Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Two Boys and a Dog


Goodness gracious I love these boys!!


So does our sweet dog.  Wherever they go... she goes. 

All day.

Every day.

In and out.

In and out.

Ever faithful. Ever watchful.


She doesn't get the award for being the brightest dog in the world... but she definitely gets one for being faithful!


She is sweet beyond words.





She's going to miss them over the next few days.

We are heading to Pittsburgh for a Classical Christian School Convention.

Little boys get to enjoy the city with Papa during the convention hours.  They are SO EXCITED.

I am excited too. Traveling with family by my side is rare and sweet!
Even though I have to work and they get to run around the city, this convention is easier than most which means I'm not standing all day. I get to read and relax during sessions. And in the evening I  get to hang with my guys.

It's a win win.

--------------------------------

We are waiting on travel dates at this point to go meet Mary.

Waiting and waiting.

We found out two weeks ago that Mary's file did not code epilepsy, so we are in the slow waiting line.

At this point we are figuring we will be traveling the middle to end of August.

Ugh!

Please pray for our little girl. Pray that her heart would be open to our family. Pray that she won't be transferred out of the baby house. Pray for peace for us as we wait and trust.  Definitely pray for the peace and trust part!! I'm a bit of a failure in trusting with peace at this point. Waiting is SO HARD!


 






Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The World Stopped



I couldn't breathe when I saw her.  I had been looking for her.  I knew she was coming, but when she came walking into my aisle I stopped breathing.  The world stopped.  Nothing else mattered but her. And me. And the distance it took for me to kneel before her. 





The last time I had seen her was a little over a year before. Our last moments with her never to be forgotten.   Our hearts shredded into pieces when she whispered to the director she didn't want us to be her family. We never considered in a million years she would turn us away. It was unthinkable. 



There she was, standing before me on this side of the ocean, and I wanted nothing more than to grab her and hold her and tell her how much we had wanted her. I wanted to flee the building with this girl wrapped in my arms. Instead, I whispered to her how proud I was that she had said yes to a family. I told her how brave she was. I told her how happy I was that she had now a Mama and a Papa and brothers and sisters. I told her she was beautiful. I told her I loved her.  We played a bit at the preschool booth nearby. And then she walked away down the aisle with her Papa beside her. She took my heart with her.



I went back to work that day, tears sliding quietly down my cheeks as I shared with people about our curriculum.  It was the hardest of moments. Despite this, I consider it a kindness of God to allow me to have that moment with her. The family she chose is wonderful and I am grateful to the Lord that she is safely folded into their world.


Adoption is risky and hard. You cross the ocean to bring home a child with nothing more than a picture and a few words on a piece of paper. Anything can happen. Countries close in the middle of the process.  Dossiers are submitted and denied. Children die before families get to them. War upends the process. The child you crossed the ocean to bring home is no longer available. Or they say no. Or you say no because the words on the paper do not match the child in real life.

And then you come home.

And the child you thought you loved is not exactly as you pictured or considered. Family is not exactly as they pictured it either. And you slip into a trench. Sometimes for a few months. Sometimes for years. And sometimes forever.

I used to shout loud and hard for families to adopt.

I used to yell and scream for the ones we left behind.

But watching the heartache, the hard, the loss, the trenches has caused my voice to grow hoarse at times. How can I tell you to adopt when I know the heart-wrenching part of it? How can I tell you to adopt when I know you may lose everything? How can I tell you to adopt when that child may die on this side of the ocean? How can I tell you to adopt when the picture and words may not match the child? How can I tell you to adopt knowing that tears may be your mantle for a season? Or a lifetime? How?

We have seen the ugly. We have watched families shipwreck. We have advocated for children who have been disrupted from their families.  We have seen families grieve the death of their child over here. We have watched families fall apart over adoption. Husbands have left wives and vice versa. We have experienced the trenches.

Yet, we still believe that adoption is good and right.

Just because it is hard and heart wrenching and risky - doesn't mean we stop.

There are children across the ocean who need families.

They need families willing to accept the risks and the heartache and the reality of the trenches and go anyway. Because children belong in families not institutes.

