Monday, October 24, 2011


Hello there everyone. It seems like I’m always apologizing for my posts being so far apart. Life’s been a bit hectic lately – more-so than usual. Well, on Saturday the 22nd, we finally mailed off our final bit of paperwork needed to begin the home study. Yay! So it’s been a mad dash trying to get our house prepared. Lol. We’ve finally begun and/or finished projects around the house. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been good. Its helping us keep our minds elsewhere through all of this. So once Bethany’s international office gets our paperwork they’ll contact us with what we need to start the home study. Man, am I excited beyond belief! Things have been going good lately, praise God. I know it’s only through Him that things have felt as though they’ve smoothed out. I’m putting all my trust in Him. And for those of you who know me well know that’s a hard thing for me to do; to feel as though I’m not in control. But God has been patient in teaching me not to worry and to trust in Him. My favorite verse of late is Philippians 4:6-7.
‘Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and
thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds
anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts & minds as you live in Christ.’
I am doing my best to put everything in His hands 24/7. Not just the adoption, not just work, not just car problems – EVERYTHING. And let me tell ya, this is a HUGE improvement from even just a year ago. I don’t like not knowing. Allow me to rephrase, I DIDN’T like not knowing. Now, I look at it as an adventure snuck into everyday life. And who doesn’t want a little adventure in their life? If you do, just hand everything over to God and I GUARANTEE that you’ll start seeing some. Life with Christ in the lead isn’t supposed to be boring or dull. I’m not saying that every day is going to be like running with the bulls or skydiving, but searching Him out and searching out His will for your life will surely shake up your life a bit (in a good way). Point in case: We have 2 kids. KC was content with 2 children and was fearful of having a daughter. Now? We’re adopting a third child – a daughter. This entire journey is going to be a wild ride. Three kids?? We’re going to be outnumbered and will DEFINITELY need God’s help.  Haha! Anyway, I just wanted to share a piece of what’s been going on around here lately. The boys are excited about having a sister. We’ve been talking to them about it a little at a time. Every time we go somewhere, they want to buy something for Effie. It makes my heart so warm to see their excitement. Until next time.  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

September 23rd. It's Official!

Okay, so I know it's been a while since I've posted AND I know I'm a little behind in posting this - but I'm finally doing it. On September 23, 2011, we submitted our Formal Application to Bethany! *crowd roars* It's been almost a year since we began praying about whether or not to expand our family and how. We didn't get our answer until December 6th of last year, but we started praying in October. It's amazing how quickly things happen (and how slow they go as well). I honestly thought it'd be a few more months before we had what we deemed "enough" to start this process. God has just been blessing us so amazingly the past few weeks - I can hardly comprehend it! It's so real now - it's not just talk anymore. This is totally happening. It's hard to describe how different I feel from just 2 weeks ago to now. There's this odd feeling that's constant inside me - it's a mix of joy, excitement, amazement and a healthy level of terror thrown in there. Lol. I am going to have a daughter.... It's hard to wrap my mind around that. But man am I excited to try. God has been teaching me patience throughout this entire thing. His lessons for me seem to have the same theme: 'It's in my hands. Just wait and trust in Me'. So, I'm doing my best. I know that timing is everything and I'll need to continue to remember that as we get deeper and deeper into this whole process. I know there will be times when I want to scream, cry, and/or inflict bodily harm - but I know I need to trust in Him. He's never let us down before and when I wait on Him, things tend to go a lot smoother. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

My darling Effie

So - awhile back I posted about what our daughters new name was going to be. Santi Raquel Collins. God gave KC the name Santi last year when we just barely started this journey. We know it's significant, but not 100% sure how exactly. So we made that part of her name. Raquel is my middle name and we wanted it to be part of hers as well. Now, let me tell you a little something: KC had veto power when it came to Caedmon and Oliver's names with the agreement that I would get to pick the name if we ever had a girl. Well, I've been praying - more like pleading, but hey! Fair's fair right? Lol - about another name for her. For the past 4 months.... nuthin'. I have criteria and it seemed like none of the names I was coming across were going to work out. 1. It has to be a long name 2. It has to have a cute nickname 3. It should be an older name (so that's why it needs to have a nickname. A lot of the names are too big for a little girl) 4. It cannot remind me of anyone/anything in a somber way 4. It COULD NOT be a super popular name. 5. It had to have a good strong meaning. 6. God had to approve.
I know, I know. Long list. haha. Well, I had a way of finding names. I had a list of nicknames I loved and looked for longer names to go with them. Here's my list: Millie, Lenni, Effie, Addie, Emmy. Not a whole lot to work with. Long story short, almost all of the names that would work using those as nicknames were either super popular - Amelia (Millie) - or had meanings that weren't what we wanted - Eleanor (Lenni). So, as I was nearing the end of my list and searching for Effie, I just couldn't torture her with a name like Euphemia or Ophelia (the poster child of teenage angst and suffering? Thanks Wikipedia). Then, I came across JOSEPHINE. But, it went against rule #4. I have a Tia Josefina in Mexico.... not very friendly. My dad and his brothers have a big piece of land that my grandfather left them. My fathers is larger than the others. She would move the fence line making my uncles land bigger - she'd do it a little each year so it wasn't suspicious. They eventually found out. But she's just NOT a friendly woman. I didn't like going to her house (the few times I remember being there). She just made me.... uncomfortable. So I definitely didn't like the idea of naming our daughter the same thing. NOR did I want to engage in a deep discussion with my 30 (okay, exaggeration) other aunts on why I named her after that aunt. Lol. Well, God has other plans doesn't He? Her name is going to be Josephine. Haha. It means 'God will increase'. KC and I prayed about it and it was perfect! A. God was increasing our family through her. and B. just 2 days after we began praying about it, KC received the largest paycheck he's ever gotten since he started working from home. His check allowed us to replenish our adoption account after we spent over $2,000 to fix our car. That's another story. Lol. We felt like it was perfect. AND it had the nickname I've always loved. God has a way of giving you what you want - maybe not quite the way you'd expect, but He does. I've always prayed for a daughter, even before I was married. I'm getting one, not in the traditional sense, but in an equally exciting way.

