Monday, December 22, 2014

Adoption Update: A Big Thank You and Why Your Prayers Matter

A few days ago, I updated you all with our big adoption news - we've been matched with twins.  And I've been so grateful for the response.  So I just want to say thank you and how much this means to us as a family.

I've had some people question why we tell when we've been matched so early on...or why we even say anything at all.  They think we're seeking attention or praise or that we're possibly setting ourselves up for a big letdown if it falls through.  The first couldn't be farther from the truth; and the second, well, yes, that is possible, but it's still so worth it to tell as many people as we can.  And why is that?

Because of the prayers.

You see, we saw the incredible power of prayer when we adopted our son in 2012: 

As soon as we began the adoption process for the first time in 2010, we began praying for all our future birthmothers and children (because we hoped to adopted more than once).  And we asked everyone we knew to pray for us, our birthmothers, and babies.  We knew this was so important, but little did we know how important it would truly be...

When we met our son's loving and courageous birthmother, she knocked our socks off with this amazing story.  She said (something like this):

"When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared and had no clue what to do.  I was so depressed and felt so alone.  Then, I found XYZ agency.  Next, I saw your profile and knew you were the family.  And I just knew people had been praying for me because I felt at peace, and I knew I was making the right decision."

We both were struck speechless by her words.  We (and many of our friends and family) had been praying for her for 2 years...well before we knew her.  And she felt those prayers.  She knew we had been praying for her.  They truly helped her. 

Every time I even think about her words, I get goosebumps.  Yes, I know God listens to our prayers and answers them.  But to hear and see our prayers working right before our very eyes?  It just blows me away to even think about it.  And then to think about all of the prayers we say for others that we don't see how they're answered.  Wow.  

So that's why I talk about our adoptions a lot...and every time I do, I ask for prayers...

Prayers for the agency for wisdom and guidance in their counseling.

Prayers for the birthmother for peace, strength, and guidance.

Prayers for the babies for whatever is best for them and for their health.

Prayers for my family for peace and strength and that we trust in God's will.

You don't realize how powerful your prayers are.  They really, truly help us.  More than you know.  So thank you, my dear friends, for praying for all of us!  You don't know how much it means to us!

Merry Christmas and may you have a wonderful time celebrating with your family!

1/29/15 Update:  This match with the twins has fallen through.  Please continue to keep us all in prayer - your prayers are appreciated and mean so much to us.  Thank you!  -Jess

Linking up with Mommy Moments with Faith,
Capture Your Journey Wednesday with Amber,
and Make a Difference Mondays with Sybil

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Advent 2014: Week 4

I can't believe we are at the last week of Advent already. This month has flown by! I'm really getting excited for Christmas this year...the kids are loving all the fun activities we've been doing. I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning! :)

Here's my plan for this week:

(In case you want other ideas, here are weeks onetwo and three!)

Daily Verses for Reflection:
S:  Luke 3:21-22
M:  Luke 2: 25-32
T:  Matthew 2:1-2
W:  Matthew 2:9-10
R:  Matthew 2:11  (Merry Christmas!)

Family Activities:
See a living nativity.
Have a fun cute is that? I might just try for the donuts! :)


Craft Ideas: 
Act out the Nativity story.

Make birthday card/cake for Baby Jesus.

Candy cane craft and tell story of candy cane.


Below I have posted some affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on those links. Please see the disclosure page for more info!

Kid Books/Movies:

A Special Place for Santa Book
A Special Place for Santa - a great way to tie Santa into Christmas without having him take over!

The Story of Christmas Board Book

The Story of Christmas - I love board books, and we own several from this author. Great to take to church to help entertain the little ones :)

We are going to be spending this week a little more in prayer and probably not watch any movies. I hope you all have had a peaceful Advent! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adoption Update: We've Been Matched x 2!

1/29/15 Update:  This match has fallen through.  (You can read more here if you wish.)  Please continue to keep all of us in prayer!  -Jess

It's been very busy around my house lately...because we have received some big news regarding our adoption!


