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Ahmad taught Jo how to wear her dolls like they carry babies in Liberia.  (Although in all fairness to Ahmad, I have to admit that I snapped these pictures after I tied the towel… he later re-tied it the “right” way!  I guess I learned right along with Joanna!!)


This picture is fuzzy because I was messing with the flash, but I had to include it because you can see Ahmad on the couch in the background.  🙂

We’ve been busy the last few days — I haven’t had the chance to sit down at the computer until today…  We’ve been trying to get our last minute fall projects done around here (we had to take out a wall and replace a bathtub on Saturday — easier said than done!! 🙂 ) And then of course we are still trying to finish putting the yard and garden to bed for the winter — all the patio furniture and misc gets stored, Jo’s toys and playhouse have to be packed away, the sprinkler system and hoses have to be blown out and anything else that might be negatively affected by sub-zero temps has to be dealt with.  It’s thankless work — but absolutely necessary!

We were also busy getting ready for an adoption fundraiser that we held after church yesterday.  We served a “harvest lunch” of hot dogs, chili dogs, chili & cornbread, brownies and hot apple cider — We had a very good showing and we were tremendously blessed by our church family’s support.  This was the first adoption fundraiser that we have held at our church and it was just a huge blessing… I feel deeply humbled and encouraged by all the love and support.  It was as much an emotional “fundraiser” as it was a financial one (well, for me, anyway! 🙂  We have another fundraising opportunity next weekend at our community’s harvest party/ Christmas trade show.   We have decided to build and sell a few harvest tables (out of rustic alder) and use the proceeds for the adoption.  We’ve had several people ask about buying a harvest table through our cabinetry/furniture shop and we realized it would make a good adoption fundraiser to build them “on the side.”  Obviously it’s a bigger item, so we will be limited as far as the amount of tables we can build, but we decided we would rather focus on a few larger items in the shop.  I’m going to take my jewelry, too, because every little bit helps!  (for those of you that have asked, I am still trying to get my jewelry website up soon so I can hit the Christmas market… but we’ll see… I’ve found that it’s much easier to create than market!!  🙂

Ahmad decided last week that he would like to spend a month in Philadelphia (with some of his Liberian friends who have moved there) before heading back home.  So he will be leaving here the first week in December.  It’s earlier than we thought, but we are glad he will get that time with his friends… And we are glad to have a little more time alone as a family to prepare for Henry’s homecoming. We’re going to miss Ahmad when he goes, though.  He told Peter the other day that they will be brothers for life.  I really believe that.  I don’t know how the rest of the story will unfold as far as our relationship with Ahmad and his family, but I know it isn’t going to end when he leaves in December.  I’m still just full of anticipation! (…and I keep jotting down more things I want to share from his time here… I am going to have to just sit down one of these days and write another post!) 




TA-DA!!!!  After almost three years of Very Little Hair (well, actually, it was, um, total baldness for the first two years!)… I am proud to announce that Joanna G. FINALLY has long enough locks to put into two teeny, tiny braids!  Yay!! It is a day to be remembered!

 And what a trooper she was.  I was afraid the kid would have a sensitive head since I’ve never done anything to her hair before today… but she didn’t complain at all, even when I was pulling on it.  She was beside herself with joy thinking about getting to have braids like Mommy and her friends. 



Here’s a detailed look… These photos are going in the family archives for sure!


Jo and I have been planting tulip bulbs today (I found a great deal on them and kind of went over-board!  I have about 120 bulbs to plant today! 😉 ~ It’s going to be beautiful next spring, though…)  As I was planting them, I just kept thinking that by the time they bloom next spring, Henry should be home!  Its a bit allegorical… preparing the soil, planting the bulbs, covering and watering them… and then just sitting back to wait for many long months of winter until finally in the spring, we will finally get to enjoy the results of the work and the waiting… with bouquets of freshly-cut, brilliant tulips on the table.  Just like life.  Just like Adoption.  It’s a constant theme… work, wait, pray, wait some more… and them all of a sudden “voila!” the fruit is ripe! The hope is realized… the vision becomes reality!… the baby is born (or comes home!) 

I’ve had all kinds of random Henry-related thoughts jumbling around in my mind lately… and since I’m not sure how to connect them all, I’m not going to try to.  This is a “Very Random Post.”  (Did I just create a new category of posts?  Surely there must be some other VRP’ers out there!?!  I know Denise says she “rambles” sometimes…. (which I, personally, always greatly enjoy reading!)  but I’m sure there must be fellow-randomness bloggers out there, too!  🙂 

I think it’s starting to sink in a little more to me (in just the last couple weeks) that we are actually going to be bringing this little boy home.  For some reason it hasn’t seemed as real to me as it seems to be to others (well, from reading other adoption blogs anyway…)  I am not sure why this is… I had the same experience with Jo… even though I was pregnant and felt her moving and everything, it took me a LONG time to really comprehend that it was happening!  We were going to have a baby.  I’m not sure if it’s just the way I process things or if its because I lost our first baby and I am now sub-conciously holding back in fear that I’ll lose another child?  I don’t know.  I certainly don’t want to be holding back… I want to be able to open my heart and love completely no matter the risk, but it just sometimes seems so unreal… I have not had a single dream about Henry that I can remember (since we accepted his referral) until this last week… but I have had a couple vivid dreams the last few nights and as I said,  it’s becoming more real.  I have also started thinking when we are doing “traditional” family things lately (it seems there are a lot more “family things”this time of year! 🙂  that next year (hopefully!) Henry will be coming with us, or in the pictures!…  Also, I’ve been making appointments with specialists and speaking to doctors about my son (aahh! that REALLY sounds official!)