God has been revealing things to my heart through this journey that I never would have expected. I'm learning more about who I am in Him and I'm learning about my strength in Him. His showing me things that I need to change, things I need to allow Him to change. And through it all, the message is the same. 'You are my darling, my little girl. I will always be here no matter what.' It's taken me awhile to get used to that idea due to circumstances with my dad, but I'm seeing new ways to love and trust in my heavenly Father. I think this journey is about more than just the adoption. I've grown so much in Him these past 2 years, especially the last 9 months. I know He's teaching me things through this journey that I'll need for the other plans He has for our lives. Some things, He's revealed to us and they freak me out! haha. But I'm doing all that I can to follow the plan for our lives.

Random (it wouldn't be me if it wasn't random), but have you noticed that my posts always start out about the adoption, then tend to go off on what seems like a tangent? Lol. Hey, I just type what's on my mind. Just be glad I'm not posting about who Lenni, Tuck and Ming Ming just saved on Wonder Pets.  ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is this it?

So, I'm sure a lot of you have seen, read, or heard about the famine that has hit Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya the last few weeks. I know Somalia is being hit pretty hard and it's just trickling down to parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. To be honest, I would never have thought much about it before now. I would have maybe said a prayer about it while reading some intense article. But now, it's so much closer to our hearts. KC and I were talking about it the other day and our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Ya know, the more I think about the famine and drought that's going on there, it's killing me! I want to have this process done and over with. I just want to have her here.
KC: I know, I know what  you mean. But we have to be patient and wait on God.
Me: I know. I just can't help but think that this is the event that may cause her to be orphaned - if she isn't already. Just that she's already going to experience something so tragic so early on in her life. Like, in order for her to be here with us, she'll be orphaned there.
KC: Yeah, but just think of it like this - last October God laid it on our hearts to adopt. IF this famine is what brings her to us that means that last October He KNEW that this was going to happen, called us to adopt so that she COULD have a family after this thing. You have to look at it that way. Again, IF this is what causes her to be orphaned, then God called us then to help her now.
(KC always knows the right thing to say to calm my frenzied mind. lol)

As much as I want her here and I want to get this process started (do you sense a pattern in my posts? Lol) I know that God has everything lined up for us. For example: a new thing we've discovered is that in order to adopt an infant, we both need to be 25. Well, I'll be 25 in 6 months. That's not something we originally caught. We match all other criteria - but that might cause a hold-up if we started now. God is teaching us patience through this. But man it's hard!

So here's some info about what's been going on in our lives. Oh, did I tell you all that we had car troubles? Well, we finally got our car fixed but it cost us $2,000!!! Then, we spent 300 on our van to get the battery replaced and the A/C fixed - but the A/C still doesn't work... I know. Once you pick yourself up off the ground, you can continue reading. Lol. So, that was hard b/c we did have to dip into our adoption savings account to get it taken care of. MAN was that hard. I came this close to having a major meltdown. But God told me that I needed to trust Him in the big things not just the little ones. I'm still learning things from Him.  :) 

We did get the boys set up in their own room. The bunk bed is setup and they LOVE it! We still have some more stuff to do in there. But I'll post pictures as soon as I get a chance. We'll start working on Santi's room in the next few months. She has her bed and her Hope chest, we just need to add some details. I'm really wanting to add some forest theme to it. I have a thing for hedgehogs. So, I want to incorporate this picture from Beatrix Potter in somehow. (below) Either in a painting or painted on her wall. I need to brush up on my sewing so I can make the quilts for her and the boys. I'm also going to be SUPER-ambitious and try to make her a crib bumper. Those things are expensive! haha! The problem is going to be finding time to sit down and work on them.

I've really been listening to God lately. These classes at church (Freedom Ministries) have been such a big blessing. It's allowing me to look at ideas and concepts much differently than I had in the past. And it's helping boost my confidence in hearing God. That's something I've struggled with for a long time. Well, I better finish getting ready for church. I'll try to post more often.   :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lots of Changes...

