefulness and praise to Him for enabling us to accomplish what we do… when something good happens in life… when we've performed well and received a few strokes… when we've been acknowledged and affirmed… when our fondest dreams have come true. When we are blessed, we need to master the response that takes that spark of joy we feel about ourselves and lets it explode into the joy of celebrating His preeminent provision and grace in our lives. The moment you do this, you connect with Him and lose yourself in His abundant goodness.

The psalmist tells us that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3, KJV). Strangely enough, it doesn't say that He inhabits our complaints or our self-serving compliments. If you heart is full of complaining or self-pity – or of self-congratulating applause – you won’t experience His nearness. Positioning our lives to experience Jesus requires seeing beyond the blessings and burdens of life … to fill our hearts with Him alone. In the process, we learn the sweet skill of boasting on Him, regardless. He inhabits the praises of His people. Meet Him there (28).

This is definitely something I need to cultivate in my life. I remember to praise God for the good things that happen but it is not always immediate. My first response is to celebrate and embrace the joy. My second response is to bow in gratitude. I do think this order needs to be reversed; first I need to thank God for how He just blessed us and then enjoy the blessing. I know I'm getting better at this, but it's still a delayed response to thank God. When we received news of orphanage approval, I danced with joy and then later prayed to thank God for granting us the approval. I hope that eventually my first thought on receiving good news is, "thank you Lord for blessing us so greatly!"

The second necessary attitude shift is to value Jesus above everything. Stowell gives several reasons why this is important, but this is my favorite reason.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith
Philippians 3:9

At the Cross we are placed ‘in Him’… apart from ‘being found in Him,’ we could not approach the throne of God in prayer. We could not draw near to the majestic presence of our God without being instantly vaporized. But covered in our Lord’s own righteousness, we can approach a holy God with confidence and worship Him without fear. We can share our deepest thoughts and longings, knowing that He hears and cares. And we can find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need (35).

There were a lot of other quotes that I highlighted as I was reading through the book. It really made me think about why I sometimes still feel so distant from God even though I try to do all the right things. I wish I had received a physical copy of this book instead of an e-copy (as I much prefer turning pages!), but am grateful for the opportunity to have read it. It will definitely be a reread at some point in the future.

Many thanks to Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no compensation other than a free e-copy of this book.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


November was a hard month. It seems like most of the month was spent waiting. Waiting for paperwork. Waiting for approvals, some of which arrived and some of which we are still waiting for. I was stressed a lot. Having my future in someone else's hands is really, really hard, especially when it's coupled with a complete lack of privacy. I feel like our personal, medical, and financial lives have been turned inside out and placed on display for the American government, our social worker, our adoption agency, and a Taiwan orphanage. I knew it was going to happen but wasn't prepared for the roller coaster of emotions.

For a few weeks, I forgot to live the life I have now. We don't know what the future holds. There are no guarantees that we will receive approval to adopt, no guarantees that we will have a daughter in 2014. But right now, I have a life to live. I need to continue developing my relationship with Christ, embrace my role as a wife, and encourage our sponsorship kids to the best of my ability.

December is going to be better! I am so thankful that December is here. We're not buying a Christmas tree or presents this year but I still plan to make the most of the holiday spirit. I love the holidays, from the cheesy holiday films to the Christmas music to the peppermint mochas to the light displays. Here's to a wonderful December and a memorable Christmas!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lord, I believe!

I have been very remiss in posting recently. I've had an awful lot on my mind and haven't felt the drive to write it down.

Why is it so hard to trust that God knows what He is doing? I feel as if I am having to relearn a lesson about letting go of my worries and trusting that God will take care of us. I cannot change a lot of things in my life. I have very little control. I wish I could translate knowing that God is in control into feeling like I can remain at peace.

We have not yet received our immigration approval, even though we forwarded the additional paperwork they requested. I'm nervous that we'll get denied, even as I am confident that God has our daughter in His hands. Why can't I let go of the stress of the unknown when I know God has a plan for us?

I don't know how many miracles I have to experience to avoid stressing out when something goes wrong or doesn't follow my plans. I keep reminding myself that I am a work in progress, that God isn't finished with me yet. I'm so glad He doesn't let go of me, even when I don't always trust Him fully! I know He's there. I know He loves me. "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekly Goals

Last week I had several goals:

1. Finish "easy" portion of the dossier paperwork. DONE!
2. Get creative with meal plans. Nope. Ran into serious back pain the second half of the week and defaulted to easier known meals.
3. Start working on my knitting for my girl in Thailand. DONE!
4. Write up book reviews. Half done. I finished reading my review copies but need to finish writing the reviews.

