Monday, December 29, 2008

One Year Anniversary Post and Snow

December 27th marked the one year anniversary of our meeting Josi in Guatemala. We flew to Guatemala City the day before and landed in the evening. We were able to get a good night's rest before meeting our daughter for the first time. When she walked in the hotel room, I could have sworn right then she was an angel. I could not believe how absolutely beautiful she was. She was scared and crying, but quickly stopped when we gave her a few Christmas presents. We signed the POA that morning, and then spent the next few days at the hotel with her.


It always felt like a dream to me, Josi's adoption. Sammy and I seeing her photo on the photolisting December 23rd, praying and deciding to adopt her on the 24th (which was a miracle,) and flying to Guatemala on the 26th. In between that time was Sammy's company Christmas party, heading out to the store on Christmas Eve to buy a few gifts and clothes for Josi, hosting and cooking and visiting with family and friends, Christmas with five children, and packing to leave the country. Talk about a whirlwind. All the while my head was spinning. And if my head was spinning like that, I can only imagine what was going through Sammy's mind. (I had been wanting to adopt again for a year, but Sammy kept saying no.) But we both new that this was God's will. There was no question about that. We believe that God led us to her photo, guided us and told us what we needed to do. It's amazing what happens when you put your trust in Him. At that level of faith, you don't even think or move, God does it all for you.
I do know that God has his reasons for doing things, and that I am incapable of understanding why. As much as I still can't help but question all of this, and the pain can be unbearable at times; I do have peace because I feel in my heart that we did what we had been called to do.


These photos were taken right after Josi came to our room. She was so scared and precious. I wanted to hold her so bad, but didn't want to scare her more.




~~~~~

A couple of weeks ago we got an awesome snow storm. It was so fun to watch it happen. When it was done, it was a gorgeous sight. It snows here probably once or twice a year, and it's always a big deal when it happens. But we haven't had snow like this in 14 years. It was very cool!!!

Our front yard before the storm
Yay, it's snowing!
The snowflakes were as big as quarters!
Our front yard about four hours later.
Our back yard.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Catching up...

I am way behind in my posting. I will be catching up over the next few days.

On the 20th we attended Sammy's company Christmas party. As always we had a wonderful time. It was at Disney's Grand Californian hotel, so Mickey and Minnie made an appearance to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Neither Sammy nor Shay really wanted anything to do with either of them. Shay agreed to see them as long as daddy was holding him.








~~~~~~~~

It is still very hard to accept that Josi is gone. Christmas made it harder in some ways but easier in others. Now that the holidays are just about over, we have to decide what to do with all of Josi's clothes and things. I am not looking forward to that at all. It seems like yesterday, I was so happily filling the drawers with her clothes in great anticipation.
Sammy and I have talked and both agree that we cannot let it end this way. Lord willing, we are hoping to pursue another adoption in the future. We are not sure from where yet; but we will be looking into adopting from the foster care system here in the US.






Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Video to Share

I cannot put into words how much every one's comments and prayers have helped us get through this very dark time. The outpouring of love to our family has been overwhelming in the best way. I am reading every single comment and post as they come in from this blog and the adoption boards I frequent. They have been what is keeping me together and keeping my mind from wandering to the dark place where my daughter and a beautiful loving family was murdered. I find that my hardest times is when I have nothing to read (blog comments,) or search for, (details on the murder.) It is so easy to dwell on what what has happened and what will never be.

This video was put together by a dear friend of mine,
Tammy. She recently, after a two-year process, brought her son Robbie home from Guatemala. Tammy, I love you too dear sister, and don't you feel guilty for one minute. My daughter is spending eternity dancing with Jesus. What more could I ask for? Thank you so much Tammy! We will cherish it forever. I can't wait to get the DVD and watch it here on the big screen.




I am so very grateful for the times I got to spend with Josi. I am angry at myself for cancelling my visit trip last month. But I only did so because we were to be together forever this month. I know she is here with me; but better than that, she is with her Heavenly father who promises no more pain, no more fear, no more tears. I take so much comfort in knowing this. It makes the pain of losing her so much easier to take.





Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me:
~~~
I wish you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say
~~~
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too:
~~~
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand.
~~~
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
~~~
But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,
~~~
He said, "This is eternity.
And all I've promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew."
~~~
"I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.
~~~
"So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.
~~~
Author Unknown

Monday, December 8, 2008

I am Kelly, posting on behalf of Carla.

Carla says she cannot express how thankful they are and how much love they feel as a result of all of your posts and comments. Your kind words, encouragement, and good deeds (including those generous souls that have donated toward Josi's Memorial) have helped more than you could ever know. Understandably they are deeply grieving the loss of beautiful Josi and trying to make sense of as much as humanly possible yet trusting God for all things we will never understand. She knows without God in her life, things would be so much more bleak.

Many have asked for more details surrounding the deaths, but little is known outside of news reports and newspaper articles. Unfortunately Josi and the entire family were murdered during a home invasion which included the foster mother's sister, her husband, their young two children, and Josi. Possible motives and details of the deaths are still only hearsay as the media isn't always an accurate source of information.

We are comforted knowing this family loved Josi and was providing a loving home for her while they waited for the completion of the adoption. This and knowing even as Josi was taking her last breath, our amazing Lord had her wrapped in his loving arms.

~~~

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”(Luke 18:15-17 )


Saturday, December 6, 2008

The saddest news

This is Ruthanne. I'm posting for Carla because her heart is too sad to even think about posting this.
Last night, Carla got the phone call that terrifies every parent---her sweet, beautiful daughter, Josi, had been killed. Carla will give you details as she can, but for now, please pray for this family. They were close to bringing Josi home and are as heart-broken as any family can be.
Josi's new birth certificate had just come through and according to Guatemalan law, she is considered their daughter and sister---but she has been their daughter and sister in their hearts for much longer than that.
We know that Josi is twirling and dancing and smiling in heaven right now without pain or hurt. She died knowing that a family loved her unconditionally and was preparing a place for her in their homes and in their hearts. What we didn't know was that Josi's Father was also preparing a place for her and she is in His arms right now. In the meantime, He needed someone with a big heart to love and care for Josi and there was no better woman for that job than Carla. She has a heart for parentless children like no one I have ever met.

Please pray for Carla and her family and comment here so that they can read your kind words when they are able to.



video

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This-n-That

First Order of Business: The Raffle. This morning I printed out 21-named tickets to be placed in the Tupperware bowl. Then I recruited my kids to do all the work. They loved it!
The kids were so excited to see who the winner was. Sammy picked the winning ticket.

The winner of the Raffle is spelled: M a r y A n n!!!

video

Case Update: So far, we have a RENAP birth certificate, (this is the most time-consuming hoop to jump through in the birth certificate retrieval process, which normally takes anywhere from three weeks to three months.) I am praying that our case will make it's way to the US Embassy by the end of this week. We have been told that once it is submitted to the embassy that pickup time is usually in about three weeks. So far, there is still a possibility that Josi could be home for Christmas.


The Boys: Sammy has been having a lot of fun with his guitar. Shay is allowed to strum on it only under supervision as he tends to unscrew the screws at the end of the arm that make the strings tighter or looser. (Can you tell I'm not well versed in musical instrument terminology.) Shay was thrilled when he got to strum along with Sammy for a song. Of course, I had to get this on video. I love the way Shay just "cut it loose." Also love the fact that he closes his eyes when he sings. He's a very passionate child.

video


Thanksgiving: We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was on the smaller side this year, only 14 of us. The food was great, but the company and fellowship was even better. Since I was hosting, I didn't get a too many photos, but did manage to get some of us girls in a few posed shots.
Amanda (my niece,) and my mom


Tina (my sis,) Amanda, me, and Mom


Amanda. She's beautiful inside and out!

Aubrey, Mandy, and Haley
(My girls got haircuts a couple of weeks ago. Aubrey went really short and Haley got bangs. I think they both turned out great.)

This is Sammy leading the prayer at the kid's table. Sammy has made a complete turn-around lately with praying. A few months ago he was too shy to pray, now he will pray anywhere, anytime.
video

Helping Dad: Sammy is building plan cabinets for Edison in our garage/workshop. He loves when he gets this type of side job. A job he can do at home while still spending time with the family. He even gets a cook at his disposal--Chef Mom.

Here are some photos of both Sammys hard at work. Little Sammy just loves helping daddy.










Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Raffle Reminder and Wordfull Wednesday

I want to remind everyone about the raffle we are having. We are raffling off a beautiful, collectible Lee Middleton baby doll to raise money to help with our adoption expenses. Here is the original post, "Raffle" if you want to read the details of this limited-edition baby doll.

Here is a photo of the doll it it's original Walrus suit.


Here is the same doll dressed up as a baby girl. As you can see it can either be a gorgeous baby boy or a beautiful baby girl.







If you would like to enter to win this beautiful doll, you can purchase a raffle ticket at $5 each, or buy five tickets for $20. Just click on the "Donate" button on my sidebar.
If you would like to send me a check, just email me at
sweetpea31897@msn.com.
The raffle will close on December 1.
The winner will be chosen at random.
(Sorry, shipping limited to the US only.)


Also, please check out my friend's blog, Shrum Family Adventures. They are also having a raffle to help offset their adoption expenses. Don't miss checking it out. You'll be glad you did.

We are having so much fun preparing for Josi's homecoming. It still hasn't really sunk in that we are out of PGN, but I'm sure as the pick-up time draws closer, and I start really stressing about having the house ready, it will sink in pretty darn fast.

I have been neglecting my camera a bit these days, but I did manage to get a few snapshots of the kids at the harvest festival at our church on Halloween, and a few others here and there.


The boys in the Superman jammies.



A few pics of my handsome son, Robby.

Please leave a comment if you would like him to shave off his beard. Maybe if he gets enough comments, he will actually do it. Lord knows, he's not listening to my begging and pleading.

Sammy and Shay at the harvest festival.

Daddy in his Halloween hat.

The girls just before we left.

Friday, October 31, 2008

AFTER SIX VERY LONG MONTHS IN PGN...

Praise God!

WE ARE OUT!!


We are praying for a Christmas homecoming!!



It would be a miracle...
but I'm a believer.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

RAFFLE

In an effort to offset our adoption expenses AND prepare for Josi's homecoming, (which means downsizing our *stuff*,) I thought that it would be fun to have a raffle.

Those who know me know that I love baby dolls. We have quite a few in the house, really too many. My girls still play with them occasionally, but not as much as they used to. Now that I am in need of space here at home, I have decided to find new homes for my collection.
This beautiful baby in a Walrus suit is one of 1000 made by the Lee Middleton Doll Co. This doll has never been played with, although it is perfectly fine and safe to use as a play baby. It weighs about 3lbs and feels just like a real baby. This doll will make a perfect Christmas gift for a little girl as she will have the most life-like baby doll ever. The face on this baby doll is used for both boy and girl babies by Lee Middleton. If you put a dress on this baby doll, it will look just like a girl.

I purchased it a few years ago and is still have the original box. You cannot find it anywhere now; and if you happen to stumble upon it, like on ebay, it is selling for around $200. It is signed by the LM artist, Reva Schick, and is No. 599.














If you would like to enter to win this beautiful doll, you can purchase a raffle ticket at $5 each, or buy five tickets for $20. Just click on the "Donate" button on my sidebar.

If you would like to send me a check, just email me at sweetpea31897@msn.com.

The raffle will close on December 1.
The winner will be chosen at random.
(Sorry, shipping limited to the US only.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

FFF - Josi shaved her eyebrows off!

If you get our Christmas card this year and wonder why Josi looks different, but just can't put a finger on it, you'll know why after you read this post.
I got an email from Josi's foster family informing me that Josi had gotten a hold of her teenage foster-sister's eyebrow trimmer and proceeded to trim her own eyebrows--almost completely off.

Her foster mom is so wonderful to tell me things like this and I am so thankful for that. She took some pics for me so that I can put them in her scrapbook/lifebook for her. (And to think, I could have missed this.)

Here is Josi with her eyebrows missing. She has katsup on her face because she was eating McDonald's.
I cannot wait for her to come home!!! The web cam visits and occasional pics are what keeps me going. Thirty-five more days until I get to see her again.
That is the eyebrow trimmer she is holding in her hand.
She is looking quite proud of herself, isn't she?

I LOVE this photo. I can't wait until the time comes where she feels safe enough, once she's home with us, to reveal her goofy personality. It's so nice to know that she has a sense of humor.

Even though she is still adorable without eyebrows, I do hope they grow back at least a little, because I do plan to take a good photo of her for our Christmas card this year when I am there next month.

This must be her intoxicated-with-pride face.