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Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm a pile of goo

Remember months ago when I blogged about a little African-American boy "J" (I'll use initials to protect the children's identity) that was in my exercise class? Remember how I said he was my favorite? He has little black dreadlocks and his little sister "F" has little short braids all over her head. Precious. I was in love! I was sad to leave my part-time job and move to my full-time one. I never thought I'd see these two kids again...But wait....here's where it gets really good.

Today at church was Children's Sunday. The church was packed with families and friends coming to watch the kiddos perform their little skit and songs. Well long story short, I was sitting and in walked J and F! They sat right in front of me! I jumped up and ran around the aisle to them. J's face lit up as he exclaimed "Coach Kylie!" He jumped up and ran into my outstretched arms. F was next, she smiled and hugged me and I melted into a pool of goo. Their mom asked how I knew them and so I explained how I taught them at their preschool for "Stretch-n-Grow." She said "Oh! You are coach Kylie! They LOVED Stretch-n-Grow!" We spent a little time catching up. My heart and mind flooded with all my memories of those kids. J always showed me his latest break dancing moves. F always ran to the spot next to me on the carpet and always cuddled right next to me. They were my favorite kids in ANY of my classes and ANY of my schools. I shed a tear when I left that school and even returned to visit them once more before starting at Aetna. I never thought I'd see them again!

More to the story...A family in our church who adopted an African-American boy from the foster system had told us their sister had adopted two children from Uganda! Guess what---those two kids, that I used to teach were J and F! So, the couple from church who took us under their wing about adoption and who's little adopted boy "E" has stolen our heart, is related to my two fave' student kiddos! I can't get over it!!!! What a small small world!
What are the odds? I guess pretty good if God is in control! :)

I had to share. It made my day. It made my month. God plopped these families and adopted kids in my lap to encourage me. I've been blah and struggled to get into the Christmas spirit this year as my heart misses and longs for our child. Then BOOM, I get hugs from my fave' little J and F and a silent knowing I'd most likely see them again.
It blessed my socks off. It warmed my heart. It carried my dreams back to imagining again that soon we'd have our own little J or F and I'd be happy with either. I love those kids. They are beautiful and perfect. I think African children are some of the most beautiful on the planet and God reinforced again that we are just right where we need to be. In His will. In His timing and that our baby will be oh so worth our long long wait.
But in the meantime, He'd bless us with little reminders...
Thank you Jesus for boosting my spirit just when I needed it, in a way only You could do.
My heart is bursting with joy with the blessing you gave me today.
So unexpected.
Something I couldn't have planned myself if I tried.
Such a surprise.
SO YOU.
Amen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MORE TUTUS!





Our dear friend's ADORABLE daughters modeled our fundraiser tutus! They are realy high quality, handmade, beautiful creations!
Thank you Suzanne Devine for helping us!

These tutus are only limted by your imagination. They can be custom made to your color and size specifications.

Available in size infant to adult!

Prices are:

Infant/children-$20

Adults-$25

Order now to get by Christmas (depending on supplies available)

Click "Donate" to the right/top of our blog for a secure paypal donation. :)


ENJOY!!!! THANK YOU!!!!














Saturday, December 11, 2010

Newest Fundraiser!!! Tutus for the Toones





We are launching our second adoption fundraiser! We are about to turn in our Dossier in the next couple of months to Ethiopia. At that time we'll have to send a check for about 8k and another one when we get our baby referral (and then quickly come up with travel expenses!)
So we are still working to save and praying God will take care of the finances to bring home our little baby! So, if you have a little princess in your life who just must have a Tutu, get 'em here! When that little one twirls and plays you can remember that tutu helped bring home Baby Toone! :)



There are a variety of colors available, and I will post more pictures tomorrow after my adorable neighbor Rowan models them for me! :) There are Christmas colors including the cutest little Red/Green/White one, and a Candy Cane one with pretty ribbon. The photos below are just a sampling, you can make your own design! I have a few on hand and otherwise we can pre-order and I can give the designer your order for shipping!

STATS:
Sizes: 2T-6
Price: $20 (includes shipping!)
How do I order?: Click on the Paypal secure link to the right and in your note put the size/color you want. I will contact Suzanne to see what she has available and she will ship or make/ship to you.


About the designer:

Suzanne Devine has a heart for orphans and helping families fundraise. She found me through the wonderful adoption community and offered to do this fundraiser for us! She is donating all profits to our adoption! What a blessing! Be sure to check her site at:
She makes beautiful canvases that depict your family values. Check them out and help her out!

























Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hurry up and Wait!!!

Today was my first glimpse of "the wait" and what it ensues. I vowed in the first posts of this blog to be transparent and since writing is so very therapeutic to me I will share from the heart.