So, I know it's been a LONG time since I've updated... almost a month! But things have been pretty crazy around here. Lol. A lot of time spent preparing for our official start to this whole process. But, that still might be a week or two away. I'm a bit down since I'm so ready to get this process started, but at the same time I know I need to be patient and trust in God. So I've been filling my days with things to keep my mind occupied. For example: I've bought a few things for Santi already. I'm trying not to get into the habit, but some things are too good to pass up. KC and I are also working on preparing Caedmon's room so he can be joined by Oliver. I'm going to be painting their room this awesome burnt orange color on Saturday while KC is at his outreach and while my in-laws keep the boys. I've also acquired a few wooden dinner trays that I'm going to use as side tables - so those will be painted a dark brown. And I also have in my possession these nice sturdy wood cubes that are about a foot high and a foot wide. They will be painted brown as well, and I'm hoping to add a cushion to the top of each one so they boys each have a seat and they can be put together to make a small bench. So, Saturday will be full of DIY projects - talk about a perfect day! I hope I have enough time to do it all! Did I also mention we're having a birthday party for my nephew at our house around 3 that day too? Lol.

I'm also on the hunt for some awesome fabric so I can try my hand at making both of the boys a quilt. THAT should be... uh... interesting. Lol. My sister and I are going to Dallas just for a trip to IKEA the weekend after next. I'm SUPER DUPER excited about that. I love IKEA. We're going to buy the loft bunk bed below for the boys' room.

I'm sure having them share a room will  be bit of an experience the first few weeks, but they need to get used to it. Then, it'll give us a lot of time to turn Oliver's old room into Santi's new room. I'm also on a mission to create the perfect atmosphere for both her room and the boys. I'll definitely post pictures of their rooms upon completion. I've stolen an idea from JJ Heller and I'll be painting birch trees in both of their rooms. The boys' room will also have a lamppost like the one from The Chronicles of Narnia. They love that movie and it's the perfect touch. We're going to hang old styled lanterns up in their room too. KC is in charge of designing for their room and I'm in charge of Santi's.... I think it's a fair trade. Lol.

I've also started selling Scentsy as a way to earn money for our adoption. So, here's a link to my website in case you want to order anything or setup a party, etc. I'm also planning another fundraising party for an organization called One Mango Tree. That should be sometime in August. All ways to help us raise money for our adoption...  Anyway, that's pretty much all we have going on right now. Praying that I can stay focused and positive and patient throughout this whole process. I know it's going to be hard! lol. But, I know I'm being molded to become the best person I possibly can in Him.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More News!

So, we finally have some news to report! I spoke with our social worker, Sarah, last week. It looks like we are going to be able to start the process VERY soon! Hopefully in the next few weeks! You have no idea how excited KC and I are. We also found out that even with all the delays that have been going on in Ethiopia, it's not nearly as long as what we had originally thought. We're praying that by the time we are ready to travel to pick up Santi, there won't be any delays at all; but, that's all in Gods hands. We have enough money saved up for the first 3 steps: the Formal Application, the Home study, and the USICS paperwork. All 3 steps will take between 2-3 months. Then, we can wait up to 6 months before preparing the 4th step which is the Dossier - the big file we send to Ethiopia so the can review and determine if we're suitable guardians/parents. That period of up to 6 months between those 2 sets of steps will give us time to save up more money. God has blessed KC and I tremendously by allowing us to stash away KC's income for the adoption. He has an amazing job working from home - and while it's not his dream job and it's something he's not used to, he's doing incredible! We're putting the entire financial aspect (well, along with everything else) in God's hands. It will all fall into place like it's supposed to. I'd hate to try to get "a step ahead of God' and screw everything up. I've been known to do that. Lol. Get impatient and think that I'll give God a hand. I've learned to be patient and trust in Him. He's never let us down and has gotten KC and I out of more difficult situations than I care to count. All I need to know is that He's got this.  ;)  

So, how else are we trying to raise the funds? Why, thank you for asking! (hehe) I'm working on 2 fundraisers right now. The first is with Scentsy. I know many of you know what that is, but I'm adding my link so that you can check it out. If you would like to have a party just let me know. Or, if you already know what you like, you can order it directly from my website. We will receive 20% of every order and it all goes to the fund to bring Santi home.

I'm also working on a fundraiser through One Mango Tree. I will be having a party for this one, I'm just not sure when or where. But you will be the first to know. They are an amazing organization out of Uganda. If you want to know more, you'll have to come to the party.  ;) 

I also just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for our family as we go through this process. It's long and drawn out, and we are doing our best to be patient and positive. Even though every fiber in my body aches to hold her in my arms; to see her playing with her brothers; to protect her in every way I can. I know God already has her chosen for us. I just can't wait to see her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rummage Sale Results

So, I have to preface this entry by asking God's forgiveness for my lack of faith. I truly only expected to make a couple hundred dollars at our Rummage Sale. Which, I was still totally psyched about! But I put God in a box and we all know how He dislikes that. So, I believe He used this opportunity to teach both KC and I (and a lot of other people) a lesson. Our grand total yesterday came out to $3, 063.45. Yes, that's right - we made over 3,000 dollars!!! I am still in awe and my mind can't quite fathom how we came to those results. KC came up to me about 2 hours in and said "Sandra, I was just given a check for $1,000." A woman bought a cow shaped teapot, similar to this one below for $2, then gave us that check. She said she felt like God told her to give it to us! I'm telling you, I could not believe what just happened. My eyes filled with tears and I could just feel God's spirit all over me. It's like He was saying, 'See? I've got this. Because you're following MY will, I'm going to take care of it.'.