Times 2!

So we figured we needed to update our "#3 Waiting for you..." picture from this:

To this! ;)

So here's the roller coaster ride to how we got there...

About a month ago, we were matched with a potential birthmother...who was due with twins...on Christmas Day!  We were so excited - twins!  We knew it would be a lot of work, but so amazing too.  We were just elated!

However, the agency was very leery of the situation, but felt it was worth looking into.  This definitely made us nervous.  I can't get into much detail, but we met with the potential birthmother, and in the end, it did not work out.

We were sad about the situation, but knew that God has a special little one out there for us.  This has happened to us before.  We had a fall through before we were matched with our son's birthmother.  If that fall through wouldn't have happened, we wouldn't have our little boy.  And he was always meant to be in our family.

It's just difficult at first because it's too hard not to get your hopes up when you get that first call.  You try to guard your heart, but it's impossible to not imagine that little one (or little ones!) as a part of your family.  So we were sad, but hopeful too.

So after speaking with the agency all morning, I got back to daily life.  Then...two hours later, my cell phone rings.  It's the agency again.  I answer, figuring that they forgot to tell me something about the match that didn't work out.

Instead, I'm greeted with, "Guess what?!  You're already matched again!"  I just started laughing hysterically.  Apparently, that's my reaction to shock and amazement. ;)

After I apologized for laughing, she goes on to say, "And can you believe it?  It's twins again!"  More hysterical laughter from me.

Yeah, I couldn't believe it either, Buster! ;)

Seriously.  Yes, seriously.  Two hours after the Christmas twins fall through, we're matched with another birthmother due with twins.  You just can't make this stuff up!

So we have now met with this courageous young woman, and are planning on getting together several more times before the twins are due, which is the beginning of March (but we are expecting them to arrive in February).  We are sooooo excited!

But in the middle of our excitement, we have to remember that she can still change her mind up until she signs the consent after their birth.  And that is nerve racking.  So we will be preparing our house and lives for the hopeful arrival of twins in February, but at the same time, praying for whatever is best for these babies.  And that may or may not be with us.  It's such a hard prayer to say.  But we've seen it's power before when we adopted Buster, and know that God's Plan for our family is always better than we could ever dream up for ourselves.  (We've seen it so many times!)

So, in this joyful and nervous time for us, will you please do me a favor?  Please pray for our dear birthmother - for peace, strength, and guidance in her decision.  For the birthfather.  For health and what's best for the twins.  And for our family - for peace and strength as well.   

Thank you, my dear friends.  You don't know how much your prayers mean to us.  Where would we be in this world without being prayer warriors for each other?!

Aaaaahhhh, I've been so excited to share this news!  I'll keep you updated!
Edit (12/22/14):  I've updated our story a little more here on how your prayers help us...  Merry Christmas!

Sharing my 
Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie,
5 on Friday/Friday Faves
along with DarciNatashaChristinaApril
KarliAmyAndreaErika, and Narci,  
 (This is my favorite news for our family this year, 
and it's 5 crazy/exciting/nerve-racking things: 
(twins (2) + twins (2) + big news (1) = 5!),
Week's End with Elizabeth
 Mommy Moments with Faith
and Coffee Date with Jenna and Jenna

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent 2014: Week 3

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a great week - we made lots of Christmas cookies and just got back from our Polish Christmas party (more on that later this week!). Here are my ideas/plan for this upcoming week:

Daily Verses for Reflection:
S:  Luke 2: 13-14
M:  Luke 2: 15-18
T:  Psalm 95:6
W:  Luke 2: 19-20
R:  Luke 2: 33-35
F:  Luke 2:21
S:  Luke 2:22-24

Family Activities:
Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
Build a snowman (if you can!)

Craft Ideas: 

Build gingerbread houses. This is one of mine from a few years ago - Bag End from Lord of the Rings...Gandalf is walking up to the door to talk to Bilbo :). Find more of our over-the-top ideas here.

baby jesus in a manger handprint craft

Make a hand print manger.