With the onset of the winter gloom (Salt Lake City is terrible for pollution with its inversion caused by the lake effect and clouds looming to hold in the smoggy air) I always get a little blue. Last year's extended stint of inversion coupled with the new move to a new and lonely city, caused me to be quite depressed. This year our circumstances are much more inviting, with a home we own, new friends and a church we love, but I notice quickly that the lack of sunshine leaves me more than a little down. And with the gloom I experienced my first taste of waiting. Not wanting to be too nagging, I sent an innocent email to our social worker. Knowing she had said she would work on our report within 2 weeks, I knew we were in the 3rd week, so I felt a check-in email was in order (I now understand how fellow adoptive parent friends begin to stalk the mailman and call the USCIS office obsessively to see if their forms arrived safely despite Fed Ex's confirmation). In the world of adoption it is nearly required that you be a little OCD with the vast amount of detail required for the paperwork. So, my social worker responded that she was hoping to get us a first draft by Christmas and she hadn't started yet. I was soooo discouraged. Knowing that the entire adoption process is full of ups and downs and stops and starts, I THOUGHT I had not allowed myself to fall victim to unrealistic time lines and expectations. I was dead wrong. For many months there in me lingered a hope that we would have our paperwork in by Christmas---Yes, to Ethiopia! But lately I realized that would not happen, so I held to the hope that we'd at least have our I-600 form into the government and maybe even have a fingerprint appointment in the new year. Our dossier is 90% ready, minus making a photo page for our child and finishing a financial form and having everything notarized and authenticated.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

We drug our feet. We could have had our portion done two months ago. We could have turbo'd through the questions in the ginormous Parent Manual. But we didn't. We took our time and the 17 pages we wrote were well thought out. We even went above and beyond to add 4 pages of Utah resources for Autism, Reactive Attachment, Bonding, ADHD, etc. In essence, we did our homework. Maybe even extra credit.

Yes, we took our time and our social worker had to wait for us. I contacted the agency and they said the proper timeline was 8 weeks for a social worker to write the report. I didn't know this. Others from our agency said theirs took 2 weeks.

We recently received news from fellow families from our agency, that they had visited an orphanage where some of our babies/children come from. When they are matched they are taken to the Transition Home where they receive good nutrition and medical care for a few months until they can be brought home. The families who visited the orphanage found unfathomable conditions. Babies were lying in cribs without mattresses and the ones that did have mattresses did not have waterproof covers. Diapers were at a shortage and those babies wearing diapers at all were soaked. Add the cloth, soaked diapers and uncovered mattresses together and you can do the math. AWFUL. Our support group quickly rallied to send diaper money and crib sheets/mattress covers to the orphanage through our traveling families slated to go get their children. HEART WRENCHINGLY AWFUL... A day care here with those conditions would be condemned, yet this is how children live in third world countries every single day.

So, this year has been a struggle to get into the Christmas spirit and I wondered why? I prayed God would show me the reason and rid me of it! I love Christmas! It's my favorite time of year hands down. How could I not find joy in the coming celebration of the birth of our savior? Was it the inversion?

Then, BAM! Like a lightening bolt it hit me! Not only was I disappointed that our process was not further along, but I also quickly realized I was mourning the children in Africa and other countries who lived in these vile conditions! I pictured my infant, laying in a crib with no mattress with a soaked diaper, crying...And I cried. I am crying now. Oh baby, how I long for you! How this mother's heart is aching to hold you and to bring you home and tell you everything about Jesus, His birth and what we do to celebrate Christmas! I thought we would have you home this year! Then I thought we would at least be "Paper Pregnant." Then I thought we would have our finger print appointment. Now I'm not sure I'll ever hold you.

I'm emotional. Its been a roller coaster of a month for us and the smoggy air that coats my teeth and burns my lungs doesn't help matters. Now don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the encouragement we've received. But I'm going to be honest. Today I don't feel like hearing all the comments about God's timing. I believe in that, I really do. I believe our child isn't ready for us yet, nor us for him. We're still short the 8K we need to send in our paperwork. I know that perhaps our child isn't even born yet. I know that God is weaving a tapestry so intricate that we should not even begin to comprehend His plan. I know it all and I trust in it. But no matter what I hear or what I know, it does not begin to take an edge off the pain in this mother's heart. How can I love a child who is not yet mine, I have not met, or perhaps is still growing in his mother's womb? I can because he is MINE. He is the child that God has entrusted to us to care for during our life.

Imagine if your child was in such horrible conditions and you knew he/she was YOURS and you could not rescue him/her yet because of paperwork and waiting. Just imagine the tears that would be shed!

My heart physically aches. The pain I feel is real and true. But I embrace it because AGAIN, God is showing me two things:

1) That He is FAITHFUL. I finally believe this adoption will really happen. And while His timeline is already a year over ours, it is after all HIS PLAN. And he has no bad plans.