We have seen the ugly and we are going back.  I look at my boys each day and thank the Lord they are here. With us. Despite all their challenges. Despite the 40+ trips to Shriners. Despite the trenches. Despite the cost of two extra mouths. Despite the reality that we will probably never have that moment in our lives when it is just the two of us. We are going back. I may not be shouting very loud about adoption but going back is my witness.  It's my form of shouting right now.  I KNOW adoption is hard. I KNOW that those who go and bring home their child or children will be bruised and beaten and will wonder what in the world they have just done. I KNOW the questions. I KNOW. 

You may lose everything. You may have your heart ripped out. You may hear a child whisper a "no" to you. You may see that child again in someone else's family and you may shed a tear or two or a thousand. It's all possible.

But if God is tapping on your heart - Then you need to act. 

Because it's God tapping.

And when He taps - you really need to listen.

Pray. Advocate. Adopt.


Children belong in families not institutes.
























Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nesting


I'm heading off for Lancaster, PA for ANOTHER convention this weekend.

The last three days at home I've been nesting.  Yep. 

The kind of nesting where you take a toy room and turn it into a little girl's room.



I've done this once before but the last time it was with caution. 

This time we have thrown caution to the wind.



Don't get me wrong.

I'm terrified.

I'm still gasping for breath and it is hard beyond words to stay focused on the everyday mundane stuff like running a business.

Right now I'm going through the motions.

There are no guarantees in Mary's country. You can't put a hold on a child.  We could lose her before ever laying eyes on her.  The risk is great for our hearts to be broken again.

But we stepped out in faith and in faith I am making room for a little wisp of a girl to be part of our family.

I'm not finished yet but the last three days we've made some cute progress!!


The little boys lost their toy room but have had some cool stuff added to their bedroom. Their beds were raised to add storage underneath and they are waiting for their matching nightstands with bookshelves to arrive tomorrow.  We cleaned out the linen closet and it is now the Lego closet.

I went around yesterday and took pictures of the house and rooms for Mary's photo album.

I am nesting.

It makes what we are doing real in my heart.

I know another family who is also nesting.

They are also waiting for travel dates.

They are rearranging their house and worrying and trying to hold the terror back.

They are adopting three children.


One has cancer.

Yes. You read that right.

He's been on the oncology ward in his country and chances are they will be adopting him out of the hospital.

They understand cancer in an intimate way. They have a son with cancer. 

They are also adopting two older girls.


Both are aging out soon so this is virtually their last chance at a family.

Three children.

All three are unfortunately in three different parts of the country making the costs for this adoption extremely expensive.  $55,000 expensive.

Thankfully they will be receiving $30,000 in grant funds from the Older Child grant accounts which brings their costs down to $25,000.00.

Still. 

They have paid out some of that by emptying their savings. They have been selling what they can to cover a bit more of it.

They are planning on borrowing for the rest.

Please let's keep them from having to borrow.

They have a matching grant right now for $930.00.

When their grant account reaches $1697.00 then that grant is matched.

But it is just a drop in their bucket.

Please, help me help this family!

They are going to get travel dates any day now. 

If you have anything at all - would you give?

Anything!!



I'd love to see their grant account overflowing before I get back from PA on Saturday night!!









Monday, May 29, 2017

I Want to Breathe Again



Tuesday is the LAST DAY for the Build Your Bundle sale.



I'm sharing the link here again because this really is a cool sale.

Plus... if you buy through our link then we get a portion of the sale and all the money we make is going to cover plane tickets for Mary so we do have a vested interest in the sale doing well!!!

So do me a favor and at least go check the sale out.  There are a whole host of great curriculum in this sale to choose from..



CLICK HERE to get to the sale.

--------------------------------------------

We were sent new pictures of Mary this weekend. 

I was in Florida at the homeschool convention when the pictures were sent.

They undid me.  I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't focus. 

I COULDN'T BREATHE!!

I don't want to be here right now.

I don't want to wait 3 weeks or 3 months.

I want to breathe again.

I want to breathe again.

We won't know for another week or so what our timetable is going to be. 3 weeks or 3 months.  Honestly, 3 weeks is a crazy nightmare because we have a convention and a wedding and Shriners appointments but we don't care....

We will drop it all.

Breathing is much more important.