We had so many people come and buy something and then tell us to keep the change. We also had one woman buy $18 bucks worth of stuff, and she wrote us a check for $70! If anyone had any doubts before now that KC and I weren't doing the right thing, I'm sure they're thoughts are changing now! Lol. We are just $3,000 away from really diving into this whole process. We prayed about it and felt like we needed a certain amount before we started - so that we didn't run out of funds at a critical point in the process. It'd suck really bad if we got a referral for a little girl, and couldn't go through with the process to make her a part of our family because we couldn't raise the necessary funds before taking the next step. So, we are just a short amount away from hitting that number, which I'll tell you - I thought it would be a LONG time before we hit it. But with what we have saved up, plus what we received yesterday, we're SO close!!

I love when God teaches you a lesson. It always reassures me that He loves me and cares for me. (Kinda like when you get in trouble by your parents for something.) God loves the idea of adoption even more than we realize. We were all, in a sense, adopted by Christ. We've been grafted into His family by believing and having a deep relationship with Him. What makes us think He'd feel any different about the children in the world? He cares about them all - no matter if they're in America or Russia, China or Timbuktu. He doesn't care if you adopt domestically or internationally. He just wants us to love and stand up for those who can't do it themselves. We've had a lot of people tell us that we are "such great people for adopting a little orphan girl from Africa", and I can't help but shake my head. We have already been blessed by this little girl, and we don't even know who she is yet. God has changed our idea of the world, of family - all because He's taken us out of our "comfort zone". Yes, I'm admitting it, I was a little terrified at first. I'm the kind of person that doesn't really like attention; and now here we are adopting a little girl who's skin tone is darker than mine. What will people do when we are in a restaurant or grocery store? They'll almost instantaneously know that we adopted - will that bring up a slew of questions? of uneducated remarks? But throughout this entire journey, God has been changing mine and KC's outlook on practically everything. I notice things that I never noticed before - like in 2 aisles of dolls in Target, only 2 had darker skin. Almost all were fair skinned with blond hair and blue eyes. That rules out the possibility of African, Latin and Asian little girls from finding dolls that look like themselves. (or even Caucasian girls with dark hair, like myself). It brought the verse to my mind that God looks not at the outward appearance but at the heart of man. If only we could do that. We may not have the "traditional" family, but I pray we have more love than most. I want her to know that she is so loved, that we literally searched the world for her. And I praise God that He has begun to change our outlook. I know how hard it was for my siblings and I when we were younger. We were called names and mistreated because we weren't Mexican and we weren't American. We were "half-bakes". I know there are a lot of things that we as a family will encounter that we never would have, had we been asked to take the "traditional route". Racism is something that we will come across and will have to handle. And I pray every day that we are able to teach the boys and her how to stand and how to handle it when it comes up. Because unfortunately, it will. We live in a broken world. One full of sin and wickedness. As much as the world is "decent", there are still those dark spots. I pray that we will be able to handle any situation with tact and with grace. That God gives us the words to say....

Sorry, I know that this was a big turn from talking about the results of our sale, but sometimes, I get to thinking and typing and everything just spills out! Lol. I'm just writing what's on my mind - and if any of you know me, my mind isn't something that stays constant. It tends to jump around at the drop of a hat. Hahaha. Anyway, so many thank yous to everyone who has helped make this all possible. You are all amazing. I pray that God blesses you as He has blessed us. Love you guys!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rummage Sale!

Okay, so, needless to say I'm uuber excited about everything God is doing for us! This entire process leading up to the garage sale (which, by the way, is on June 11th and coming up fast!) has been pretty seamless. We've had many awesome people donate TONS of stuff - all we've had to do was get the word out and pick stuff up. God has amazingly done the rest! I'm seriously in awe of God's faithfulness. It's one thing to hear about the thing's that God's doing in other people's lives, and even another to see it as a third party; but to see it first hand?!?! It's incredible to say the least. We have just been bombarded with people's generosity. Seriously.... I CAN'T GUSH ENOUGH!! OR THANK THOSE WHO HAVE DONATED ENOUGH. Thank you for following God's leading. I know He will bless you for blessing us. I pray He blesses you double! I've posted some pictures of our dining room.

And for those of you coming to Caed's birthday party this Saturday - I completely forgot that we had all of
these donations in here. Lol. If I'd thought about it, I would have had it somewhere else. But if the weather is warm (like I'm hoping) it'll be outside anyway.

We're still accepting donations and even baked goods for the bake sale we're having at the same time as the Rummage Sale. I'm going to try to bake some stuff, but I know I'll be super busy keeping everything organized. We could also use extra people to help that Saturday if anyone is available. We even have awesome aprons for you to wear. Don't worry, they're not girly or anything.  ;-)

We have hardly any room left in our dining room, but that's a problem that I LOVE. AND we still have a few more loads to pick up! Big stuff too! We're so excited... seriously - I'm sure you can tell. Haha. I am giving God all the glory for this. Including KC's pay that he's received from this job. God is providing for this adoption in a way I never thought possible. HE IS SO GOOD!

Friday, May 13, 2011

UPDATES!!!! Woooo-hooooo!