Not too bad for a week's worth of work, considering I spent two days curled up in a chair wishing my back would stop screaming at me.

This week's goals:

1. Finish writing book reviews.
2. Complete the first half of my hat. Ultimate goal is to have the hat complete by the end of November.
3. Schedule an appointment to get my eyes checked. I have to include my vision info in the medical paperwork for the adoption.
4. Visit the police station to request a local police clearance for the adoption paperwork.

That should keep me plenty busy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Something to be thankful for

A working dishwasher! Our dishwasher broke almost two weeks ago and we had a new one installed this evening. I'm so happy! We finally have enough plates and bowls that I can actually use the dishwasher once a day and won't have to pull things out of it to wash by hand and use again. My challenge this week has been to keep the kitchen spotless, washing the dishes after each meal and making sure everything was put away instead of leaving it on the counter. I really love having a clean kitchen and having a dishwasher again will make this so much easier!

Many thanks to the homeowner and the property management company for arranging for a new dishwasher to be delivered and installed!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A few of my favorite things!

Chinese learning resources, that is!

Peggy Teaches Chinese is awesome. She's actually from Taiwan, so she speaks with a Taiwanese accent and uses a few idioms local to Taiwan. Plus, she uses traditional (written) Chinese in her videos, as opposed to the simplified version that mainland China uses. I haven't watched many of Peggy's culture videos yet, only the beginner Chinese lessons. I've already learned a lot. Because our future daughter is from Taiwan, learning from a Taiwanese speaker is very useful and rather hard to find.

I love this dictionary. It allows you to switch between traditional and simplified Chinese characters, has audio for each of the words, and tells you what level of proficiency testing that word falls under. That way you know if you're learning a common word vs a highly specialized or rare word.

I use Yabla to help correct my pronunciation of various sounds in Chinese. It's especially helpful when you've been studying for awhile and start muddying the sounds together...

And, last but not least, I'm using LearnChineseEZ. I really like this resource. The native Chinese speaker is very clear in her enunciation so I can follow along with the Pinyin. The grammar starts off really easy, explains the grammar point, and then uses it in a few sample sentences. Then it adds more grammar and vocabulary words. You can switch between Standard Pinyin (the official spelling for Chinese characters, or Hanzi) and EZ Pinyin, which I believe is the website owner's creation to help make Pinyin easier. My only complaint about the website is that there is no Hanzi version of the lessons, only Pinyin. After awhile, I find Pinyin starts running together and I forget vocabulary. Hanzi is easier in the long run, much as Kanji is in Japanese.

*Legal Disclaimer: I am posting about LearnChineseEZ, in part, to gain access to the member's only lessons (so that I don't have to pay for them!). But I do highly recommend the website for a beginner to the Chinese language, regardless of the free content offer. I honestly believe this is a worthwhile resource and much of it is already free.

All of the above resources are free! I also found another free resource through my library but have not yet started it and therefore can't recommend it. I'm not sure how far free resources will take me, but I'll be using them as long as possible! I will probably have to purchase a resource at some point as I really need to move beyond absolute beginner level so that I can communicate more effectively with our future daughter.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This week's plans

I can't believe we're already over a week into November... It's almost time to start thinking about New Year's resolutions! Ha!

This week, it seems most of my plans (that involve other people) have fallen through. So it looks like I will be having a rather quiet week at home. With that in mind, there are a few things I would like to get done.

1. Continue working on the dossier paperwork. I would like to have all of the "easy" stuff done by the end of this week, mostly cover letters for various documents, a couple letters, and some forms. That way we can start work on getting medical clearances.

2. Get creative with the meal plans. I unintentionally overspent last week and have very little money left to last until payday. Oops. Normally we would go ahead and spend additional money, but we're saving for all of the dossier fees and don't want to fall short because we overspent on food...

3. Start work on my newest knitting project, a gift for one of my sponsored girls. I have been extremely blessed in that someone who is going on a sponsor tour in January offered to take a gift for me. SO EXCITED. Normally we can only mail paper gifts (bookmarks, stickers, etc). A lot of those who go on the sponsor tours will take a gift from other sponsors and someone going to Thailand kindly offered to deliver a gift for me. I have to be done with the knitting project by the end of December so I'd better get started! I never thought I'd have the opportunity to send a very personal gift and am thrilled at the chance.

4. Write up reviews for my most recently finished books.

All of that, in addition to my Chinese studies, normal housework, and final Bible study tomorrow will keep me plenty busy! Our dishwasher broke a week ago so I've been hand washing dishes after every meal and waiting for property management to approve a new dishwasher. Thankfully, it's scheduled for delivery on Wednesday! I will be doing a happy dance that evening!

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November's Read - Little Women

Come read with me!