There is a little girl on the other side of the ocean who has taken our breath away.

Please, Dear Lord... Please!!












Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Purchased. Today.



He's just a simple bear.


Stuffed with fluff and very little brain.


A simple little bear for a little girl across the ocean.

Purchased.

Today.

Because yesterday our dossier was submitted.

And just like that the reality of this adoption has taken hold of our hearts.

We have a room to prepare.

Because soon - soon - a little girl is going to be living in this house.

Oh My Heart!

I can't breathe.

I am gasping for air.

I don't want to lose her.

I don't want to lose her!

Oh Dear Lord - Please!

We were submitted.

All that's left is to wait for travel dates.

And here's the crazy because with adoption - there is always crazy...

We could travel in one month.

We could travel in three months.

The timetable is dependent upon the wording in Mary's file.

In her country, they have created a punch list of special needs that a child could have that are considered urgent. If a child has those any of those special needs on that list then their adoption is expedited.  Fast-tracked. Mary has epilepsy. Epilepsy is on the special list.

IF Mary's file has the correct coding for epilepsy then we will be crossing the ocean in a month.

If Mary's file does not have that coding then we will be crossing the ocean in three months.

We won't know either way for another two weeks.

That's crazy!

Honestly, we don't think the coding will be correct on her file.  But we are laying the groundwork to leave in 4 weeks just in case.

I would drop everything to be able to leave in 4 weeks.

Mountains be gone.... Gasping for air is hard on the lungs!

A boys' toy room is being transformed into a room for a princess.

Sheets for her bed are on the way.  A comforter. 

And a bear.

Filled with fluff and with very little brain.

But ready to valiantly cross the ocean to bring home the one who will whisper secrets in his ear at night.

Soon.

Soon.

Dear Lord - Please!














Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Live!!

The Build Your Bundle Sale is LIVE!!

Click HERE to check it out!

I don't often do advertisement on this blog but this sale is one of a kind. None of the material that is in the sale this year was in last year's sale except for one back by popular demand curriculum!! It's all new material!

For all of us moms who have special needs kids... there is a Special Needs bundle that I have already bought!! 

Three of BiblioPlan's products are in this sale including our Medieval Days Audio book, our brand new Giants of the Faith Ancients and our Hands on States Notebooking!!

I highly recommend you check this sale out if you are a homeschooling mom or if you teach school!!

BUILD YOUR BUNDLE STARTS NOW!
From 8AM EST for only 9 days!

The ONLY bundle sale that lets YOU pick & choose what to purchase!

 There are 234 products priced up to $120 that you can choose from. There is even a NO PRICE CAP bundle this year!


Don't forget that if you buy 2 Build Your OWN Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE!
Let me do some math for you:

Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Five for just $50! That is 15 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 83%!
Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Ten for $78! That is 30 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 87%
Purchase 3 Premium Bundles of Five and get the best savings!
  • 15 Products with NO PRICE CAP
  • Choose from 234 products priced up to $120
  • Total potential value: $1,094.91 for just $78.00! You can save up to 93% with the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE deal when you Build Your Own Premium Bundles!
Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.
Save up to 96% on 20 individual bundles packed full of resources for your home and school!
  • *All new products and no duplicates throughout the bundles!
  • Over 240 products from 112 authors
  • Cathy Duffy Top Pick Publishers
  • 3 Build Your OWN Options - you can pick and choose what YOU want with an option for no price caps!
  • Get the Bundle of Bonuses Book for FREE with ANY purchase. This is loaded with over $250 in freebies and awesome sales and deals!
*The only repeat products from prior years are Ellen McHenry's curriculum because it is wildly popular. We bundled it all up in one bundle this year!

Remember - these bundles will NEVER be sold again. For 8 days only you can take advantage of prices starting at just $9.95 (up to 96% off!)



Don't forget that if you buy 2 Individual Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE! Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.

Take a look at the individual bundles and how much you will save:

If you would prefer, you can Build Your OWNBundle!





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Corrected Build Your Bundle Link

To enter the giveaway please use THIS LINK! The post from yesterday will be correct now but it wasn't yesterday. So to enter, hurry and go now!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Build Your Bundle - Oh My!!