Hello everyone!! It's been awhile since I've updated, but boy do I have a lot to share! On Thursday, May 5th, KC and I met with Sara at Bethany Christian Services. We went over fees, time-lines, details, requirements, the whole she-bang about the adoption process. After 2 hours there, we felt even more confident that Bethany was the agency for us. *cue cheering*  We talked about the fees associated with the adoption and the time-line of when those will be due. We were a bit surprised when we found out that about a big portion of those fees would be due in about the first 6 months of the process. But God has called us to do this and we are more than confident that He will provide. God has even opened our eyes and shown us more of the picture - He has revealed to us how He will provide for us to take care of those fees.  :)   We have decided to wait a few weeks to "officially" fill out the the paperwork. We want to more funds saved before we start this. We'd hate to jump in, and have to stop or wait because we don't have enough saved up to move to the next step. But this is all in God's hands; it will all work out at the right time.

So, our first step (before starting all the other steps) is to raise some more funds. We are having a garage sale on June 11th at the Tyson 412 West building in Springdale right across the street from Hastings. It will start at 7am and last until, well, whenever!! We already have some donations (thanks guys!) but are always willing to take more. If anyone has anything that they would like to get rid of, you could donate it to us and know that it's going to a great cause.  ;)  We are also hoping to sell some t-shirts. We have a design that we've come up with, now, we're just looking for the right person to help us create the shirts without charging too much. We'd love to have these ready so we can sell them at the garage sale too! We're also thinking about having a bake sale there too. If anyone can help out in any way, even just coming to help set up, organize, or just hang out and give moral support, we would greatly appreciate it.

God has been so amazing throughout this entire journey that started with a prayer last October. At first, it just seemed like we were looking through a small hole in a fence, then, every couple of months, God would reveal something else to us and that hole would get a little bigger each time. Now, it seems like we are just about to see the whole picture. You have no idea how much that excites me. We have had people support us so much on this entire journey - physically and spiritually. We have had two people, who, when they heard about our garage sale through a mutual friend/acquaintance, got in touch with me and said they had a trunk load of stuff that they would love to donate to us for our adoption. These are people I've never met, but because of our amazing family, friends and church, they have heard about what we are doing and are wanting to help in any way they can.

God is providing for us in unimaginable ways! I am SO blessed that he has called me to be a mother of two amazing little boys and that He saw me fit to be the mother of an amazing little girl across the ocean. People sometimes get confused when I talk about her; they want to know why they didn't know that we already got our referral. I can't help but laugh. We may not know anything about her physical attributes or characteristics, but we know that Christ has called us to all be her family. We pray for her every chance we get. I know all I need to know right now; there is a little girl somewhere out there that is ours. There is a piece of my heart out there somewhere and pray my hardest that she is safe and that she knows that there is someone out there who loves her tremendously. When I was pregnant, I prayed for my boys every single day. I didn't know anything about what they looked like, or who's temperament they would have, mine or KC's. But that never stopped me from praying for them every chance I got. Why would it be any different for our daughter? I am putting everything in God's hands - the timing, the funds, everything. I know that He will make a way. All I have to do now is pray for patience! Hahaha! I get too over zealous sometimes!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Agency

Hello everyone! I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to update. We just have had a busy month. So, here it goes! We have switched agencies. After taking a step back and praying about it, we felt that Bethany Christian Services was the best fit for us. We have nothing against Gladney and they were a big help, but we feel as though Bethany is the best agency to guide us through this long process. We have been talking with Bethany for the last few weeks and have a meeting with them this week. We are so excited to sit down and talk with them - to go over timelines, fees, etc. It's one thing to pray about it and do tons of research about adoption, but it is something completely different to finally sit down with the agency and go over all the details and ask the questions we have burning in our heads. I cannot wait!! I know this process will take a long time, and we are doing our best to pace ourselves.    :)

I did get a chance to go to a Q & A session hosted by Russell Moore, the author of Adopted for Life and the father of two adopted sons. He had a lot of amazing points about adoption/foster care. I was very lucky to get a chance to go. A woman there asked a question about financing adoption. I loved his response: "As cliche as it is God will handle it... God will provide the funds for you when the child He has chosen for you is ready." I will need to tell myself this 'when the child He has chosen for you is ready'. It's all in His timing. I need to continue to remind myself of this. Wherever she is, she may not be ready for us and we may not be ready for her. We need to put this all in God's hands and trust that He will give her to us when the time is right.

I will update again once we meet with Bethany. It also helps that they have a local office here in Springdale; right behind Susan's believe it or not! We are so excited to officially begin this journey. We would appreciate everyone's prayers - for strength, for patience, and for obedience.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five Years

It's been a while since I've posted anything. Things have been quite busy lately. As of Friday, April 8th, KC and I have been married for 5 years. In some ways, it seems like it has been so much longer!! We have been through so much these past five years - but those are thing I wouldn't change for the world. God taught us some BIG lessons in those tough times and we are the now wiser. Not in the sense of "knowledge" per-say, but in that we talk to God about everything! We consult Him before making any decision, no matter how big or small. Right now, we're praying about some things concerning the adoption. Some are big, some are small, but we need His guidance no matter what the size. We don't want to step out of His will. So, help us pray about the adoption. We've taken a step back to look at the bigger picture God has for our lives, and to be honest, we're excited and nervous about it. But He has called us to do some things that, as I've said before, were things that never entered our thoughts before now. But He knows we can do this, so we will.

