Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Blessings

Noah and his new Diego bike
Hannah Grace and my mom-And of course, SAMANTHA!

Carlton and I at my Mom's

Shoes just like Mommy!

A tractor movie from Daddy

Leaving cookies and milk for Santa

A Birthday Cake for Jesus
Hello Friends!
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We really enjoyed being at home on Christmas morning. It was a little crazy getting the kids out of the house and away from all their new toys, but...we got packed up and out of the house and off to Mississippi by 1:00pm. It was so good to be back at home with family. My mom had promised not to "over-do" it this year with presents..but once again...we were spoiled! It was total chaos for at least an hour. We tried to do this business about "one at a time". Well, that didn't work out too well. The kids were nuts..ripping open paper...screaming...running around on a complete sugar high. Oh, what great memories! Afterwards, we all piled up on the couch and watched the Griswold's Christmas Movie. Eddie always makes me laugh, year after year. I think we can quote the entire movie now. We spent Christmas with Carlton's family on the 28th. Over 30 people were there this year!

We have wonderful news! Karla called us the day after Christmas and told us that our fees that were due in December were paid! Thank you Lord! It is just truly amazing how the Lord is providing for our sweet Lily. Here is where we are in the process... Our homestudy had to be re-written to include Sophie, that has delayed us about 3 weeks. It looks like we will be getting our dossier off to China around the first of March. This is (DTC for short). This is a BIG step...and yes, we are going to have a party the day it is mailed to China. :) We are looking for a Log in Date (LID) around May. We are praying for our referral to come soon. Please pray that Lily will be on the April/May Referral list (or sooner!!!!). There is actually a waiting list to adopt a Special Needs child from China. Lifeline is receiving a new list in Jan./Feb. and we are getting very close to being on the top of the waiting list. Our next chunk of fees will be for travel (about $6000), and Fees in China ($5000). We know with confidence that the Lord has called us to this amazing journey of adopting Lily, and we know that He will provide a way for us to do this. It's so awesome to look back to May of 07 when we decided to follow God's call and begin this journey of adopting Lily. Little did we know, at that time, the road that would lay ahead of us. But, we know that this is all part of God's amazing plan for our lives. He has chosen to use this time in our lives to grow us in Him in an intense way. It has been hard, but each day we are being refined to be more like Him. This whole process (the past 8 months) has taught me so much about real faith. Its about giving up total control and allowing God to do His work in my life.

Please continue to pray:
-A speedy referral from Lifeline, we can hardly wait to see our little girl's face
-Hannah Grace and her understanding of our circumstances.
-God's wisdom regarding decisions being made for Sophie Ann
-Clear mind for Carlton when he is studying

Will write again soon,
Carlton and I have decided that it's best for us right now to have a sign-in for our blog. PLEASE e-mail me your e-mail address if you would like to be added to our list of blog viewers. Once you sign-in the first time, your computer will "remember you" and you won't have to sign-in each time you acces our blog. Please e-mail me this week, if possible. Thanks!
Please remind me who you are. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bundled up and ready to see ZOO-LIGHTS in Birmingham

From Beside Still Waters, Charles Spurgeon
"The safest part of a Christian's life is during a trial. How we pray in adversity! We cannot live without prayer. We carry our burden to the mercy seat again and again.

When we are depressed, ,we read our Bibles, we do not care for deceiving light literature. We want the solid promise, the strong meat, of God's kingdom.

In adversity, we listen, we do no care for flowers and fine bits of rhetoric. We want the Word. We want the naked doctrine. We want Christ. We cannot be fed on whims and fancies now. We care less about theological speculation and ecclesiastical authority. We want to know something about eternal love, everlasting faithfulness, and the dealings of the Lord of hosts with the souls of His people. We walk lightly in the world and hold it with a loose grip. We expect to be often in the way, and we hope to be out of the way, because the world has lost its attraction. I greatly question if we ever grow in grace unless we are in the furnace.

