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.