Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not Giving Up

“But I thought you guys couldn’t have kids”…

Adoption is awesome! Not only do we get to experience life with Mia (honestly we can’t imagine life without her), but it is a perfectly legitimate way to build a family. It’s not plan B. No parent (or child for that matter) wants to be thought of as lesser because they chose to adopt or were themselves adopted. While adoption may be the only option for some who want to build their family, adoption shouldn’t be seen as lesser.

That being said, we chose to adopt first. Not because we couldn’t have children biologically (although that would have been fine too), but because we see the tremendous blessing that is adoption!

In fact, about a year ago, Sarah said, “I don’t care if we ever have biological children." At the time we were only a few months into our second adoption. Since that time, the wait time for International adoption across the globe began moving p a i n f u l l y slow. So slow in fact, that our agency's projected wait time (from DTE to referral) is 24-30 months. For frame of reference, we were DTE 7/1/11, or roughly 19 months ago. However, the slowness of the process IS NOT A SUPPLY ISSUE! Orphanages in Ethiopia (and other places) are still overcrowded and children are still waiting to go home to their forever families. The slowness is a result of new legislation and the demand for more documentation. The whole thing is very political and very frustrating…

To tell you the truth, with the way things are trending, it might very well be 2 or 3 more years before we receive a referral.

So let us preface our next bit of news with this: we are NOT giving up, not on adoption, not on Ethiopia, and certainly not on the child we absolutely believe will one day be our son or daughter. But our agency does allow for concurrent family planning (that is, we can pursue other avenues of expanding our family while we wait), and so it gives us GREAT JOY to announce that we are expecting! And not just one, but two babies! That's right folks, we're pregnant with TWINS and due in early August!

Having children biologically was never something we really ruled out, it just wasn’t high on our priorities. But as the wait for the adoption began to drag on and on, we both started thinking that Mia could quite easily be 7 years old by the time this second adoption is finished, and we certainly never wanted that many years between our kids. And let's be really honest - we're no spring chickens either!

Twins however were certainly a BIG surprise for us both, but we feel so, SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED! We're not entirely sure what having four (4!) children will be like, and we are equally excited and nervous. But above all, we do think it will be awesome, no matter what comes.

So if you have financially or prayerfully supported us in our adoption, we want to assure you that your efforts are not in vain. As we prepare to expand our family in multiple ways, biologically and jumping through frustrating adoption hoops, we hope you’ll pray for us. WE DEFINITELY NEED PRAYER!!! (We’re talking FOUR kids here :-O) But we also hope that we can encourage others to make adoption part of their family. Not because they may not be able to have children biologically, but because it’s awesome! Because you’ll be blessed and will bless the life of a child who needs you! Because it’s not Plan B. And because adoption is a completely legitimate and God-honoring way to build your family!

Blessed to be a blessing,

Travis, Sarah, and Mia Taylor

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wonderful News!

I wanted to share a couple of bits of good news on the adoption front, as well as a potential set back.  First, although you may remember that our I-171 finally did come back in June, we were DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) on July 1.  This means we are now officially back on the list.  Unfortunately about 2 weeks after becoming DTE, we received an email from our agency that projected wait times had greatly increased, from 6-8 months to 10-16 months (this is from DTE to referral).  While I am hoping that some of this could all shake out, we are preparing ourselves for another long wait.  Adoption is certainly not for the faint of heart, and while my heart sinks thinking about our longer wait, I know first hand that this wait is nothing compared to the wait after you receive "the call."  So I hope and pray that situations and processes can get ironed out now.

Now for the really wonderful news.  A few weeks ago we found out that we were chosen to receive a $3000 matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans!  I wanted to wait to announce it until after we had mailed out our support letters, which was one of the most difficult and humbling things we've had to do.  So many of our friends and family have supported us in our various fundraisers that we really hated to ask for help again.  We have until September 14th to raise $3000, and Lifesong will match dollar for dollar up to $3000.  So if we raise the entire amount, that will be $6000 for our adoption...this is HUGE!  So much of this adoption has been filled with setbacks and delays that I think along the way I've forgotten that the One who called us to this is also the One with the entire universe at His command.  It was a great reminder that our God is greater and stronger and higher than any other. 

If you feel moved to donate, you can click on the link to the right and donate via paypal, just specify Taylor #2081 in the notes section.  You can also mail your tax deductible contribution to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL  61744 

Just make sure to write Taylor #2081 on the memo line of your check. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Family Day: 2011

First, a brief disclaimer.  I've decided I'm going to stop apologizing for being a terrible blogger.  There.  I'm going to stop feeling bad or guilty or whatever and hope you (whoever you are) just enjoy what comes when it comes.