I am hosting this month's book club selection, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. We'll be discussing it on Carrie's blog, though I'm sure I'll be discussing it here as well. Read the intro post here.

I'm so excited to revisit my favorite March sisters!

*Disclaimer - There is an Amazon affiliate link in this post. All earnings are used solely to prepare for our daughter's arrival!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fingerprinting - Done!

Our fingerprinting appointments are done! I'm curious if this will be the final time we are fingerprinted for this adoption but I wouldn't be surprised if we have to do it again.

Both of our appointments were at 11AM. We showed up 10 minutes early, went through security, and started waiting in line. And waited. And waited. We were finally able to check in just after 11 and were given more paperwork to fill out. Thankfully, once we had filled that out, we were able to walk right up to the counter and get registered for the fingerprinting. After some additional waiting, we were fingerprinted and sent on our way. The whole process took about an hour.

It was really interesting to watch everyone as we waited. I had expected a small office but was surprised to find an office even more busy than the DMV. People of all nationalities were there. We even saw a guy from Thailand who, I think, was there for his immigration interview.

Both fingerprinting technicians asked Jeff and I a couple questions about our adoption process. It seems adoption is definitely one of the lessor given reasons to visit USCIS!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fingerprinting appointments!

I never thought I would be happy to have my fingerprints taken but I am! Today we received notice of our fingerprinting appointments for our I600A application. We're to appear on Tuesday!

Based on everything we've read on various adoption time lines, we weren't expecting to receive our notice for another two weeks and thought it would be an additional several weeks before we are to appear. Nope! It's been less than a month since we mailed in our application and we're already getting fingerprinted. I view this as a Very Good Thing.

Can we go to Taiwan yet?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Child sponsorship

Lately I've been trying to think of fun ways to send letters to my sponsored kids. I try to write to them once a month but have only included a couple pictures to my Compassion kids through the online letter writing tool. Unfortunately, I can only send snail mail letters to my girls in Korea so they have not received any pictures from us. Until today!

On the Compassion forums, some of the sponsors were talking about online photo collage programs. I thought that sounded intriguing so I tested out PicMonkey. It is so easy to use!

I created these two collages and then resized them in Word to fit both on a single sheet of paper. I added numbers next to each photo and then wrote a letter and explained a little bit about each photo. So easy! Today I wrote letters to both of my girls in Korea so now they will have pictures of my trip to Colorado. I didn't realize it could be so easy to send photos to the kids. Now I'm sure I'll be sending a lot!

If you sponsor a child, please send them a letter! I know it means a lot to the children to receive letters from their sponsor.

If you don't sponsor a child, will you consider doing so? It could change their lives and it will definitely bless yours!

This is Do Young, who is 17 years old and whose favorite subject is reading. She's available to sponsor through Children Incorporated. If you have questions about this particular organization or child sponsorship in general, please email me! It's such a blessing to know that you have the opportunity to change a life.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We've been matched!

*Post edited - Because Z has refused adoption, I have removed her pictures to protect her privacy.

This is Z. She's 10 years old and currently lives in Taiwan. We're hoping to soon change her permanent address to Seattle, WA.

We've earnestly been praying that we would receive orphanage approval and today it arrived! We're so excited!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Home but still recovering

I visited my dad in Colorado for five days. When I arrived in Colorado, I promptly got sick with a nasty cold. I flew back home on Monday last week and am still recovering. Yuck.

I hate not being productive. My husband has had to do the dishes, clean the cat boxes, and do all the grocery shopping. These things are normally my job but I have had no energy for any of it. I'm finally starting to feel better but am having to force myself to remain quiet so that I don't relapse. Maybe I'll be fully recovered mid-week. I sure hope so!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tiny step forward

USCIS has entered our I600A application into their system! Woohoo!

It's such a tiny little step but at least it's a tiny little step forward. They emailed us a case file number so that we can check the status of our application online.

The I600A is a preapproval for adopting a foreign born child and bringing them into the United States. We did not specify a child on our application. They look only at us as potential parents to decide if we are allowed to bring a child to the US.

Once the I600A is approved and we receive the appropriate approvals in Taiwan, we submit an I600 form which requests permission to bring a specific child into the US.

Lots of steps! At least now we can constantly refresh the USCIS website to see our current case status.

Current estimated wait time: 2.5 months.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A few book thoughts

One of my goals for this week is to catch up on reviewing the free books I've received.

40 Most Influential Christians . . .

40 Most Influential Christians Who Shaped What We Believe Today, by Daryl Aaron, is my favorite book of this batch. While I do not agree with the theology and beliefs of each of these influential Christians, I can appreciate the contribution that they made to the development of the Christian church.