I am not big on advertising stuff on this blog but once a year we put some of our BiblioPlan products in this cool Build Your Bundle sale for homeschoolers and teachers.



Since many of you are homeschoolers I don't feel guilty telling you about this sale.  I can't share what products from BiblioPlan are in the bundle sale this year - you will have to wait until Monday because that is when it starts. I can say that I was allowed to make my purchases early and I was thrilled at what I bought!! 


I can also say that if you click THIS LINK you can enter the Build Your Bundle Giveaway. If you win you get some really cool prizes...






 Even if you don't win.. you will get a coupon good off a Build Your OWN Bundle which means you can pick all the cool BiblioPlan products we have in the sale plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff!!


This is the ONLY bundle sale that lets YOU pick and choose what to purchase!


There are 234 products priced up to $120 that you can choose from. There is even a NO PRICE CAP bundle this year!


AND.... if you buy 2 Build Your OWN Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE!

Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.

Besides the build your own bundles... there are great packaged bundles.

Charlotte Mason, Early Learning, Character Building, Elementary, Upper Grades, SPECIAL NEEDS, Unit Studies and more and more and more...

There are bundles for everyone... including a fun mystery bundle!! 


So go check it out... enter to win... and get ready for the best sale of the year...





Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sometimes You Just Gotta Brag....


I don't brag on my older boys very much even though they make me so proud so much of the time.

But I just need to stop and brag a bit this morning....

Yesterday Elijah was SUPPOSED to walk the aisle and receive an Associates in Computer Science degree with honors but he was a bit busy following the Yellow Brick Road...


He figured being a scarecrow is definitely much more fun than wearing a robe and listening to a bunch of speeches.


Plus, he gets to stick an oil can in his brother's face which is definitely a highlight for him!!


And for Rob and me... to see BOTH OUR SONS on stage is precious!



They blew me away last night with their talented acting and gorgeous voices!






I am just so very very proud of them....




And we are also really proud of Aaron who was also rocking the stage last night as a monkey!! He was adorable! It is definitely his favorite part ever!! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share of him.  I backstage manage so I am dependent upon everyone else taking pictures of my actors!!


If you are in the area, tickets for the shows can be found HERE







Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kind Acts and an Announcement!!


Sometimes silence needs to be broken.

Sometimes a commitment made needs to be set aside for a moment in order to acknowledge the kind acts of others.

This is one of those times.

Sweet friends have been fundraising for us.

Beautiful works of art by a former orphan have been auctioned on behalf of our little girl across the ocean.

An amazing fundraising full of prizes is currently in process. The young lady who is doing the fundraiser truly has a heart of gold.

Donations have been quietly coming in from so many of you that we are just overwhelmed beyond words. 

We are so very grateful for each and every kind act being shown towards us and Mary.

Our little Mary's puzzle is definitely not going to be blank!! 

Though we are not fundraising.... God is providing through all of these kind acts and I need to break my silence and acknowledge them.

Thank you to each and every one who has so lovingly given!!


This morning we found out WE HAVE BEEN APRROVED BY IMMIGRATION!!

Our official approval paper should be here some time next week.

All the rest of our dossier is already in country so all we need to do is get that paper over there and we can be submitted.

Then we just wait for travel dates.

We are projecting travel between August and October!

It's coming fast and we can't wait.

Please keep praying for Mary. For our process.  Pray that mountains lay low and paths remain cleared for this adoption. Pray that our little girl is not transferred from the babyhouse. Pray protection around her heart and that fear will not keep her from family.



CLICK HERE to get to Leah Hardwick's amazing fundraiser





Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Gotcha Day, John


Two years ago today, May 8, he walked out of the orphanage and into our lives...


Our son.


He was so little!



 He rocked our world!


We love him.



We cherish him.


John Edward Nalle


Happy Gotcha Day!!









Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Just Consider for a Moment




Here's what I know.... If I don't share about their need - then you can't respond.

So I am sharing again. 

Often we see that the families need thousands and we think that our little measly 5.00 isn't going to make a tiny bit of difference so we throw up our hands and walk away. 

But if everyone who had a measly little 5.00 gave that measly five... then those measly fives begin to add up to a lot more than that. 

I've seen it happen over and over and over again.


