Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Of course we get dressed up and go trick-or-treating with our kiddos.  Don't you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Casey Wiegand (the coolest chick I don't know but wish we were besties so I could borrow her clothes all the time) posted awhile back in regards to assumptions people make about her and her family.  At the time I thought, how rude that people would just assume things about some girl that they don't even know.  Now, that is hitting a little too close to home.  You see, we are all guilty of assuming things about others.  We are, by nature, a pretty judgemental society.  We look at others around us and make our assumptions about them based on the car they drive, or the clothes they wear, or the things they do/don't let their kids do, etc.  I think it's safe to assume that pretty much everything we assume doesn't hold any weight.

Like one might assume that because we sent out well designed and nicely printed letters of support, that they set us back a pretty penny.  Maybe a better assumption would be that my hubby is an incredible graphic designer who has a great relationship with his printing company and maybe that printing company very generously offered to print them for free?  That would be crazy talk. 

Or maybe one might assume that the awesome 2 page ad in a local magazine on the Hubby's business probably cost us several thousand dollars?  One might assume that it is ironic that we sent out letters of support the same week this was featured?  Did anyone ever think that maybe the Hubby is a rock star who's business is worthy of being featured because it is awesome, not because we paid for it?  Maybe one should assume that one of the perks of a well respected web designer is that his clients treat him every once in awhile because he deserves it for working his cute little booty off all the time?

Someone might assume that this adoption is too much for us to handle.  Someone might assume that this is going to take a huge toll on us financially and that we won't be able to give 4 children enough love and attention.  Some might assume that we are in over our heads.  To those people I would say, if you don't have anything nice to assume then don't assume anything at all. 

Here are a few assumptions that DO hold weight with us:

1.  We are honest and open.  If you have any questions about us or our intentions, just ask. 
2.  The Hubby works on average 80-90 hours a week to keep up with his 2 full time jobs and to make sure that his family is taken care of.
3.  I have a job that I love where I only have to work 20 hours a week so that I can be a mom and wife the rest of the time and make sure that my family's physical and emotional needs are always met.
4.  We are responsible adults who would not make a life changing decision if it meant putting our family in jeopardy.
5.  We are not saints for adopting.  We are just following God's direction for our family and Silas will be a bigger blessing to us than we will be to him.
6.  Our kids are healthy and happy.  They cannot wait for their little brother to come home so they can have one more person to play with, and one more person to love.
7.  We do not like hearing negative things in regards to our adoption.  We know that it is not for everyone, but it is for us and we would appreciate only being surrounded by people who will support us through this, not ones who assume the worst.

This is an exciting time for our family.  We want the people who care about us to pray for us and walk along side of us through this process, giving encouragement along the way.  We were aware that sending out letters of support would make us a target for judgement.  We were aware that people would probably question every purchase we make or think that there are other ways we could cut corners in order to save more money.  We were aware that some would find it offensive.  We also knew that for the few people that would be offended, there would be 100 more that would do anything they could to help us.  To those people, thank you!  Thank you for your positive support and thank you for loving our family and helping us make this dream a reality.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slice of Humble Pie

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through." -Francis Chan

Well, Friday we did something that was completely out of our comfort zone.  We sent out letters of support for our adoption.  Every time I even talk about it, it makes me a little sweaty.  See, I don't ask for money.  I have worked since I was 13 years old and started babysitting.  I paid for my first car, I paid for anything extra I wanted, I paid for my first apartment and the hubby and I have paid for everything since.  Of course there have been the occasional, "Mom, can you put $40 in my account so I don't have any bounced checks"?  It still makes me a little uneasy when my parents pick up the check at dinner.  I'm a grown up.  I work hard.  I pay all of my bills.  We are responsible with money, don't have much debt, we tithe and save.  However, we don't have $35,000 for our adoption.  Who does?  If adoption wasn't so stinkin' expensive, maybe more people would do it?  We are going to apply for grants and have a couple of fundraisers, but we need several thousand dollars in the next couple of months in order to mail our dossier, so letters of support seemed like the best option at this time.  I prayed over those letters before we mailed them and asked that each person that received one would at least stick it on their refrigerator and remember to pray for us as we continue on this journey.  Here is the letter, let me know what you think! 

