Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cranberry orange muffins

When my husband bought me a muffin pan last month, I was so excited! I haven't made muffins in over two years since we left our rusted metal tins back in Arizona.

The very first batch of muffins I made was an old favorite, Cranberry Orange. This recipe is fantastic. It's a little bit more work than a boxed muffin mix but so worth the effort. I especially love adding the fresh orange zest. We only have two muffins left and I can't wait to make another dozen!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waiting for God's promises

I haven't meant to ignore my blog but I also haven't felt up to posting. I still feel like I'm trying to get my feet back under me after having our first adoption process cancelled and my grandfather dying. I've been plugging away every day, trying to find joy again.

Yesterday I was praying that God would make His will known in our family, if we are supposed to keep trying to adopt. I'm frustrated that we've been working on adoption paperwork for almost a year and a half and still don't have a child. I thought I had heard God's voice clearly last year that adoption is the path He laid out for our family.

Well, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I last left off. The very first story I read was about Abraham and how God promised Abraham "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you" (Genesis 17:6). Abraham had to wait for years to see God's promise fulfilled. Years! God didn't promise Abraham and then immediately open Sarah's womb. No, Abraham had to wait for 14 long years to see the fulfillment of God's promise of children.

To be truthful, the story is both encouraging and discouraging. It's discouraging because Abraham and Sarah had to wait so long for Isaac to be born. But it's also encouraging because God promised them children and did give them children. Granted, it wasn't in their timing. Both tried to find ways to force God's promise to come about. But God eventually did grant them a child. He followed through.

I do believe that God intends for us to adopt. I am trying to hold fast to my faith and pray that God will bring it to pass. I hope that I don't have to wait years and years like Abraham did. But I will try to have faith that God's way is ALWAYS best, even when I don't understand.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Last day for the giveaway

Last chance to enter the drawing to win a copy of Life Not Typical!

Just leave a comment on this post.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book review - with a giveaway!

I'm so excited that I get to post a book review that includes a giveaway! Adams Group contacted me about reviewing the book Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed My Faith and My Song by Jennifer Shaw.

When I read the description, I knew this was a book I needed to read. Life Not Typical is a memoir about a parent who discovers that her son Toby has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Toby refused to walk on grass, screamed when he got wet, and hated the wind. Even though people told her that he would grow out of it, Jennifer fought to figure out exactly what was going on with her son. When he was diagnosed with SPD, he was able to get the therapy he needed and his life was changed.

Jennifer and I are different in that Toby is her biological son and we are adopting internationally. However, I still felt this book would be extremely beneficial to read. In international adoption, SPD is rarely diagnosed and listed in a child's adoption file but is often diagnosed after the children come home. I have read blog posts where parents talk about their children having SPD but didn't know much about it until I read Life Not Typical.

The book does deliver on both aspects of the subtitle. It talks about special needs parenting, what it's like to have a child who is challenged with sensory issues, how therapy worked for their family, and about how Toby was able to improve over time. Jennifer also talks about her music ministry, how God worked through both her music and her parenting to increase her faith in His guidance and care. I thought the book was a great overview of both SPD and how God builds our faith through life's trials. I do wish the book was longer, that it had covered both topics in more depth, but I thought it was a great overview.

Adams Group is offering a copy of the book to someone who reads my blog. Just leave me a comment and I will draw a winner on Tuesday (Nov. 11). Please make sure I have a way to contact you. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Surprise updates!

I was surprised this morning with an email from our agency. A five page update on the girl we're applying to adopt! It took less than a week for them to send us the update. And it even included two fairly recent photos.

I wish I could share more but don't feel comfortable doing so because we're not formally matched with her. As soon as we receive our pre-approval, I will be sharing her photo! She's beautiful.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lots of progress

Today was a very busy day.

We rolled out of bed, ate a quick breakfast, and headed off to the health clinic. On Tuesday we started the skin TB test. Today we went back to have the results read. Neither of us showed a reaction to the test. We emailed the test results over to our doctor so that she could finish up our medical clearance.

This afternoon, we heard a delivery truck pull up in front of the house. My first thought was, "please let that be the Fedex guy!" Sure enough, there was a knock on the door. By the time I got to the door, he was already in his truck but I was able to wave thanks. Our paperwork from Taiwan arrived!

After a quick email with our new agency to make sure I was scanning the right documents, I scanned in all 39 pages of our home study and the Mandarin translation. After emailing that to the agency, I received confirmation that it has been forwarded to St. Lucy's in Taiwan. Our pre-approval process has begun! The agency said they expect it will take about six weeks to receive our pre-approval. I'm praying we'll have good news by Christmas. That would be a wonderful present.

Yesterday we had a nice surprise. I emailed the agency to ask about St. Lucy's schedule in providing updates on the kids. Our coordinator said she would email and request an update with photos! We only have one photo of Jenny and would love to see more. She sent over all of the updates she's received since the agency started advocating for Jenny. There was one update in the batch that we hadn't seen before. It was old, from November 2013, but it still had a few tidbits of information we hadn't seen before. That was a really nice surprise. Then we found out this morning that the coordinator in Taiwan had already requested the update before our agency had sent the request! It's already in the works!

I'm slowly getting more excited about this adoption process as we make forward progress. I'm still guarding my emotions as we are not guaranteed to receive pre-approval. I expect we will since we have received pre-approval before to be matched with a child. But it's not guaranteed. I don't want to start getting attached to the idea of adopting Jenny before we're officially matched. Once we're matched, I'll throw my heart into the adoption and prepare for the Skype call and our first care package.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Social worker visit and medical appointment

I kinda feel like my cat some days.

Today we started working on our medical clearance for the adoption. Our naturopath is awesome. She had both of us in her office at once, taking turns with the various medical stuff. We thought we'd have to visit the hospital for the actual blood draw like we did last year. Nope! She did the blood draw today in her office. The results should be available tomorrow.

The only other thing we have left on the medical form is a TB test. We found a clinic that takes walk-ins for TB testing so we're going there first thing tomorrow morning. Then we wait for the results of that test, combine it with the results from the blood testing today, and then figure out how to get a notary to our doctor's office to notarize her signature.

Our home study visit yesterday went well. Our social worker was here for about 45 minutes, talking about what we've learned about older child adoption over the past year, the losses we've faced this year (hubby's dad, my grandpa, our first adoption). Then she asked if she could see the bedroom we put together. That was it! Quick visit and she said our new home study will be ready by the middle of November. She's just waiting for us to finish the medical clearance and for the state to mail back our child abuse clearances.

We're slowly making progress!