The book covers 40 chapters, each chapter devoted to one Christian who influenced church theology or growth. The book is not exhaustive, instead providing a short overview on some influential Christians. Each chapter includes a section on the context of the Christian's life, the contribution he made to Christian history, and a short conclusion about the influences he still has on current Christian thought. This is a great starting point for any person who is interested in learning more about the history of the Christian church.

A Home for My Heart

I've become rather picky about my Christian historical fiction, as I feel most of the books are not literature quality. However, I snapped up a copy of A Home for My Heart, by Anne Mateer, because it's the story of an assistant matron at an orphanage. Sadie suddenly finds herself offered the head matron position and she has to learn how to balance her new duties with her desire to get married (matrons are not allowed to wed).

I really, really wanted to like this book. My heart is all about adoption these days as we navigate the adoption process to adopt our own daughter. I thought that this book would resonate with me but it fell flat. The main character kept insisting that she cares more about the children than her coworkers do, but she never really displays that love in her actions. I had hoped that the book would address her life in an orphanage but it could have been written about any type of administrative position. If you're wanting an ok beach read, this is it. If you're looking for something deep and memorable, keep looking.

Jesus: Pure and Simple

Jesus Pure and Simple, by Wayne Cordeiro, was an interesting but not deep book. It read more like a series of blog posts, rather than having a common thread running through the entire book. Cordeiro talks about how to tell if you need to get back to Jesus, who Jesus is, how to focus on Him, and how to serve. The book itself is rather pure and simple, some basic thoughts on various topics, bullet points that provide a basic to-do list, and group discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

For an example of the simplicity of this book, here are the focus points on the chapter titled "One Thing." The chapter starts off with the verse Luke 10:41-42, which reads, "you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary." What is the one thing that is necessary? Spending time with Jesus. How do we do that?

-Read the Bible daily
-Regularly take time for solitude
-Immerse yourself in gratefulness
-Regularly take time for reflection

As I said, it's an interesting book but not deep. It's a good refresher on basic Christian living but doesn't offer much Biblical meat to chew on.

Much thanks to Bethany House for all three review copies in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are completely my own.

*Note - Jeff and I promised ourselves we would not ask anyone for money to help fund our adoption. However, if you would like to help us without additional cost to you, feel free to do your normal shopping through my Amazon affiliate links in the above post. Thanks!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A special day

Today is a very special day for us. Not only is it our anniversary... is also my husband's birthday.

We have now been married for eight years and I love him more now that I did the day we said "I do."

Happy birthday, darling!
Happy anniversary!

I can't wait to celebrate the next fifty years with you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This week's plans

So my flight to Colorado leaves on Thursday morning. Why did I choose a six A.M. flight? Oh, yes. So that I could spend as much time as possible with my dad instead of spending the day traveling. I will try to remember that when my alarm goes off at four on Thursday morning...

This week I have a couple of goals.

1 - I want to catch up on my language reviews. I have been doing fairly well keeping up with my Japanese reviews but Chinese has been dismal. Truth be told, I'm not extremely motivated to learn Chinese after reading (from multiple sources) that the vast majority of adopted children come to the U.S. and promptly reject their first language. Some children want to remain fluent in their first language but most kids just want to be American. I have no idea which category my daughter will fall under, but the odds are that she will only want to speak English. Thinking of that, I lose most of my motivation to learn her language. I love the Japanese language and eventually want to become fluent. Learning Japanese is for me; learning Chinese is for her. I need to find my motivation again so that she knows I cared enough about her before we met to learn a bit of her language, even if she chooses not to speak it after becoming part of our family.

2 - Book reviews! I have several books in progress that I would like to finish and review on Goodreads before leaving town. This includes several review copies. Finishing these books will allow me to come home to a clean slate and have fun picking out new books from the library. Today I finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and need to gather my thoughts on it. Then I can complete the other books that are in progress.

3 - Finish writing letters to my sponsored kids. I recently printed some fall stationary and need to finish writing the last several letters. That way all of my kids have letters coming. I hope to visit the Compassion International headquarters while in Colorado but am not sure I will be able to convince my dad that it will be worth taking the time to visit. His wedding comes first; I'm just hoping we have some extra time to drive the half hour to Compassion and tour the mail room. I am eager to see how they manage all of the thousands of letters that pass through their office before making their way to the children around the world.

I think these three things will keep me busy until Wednesday. Tomorrow is our eighth anniversary and my husband's birthday. He requested homemade pizza and pumpkin pie for our dinner. Sounds good to me!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Preparation Day, Week 1

I feel more prepared for the Sabbath than I have in a long time. I made a conscientious effort this week to clean my house, to be mindful of what still needed to be done, and to make a plan for today.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I completed the majority of my house cleaning. This made it easier for me to focus today on the last minute things that needed to be done.