I decided about a month ago to put this:


where I can see it every morning when I wake up.  Silly, I know… but having it hanging there just helps me remember that it is real.  It is happening.  He is a real, live little boy who will be wearing this someday (hopefully soon!)  It just seems so tiny.  I look at it and I can’t believe he is that tiny.

I was remembering the other day about the first time I learned about cerebral palsy.  I was in fifth grade and read the book Karen by Maria Killea.  Maria tells the true story of her daughter who has cerebral palsy and about her perseverence and tenacity in overcoming the obstacles she faced.  Karen learned to do so many things with the most incredible, optimistic attitude.  I remember being SO impacted by the book… even though I was just a kid.  I was blown away by the cheerfulness Karen had and her deep persistence and incredibly cheerful out-look. It made me so much more aware of people around me and the incredible things we can accomplish when we are loved and when our attitudes are positive and when we give it all we’ve got.  I think that book changed my life even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I didn’t expect in fifth grade to grow up and adopt a child with cerebral palsy, but it was a seed planted in my heart.  God planted that seed…  Any time I heard the term “cerebral palsy” after that, I immediately thought of Karen and the tremendous impact she had on me.  Years later, when I was a teenager, we had a man come and minister at our church.  He was an incredble intercessor and shared what God was laying on his heart.  He was deeply affected by cp, but his passionate heart for the Lord was so evident.  This man also deeply impacted me.  Because I was dealing with common teen-related insecurites, part of me was uncomfortable because of his handicaps; but at my core, my heart (the heart that remained after the insecurites were processed! 🙂 was deeply, deeply touched and inspired.  I think his testimony did a lot to actually break me out of my self-centered insecurities and find great joy in being just who God has created me to be.  There have been other seeds planted as well over the years… things I didn’t realize were seeds at the time, but now, looking back I can see God’s hand opening my heart, tenderizing me, preparing me to become Henry’s mom.  I am so grateful for these seeds!  Like the tulip bulbs I’m planting, they sat under ground for a long time… but I can feel them poking through the surface… getting ready to bloom.

I’ve also been thinking about what it will be like to see Henry for the first time.  I have decided to go into it with no pre-conceived expectations — that way I can just enjoy the moment and not worry that I’m not feeling whatever it is I think I should be feeling.  I remember being slightly disillusioned right after Joanna was born because I had been told that the moment they put my baby on my chest, I would forget all the pain of childbirth… So I was expecting an abundance of warm fuzzy feelings toward her the minute I saw her — and it didn’t happen.  I was still in shock from how painful the whole experience had been and I didn’t have those immediate mommy-feelings.  I needed a minute to process it and recover.  Of course, the warm fuzzy feelings came soon after, but it taught me a valuable lesson about not putting expectations on situations. 

Anyway… like I said, just a bunch of random thoughts!  🙂

Jo is so excited about her little brother!  She has been sleeping with a picture of him lately.  (This is because she is convinced “Henny” is going to be sleeping in her bed with her when he gets home!  I’m been trying unsuccesfully to break the news to her for months now.  She is quite insistent! )

She calls him  “Henny” or “Henby.”  And she knows he’s her little brother.  She often reminds me that his arm is hurt and asks if we can pray for him… so we do.  She bows her little head and utters such sweet prayers for her baby brother — a litttle person she’s never met before, but whom she is so open to loving.  I silently add my plea to the Lord: Hear her prayers!  Hear her sweet heart for her brother.  Bring him home soon.  Touch his body, Lord.  You know, in relation to Henry being her little brother, she doesn’t know any differently — as far as she’s concerned, this is how all little brothers are added to families!  🙂

She was hugging me the other day and she said “you’s Jojo’s Mama!”  then a pause, then “you’s Henby’s mama, too!!”  Ahh… she gets it! … And I’m getting it, too!