This is the way it should be: the joys and blessings that God gives in this life should make us increase in grace and gratitude.

These joys should be sufficient motivation for the highest form of consecration. As a rule, however, most of us are only driven closer to Christ in a storm. There are blessed and favored exceptions, but most of us need the rod. We do not seem to learn obedience except through the Lord's chastening."

I am including this video about a mother who went through a similar experience as I am facing. It was a blessing to me, but grab a few tissues first. Click on the link below.

~Thank you for your continued prayers. Please pray that God will give us wisdom as we make decisions regarding Sophie's birth plan.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our church's home school group had an "Open House" this past weekend. Hannah Grace invited several friends from church to attend. The kids sang some Christmas songs and each child did something special like reciting Bible verses, singing, or playing the piano. I was amazed at how brave these kids were. All the mothers jokingly agreed that maybe our home school kids didn't have the limelight enough, so they took full advantage of it! It was a great night. We were able to eat together in the fellowship hall afterwards and the children had lots of their school work displayed for everyone to see! I enjoyed being able to see what other fun projects the other students are doing. I learn so much from other moms who have "been there" a lot longer than me! Homeschooling has worked well for us so far this year. Carlton and I take homeschooling on a year to year basis and consider what is best for our child for that year. This year, teaching Hannah Grace at home has been a blessing. I have been able to pick and choose what curriculum is best for her. Being a former school teacher, I really enjoy going to the curriculum fairs. I was able to grab bits and pieces of many different curriculums and combine them all together for a perfect fit for Hannah Grace. We use Saxon math, Abeka Reading, Rod and Staff Reading and Spelling, and Rod and Staff for Science and Social Studies/Geography. We also take full advantage of our public library for unit studies and independent reading. I can't keep her out of those American Girl books! But, I have read a few, and I really like them! So, YAY!
For all those that were unable to attend the Open really missed a treat. Hannah Grace played "What a Mighty Fortress is Our God" and "The First Noel" on the piano and then she did her Bible verses. She got very timid when she went to the microphone to say her verses and big alligator tears started to fall. I motioned for her to come and sit down. Well, about 10 minutes later, she was begging Carlton and I to let her try again. So, she went back up to the stage and bless her heart...she started crying again. It was BREAKING my heart! I motioned for her to come and sit down. I kept saying, "Its OK, you did great." BUT..this time she refused to sit down. She was so determined to say all 8 verses. What a brave little girl.. she stood at the microphone and said all of the verses! Everyone clapped for her and I don't think there was one dry eye in the room! I was so proud of her. I couldn't believe that she had the guts to get back up there and be so determined. I have a lot to learn from my 5 year old.
Please continue to pray for us and little Sophie. I am currently almost 28 weeks along and starting to feel really pregnant! She is constantly moving and flipping around. Please pray that she will not stay breech. I can't imagine her staying in any position with all the flipping thats going on in there. We go back to see Dr. Daniel next Tuesday, can you believe its been 3 weeks? It seems like that's all I do, go to the Dr. Also, pray for Carlton. He lost his grandfather this past week. He preached his service on Wednesday and it was wonderful. But, it was hard because all we could think about was Sophie. We know the Lord is going to sustain us through whatever may come. By his grace alone, are we able to be strong. We know we have some tough days ahead of us. But, we know we serve a God who will never leave us or forsake us.
Will write again soon,