And now, it brings me great joy to bring you Mia's Family Day 2011.  It's hard to believe that it was really two years ago that Travis and I traveled to Ethiopia and were united with this awesome little baby girl.  How time has flown.

Last year, we celebrated her Family Day, but really more for us and tradition's sake than anything else.  One tradition I did start and decided to carry-over is balloons.  Last year we were way into Elmo, but this year was a bit more tricky.  She likes lots of different characters, but I can't say we have a favorite.  We also haven't wanted to push the princess thing too much, so I decided to steer clear of those lovely ladies and went traditional with Mickey Mouse.  So after I went up to get her this morning, she found this surprise waiting for her downstairs.

She really was excited to see her balloons, but our Miss Attitude didn't want to pose first thing in the morning.  We also watched the video of her "Gotcha Day" in Ethiopia and her arrival home at the Indy Airport.  Although I know she doesn't really understand what she is saying, I'm excited that she talks about "E-opia".

It also just so happens that the Indiana State Fair was going on, so we had been planning to take her on Family Day.  I did feel a bit weird about going after Saturday evening's awful accident, but we decided that life does go on, so we would make the most of the day.  

This was Mia's first trip to the State Fair, and we started out in the kids' discovery farm area.  I had heard about this from other friends last year, and it was seriously the coolest thing ever for the little ones.  It's supposed to teach them about life as a farmer.  When you start out, they give you an apron and basket.  Then at the first station, you "pick" some corn and soybeans to add to your basket. 

Then off to the chicken coop to add some eggs to your stash.
 Next, you have to "feed" your livestock by giving them the corn and soybeans you picked earlier.

And they even give the kids free farmer's hats in John Deere green!

 As you follow the chicken's tracks along the path, you come to the garden and plant a "seed" that they give you.

 And then the fruits of your labor!  Time to pick a vegetable from your garden...
 and an apple too!

 At some point, we also sheered our sheep and collected some wool and rode our tractor around the fields.  And of course, you can't forget about your cows.  Off to the creamery to "milk" the cows.

 After that, you take your goods to market and trade in your vegetables, apples, eggs, and wool for money, which you can spend in the general store for actual items.  Mia chose a strawberry cereal bar.  I mean, how stinkin' cute is that?  I was completely impressed with the whole thing, and I told Travis that it made me want to live out in the country and be a farmer.

Well okay, maybe not really, but it did seem really neat.

After our farming experience, we had a horrible-for-you-but-tasty lunch, followed by an apple cider slushy for me and (free!) ice cream from the Turkey Run tent.  We were on our way to the Midway when we saw this cute little station set up to feed the goats.  Mia loves all animals, and I have to say I am very proud of her for stepping right up.  I don't remember being that gutsy as a kid.  (You notice that it's her daddy helping her feed them, right?  Maybe I should rethink my career change...)

The one thing she has been talking about since we told her about going to the fair was the carousel (or kill-your-self in Mia-ese).  She *loves* them with a passion.  So we bought some tickets and were quickly on our way.  (Please ignore how goofy I look in the left picture...but she looks absolutely adorable!)

 After the carousel, we had 5 tickets left, and Mia decided she wanted to ride the big slide with Mommy.  Travis actually video taped this, so this isn't the greatest of pictures, but Mia thought it was so much fun!  I was bit worried that she would chicken out when we got to the top as she's just now started going back down slides on her own.  But my worries were needless; I heard her giggling the entire way down!  If only the tickets didn't cost an arm and a leg, I'm sure we would have done more.  Maybe next year.

We finished our day by looking at the cows, horses, pigs, and sheep, and even saw some elephants.  There was a circus exhibit, and all I could do was think about Water for Elephants which my bookclub recently read.  Not quite the same, but still.

By that time we had on very sleepy little girl, so we took our time heading home to give her a chance to rest in the car.  We had a nice family dinner and then played at the playground at church while Daddy had a meeting.  All in all, it was a great day, and what I enjoyed most was making awesome memories with my family.  I hope that she can in years to come look back and remember the ways we celebrated the day we were united as a family.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guess What [Finally] Came?

Our I-171H approval letter!  (For my friends who don't speak adoption-ese, this is the final document we were waiting on to complete our dossier.)  Our dossier is now finished and will be certified and UPS shipped to our agency tomorrow!  After 10 long, long months of waiting and paperchasing, we will finally go on the "list."