This morning I made a quick trip to the grocery store for what we need over the weekend. I washed the laundry so that we have clean clothes for church. The dishes are washed and the dishwasher emptied. The entire house is tidied.

I didn't prepare our Sabbath meal in advance but I want to learn to do that in the future. If our friend goes to church with us tomorrow, we'll stay for potluck. Otherwise we'll come home and have pasta for lunch. (Is it possible to boil the noodles in advance so that everything just needs to be heated?)

All that's left for today is to go for a run and put the clean sheets back on the bed. I'm ready to welcome the Sabbath!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Library Time!

I'm so excited! Today I returned most of my books to the library and checked out just a few more.

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren (new-to-me author)

Escaping the Devil's Bedroom: Sex Trafficking, Global Prostitution, and the Gospel's Transforming Power by Dawn Herzog Jewell

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey

The only trouble will be choosing which two to take with me on my trip!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Preparation day and the Sabbath

Over the past several weeks, I've spent a lot of time in prayer and Bible study. I've had my eyes opened about what Sabbath means to God, what it means to me, and how I should be spending His holy day. I've been convicted in several areas of my life, places where I feel that I'm not really letting God lead.

One of those places is Sabbath preparation. I truly believe that God has given us a day of rest, a day to spend with Him, and that He is offended if we don't honor His command to keep His Sabbath holy. I have been convicted that I should not be spending my Sabbath days doing household labor that could be done on other days, mainly in the areas of meal preparation and how I get ready for church (ironing clothes, etc).

I feel that I need to be more conscientious about how I spend the rest of the week so that I am prepared for the Sabbath when it arrives. There is no excuse for not having our clothes ironed and ready by Friday afternoon. There is no reason why I cannot prep food and prepare meals on Friday for Sabbath. I haven't been doing it, mainly because I've been lazy and have not been convicted about the importance of following God's commands about the Sabbath day.

My Sabbath issues are not just about preparing in advance. I tend to be more motivated about cleaning at the beginning of the week and lose motivation as the week progresses. By the time Friday arrives, the house is rather messy. I attend a knitting group on Friday mornings, go grocery shopping immediately afterwards, and then spend the afternoon scrambling to get things done before sundown. Usually I fail, for whatever reason. So Sabbath arrives and I have dishes in my sink, dinner half prepared, clean clothes but nothing ironed, and an untidy house. I stress when the house is messy and thus often feel overwhelmed on Sabbath.

I am making a commitment this week to put God first. That means that I need to prepare myself both physically and spiritually to spend time with Him on Sabbath. My house needs to be clean so that I can rest my mind. My food preparation needs to be done so that I'm not distracted by the every day chores. My dishes need to be washed and put away so that I can toss the dirty ones into the dishwasher as we use them and thus not create a huge mess in the kitchen, which in turn stresses me out.

I'm sure I won't get everything right this first week. But I am trying. I want to be open and ready to spend time with God during the time He set aside for us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another batch of paperwork

We still don't have good news, but we've mailed off another batch of paperwork! Hubby has been wanting to submit our I-600A: Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. This application, if approved, will give us pre-approval to bring an adopted child into the United States. Before looking into adoption, I had no idea we would have to request approval from the United States to bring a child into the country. It makes sense, now that I think about it. But it's something I wasn't expecting to do!

They required a stack of paperwork:
-A contact form to be notified that they received our application.
-A 3 page application.
-An original copy of our home study
-A copy of both of our birth certificates
-A copy of our marriage license
-Two checks, one for the application fee and one for advance payment of fingerprinting and background checks

Whew! We sent it off priority mail. They should have it on Thursday and then we wait for fingerprinting appointments to be mailed to us. After that, I'm not sure exactly how the process works!

Once we are officially matched with the girl we want to adopt, we submit the I-600, which requests approval for that specific child to be allowed into the United States. The pre-approval that we submitted today should shorten the wait for the actual approval. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Paperwork flurry

Today has been another flurry of paperwork, FedEx deliveries, and emails between ourselves, our agency, and Taiwan. I can't post any specifics yet but I hope to have positive news soon!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

God's miracle timing

Last week we realized that we were very low on printer ink and ordered cartridges from Amazon.

Yesterday, our printer ran out of ink and refused to print another page. Our Amazon order was scheduled to be delivered this Friday.

Today, three days early, our printer ink was delivered.

An hour later, we received a supplemental questionnaire from our adoption agency that needed to be printed, signed, scanned, and emailed back.

God's timing is always perfect.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Productivity - my motivation is back!