Below I have posted some affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on those links. Please see the disclosure page for more info!

Kid Books/Movies

The Christmas Story  - I love Little Golden Books :)

Product Details

A Garfield Christmas - if you haven't seen this, rent it!! It's so funny and actually has a good meaning behind it. :)

Have a joyful week!

Linking up with Cait, Katie, Annie, and Lisa for their Holiday Link Up

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jessica's Favorite Christmas Traditions

One of the best parts about Christmas is spending time with our families and celebrating all of our traditions together.  These are my family's favorite ones...what are yours? 

1.  Christmas Tree Traditions.  My family always strung popcorn to use as garland around the tree, and Jim's family always put red bows all over the we do both.  Although with a 2 year old little boy who eats everything in sight, we have opted to wait a few years to put popcorn on the tree again!

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Christmas Tree Traditions -

Another tradition I love is our ornaments.  All of ours are ones we've picked up on vacations or are handmade or were given to us as gifts.  I love it because every ornament has a special meaning or memory.  It's like flipping through the pages of a scrapbook when we decorate our tree.

2.  Gingerbread Houses.  Nearly every year, my family has an epic gingerbread house making day.

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party -

We come up with our ideas months in advance, draw up design plans, and keep it all hush hush - heaven forbid someone steal your idea!

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party -

Over the years, we've had some seriously good creations.  We've made Bag End from the Lord of the Rings (complete with Gandalf and staff ;)...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party - Bag End The Lord of the Rings The Hobbit -

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party - Bag End The Lord of the Rings The Hobbit -
Snoopy's dog house (complete with the Charlie Brown Christmas tree ;)...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party - Snoopy's Dog House Charlie Brown Christmas Tree -

the Colts football stadium (complete with Super Bowl Champions banners ;)...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party - Lucas Oil Stadium Go Colts -
the Nativity scene, a covered bridge, Spongebob's Pineapple under the sea, a sandcastle, and so on...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party -

And then we take ridiculous and silly family pictures we take afterwards...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions -
Somehow our brother Matt always ends up at the bottom of the pile...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions -
And now the kids end up under him...

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions -
We only like each other just a little if you couldn't tell ;)

I love seeing how our family grows every year!

3.  Celebrating Advent.  The kids have a cloth countdown calendar where they add a new character to the Nativity scene each day until Christmas.  They also have a Felt Nativity to play with that I made for them.  We light the candles on the Advent wreath every Sunday at dinner.  And this was my first year to use the Blessed is She's Advent Reflection Journal to prepare myself for Jesus's coming this Christmas...and it's been excellent.  I love it.

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Celebrating Advent with the Saints - St. Nicholas Day Traditions -
St. Nicholas Day!

We also celebrate several of the saint's feast days in December:  St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) with treats in our shoes, St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 9 and 12) with watching and acting out their story and eating Mexican food, and St. Lucy (Dec. 13) with driving around looking at Christmas lights (the name Lucy means "light"). 

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Celebrating Advent with the Saints - St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe Traditions -
Our Lady of "Guada-loopy" as she says ;)
And speaking of that...

4.  Christmas Lights.  There are several places in town that have huge Christmas light displays...several of them coordinated with music too.  There's something about Christmas lights that are so magical!  Plus, I love hearing the kids squeal with excitement when they see them!

5.  Christmas Morning.  Last, but not least!  My favorite Christmas Day traditions are sitting at the top of the steps to read the Nativity story and then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  He is the whole reason we celebrate Christmas, so we start off the day focusing on Him and His Birth!

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions -
Reading the Nativity story on Christmas morning

So what are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?  We hope you are having a blessed holiday season so far!  Can't believe it - less than 2 weeks to go now!!!

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House Making Party -

Instagram  ǀ  Bloglovin'  ǀ  Pinterest

Sharing my Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie,
5 on Friday/Friday Faves along with DarciNatashaChristinaApril
KarliAmyAndreaErika, and Narci,
Week's End with Elizabeth, and
Cait, Katie, Annie, and Lisa for their Holiday Link Up

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...