Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Puzzles and Missing Pieces

Winter is arriving with his fierce winds, bitter cold, and frost on the windows.  The bulky coats, mittens, hats, scarves, and boots roll out of the closet.  The kids have begun pulling out their puzzles,  sorting their pieces in such a way to meticulously work each piece into the correct slot.  Since I typically buy puzzles at yard sales and Goodwill, every so often a piece or two is missing.  What a heartbreaking moment when we've reached end of the puzzle and we're missing a piece!!  Frustrating, upsetting, and an anti-climatic end to the hard work involved.

Three months ago we began Sarah's puzzle, and we are in need of three pieces for it to be complete.  All we need is one piece, that will complete another, to be sent for the final piece in our dossier.  Similar to a domino design, when one domino falls, so goes the rest of the masterpiece.  Only 3 pieces...3 papers.  I'm tellin ya it can be so frustrating, hoping, praying, and wishing for these final pieces.  My heart and head wants her puzzle complete.  Even though her country is closed until February for adoptions, I want to know our puzzle for her is finished.  So that in my perfect dream world, a little angel 
is whispering to her as she sleeps that her family is coming soon.  All the hard work, paper chasing, faxing, scanning, mailing...I want it to be completed as our Christmas present for her...

But for so many orphans, a puzzle has not begun in their name.  Their puzzle box has yet to be opened, to be put together piece by piece, waiting for the forever family.    Early November, I wrote about these four young souls needing a forever family.

 Walker (23)
Boy, Born May 13, 2007
Caitlin is a BOY!!!   All this time we were told Caitlin was a girl, but she is a HE!   Walker is a darling little boy ready to come home!   He is doing well, and is healthy outside of “dystopia of the left kidney”. No heart condition.
 He's at the same orphanage as Sarah!!!!
  Sandra (31)

Girl, Born June 22, 2006
Sandra is a beautiful little girl with platinum blonde hair and brown eyes. She is nearing 4 but is still working on her walking skills. She is physically capable, she is healthy with no heart condition, is able to stand on her own, play with toys, respond appropriately, but she will need extra patience and help with her PT and speech. She will so greatly benefit from a loving family who will encourage her!

Alina's puzzle was begun soon afterward, but Igor, Sandra, and Walker are still waiting for someone to open their box.  Could it be you?  If not, could you help donate to their adoption grant fund to make it easier for someone else?  Could you pray for these little gems?  Can you do something?

The Christmas Angel Tree is a fundraiser for the many special needs waiting children.  Reece's Rainbow is an international Down Syndrome orphan ministry helping to find forever families.  Their heart is for special needs orphans in many countries.   The Christmas Angel Tree lets you donate to a specific child's grant, and in return you'll receive an ornament with the child's photo on it. 
Could you help one find hope, find someone to open a puzzle in their name?  
Alice S.






Could you help just one?  
Could you change the world for one, make a difference for one?  Could you give someone a little hope?  
A little hope for the hopeless?  Would you?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Forty Years of Family, Food, and Fun

I come from a large family.  My father is one of eight, and we had many events growing up.   The usual Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, but, we also had New Year's Eve Game Night, summer cook-outs, hayrides... you name it, we got together.  As the grandkids grew older, got married, or moved away, Thanksgiving was considered a treasure.  The middle of Thanksgiving week begins the journey to our hometown, our mecca, our family.   This year marked the 40th Thanksgiving my grandparents have planned, cooked, and hosted.    40 years...that's a lot of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pies.  Forty years...

Before every meal, my grandfather ushers us out to the garage (heated) to form a circle, join hands, and give thanks for our meal, our family, and our health.  We are a circle joined together by family and faith.  A never-ending circle.  Over 45 attended this year's Thanksgiving and I think over 20 were missing:)

 This year, my cousin Nicholas read a passage from the Bible, Psalm 100.  He spoke clearly, loudly, and with authority.  Nicholas, and his sister Kelsey are another red thread in our story.  Six years ago, both were included in the 147 million orphans in the world.  My aunt and uncle followed the call to adopt two little children from another Eastern European country.  Six years ago, Nicholas and Kelsey found their forever family.  Six years ago, they joined our circle.  While they were only in the states a week or two before they met the clan, most likely over-whelming, they were met with open arms, unfailing love, and cherished for who they are.
 As Nicholas was reading, and I was looking around at our large circle of family, my heart and thoughts were on Sarah.  May this be the last Thanksgiving she is alone.  Lord willing, may this be the last Thanksgiving without her forever family.    Next year, she will join our circle of family that will never be unbroken.

The day continued with great food, fun games, laughter, shopping planning, and love.  Love for one another, celebrating the small moments (my cousin's 31 party that was not a birthday, but a bag party:(), skyping with those far away, ball games, and more.

 Forty years... a legacy of family, faith, and love. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Am Thankful...

for friends like the Ferguson's who were led to adopt a little star named Nadia.  I am thankful I found their blog, followed their journey, and our family is now traveling a similar path to Sarah.   They were recently featured in the North Raleigh News.  Check out their article,  "From Ukraine, with love."

Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving:)

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Grateful For...

 my two kids who embrace the magic of the holidays, spin their elf tales, and retell every moment of their special ornaments.

I am filled with gratitude that they pray for Sarah nightly, are making plans of ways to help her when she comes home, and learning finger plays and songs for her.   So much love for a little girl born in our hearts.
One day there'll be five stockings hanging...Soon....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elf Magic and the Buckeyes

 The seasonal Elves showed up in our home last evening.  Addyson wrote a letter to Santa so that her elf, Ellie, might return from the North Pole.  You'll see she even threw in a plea for her brother to receive an elf this year.  Last year, it sparked writing ideas beyond what I could imagine.  She would write letters to her elf, and her elf would write her back. 
 Austin received his elf and both were creating a scavenger hunt for their elves to go on.  After much deliberation and debate, they settled on hiding markers instead of candy!!!
We visited some friends for the Ohio State vs. Iowa game today.  It's always a great time at their home.  Over 30 children, plus parents attended, but the main event was half-time.  Trying to get a "group" photo was a challenge!!  No matter how many times I hit the shutter, another child appeared!!  The other highlight was our friend leading the kids in a Script Ohio march in the backyard!!  You'll notice the papparazzi in the background, getting their pictures and video!! 

Go Bucks!!!!  Family, friends, and doesn't get any better!!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Peaceful Drive and Hope

       I took the day off Thursday because of dentist appointments for the kids, and I needed to drive an hour each way for a piece of necessary paperwork.  I enjoy solitary drives to think, process, and plan.  The drive Thursday was exactly what I needed.  Random thoughts have been going through my head, especially with the upcoming vote in Eastern Europe, our own dossier holding pattern, and questions about when she comes home.  My head and my heart battle amongst themselves, and doubt creeps in ever so slowly.  I know Sarah will be a part of our family.  It's the WHEN that wigs me out. So, this drive was a time for me to process all my thoughts. 

I went to a town I've never been, enjoyed the quaintness, and admired the architecture of the courthouse.  When I walked in the massive gold doors, magnificent grand staircases were a sight to behold, all decked out in green garland and wreaths.    I felt like Scarlett O'Hara walking up to the second floor.    A fifteen minute appointment and my deed was completed.

Walking into the dentist office that afternoon, I began thinking of when I'll be bringing Sarah in for her first check-up.  After checking in, I sat down and across from me was a middle/high-schooler with Ds.  They were there to discuss orthodontia.  Earlier, I had read where an adoptive family struggled to find a doctor who would take new patients, especially special needs.  I knew I would not have any difficulty with my pediatrician, but had questions about our dentist.  What an answer!  For me, it was another confirmation that we are meant to be her forever family.  It may not have meaning for some.  For me, it was a sign that brought peace to my anxious heart.  

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.  Ghandi

Saturday, November 13, 2010


It seems we all share how busy we are and how fast the days go by.  A constant reminder to celebrate the good, the beautiful, and the happiness.  Driving to work, the sun was beaming through the bare trees, listening to some new tunes I found.  My gaze looked to both sides, and not to only the road.  I noticed, I saw things I normally would not see.  A deer laying in the grass, his head turning back and forth, like he was watching a tennis match.  Christmas decorations beginning to appear, that are lighting up the evening.  Teens waiting for their bus, some days in coats, other days in hoodies.  The last few survivor trees hanging on to their leaves with a stubborn, defiance to the wind, rain, and sun.

 We've been in the week-end craft mode lately.  I found some cute cards, some wonderful sayings, and made an encouragement treasure bucket for my friend.

For my other friend, I painted a glass jar, wrote quotes, and sayings on individual colored pieces.  Her Jar of Hope. 

Addyson's birthday is coming up and we are planning her first large birthday party.  Today, we made invitations, fabulatized them, and took our "Invitation Walk" around the neighborhood, passing out said invitations to her friends.  She'd ring the doorbell, hand her friend the envelope, and then she was off to the next home.  She's into the whole peace, flower power look, so we're gonna rock the ice-skating rink out in flower power fashion.

Austin is absolutely lovin' his cub scouts.  He's sold popcorn, visited the police station, been to Super Games, and is so stinkin' cute in his uniform.  He's my "follow what's on the calendar" guy!  I forgot to write "Brunch for Lunch" on the calendar this week.  So, when he got to school without his lunchbox, he was totally upset.  When I got home, he made sure to inform me that I needed to write it on our calendar.


I've had my out of control moments with conferences, field trips,  gradecards, holiday shopping, home stuff, and completing our paperwork.  We've completed all we can until our state clearances/home study is here.  Then, only two more steps and our part is complete.    It's getting so close, yet still far away.  There's been much chatter about upcoming Eastern European issues.  While it could affect us all, it is what it is but it will become what we make it.  I am choosing to continue focusing on the good, the beautiful, and small moments that make every day a celebration.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Fabulous food, family fun, and time...time to listen, time to talk, and time to celebrate our gratefulness for the lives we've been given.  I'm grateful for so many things.  What are you grateful for these days?