Also, we just wanted to give an update on the Ethiopian adoption process as a whole. I know we told you about the Ethiopian government through the MOWA (Ministry of Woman's Affairs) re-organizing their department and the process of approving adoptions. They had originally stated that they would be dropping their adoption processing's from around 50 a day down to 5. Well, we've found out that the Ministry has finished re-organizing their staff and has begun processing a lot of the delayed adoptions at "full speed". They do not believe that their processings will drop down to 5 a day anymore. They will be reduced from 50 a day in an effort to pay closer attention to the documents, etc., but it doesn't look like it will be a drastic reduction as originally thought. That is a HUGE blessing! We knew God told us we were to adopt from Ethiopia for a reason. We feel like we know why, and we know it will all happen in HIS time - not ours. As much as I'd love for this whole process to go by rapidly, I realize that we still have a lot of $$$ to save. So, I'm not worrying and I'm no rushing. Our daughter is there somewhere, and we'll meet in due time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011

Well hello everyone!! It's been a few weeks since I've updated, but that's because we haven't heard anything yet. We should be getting a call from Gladney next week. As I mentioned before, she wanted to give KC one month at his new job to see what he'd be making so Gladney would have a better idea of our annual income. Well, KC has 2 people lined up to go to orientation on Monday. If they show up, he'll get paid. So, we're praying they show up! After that, we'll have a bit of an idea of what his monthly salary will be, and Gladney will be able to give us our next step in this process. As soon as we get a call, we'll let you know.

Now on to what else is going on with our family. We're waiting to see if Caedmon will get to go to the pre-k at Elmdale Elementary - the elementary school KC and I went to. We'll know more about that on Monday. The boys are getting so big and each have their own personalities! It's so funny, because now Oliver will fight/argue back with Caed when Caed starts picking on him. We're already having to break up fights in the van! Yesterday, Caed was teasing Ollie, so I told them both to look out their own window. Caed would look over at Ollie and make a funny face and Ollie would yell "CAED! WIN-OW! NOW!" lol. So, I had to tell Caed to look out his window and tell Ollie that I would talk to Caed. Ollie said "Ok. Sowee". Lol. KC and I were laughing so hard! It has begun.  ;-)

KC and I's anniversary is coming up in two weeks!! On April 8th, we'll be married for 5 years! In some ways it seems longer, and in others, it seems shorter. If that makes any sense. haha. I can't believe where we're at 5 years later: two rambunctious boys AND dogs, KC working from home, and we're on the path to adoption.  :)  I can honestly say, I never imagined this. But I wouldn't change where we're at or what we went through to get to this point. When you go through a rough spot in your life, you can either have pity on yourself and question God, or, you can thank God for the things that make you stronger and wiser. We're both after all the things we've gone through. And I thank God that He knew that we would come out of those things on top. I'm not saying it wasn't hard, but knowing we can make it through and that God will be on our side will make all the other trials that will come our way much easier. Just because we're riding the top of the wave now, doesn't mean that we won't go under again. We're just better equipped to handle it. That's why all the preachers tell you to keep up with your prayer life. You pray hard when you're going through a trial, but taper off when the skies become sunny again. Then, when another trial hits, you're unprepared. If you stay prayed up, through the good AND the bad, it'll make it easier to go through the bad and you'll even learn a lesson or two through it. You'll know that God is still taking care of you and that through Him, YOU CAN MAKE IT! I'm doing my best to continue in my fervent prayers that I made when life was tough. It's hard, but well worth it.  :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 15, 2011

Well, I really don't have any updates yet. We're working on getting some paperwork that I know we'll need for the homestudy. We are supposed to get a call from Gladney in the next week or so to find out our next step. But in the meantime, I've done something that most people probably wouldn't recommend. Haha. I bought Santi her first outfit. Gosh, it seems so much more real now... using her name, buying her an outfit... calling her "our daughter". I was at Gap the other day getting a pair of khaki's, when I saw the most adorable tutu/skirt. I so wanted to buy it, but resisted. Well, yesterday I went back to buy it because I told myself it wouldn't be there in a few months. I reasoned, justified, and bought. Lol. And not just the skirt either - I bought a top and a blue jean jumper. I'll post them below. I told KC that this could get very addicting! Haha. But I am doing my best to refrain from buying anything else. For now, the outfit will hang on a special hanger in my closet so I will see it everyday. It will be a constant reminder that somewhere in Ethiopia, God has our daughter waiting for us. I'll pray for her everyday - that she's safe, happy and that she knows that somewhere, someone loves her tremendously. I don't know how old she is, or if she's even been born yet. But I do know that she's ours. I'll pray that the annointing that is on her brother's lives will also be on hers. I have not even met her and I already love her with all my heart - with the same love I have for Caedmon and Oliver. She is our little girl. Not born out of my womb, but out of my heart.

As soon as we hear anything else from Gladney, I'll be sure to post it as soon as I can. I'm excited about this journey as I'm sure many of you are as well. Anyway, enough mushy talk: Here's the cute clothes!!  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some News...