I have had extremely low productivity over the past week. I'm not sure what triggered it but I've barely been keeping up with the minimums - dishes and cleaning the cat boxes.

On Wednesday night, my husband went to bed feeling fine. He woke up Thursday morning in extreme back pain and had no idea what caused it. I've had this happen to me once before and was fairly certain that it was due to the cats causing me to contort in my sleep and thus pinching a nerve or some other such lovely result.

Thursday night - no sleep for either of us
Friday night - very little sleep for both of us
Saturday night - a little bit better
Sunday - hubby finally starts feeling better and we get a half decent night of sleep

I'm still very tired from the lack of sleep but something finally triggered my drive for productivity. I'm not sure why my productivity died and I'm not sure why it has returned. But I have to embrace it while it's here! I've already cleaned off the Leaning Tower of Papers on top of my printer. After hubby gets off this series of work calls, I will catch up on the dishes.

Hmmm... What should I do next?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Creativity in the kitchen

I've already tried two new recipes this week and can recommend both.

Today I made Smoky Roasted Portobello Sushi. We weren't big fans of the heart of palm but really, really liked the mushrooms. I want to try adding the mushrooms to our regular sushi rolls and see how they taste.

Yesterday I made Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. This was my first attempt at baking oatmeal and I will be baking it again! It was incredibly good. Too bad my husband didn't get to eat any. I took it to Bible study and there wasn't any left when I came home.

I'm not trying any other new recipes this week. The rest of our meals are tried and true favorites: green curry, fajitas, garlic sesame soba noodles, and pizza.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A new-to-us holiday


Zhōngqiū kuàilè!

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. We want to keep our daughter's heritage alive and are making an effort to learn about her birth culture and holidays.

Kiki Bakery, a local Taiwanese bakery

Red bean paste mooncake

Lotus mooncake


Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What I'm Reading

This week I'm continuing a couple old books and adding a couple new ones.

40 Most Influential Christians
by Daryl Aaron

Wives and Daughters
by Elizabeth Gaskell

Positive Discipline: The First Three Years
by Jane Nelsen

Parenting Teens With Love And Logic
by Foster Cline & Jim Fay

None of these books are "I can't put it down. Must. Keep. Reading" books but I'm plugging away at them. I think both parenting books are due back at the library on Sunday so I'll finish those up first. I can't add to my 60 cents in fines!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Adoption Update

It's been awhile since I've posted an adoption update, mainly because we have had very little news lately.

The biggest news we received last week is that our home study is complete. Hurray! Our social worker finished it, had us fact check it, and sent it to her agency to get notarized. Our agency now has a copy of the home study and it is being translated.

Once the home study is translated, it will be handed to the orphanage director. He or she will then read the entire thing and decide if we are to be officially matched with the child we want to adopt. This process can take up to six weeks.

Now that the excitement of our home study finalization is over, we wait. And wait. And wait some more. Hopefully the next news we receive is that "she's yours!"

We were surprised today to be notified that we will be allowed to Skype with our daughter once the dossier is submitted. That won't happen for a few months yet, but at some point we'll be able to see our daughter and hear her voice for the first time. I am thrilled about that but also nervous. If we were to "meet" for the first time in person, we could go out to eat or to the zoo or play games. We could do something while getting to know each other. Instead, we'll be sitting in front of a computer, thousands of miles away! I can't wait.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ming Ming has been pruned!

I didn't realize how tall Ming Ming had already grown. He was 8.5 inches tall.

Now he's only 3.5 inches tall!

I really didn't like cutting off all of that growth, especially the leaves at the top. I sure hope that Ming Ming is able to continue growing and sprout some new leaves. Once Ming Ming is six inches tall again, I'll be potting him in soil. I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meet Ming Ming, the newest member of the family

This is Ming Ming.

He's my baby avocado tree. He goes outside for 15 minutes of sun every day.

Unfortunately, Ming Ming is about to get pruned. When he's six inches tall again, he'll be planted in soil! I'm sad about pruning him as he's going to be losing all of his leaves. Poor Ming Ming...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Change of plans

Well, I was going to overhaul my blog design this month but I realized I need to switch projects. My dad's wedding is on October 19th and I have not yet started their wedding present. Oops.

I'm designing a wall hanging/table runner and really need to get the project started.

Neither my father nor his fiancée read my blog so I'll be able to post my progress. I'm excited to get started!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

An even bigger challenge

This week, I was going to start learning about blog design. Unfortunately, life threw a bigger challenge at me on Monday afternoon.

My computer died.

After half a day of trial and error, my husband was able to take a back up of my hard drive. Then he moved the hard drive from my Dell Mini into the Dell Inspiron. Then he uploaded most of my hard drive onto the Mini's hard drive.