For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. . . - Psalm 37:28

Friday, December 7, 2007

Our visit to UAB was...well, let's say informational. I was able to ask a lot of questions...and I did. I wanted to know everything there was to know. I learned from a medical perspective, that after Sophie was conceived, one of the chromosomes was "sticky" and hung around when it wasn't supposed to. Basically, the dad gives 23 chromosomes and mom gives 23. Well, this time mom (or dad) gave 24. This is basically a "complete fluke". My doctor(at UAB) has seen one other case this year. And that's what he does all day...high risk pregnancies. Its extremely rare, that is to carry a child to term with a chromosome abnormality. Actually, chromosome abnormalities are very common, however, most end in miscarriage. He encouraged us to think about another future pregnancy, that our risk for recurrence is less than 1%. I think he was a little confused as to why we chose to carry to term... as most women terminate immediately. But, this was never even an option for us. Sophie has been created by God, and her life is in His hands. He will be glorified through her life and her death.
We were also told Sophie's case is very severe (we already knew this), but her heart is healthy and he believes I will carry to term because of this. Sophie Ann is already 2 pounds and is measuring right on track. Sophie is amazing to have made it this far. She is such a fighter. Carlton said she is just like her mama...strong-willed and stubborn. I have to say, when I set my mind to something...I put my all into it, I give it 110%. And I believe Sophie has set her little mind to hanging on so that we can hold her and cherish her time here. No matter what the outcome, or how long we have her with will all be worth it. 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days or Lord willing, longer. She will be worth every minute.
In retrospect, I am glad I opted for another meeting with the doctor and another sonogram. I hope that our life and our view of life had an impact on the medical staff at UAB. I pray that the doctors see how special each life is and that terminating a pregnancy is not the answer. Just because a child is not "acceptable" in the world's eyes, doesn't mean that the child is not precious in the sight of God and every child deserves a chance to be held and loved. God formed Sophie with His own hands and she is perfect.

For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalms 139:13-16)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Hannah Grace, cousin Isabella, and Noah
at my mom's for Thanksgiving.

I am so sorry for taking so long to post. We have been so busy lately..traveling home for Thanksgiving.. Carlton' s big 3-0 birthday, getting ready for Christmas. I talked Carlton into being Clark Griswald for the day, and he hung icicle lights for us outside (for the first time!). The kids ooh and ahh every night when we turn them on. Such little things can bring such great joy to children.

As many of you know, I am a big fan of family traditions. Sophie's little life has taught us so much about how valuable and precious our time is together and we have made our family traditions even more special this year. A special friend gave us a box of ornaments that are numbered 1-25. Each ornament has a verse written on it and a devotion to go with it. So, beginning tonight (Dec. 1), we will sit around the table and Carlton is going to do a family devotion. We will sip homemade hot chocolate and after our "mini-sermon" (is that possible with Carlton?? :) , we will hang the ornament on the tree. Sometimes, I will surprise the kids with small gifts to be opened. I am excited about this new tradition in our family.

Another change we have made is we have decided to slow down with our traveling and be at home on Christmas morning. My mom has moved her Christmas party to Christmas night and Carlton's family will celebrate on the 28th this year. I couldn't be more excited about being at home on Christmas morning! Hannah Grace and I are going to cook a big meal with everyone's favorite on Christmas Eve. She has really gotten in to American Girl books, so we might even whip up some recipes that are from the early 1900's. I look forward to this Christmas season. Jesus is ever so sweet this year!

Please pray for Carlton and I on Thursday. We have decided to return to UAB for another Level II sonogram and to talk to a genetic counselor. The last time we were at UAB, we were so stunned and shocked, we were unable to ask any questions. We already know that Sophie's diagnosis is not hereditary. The amnio confirmed this. According to medical science, this is a "fluke." Something that is not supposed to happen, a 1:12,000 chance. Of course, we know that this was all part of God's amazing plan for our life. I know this, and knowing God allowed this to happen, has made this process so much easier. Who better to be in control, but the God of the universe! BUT, at this point I just want to know the details of how this all happened medically. You know, from the very beginning, give me exactly what happened. Its just where I am in this process, I need to know medical facts. Dr. Daniel was supportive and immediately scheduled an appointment for me. I know this is going to be hard. I know I will have a bad day. I know this. But, its something I need to do. So, please, I am asking you to pray that I will be a reflection of God's glory and he will sustain me through our visit. We will be seeing a different genetic specialist this time. Thanks so much, and I will post again later next week after our sonogram.

"For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. " Romans 14:8

Please continue to pray that our adoption process will continue to go smoothly. Our homestudy is currently with DHR.