Dear Friends and Family,

Isn’t it funny how God has different plans for our life than we do? When we got married Holly wanted 4 kids. After Sophia and Lola we felt complete and the big surprise we call Beckham about did us in. Three kids in 5 years definitely taught us the important lesson that we can in fact do all things through Christ who strengthens us! It also taught us that God’s plans are so much bigger and better than our own. As most of you know, we feel God is calling us to adopt and provide a good home for a child who otherwise wouldn’t have one. Clearly, (as many people have pointed out) we don’t “need” to adopt. We already have a bunch of children! We do, however, feel called to live out the gospel to the world around us by being obedient to God.
For those of you who haven’t heard this news, let us get you caught up. 
We began the adoption process in August with Children’s House International, and have enrolled in their Ethiopian adoption program. What this means is that in the end we will bring home a sweet, baby boy who doesn’t “match” the rest of our family. You may wonder why we have chosen this route. 
First of all, we would like to keep the birth order the same and would love to adopt a boy so Beckham and Silas (his potential name) can enjoy the special bond that Sophia and Lola have. Secondly, we have chosen Ethiopia, because we have always had a heart for Africa. We currently sponsor two boys through Compassion International in Kenya and cannot wait to take a family mission trip there to visit them. Did you know that...
• One in ten children die before their first birthday
• One in six children die before their fifth birthday
• Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world
• Almost 82% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.
• Malnutrition levels are among the highest in the world.
• Ethiopia is home to 4-6 million orphans, or 12% of all children.
• Only 18 percent of children reach grade five. That means 82% of children don't.
• 44% of the population is under 15 years old
• Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
Whatever the reasons for these statistics may be the reality is that Ethiopian children have the odds stacked against them. We feel called to do something about it by adopting one of these children into our home.
We are sending out this letter to ask you, our friends and family, for support in the mission that we are embarking on for the rest of our lives.
First of all, and most importantly, we ask for prayer. We need to be lifted up in prayer for wisdom in our decisions, and for God to make our paths clear. Pray that God will continually protect our sweet baby and that he will be healthy and loved until we are blessed to bring him home. Pray that God would give us safe travel, as we will have to go to Ethiopia for 2 short visits.
Secondly, and almost as important, we would humbly like to ask for financial support. This is very hard for us to do as we both believe in working hard for what we have. This is making us step way out of our comfort zone but the reality is that adoption is very expensive. It’s just the way it is. In total we will need to have approximately $35,000 for this adoption. Anyway you shake it, it’s a LOT of money.
In obedience to God’s call, we have drained all of our savings to begin the process. We could take a few years and save up the rest of this money on our own, but because this is a very long process, we feel it is important for us to move forward now. We know we are in God’s will and know that He would not call us to do this without providing for us. With that, 
we feel like we need to be bold and in 
faith ask for what we need. We still 
need $25,000 to bring our son 
home. How in the world can we raise so much money in so little time? We can’t do it alone. It’s a God-sized dream.
There are a few easy ways to help.
You can mail us a check written to Keith and/or Holly Green or use a credit or debit card by donating through our   Paypal link on our blog. 
You could also support us by attending one of our fundraisers in the next few months. Every little bit helps.
God already has a sweet, baby boy in mind for us. We don’t know what he looks like or how old he is, we just know that he belongs in our family. He is our son and 
we need help to bring him home.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” 
- John 14:18

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parenting 1 to 3

It's so funny looking back on the kind of mother I have evolved into after three kids.  I grew up the oldest of three.  My parents were definitely harder on me than my siblings.  Probably because as a child, I was a parent's worst nightmare. Three years after me, my sister was born, who is definitely a middle child (and I love that about her).  She was, and still is, attached to my mother's hip.  She always made good choices and was a pleaser, my parents loved that about her and probably never even scolded her. Then came my brother 9 years later. He could have done anything he wanted. He was the baby, the boy, and my parents were old by the time they had him. He should have wound up in prison with my parents lack of parental gumption, but thankfully, has turned into a wonderful, Godly man.  (He's single, ladies!)  It always drove me crazy how my parents were totally different parents with each child.  Even though I don't want to admit it, I get it. I'm now that parent.