All I'm asking is for you to consider just giving 5.00 dollars.  Pick a family and donate 5.00. 

That's all.

At least pray about it.  Pray and consider for a moment what 5.00 feels like to the family.  Consider how 5.00 feels to a family who is scrambling around trying to do this and that and the other to get  ready to cross the ocean... or consider the family sitting over there now - short on funds but trusting that God will provide.  Consider how they feel when they see their grant account jump. Even a tiny jump.  Watch them smile a bit as they realize that someone out there cares enough to give to them.  They are not alone. They are not without support and encouragement. Though they may not know you - though they may never meet you on this side of heaven - they are touched by your kind act.

Do a kind act today.

Find 5.00 in your wallet.

Pick a family and let them know you care.







The Steinhoff's are adopting these two lovies.... They are about $2,200 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $5,200 to be fully funded.





The Hefner Family  are currently IN COUNTRY and are getting to spend time each day loving on their new lovie!!  Their grant account needs to read $7,000 to be fully funded. They are about 3,600 short.









The Thorp family  and are still $3,500 short of funds and are now in country. Their grant account needs to read $6,500 to be fully funded.




The Thomas family  is still $2,800 short of being fully funded. Their grant account needs to read 6,600 to be funded. They will be flying out this weekend to bring their lovie home for good!



Just 5.00

Thank you!!


P.S. The Hollisters won the chocolate!! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Don't You Hear His Tapping?



It's Friday. It's beautiful outside. The Lord has been blessing us abundantly with donations for our Mary. I could sit here content and enjoying my first day off in a very long time.


But then I would miss the amazing opportunity of sharing with you about four familes.


Four crazy, what we saw changed our lives, we have room at the table, adoption-loving families who are either across the ocean or packing their bags because they are leaving in a matter of days...

Three families have adopted and adopted again.  Some have adopted and adopted and adopted etc...

In the eyes of the world - they are nuts!!

Truly!

In the eyes of the One who matters most... they are doing exactly what He has called them to do.

Of course they are not fully funded.

Yet, they are still going.

Trusting. Believing. Relying on the One who has called them.

Four families.


The Steinhoff's are adopting these two lovies.... They have children from every part of the world and have no problem finding room at their table for two more. I love this family!! I've had the privilege of meeting them at the reunions!! They are about $2,200 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $5,200 to be fully funded.




The Hefner Family is adopting this precious little lovie and I can't wait to see her.  Rob and I had the privilege of spending time with the Hefners on their last adoption. They are the sweetest family in the world!! They are still 5,000 short of being funded but it hasn't stopped them. They are currently IN COUNTRY and are getting to spend time each day loving on their new lovie!!  Their grant account needs to read $7,000 to be fully funded.







The Thorp family had their hearts broken when they brought home two treasures a few years.  It was the kind of heart breaking that is calling them to go back to rescue a sweet girl from a life on the streets.  I haven't had the privilege of meeting the Thorps but they are doing us a great kindness by carrying some of our precious documents across the ocean for us!!  They are leaving on Monday and are still $3,600 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $6,500 to be fully funded.



The Thomas family is adopting a precious little girl they were able to host last summer. She stole their hearts.  Pure and simple theft.  They have been racing like mad since she left to bring her home for good. Doesn't she fit quite nicely between them??? They are leaving next week!! They are still $3,000 short of being fully funded. Their grant account needs to read 6,600 to be funded.


All four families are responding to the Lord's tapping on their hearts.

God calls some to adopt.

He calls the rest of us to come alongside those families.

He taps on our hearts to give.

On this Friday... will you pick one, two, three or four of these families and give? They are all at the end of the process.  Every single donation - whether five dollars or five hundred - is a gift. Money is not stopping them but it is also a huge huge stress for each of them.


If I didn't share about them... you wouldn't know... now that you know....

Don't you hear the Lord tapping?


And here's a special incentive...

If you give within the next 48 hours - whether five or five hundred - to any or all of the families - let me know because I have a sweet little gift I want to send someone.


Donate and leave a comment either here or on facebook or e-mail me at covenantb@yahoo.com and on Sunday I will pick a name and send this sweet chocolate to one of you!

It's my way of saying thank you.