Well, we received some, well, interesting news concerning Ethiopian adoption. After talking with a few couples from church, we found out that Ethiopia is cutting their foreign adoptions from 50 a day to only 5. !!!! They are doing this in an effort to weed out any "unscrupulous" behavior/practices. This is good in the sense that they are doing all they can to make sure the adoption is legal in every sense and that no one was coerced into anything. On the other hand, it's bad because there are millions of orphans waiting for their "forever home". So, this is something that could delay an already lengthy process. And since we are just in the beginning stages, it could mean a very long wait. But KC and I are not worrying nor are we dwelling on this. God told us we were going to adopt from Ethiopia and that is exactly what we are going to do. He will either teach us to have extraordinary patience, or He will show out. I am content to accept whichever path He will have us go down. It could be very easy to let this dishearten us, to let the enemy creep in and tell us that this is unattainable; but God has blessed us in so many ways, it's impossible not to trust in Him and the promises He's made us. So, I am going to do my best to fill my time with productive things and to not dwell on the things that may look like set-backs. As someone from church said, "Every delay, every bump, every snaggle in the process is ordained by God. We're following His timeline; not ours." I would wait forever to make sure that she was the one God chose US for.  

Here is a link to an article about Ethiopia cutting back on foreign adoptions:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nothing Much

Well, I know it's been a few days since I've posted anything, but adoption-wise, not much has happened. Life has been busy with work, church and family - so I took this past Monday off and Caed skipped pre-k and the 4 of us went to the Tulsa Zoo. It was a blast and a much needed day of "us time". The boys loved it! There were only 4 other groups there, so it was like we had the whole place to ourselves. The animals came up to us and the boys were delighted that they got a closer look. The zebras were the best. The came right up to the rocks around the fence, then darted away and cam back. They were playing with us! Everyone needs to play hookie now and again; it's good for the soul.  ;-) 

I've been doing a lot of adoption fundraising research. So far, the one I'm most excited about is making rag dolls to sell. I need to brush up on my sewing skills though. Lol. The idea came after a trip to Target. I was on my lunch break browsing the toy aisle and decided to go down the doll aisle... something I don't get to do since I have boys. haha! And I noticed that there in that entire aisle stuffed with dolls, there was only one doll that was not white. And that was the new Disney Princess Tatianna (I think that's her name). Now, that is not something that I would have noticed before, but as we are in the process of adopting a little girl that has a darker skin color, I was amazed. I didn't see any other ethnicity of dolls either: Latin, Asian, etc. I've seen old rag dolls at antique stores and such and always fell in love with them. So, I am going to attempt to create one to see if I'm able to create more than one. Lol. My guinea pig. I hope they turn out as I'm imagining in my head... so let's pray I can find some sewing videos on YouTube or such to refresh my memory.

Like I said, not much to update anyone on concerning the adoption. Gladney is supposed to call us back in the next week or so to get the ball rolling on the homestudy. As soon as we hear from them you can bet we'll let you all know.  :)

Oh, and I thought I'd share a picture from our zoo trip:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

And her name shall be....

So KC and I have really been praying about a name for our daughter. Do we keep the one she has? Or maybe use it as a middle name? We had thought about the name Acacia since that is the word God used to reveal to us that we would adopt from Ethiopia, and we thought about Emiliana and call her Milly (not Miley). I was really leaning towards the latter. I just thought it was so cute! But at the beginning of this journey, KC told me that the name Santi came to his mind. We were unsure of the meaning but decided to look into it. Well, that didn't happen so much, since we really liked the other names. Then we found out it means 'Saint' or 'holy'. Well, that was a better meaning than 'thorny bush' or 'to strive' for Acacia and Emiliana respectively. We continued praying and KC called me at work on Thursday and told me her name needs to be Santi. As soon as he said that, I felt a stirring in my spirit. I knew that was the name God wanted us to give her. But.... MILLY IS SUCH AN ADORABLE NAME! And I've liked it for so long! Lol. I wanted to fight it, and even told KC my feelings. But, like I said, I felt in my spirit that this was her name. So I did more research to find meanings, origins, etc. It does mean 'Saint' or 'holy' in Spanish, but it also means 'peace' in Sanskrit. So, that was the clencher. Peace. It's a better meaning than Strive. I think it suits her better, wherever she is. And once we find out what her name is right now, that one will likely be her second middle name. She will also have my middle name as her first middle name. I think it will be an awesome way to connect her to us, giving her part of my name. So,when that day finally comes, our daughter will be forever known as:

Santi Raquel _(current name)_ Collins

If we kept her name just Santi Raquel Collins, she'd have my same initials too! SRC. As you can tell, it's the little things that excite me. I know we are just barely starting out in this process, but I am already so eager to have her home with us. The temptation to buy girlie things is almost unbearable. But that time will come soon. I just got my Adoptive Families magazine and they had the results of the 2010 Cost & Timing Survey... The  second highest percentage of people adopting from Ethiopia had their referral within 6 months of the starting point. The highest percentage had their referral within one year of starting... I really hope ours comes within the first 6 months. Lol.  :D

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm a little...... nervous??