Okay, well, not really…  (Although I did think Peter and Jo really had something going with that last YouTube video!!)  Actually, I was just messing around with some of the family pictures we took at Greenbluff (a pumpkin farm/festival we go to every October.)  I don’t usually mess with pictures (not out of conviction for the purity of the art *although I do think a good picture should be able to stand on it’s own!* but I don’t have a program! — maybe if I had Photoshop or something fancy, I would!?!)  Basically, I can crop and rotate and adjust brightness.  But last night I realized if I changed the photos to greyscale, I could mess with the saturation and contrast levels and I decided the results looked like something off a CD cover (well… not really, of course… but it was fun to mess around! 🙂 

I was pleased with several of the pictures from Saturday (we typically take our family Christmas card pictures among the pumpkins) …and I got some cute ones of Jo and Zoe.  I’ll share a couple tomorrow (although I have to warn you that you might get tired of Greenbluff photos by the end of the week!  🙂


We get this question fairly often.  Sometimes it varies and the question is “why adopt internationally?”  “Aren’t there kids here in the U.S. that need homes?”  or maybe: “Why adopt a child of a different race? Aren’t you worried he will have “issues” when he grows up?”… or perhaps: “Why are you adopting a child with cerebral palsy?  Don’t you know how difficult that can be?  Why would you choose that?”

We are getting better at answering these questions (we certainly get the practice!! 🙂 )  We are actually glad for them, because it gives us the opportunity to engage in some deep conversations with people (friends, family and total strangers!) as a result.  Not everyone is in agreement with our perspective; but I think, for the most part, people are genuinely interested and many have had their views stretched and challenged as we talk. 

I realized last week that I should probably address these questions on my blog as well because of the wide variety of people that “drop in” — many of whom aren’t in “adoption circles” or haven’t had the opportunity to hear Peter and my thoughts on the matter. Please feel free to email me if you would like to discuss any aspect of our perspective or if God has been laying adoption on your heart and you’d like more information.  But, since many of you are in the adoption process yourselves, and certainly don’t need my answers, I decided to publish the rest of this post as a page and just link to it here.  That way, if you’d like to hear our perspective, you can… but it won’t take up as much space…  (Read the rest)


Today has been one of those quintessential autumn days — a strange, blustery blend of sunshine and wind gusts strong enough to strip my maple trees of their remaining leaves.  It was beautifully clear, but chilly, and made me realize how few sweatshirt days we have left!  The temperature was a poignant reminder that fall is now barreling rapidly toward winter in our part of the country (and gaining momentum daily!)  It’s still technically fall — the remaining leaves are as brilliant as you could could ask for… but the days are growing shorter and the nights colder… and yesterday morning, I was surprised by the hint of snow in the air.  I don’t even know how to describe the “snow-in-the-air” scent — but it’s unmistakable!  We won’t likely see snowflakes outside our windows for another couple weeks at least, but we could wake up to snow on the mountaintops any day.  I love the way the mountains look when the tops are dusted with white.  It’s so beautiful!  And motivational!!  Our long “to do before the snow flies” list is suddenly on the forefront of our minds!  Today’s chore was mulching the garden with leaves and covering the rose bushes with straw to protect them from a deadly root freeze over the winter.  We never know going into it what kind of winter we are going to get!  Sometimes our winters are relatively mild and other years we have weeks of well-below zero temperatures!  We plan for the worst but hope for the best in terms of the temps… however, snow is always inevitable!  🙂

This time of the year always brings back wonderful childhood memories of going out to the woods to get firewood with my dad.  We’d leave early in the morning and spend the whole day out working, bringing back load after load of firewood to stack in the woodshed.  My sister and I would play in the trees and among the little groves of saplings and bushes until my dad finished cutting down the first tree.  Then we’d help roll the cut rounds back to the truck, and after Dad split them, would load them one by one.  We’d take turns being the stacker in the truck bed (I’m not sure why that was the coveted position — but it was!)  By the end of the day our little arms ached and we were covered in leaves, dirt and sawdust — but we were so happy.  More often than not, it was raining, so we were wet on the outside and steaming on the inside because of how fast we were moving.  It was deeply satisfying, even as a kid, knowing that all our hard work was going to result in months of warm fires and toasty backsides!  I remember so clearly the smells of the forest on those days — dusky wet leaves, pungent pine needles, chainsaw fuel, freshly sawn Tamarack and Fir trees…  To this day when I smell these things, I am transported back in time… to the cab of an old Chevy truck, bumping along a logging road, clutching a sack lunch and looking excitedly out the windshield into the grey, misty October morning.

Peter and I use a pellet stove for our primary heat source, so we don’t need firewood… It’s actually a LOT less work and hassle… but on days like these, I miss having a woodstove!  We are going to have to take our kids on “pretend” firewood cutting trips into the mountains as they get older, because I can’t imagine them growing up without the opportunity to make those memories!

But, back to today… Jo and I were outside much of the afternoon and I wish you could have seen how delighted she was when a big gust of wind blew by her swirling up the fallen leaves into the air all around her.  It was magical!  She raked leaves with her little rake and played in the garden with Sophie while I worked.  We laid on our backs in the grass and watched the leaves fall from the trees and I finally went inside to grab my camera.  Of course, I did!!… it was all just too good to miss!  🙂








The best picture! Her hair is finally long enough to blow in the wind!!!

Here’s some brilliant fall color to brighten your day!  These leaves are all gone now (see “Fall post: part two”) so I’m glad I captured this color when I did a couple weeks ago.  I hope it brings a bit of autumn cheer to those of you in the South!  🙂


A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

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"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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October 2007
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