When you have your first child, you want to be the perfect parent and have the perfect child. You want to show the world that your baby is always perfectly put together, that they sleep through the night as soon as they come home from the hospital, that they are smarter than all the other kids, that they are great eaters and are popular. You have no idea what you are doing, so you over do everything. I can remember always talking about #1.  I thought everything she did was the greatest thing ever and just knew that everyone else felt the same way. Yeah, they don't. I would always make her "perform" in front of other people and would brag about how advanced she was. She never threw fits, was always dressed like a GAP model and never had a crumb on her face.  (At least not that anyone knew about!)

Enter child number 2. I can totally do this. We still had a consistent schedule. I loved dressing the girls alike, and there was always a bow in their hair. I could take them places and they would act like normal human beings and people would comment on how wonderful they were. There were 2 of them, there were 2 of us, and we were still in control. That was all fine and dandy until #2 turned 2. All of the sudden #1 was a little sassy mouth that argued with everything we said and #2 decided she had an opinion about everything. She didn't want to wear a bow in her hair, she liked to get dirty, she threw screaming fits in the middle of Target. The sisters no longer played nicely but tried to kill each other every few hours. What the hell happened here? What happened to my perfect little family?

Enter child number 3. Enter complete and total chaos. Now we're outnumbered. Now I don't care so much about schedules.  Now I don't care so much if they are all throwing screaming fits in Target, I just buy them some popcorn and a slush to shut them up so I can get my shopping done. I find myself saying yes instead of no. If the girls are trying to kill each other, I let them.  If baby boy hits me in the face because he's mad, I kiss all over him instead of battling a time out. If they all look like lost orphans when we are out and about, who cares? Who am I trying to impress? I now find myself laughing with friends about the fact that #2 said damn it 4 times yesterday instead of keeping that to myself because my precious angel would never do something like that! I'm now thrilled when everyone gets home from school and there were no color changes. I now choose my battles carefully.

That's a big one. Choosing your battles. What is worth getting my panties in a wad over, and what is not? Do I get upset when #1 has a different opinion than I do and will argue it, or delight in the fact that she is slowly growing into a strong women that knows what she wants and goes after it? Do I fight with #2 when she wants to go to school looking like she's been wandering the streets for days, or give her props for having enough confidence to own what she's wearing, even if she looks homeless. Do I stand over baby boy as he's learning to walk, or let him fall a few times and get a couple of knots on his head? Do I care more about what my children look like on the outside or how they are being shaped on the inside?

There's a lot of freedom that comes with parenting multiple children when you stop caring about what your family looks like on the outside and start caring about what we really look like on the inside.  When you stop caring what other mom's think of you, and do what you know is best for your family.  When you stop comparing yourself to other families and start comparing yourself to what God intended your family to be.  We are not a perfect family, and we do not have perfect children.  We are all sinners and we are learning as we go.  We make mistakes and we grow from them.  I just pray each night that all of our children, no matter how many there end up being, grow to be what God intended them to be.  I pray that they are clothed in the characteristics of Christ, and that they don't end up in prison!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hustle Up

I haven't posted much about the adoption lately because we have been at a complete stand still for about a month now.  We had our home study several weeks ago, and although our social worker had  the approval written up that week, she still hasn't received our criminal background checks.  After waiting for a couple of weeks on them, she resubmitted them yesterday in hopes to have them back next week.  I keep asking the hubby if there is something he needs to tell me about his past?  Sheesh, we're NOT criminals.  Get those suckers back already so we can have an official home study approval.  Until we receive that we cannot get our C.I.S fingerprint thingys.  Don't even ask me what that is?  So confusing.  All I know is that it takes about 2 months to get an approval back and it costs almost $900.  We also cannot apply for grants without the official home study approval.  We need those grants.  We are only in the beginning of this process, are already broke and only need several thousand more dollars before we can send our dossier.  It's a vicious cycle. 