I love how we stumble along with half working computers. My Dell Mini is now just an empty case. My Inspiron has a Mini's (much smaller) hard drive and no battery.

I am now buried in technological junk mail. I was using Outlook to manage my email, so my gmail was forwarded to Outlook. Unfortunately, I never synced the two and now have 23,000 emails in my Outlook inbox. Hubby synced all of my accounts now so that I can create folders in Outlook, delete or file as necessary, and it will be backed up on Google's servers. If my Inspiron decides to kill my Mini's hard drive, at least I'll have a backed up email account! In the meantime, I have to wade through my 23,000 emails to figure out what should be kept and what needs to be permanently trashed.

The other lovely side effect of the hard drive failure is that I lost my address book, my calendar, and my blog feeds. Now I get to play detective to learn everyone's phone numbers, email addresses, blog addresses, and birthdays!

I am just grateful that I didn't lose everything. All of my photos and home videos still exist. My budgets and e-books and other random documents have all been transferred to the replacement hard drive. Fun times!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Time for a new challenge

It's been quite awhile since my last 30 day challenge. Because we're currently in a Waiting period of the adoption process, now would be a great time to start a new 30 day challenge. It'll give me something constructive to do, rather than refreshing my email every 15 minutes!

This month, I've decided that I'm going to overhaul my blog. The current design, if you can even call it that, is really old and desperately needs redone. So for the next 30 days, my challenge is to learn about blog design and put together something new. I can't wait to see what I learn!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A taste of home

We're hoping that our daughter will want to embrace both American culture and her own. I've read that a lot of older adopted kids reject their home culture but I'm hoping our daughter will want to hold onto hers.

In an effort to help her ease into our family, I'm finding recipes that will hopefully taste somewhat familiar. No forcing her to eat pizza on day 1!

This is my first attempt at a green bean stir fry. The store didn't have snow peas so I doubled the green beans. Hopefully next time we'll be able to use both green beans and snow peas. I also think mushrooms would be a good addition.

The recipe called for vegetable broth. Instead of using a can, I found a package of hot pot seasoning and made broth out of that. There was a lot of broth left, so I made ramen today with the broth, peas, and some soba noodles.

Both dishes turned out well! Hopefully our daughter will like at least one of them. Next week I'll try another new recipe.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


What's On Your Nightstand

My bedtime reading is Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters. I'm only on page 48 but I'm really enjoying it.

Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory C. Keck is my current parenting book. So far it's one of my favorite parenting books - down to earth, practical advice, and doesn't scare me away from adopting an older child.

I'm also reading The 40 Most Influential Christians: Who Shaped What We Believe Today (by Daryl Aaron) to review and post about on my blog. I've only just started it but can't wait to learn more about some of the people who have influenced the study of theology.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 26, 2013

This week's memory text

I'm excited to memorize this text. I think it's extremely applicable to any stage of life.

Thus says the Lord,
'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.'
Jeremiah 6:16, NASB

I want to know where the good way is, to walk in it, and find rest. God is good!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thai Green Curry

Now that I've cooked this recipe several times, I thought it'd be a good idea to type it out and share it. My husband and I absolutely love green curry. I make this dish once every two weeks or so and it lasts for several meals. It even reheats well if you store the sauce separately from the rice and tofu!

1 package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
4 T. green curry paste
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1/4 t. salt, if needed
fresh lime juice, to taste
1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
Favorite vegetables
fresh basil, to taste

Cook rice.
Sauté diced tofu in a frying pan.
While the tofu is cooking, combine coconut milk, green curry paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, and salt in a saucepan. Taste and add salt or a touch more of any of the sauce ingredients, if desired. Add lime juice.
Stir in chopped vegetables and serrano pepper. Simmer until vegetables are cooked (6-8 minutes).
Dish up rice in a bowl. Add tofu and sauce. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

I use Japanese white rice, the same type of rice that's used in sushi.
We like 1 tablespoon of lime juice, sometimes more if the lime isn't very strong.
My favorite vegetables for green curry are broccoli, onion, bell pepper, and canned pineapple.
私たちは食べましょう! Let's eat!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What now?

Now that our home study interviews are complete, I don't know what to do with myself. We spent hours filling out paperwork, reading books, and preparing for interview questions. We went to two veterinary appointments, two doctor appointments, and fingerprinting.

All I have right now is a packet of information to fill out for our agency. Then we wait for our social worker to write our home study, which should be complete in about 2.5 weeks. I've finally had the opportunity to start reading parenting books, as opposed to those written specifically about the adoption process.