I honestly can't believe it has taken us so long to complete this part of the process.  I've never really shared why we've been so delayed and don't really plan on going into all the nitty-gritty details, but let's just say it wasn't by any choice of ours.  Having complied 2 dossiers prior, this should have been a piece of cake.  But, well, I just had to keep reminding myself that everything happens in God's time, and His time almost always seems to run slower than ours.  I feel like we started this process with such enthusiasm and excitement and then we were quickly tempered when we realized there were a few unexpected hurtles we'd have to overcome first.  I spent much of the first part of this adoption process feeling like a deflated balloon, but now I feel like the clock has begun ticking again and I am reminded of the baby boy who will someday (soon) become my son.

I don't want to give the illusion that I always have great perspective on life (you really need my husband for that), but looking at where we are in life now I can see some of the blessings God has given us by "delaying" things.  First, I'm pretty sure that if I had to board a 18 hour flight with Mia right now, I'd poke my eye out.  Well, maybe not really, but this stage of toddlerhood has been quite challenging for us all.  I can see how we will reap the fruits of our labor in disciplining her in 8 or 9 months from now.  Second, Travis should be almost done with school when we bring him home.  This is a pretty obvious blessing, and as we look forward to whatever the next stage in our life will be after school, having him come home then will be better for us all.

I'll end with a humorous note.  Today we went to have our passport pictures taken (not for our actual passports but for our dossier) and we decided to go ahead and have Mia's picture taken since we do need to get her a passport.  I wondered how they would do this, but the nice girl at Walgreens just yanked the white screen to the ground and had Mia stand front and center.  We all called, directed, and "cheesed!" as you do with any toddler who seems to look everywhere but the camera and finally got a good shot, when another employee came up and said, "No, she can't smile.  They have new rules."  Um, how do you tell a 2 year old not to smile?  Oh, and she also had to keep her lips together.  So I leave you with the result of instructing my 2 year old daughter not to smile and keep her lips shut.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

M.I.A. (Missing in Action)

I cannot believe it has been two long months since my last post.  Time seems to fly by us at warp speed, especially as Mia continues to get bigger and bigger each day.  Let me give you a rundown of what has transpired with the Taylor's:

Adoption Dance
First, I never officially posted how our Adoption Dance fundraiser turned out: it was awesome!  We had so many people turn out to spend the evening with us, and everyone had a great time.  I was afraid the whole thing might seem kind of lame, but we had lots of compliments on how fun the evening was.  We had oodles of desserts for our buffet, our great friends and DJ Kenton and Emily Smith rocked the dance floor, and our auction turned into quite the event.  When Jana and I closed bidding at 8:30, people were anxiously standing by "their" item to make sure no one else snaked them!  Together with the Hennessy's, we raised over $3000, which is over $1500 for each of our families!  We were completely blown away and moved by the generosity of all our friends, family, and church family.

The Big 3-0
Yes, I finally turned 30.  Although I was not exactly looking forward to this birthday as I have to those in the past, it turns out 30 isn't so bad.  The actual day started out with 30 free minutes before Bible study to myself, in which I treated myself (and BFF Shari who's bday is the day after mine) to Starbucks.  I also received flowers from no less than 3 different friends, and a subscription to People magazine from my mom.  Is it sad that I am almost most excited about People?  The following weekend my hubby planned a date night for us, which began with coffee while walking along Mass Ave and later turned into a surprise dinner party with some of my closest friends, sister, brother-in-law, and brother.  Overall, it was a great end to this year's birthday celebrations.

Operation Baby Boy Taylor
Is still painfully underway.  After a frustrating run in with Immigration, we have finally been fingerprinted and are anxiously awaiting our I-171H approval letter.  It's been over 2 weeks, so we're hoping it'll arrive in the next week or so.  And with that, our dossier will finally be complete.  I am so ready to have all this out of our hands and just to be waiting.
While we wait, we'll be planning a few more fund-raising opportunities, one being a garage sale sometime over the summer.  One other big thing is a matching grant opportunity with Lifesong for Orphans.  This would be a BIG deal if we received it, and they are currently processing our application, so any prayers would be appreciated.

And lastly, we just opened our Just Love Coffee fund-raising store.  I meant to do this sooner, but never really found the right time.  This awesome company was started by a fellow AWAA dad who wanted to help other adoptive families raise money through the sales of fair-trade coffee.  Here's how it works: visit our store front (see the link to the right), and for every bag of coffee purchased, we receive $5 towards our adoption.  Pretty cool, right?  And we'll keep this open through the rest of our adoption process, which could be quite a while yet. 