While we wait on those, we will complete our dossier which is just a bunch of tedious paperwork.  Our case worker sent over an example of a dossier and my armpits started sweating.  I feel like I need a college degree to complete this thing, or a good assistant that works for free.  Any takers?  Tons of paperwork, with tons of signatures, tons cover letters and everything has to be notarized.  Some things have to be notarized before other things or the Secretary of State can deny it.  Then you have it overnighted to some person in Washington that personally delivers it to the Secretary of State.  Then they fed ex it to our agency and they send it to Ethiopia and then we might get on the waiting list.  I'm tired just thinking about it.

I just keep thinking about this step being over and then we can just relax, enjoy being a family of 5, while we wait on our referral!  Thank you again for walking through this journey with us.  Pray for those criminals to get in stat, and pray that I don't lose all my marbles while completing our dossier!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The State Fair of Texas

Can I just start by telling you that Fair day just might be as awesome as Christmas in my eyes.  I love everything about The Fair, except the ridiculous cost of EVERYTHING there.  I didn't grow up coming to The Fair because apparently my parents didn't love me.  My first experience was shortly after #2 was born and we went with our well seasoned friends.  We have been every year since and I crave it almost as much as my coffee.  Our fair day usually goes a little something like this...

Get there around lunch and make a bee line for the Fletcher's corny dog stand.  Scarf it down like it's my last meal.
Go through the petting zoo and smell like a camel when we come out.
Go across the street to the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. 
Get the kids aprons, get corn, water peach trees, feed the chickens, get an egg, plant a seed, milk a pretend cow, gather wool, drive a tractor, get some pretend $ for all the stuff we gathered and buy a bag of chips.
All that while the hubby's check out the car show.
Then we have to make a tough decision on whether or not we are ready for some more fried goodness, or catch the dog or bird show.
We chose both this year, but missed the pig races.  Darn it.
Definitely time for some grease.  Oh the many choices.  Fried Latte, Fried Frito Pie, Fried Beer, Fried Butter, Fried Bubblegum, Chicken Fried Bacon, Fried Peaches & Cream, Fried Guacamole.  Decisions, decisions.  I'm going to be real honest and just tell you that I have, in fact, tried almost all of the above.  Bring on the heart disease.
Probably time for some rides to make sure that our stomachs are completely torn apart.
Maybe I'll go for a roasted corn and a beer now.  Beer tastes so good at The Fair.
It's about time for the light show and the kids are officially driving us bananas.  Why do we bring them again?
The gang unit shows up, so it's probably time to jet.
Not until we see the parade.
Home by 9 and we all bathe in sanitizer.
Can't wait to go again next year.
I love this family picture!  Check out the couple to the right.  My girls would say, "Oooh, smoochie smoochie"!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meet Nick

Friday, the hubby and I drove like maniacs to get to DFW in time to greet our friends, JJ and Kara, and their new little boy from Russia.  This was not my first go round.  I can't remember how old I was, but way back when, I stood in DFW with my little sign welcoming home my 2 adopted cousins from Romania.  I remember that there was a ton of people there with excitement in their eyes and joy in their hearts.  That is probably when adoption was placed on my heart.  Seeing these 2 precious babies, from all the way across the world, being united with their new family was the most amazing thing to experience.

I think God confirmed our decision to adopt while watching our good friends from church (JJ and Kara) go through the adoption process to get Nick.  See, JJ and Kara are just normal people like us.  They live a normal life and have 2 normal, biological kids.  They were called to do something that isn't normal, and started the process of adoption.  They didn't just sit back and ignore God's calling because it was bigger than them, they acted.  Russia isn't the easiest place to adopt from, and it most certainly isn't the cheapest.  The odds were stacked against them, but they had faith.  They had faith that they were in God's will and that he was going to provide the way to get their little boy home.

Honestly, if it wasn't for them, we would probably still be "talking" about adopting.  Seeing JJ and Kara take that step and actually do what they were being called to do gave me so much courage.  All of the sudden, what seemed like a dream out of reach, was reachable.  If they could do it, there is no reason why we couldn't do it. 

After 3 trips to Russia, they were finally able to bring Nick home on Friday.  The joy on their faces as they walked through those airport doors was indescribable.  Their family was complete.  I cannot wait for our airport moment when the hubby and I walk through those doors holding Silas.  Thank you JJ and Kara for taking that step and being a testimony to others.  Your family is such a sweet blessing!

You can follow JJ and Kara here