So what now? What do parents-to-be do while they are waiting for the next step in the adoption process? Hurry up and wait!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Second interview - cleared!

Tonight our social worker came over for our second home study interview. This interview only took two hours, much shorter than the last session. We talked about various special needs and challenges in adoptions. We also covered the parameters of the child we'd like to adopt - age, special needs, gender, etc. We also talked some more about marriage and child schooling.

We are almost done with the home study process! All that's left is for the social worker to run our state child abuse checks and to write the actual home study document. We should have a copy in our hands by the end of the first week of September!

After that, we send the home study to the orphanage to get approval to be matched with our daughter. We can't wait to receive the email that says she's ours!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I can fly!

I'm so happy! I have a passport! It took only 13 days from the day I turned in my application at the post office to the day I received the passport in the mail. With routine processing!

Jeff received his passport two days after I received mine. I teased him for two days that I might just have to travel by myself to bring our daughter home! I'm relieved, though. I've never traveled outside of this continent and am a bit nervous about the very long flight to Asia.

God is good! All the time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

1st Home Study Interview - Complete!

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed!

The home study interview was almost three hours long and went really well. We covered a lot of topics - marriage, our upbringing, parenting styles, corporal punishment, religion, and international adoption. Our social worker is extremely personable and was very easy to talk with. Even the solo section at the end was fairly easy; it's Jeff's turn to be interviewed solo next week!

We have a follow up meeting next Thursday night that will be shorter and then we wait for the home study to be written.

I know God's timing is perfect but it's always so humbling to see it happen. We had been promised photo and video updates "sometime this week." We received an email from our agency one hour before the interview with our photos and the video link. What an encouragement, right before an important interview! I really wish I could share the pictures but I'm not allowed until further along in the process.

My heart really is in Asia! My daughter is over there and I can't wait to bring her home!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Today's the day!

In two and a half hours, we have our first interview with the social worker. She's going to be talking to us about parenting styles, our preparations for adoption, finances, health, and look over our home for basic safety standards.

I wasn't nervous but now I'm feeling it. I can see God's hand all over our adoption process thus far and I know that He will continue to guide. I definitely need to spend some time in prayer before the social worker arrives.

Tonight she'll be interviewing both of us together and then me by myself. Next week it will be my husband's turn to be interviewed alone. I hope it's an easy interview!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge - Complete?

It appears I need to increase my 2013 reading goals! All of the adoption books I've read lately have pushed me to my goal total and we still have several months to go. I'm not reading the specific books I set out to read this year, but I am reading a better mix of fiction and nonfiction. I'm happy about that.

I wonder if I'll reach 100 books read this year...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Praise Report - 13 days!

God is in control and He is moving mountains.

3rd party website said it would take 96 business days to receive my birth certificate; the website said 4 weeks.

We received them in 13 days, from the day we dropped off the request at the post office to receiving them in the mail. I am awed by God's hand in our adoption process.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Busy, busy, busy - in a good way!

We are still plowing through adoption stuff. Since we are applying to adopt a waiting child, we have motivation to push as fast as possible. The longer it takes for us to finish our part of the process, the longer she lives in an orphanage.

Yesterday I applied for my passport. I was very happy to find a nearby USPS that accepts passport applications. Last week I called and scheduled an appointment for this Monday morning. So, yesterday, I drove over to the USPS and handed in my application, my passport photos, and a check. Hopefully soon I am going to be a world class traveler! I told my husband he wasn't allowed to go pick up our daughter by himself...

This morning we both visited our doctor to get general health checkups and have her fill out some paperwork about our medical history. She signed off that we are "mentally and physically fit to parent." Woohoo! One more approval has been handed in.

Tomorrow I visit a lab to get some blood drawn for a routine check. It's been years since I've had blood work done. I confess that I am not looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be an easy visit. I am drinking tons of fluids in preparation. Unfortunately, no more food until after our visit tomorrow.

We're also working on a summary of our disciplinary beliefs/techniques for various ages of children. I'm having to research a bit as I'm honestly not sure of specific discipline techniques. I know spanking is a horrible form of punishment for a child who has been abandoned or neglected. I know positive reinforcement is better than punishment. But I'm not certain about which discipline ideas are best suited for what age. It looks like I have some more reading to do!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Baseball and knitting!

Stitch 'n Pitch! Every year, the Seattle Mariners host a section of knitters. I was feeling rather exhausted from the busy-ness of the week but I'm really glad I went. The game was so much fun!

Driving up to the field

Chandelier in the lobby

We had great seats!

Knitting while watching a game!

The field at night

The evening's bonus? Our entire row won a knitting goodie bag! Free pattern books, yarn, and some new needles. Hurray for free knitting supplies!