Saturday, June 28, 2008

Camp Revolution Has Begun!

Today was definitely a first in our family!
Tori has gone to camp! She and I had a great night last night getting her things together and again this morning...we went for a late morning breakfast before we left with friends and headed to camp. I asked her what she was thinking about camp and she said, "I'm real excited, pretty nervous, and a tiny bit sad about leaving you." I thought that was a great answer! Nice to know that it is at least a tiny bit hard to leave me!! We drove the 2 and 1/2 hours to camp with good friends, Kelly and Maddie, and Aimee and Cassidy! The girls talked and giggled the whole way and we moms had plenty to talk and laugh about too! It was fun. I am glad we made the drive out there because the camp looked beautiful and place where a lot of fun can happen!
We are praying it will be a time of sweet memories made and a time for our girls to be challenged and encouraged . Tori was laughing and having so much fun. She walked into this situation with no hesitation. In a great way that was good for my heart.

The girls with Ms. Patty (Sweet Friend and Camp Director)

With Lindsey Neal, Camp Counselor

How could I love her more?

For some reason we are bending over. Maybe because Tori was taking our picture!
I love these 2 moms! Great to have good friends who have 9 year old girls!
We love our daughters and are so excited about what is ahead for them in the next few days!
Pray for Tori, Maddie and Cassidy this week!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Fabulous Reason to Get Away!

Laura (Rich) and Eric Daulton gave Randy and I a wonderful reason to get out of town for about 30 hours last weekend! They got married!! Laura was an intern from ACU in the summer of 2000 and she stayed with our family in Benin. Back then it was just Randy and I with Tori! Things have certainly changed....through it all we have enjoyed staying in touch with Laura and we were thrilled with the opportunity to be at her wedding...which was so amazingly beautiful! We loved every minute...and we were so surprised to see Aunt Vicki and Uncle Jim there!!! Turns out they go to the same church in Dallas and Vicki has substituted for Laura on occasion where she teaches...too cool and so fun to have this time with Aunt Vic. Did I mention that Randy and I were ALONE for this trip? We honestly do not have a memory of this much time just to ourselves in the past several years!!! Thanks to the generousity of Uncle Donny and Aunt Kendra who took on our 4 plus their 3, Randy and I a super special treat. We spent Saturday night in San Antonio and walked the RiverWalk. The entire weekend was so special. I don't think I have ever hugged Donny and Kendra as tight as I did Sunday night. Thank you guys again for the gift! We were blessed!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The FINAL Ceremony

Our kids have heard us say many times over the last 2 years, "This is the last thing that we have to do to make Lael's adoption final." Only for us to learn soon after making that statement that there is in fact, something else for us to do. That will not happen again. Today sealed the deal in Texas, although she has been sealed into the hearts of our family since the day her grandmother placed her in my arms in front of our home in Benin on August 19, 2005. Since that day a peace settled deep into our family... we are complete with her here in our home. We all know it. I will never forget that first night seeing Tori and Timothy reach their arms out to hold her. Their love was instant. She was the sister that Tori had always wanted and she was Timo's Sweetie Pie. And Jonathan...well he just thinks she has always been here...they are so close that it seems like they are twins...if they are not together, then they are looking for each other.
Today, in front of a judge, each member of our family was asked to raise our right hand and tell the truth....Are we willing to commit to Lael forever as a family? YES!!!The Judge asked Tori and Timothy, individually if they were ready to accept Lael as their sister and give her all the rights and privileges of being their sister forever? They both could not get their yes out fast enough and they both tried to expand on why they already loved her so much! Randy and I were both asked individually if we were willing to commit to being Lael's Mother and Father, to accept all responsibility for her, to love and to cherish her and to raise her as our own forever? Yes Yes Yes! These were things we all knew to be true and today it was a privilege and honor to speak it again out loud from the depths of our heart.
When we returned to our home, there was a banner across our front porch, placed there by a dear friend. I was overcome with emotion as I read it. It quoted Isaiah 49:1-2, "Before I was born, the Lord called me. From my birth He has made mention of my name." and Philippians 1:6, "He who began a great work in you will be faithful to complete it!"
The Lord is good. We have experienced his Faithfulness over and over again. He has led us this far. He will take us farther.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Glimpses into our lives this past week!

We have discovered a sport that Timo was created to play!
He loves Baseball. He and Tori are signed up for Summer Baseball
and are already having a blast! Their first games are this week!
Tonight we had fun at Wendy's getting a Frosty! This weekend
Wendy's is donating 50 cents for each Frosty sold to the
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption! We are thrilled
to participate in supporting Adoption!

Here are a few pictures from Eden's shower...

my precious niece who is due to arrive on August 19 of this year! Becky's sweet friends made the evening so special. Everything was so beautiful!!

A few glimpses of the special evening... Lael assumed the role of Becky's personal assistant! It was so fun to see Eden's name on so many things! We are so delighted at the thought that she is on her way! My sister is going to be a wonderful mother for this precious baby girl. We have seen her be the best for boys...I can't wait to see her in action as Eden's mother!! How fun! The last picture in the collage is of Lael and Isabella Brownlow. Isabella is such a sweet friend. At the end of the evening I commented on how sweet a friend she had been and she said with a smile on her face, "I have had great time but I tell you what, this little girl has worn me out!!" Isabella, I know exactly what you mean!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

School is out! Summer is in!!

Today was the last day of school and Tori had the perfect shirt to wear!!! It was fun to be there for the last hour of school to have a party with her class and to take a few pictures with some fun friends. Tori and I have both looked forward to this day for awhile and I think we were both caught off guard by the emotion we felt saying goodbye to her teacher and friends. All day since we left I have felt sort of melancholy thinking about what Tori has accomplished this year...thankful..the kind of gratitude that brings easy tears to my eyes.

Saturday Night

We enjoyed going to the wedding of Jeremy and Jessica Epps! Andy was Jeremy's best man. They have been great friends for so long and our entire family loves Jeremy so much. It was a joy to be at his wedding and to celebrate this day with him.

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning Jonathan and Lael were pleased to show us how they had wrapped themselves the "West African" way using our kitchen hand towels!!! Pretty impressive!

Later in the morning we went to a birthday party for a special little friend. Jonathan was admiring the cake and decided to get himself a "piece of it" I told the little birthday boy's mother (who is a child hood friend of mine) that I have no idea where he learned to do this...I certainly never modeled this kind of behavior for him!!! She laughed and knew I was kidding because she has her own memories of me doing this at various parties of our friends as I was growing up...hard to believe I'm sure!!