As excited as I am that God has allowed us to start the adoption process, I must admit that I'm nervous about adopting "outside our race". I've been trying to read everything I can on trans-racial adoption, yet I'm still terrified. When KC told me he felt God was leading us toward Africa, I truly thought he was joking. Am I capable of mothering someone who doesn't have the same skin tone as me. Does it make me awful for admitting my fears?? What if she's unhappy with "white" parents, what if she's not around enough people who look like her, what if I can't fix her hair correctly and I'm deemed unfit by others of her skin tone?? ALL of these thoughts and more have been frequenting my mind lately. I know it's the enemy creeping in trying to fill me with doubt, but to be honest, I wonder how much he's put in there and how much was already there. I'm also worried about the fact that she won't be able to hide the fact that she is adopted. That everyone will constantly stare and wonder if she's ours, or maybe a friend's child. I'm wondering how they'll react when they find out: "Oh, you're such great people from adopting over there!" or "WHY ON EARTH DID YOU ADOPT FROM OVER THERE??" And most importantly, I'm wondering how we'll handle the first inappropriate comment said to her. My sisters and I have dealt with our fair share of racist comments living in the ghetto of Kansas City, MO. We weren't white, and we weren't Mexican. We were half-breeds. This is something that no parent wants to hear when they ask their child, 'How was your day at school sweetheart?' Whether we like it or not, racism is still out there. How will others of her skin tone feel when they see us out with her? This is something that I have been praying to God to help me with. I just want to be her mother. I don't want to be seen as this white lady with an African baby on her hip trying to be an "Angelina Jolie do-gooder" (lol). I don't want to have to worry about other people's thoughts or opinions; or worry if I'm fixing her hair correctly. I want to know without a doubt that I'm being the best mother I can be. So, I'm placing all of my worry, concern and fear in His hands. But I'm not going to go into this blindly. I will do all I can to make sure we are doing our part in raising her with her heritage in mind. That is something that will definitely need His help.  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rest for our soul

So, as I was listening to Robert Morris speak at KPC last night, he had a moment where he briefly mentioned the Mary and Martha story. We've all heard it. Mary sat at Christs feet while Martha was bustling around the house trying to get things in order. Mary realized "the art of the pause". She knew she had to take time away from her "womanly duties" and just sit with Him. She knew she needed rest that only He can give: rest for the soul. I think as women (even men too) we get too caught up in our day to day and forget to stop and just be. We rest our bodies at night by sleeping, although I'm sure most of us don't get near the required 8-10 hours. Lol. But what are we doing for our souls? Are we taking time out of our day to allow Him to renew us? Probably not. I'll be transparent with you... I'm not - not nearly as often as I should. How many times have we said, 'Gosh, Lord, I'm just so busy I feel like I don't have the time for quiet time'. I know it's one of my frequent phrases during my short prayer times. In Matthew 11:28 He says: "Come to me, all of you who are weary.... and I will give you rest" (NLT). That isn't talking about physical rest, but a spiritual one. How many of you feel your spirit weighted down with worry, doubt or fear. I know I do. But Philippians 4:8 says "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about anything. Tell God what you need..." What we need is rest. We need Him to refresh our spirits. If we refresh our spirits, our bodies will feel it. Our next step is slowing down physically... but lets take baby steps shall we? Lol.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

First blog post EVER!!

Well hello there! I'm excited to say that I have finally started my own blog. I wanted this to be a way to update friends and family on our adoption process. The more I've been praying and thinking about it though, the more I feel like it needs to be much more than that. A way to share details about our lives: joys, frustrations, and the battles we endure. Also a way to show how God is there through it all to see us to the other side of whatever we encounter. God has been so good to us in the last 5 years. If you asked me 6 months ago if I thought we'd be adopting from Ethiopia, I'd think you were crazy. I've always wanted to adopt, but I always assumed it would be from America, or IF we did adopt internationally, it would be from a Latin American country (I'm half Hispanic). When God revealed to us we'd adopt instead of having a third biologically, I was elated! Especially because KC, while not completely opposed to the idea still always had reservations, was for it 100%. I knew God was the one who changed his heart. That night as we sat in bed talking about it, I asked him where he would adopt from if he had his pick. When he told me Africa, I was a bit irked with him. I thought he was joking and here I was trying to have a serious conversation with him! He was serious. He said God was pulling him towards Africa so we agreed to pray about which country. The following day, I was researching adoption agencies and information when I took a break to check my FaceBook. KC had posted about his quiet time with God and how He revealed some things about the acacia bush to him. I "liked" his comment and went back to my research. The very next page I was looking at had a banner on the lower right side of the page that said Acacia Village, Ethiopia. I knew it wasn't a coincidence and called KC immediately. We knew that was it when he told me whilst in L.A. they went through "little Ethiopia" and he knew God was telling him something about it. So, we spent about 2 1/2 months researching international adoption, agencies and everything else! Well, it was mostly me. Lol. We chose Gladney Center for Adoption as our agency. As of February 11, 2011 (my birthday!) we mailed in our first application. We've had our first phone call with Judy and we qualify for international adoption. She'll be calling us back at the end of March to see how KC's working from home is going. I know this is a long process and I'm praying that God will help us keep everything in perspective. We're still a litte unsure of how we will accomplish this financially, but we do know this: We have been chosen by Him to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia, possibly with a correctable need. And that's ALL I need to know. :)