Working Girl
Yes, it's true.  It was with great fear and trepidation that I returned to work full-time with Xerox (and now you know the real reason why the blog has suffered more than normal).  While I had been quietly looking around for something else that paid a bit more than retail, I wasn't really looking to go back; the whole opportunity just fell into my lap and everything happened so fast I didn't really even have time to tell many people until it was a done deal.  I will admit that the week leading up to my return, I was a wreck.  This was just not what I had planned for our life.  I was grieving the end of my semi-stay at home mommy era and the end of life as we knew it.  I was worried about how Mia would transition to my being gone so much more, spending one day a week at daycare, and how I would learn to juggle new responsibilities with my current ones.  Thankfully I was able to negotiate my return with a bit of flexibility, so I am working from home two days a week.
How are we four weeks in?  Turns out, I actually really enjoy being back.  Everyone at work was happy to see me return, and although I'm dog tired by 9pm, it's working out well for us all.

So that's our life in a nutshell.  Travis continues to work and develop his ministry and is busy finishing up his remaining credits this fall.  Mia continues to grow a little bigger each day and is definitely in her "terrible twos," which is in one sense awful because some days it feels like she spends the entire day in time-out, but in another sense incredible when I think back how much she has changed since last summer.  Life continues on, and we are becoming more and more excited for the day when our son will finally join us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Are You Doing Next Saturday?

If your answer is, "Nothing," or "I don't know," and you're in the Indianapolis area, you should come to a fun filled evening at our Love Makes a Family benefit dance!  The evening is for the entire family, complete with dancing, dessert buffet, silent auction, and activities & games for the kids.  Dancing is certainly not a prerequisite.  Come enjoy an evening of fellowship as we raise funds to help bring our son and the Hennessy's daughter home from Ethiopia. 

Tickets are just $5 a person, with a maximum of $25 a family.  The dance starts at 6:30pm and runs until 9:00pm at our church, Mt. Auburn United Methodist, in Greenwood.  Along with dancing and desserts, we'll also have a silent auction full of goodies.  Just to tempt you, some of the items we'll have up for auction include:
  • 4 weeks of classes at Gymboree Play & Music
  • Private Wine Tasting for you and 20 friends at Mallow Run Winery
  • A private suite at a Fever game
  • Photography packages from 3 different Indianapolis photographers
  • Lots of gift certificates to your favorite restaurants
  • Beautiful handmade items
  • & LOTS more!
If you haven't already purchased your tickets, you can do so by using the link to the right, or by emailing:  If you'd like to help us out by bringing a dessert of any kind, just send us an email letting us know what you'd like to bring. 

Please come out and help support our families and the ministry of adoption!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finally Moving Forward

I wanted to share a few things related to our current adoption.  I know I haven't really blogged about it for awhile, but there hasn't been too much to tell.  We started the process back in the fall, and then found ourselves in a holding pattern while we waited for tax time to roll around (for various reasons, but mostly for Uncle Sam's refund!)  Our taxes were filed over two weeks ago and our process is now moving again!  We've finished up our final 3 visits with our social worker with lightening speed (just another joy of the adoption process - while we were waiting, the rules changed yet again and we had to meet with her a total of 4 times instead of just twice.  She was awesomely understanding, and in order to keep us going, set up our last 3 meetings at our home.)

So now she's furiously writing our homestudy so we can file our pre-immigration paperwork with the US government.  And once we are fingerprinted and receive our magical I-171H back from USCIS, our dossier will finally be sent off to Ethiopia.  We're hoping this could be sometime in April.  Ironically, our last DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) date for Mia was 5/8/08.  Wouldn't it be strange to end up around the same time again?

And then our "official" wait begins again.  Infant boy referrals have increased slightly to 5-7 months wait, but I'm really not worrying too much about it, which is not at all like my personality and totally unlike our first time around.  While I am super excited to be done with all this paperwork and being scrutinized, and also to see my son's face and return to Ethiopia, part of me is a little sad that my one-on-one time with Mia will be coming to an end.   It took us a good while to get into a good rountine and adjust to all the change, and while she and I certainly have our moments, we're having a great time together.  She's at such a fun stage, and I love the flexibility that comes with her growing age.

That doesn't mean I'm not excited to bring our son home, I just know it'll be some major adjustments for us all.  The end result will totally be worth it, and I know Mia will be the best big sister ever.  

We've also got some more fundraising events scheduled in the coming months, the biggest being our Love Makes a Family Adoption Dance, which we are co-hosting with our friends' the Hennessy's on Saturday, April 9th.  The evening will include dancing, desserts, a silent auction, and of course more infomation about adoption.  See our new tab across the top for more detailed info.  You can purchase tickets either via email or through our Paypal link to the right.