2) I have a mother's heart for OUR child. Not just for the orphans as a whole (which I do), but for OUR CHILD. I can nearly picture his face and it is a face that melts my heart with big brown eyes and delicious dark skin and long, long eyelashes. He is REAL and not knowing when we can bring him home shatters my heart into a million tiny pieces every day. My arms ache to hold this baby that is ours from God.

So today was a bad day and no doubt there will be more. So I go to sleep in hopes that this darkness will quickly fade to reveal the sun and a new day and with it will come renewed hope in His plan. It will happen. Tomorrow will be THAT much better than today.

But until then, my heart has a longing that cannot be comforted by any words or any hugs. I suspect this longing will not cease until I come face to face with our child and hold him in my arms.

There. Thanks for listening. I feel better already. Is that the sun I see?

Thank you Lord for this setback. In it I am realizing an opportunity for perseverance and patience. And in it I am realizing that Your plan is Oh so much better than my own.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthday Celebration(s)


Well my birthday came and went, but not without various celebrations. :) It was great to have my bday celebration a few times because the actual day wasn't so special. I had a HUGE presentation at work for some big name clients and the day and week were pretty stressful. I, being the "Sunshine" president am usually the one to decorate for others on my team. But my co-workers did decorate and make delicious chocolate icing covered brownies after the clients left. And, knowing Lee had church commitments on my bday night, he promised to make up for it on the weekend. He indulged my taste buds by taking me to Mazza, a quaint, classy Mediterranean restaurant at "9th and 9th" in the heart of the city. The falafel and hummus rivals Israel itself and the Chicken swarma is mouthwatering...Each time I go there I am transported back to Israel! It tides me over until we can go back there one day...

Dinner (and Israeli wine) at Mazza, my fave' restaurant in SLC


On Monday after Thanksgiving we went to the Maverick Center for the "Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular." I didn't get many clear photos but it was absolutely breathtaking. It is one of the best shows I have EVER seen. I can't get over it. My favorite part was the scene depicted in this picture. It was called "Christmas in NYC" and the bus moved across the stage as the giant screen showed the streets of NYC. It was if you were riding the bus down the street with the dancers (Lee was quite impressed by the Audio Visual technology). I have decided my favorite dance is broadway dance and the tap dancing was incredible. I am going to dust off my taps and take a class in the coming months. Yes, I STILL wanna be a Rockette!!! :) I had chills, tears and was smiling from ear to ear the WHOLE show. We vowed to make it a family tradition to go back each year and to do more "stuff" that requires going into the "city" and venturing out of our suburb and living room (especially for the next 6-8 months as we wait for our baby match. I haven't experienced pure joy in entertainment in YEARS.

My co-workers and I came up with the idea to do "Crazy, Tacky Christmas Sweater Fridays" until Christmas. This was the result of our first attempt. I'd say it was mighty successful. Thanks Mom for the use of your sweater...And don't miss my socks! :)


My amazing team doing "Jazz Hands"



My sweet soul sister and best work friend Brenda





Sunday, November 28, 2010

What a great trip to Montana for Thanksgiving! Despite driving in blizzard conditions/snow both ways, we made it safely and had a wonderful time! Great food, fun, family and even fit in a little skiing!



Maddie Grace's first Thanksgiving dinner! Sweet taters and mashed taters for the first time! YUM!


Post-feast bath complete with mohawk!


Watching football and hanging with Uncle Lee



Football with the boys (she loves it for real!)


Post turkey tryptophan comma


Grampy and Maddie


Hanging with Grammy


Big Horn sheep on the way to the ski slopes


In the lodge


Kylie, Lee, Erin and Brad



Ski pose


Erin and Brad



Me ready to point 'em down!


Pretty in Pink


Super airplane Madison!


Me and "G"

Oh how I LOVE my punkins!


Quite possibly the most precious picture I have ever seen!






Post dinner entertainment
























Early morning play time











Hello furry cousin Daisie, your ears taste good!

Daisie kisses tickle!







































Sunday, November 21, 2010

FUN STUFF

Some pics and videos of my trip home, family and MADISON GRACE!

Jennifer, Carla and Aunt Joan
Brad, Gayle and Maddie Grace


Me feeding "G" some pears and cereal



Cousin Gayle LOVES Maddie



Num Num Num GOOD!


Ryan T. Bear and Maddie G. Bear

Cousin Gerry LOVES Maddie (and so does Grampy)

Ker-ry-Bear LOVES Madd-ie-Bear


Carla LOVES Maddie (see a trend here?)



Picking from all of Uncle Dick's hats


Maddie gets a hat too...or maybe two!

Finally, Aunt Joan gets a turn with Maddie Grace!

Aunt Joan LOVES Madison!

MaKenna playing with Madison
I got to fly the last leg of the flight with Brad, Erin and Maddie. This is post flight, 10pm in Wichita with the adorable pumpkin hat Erin knitted for her! Yes, she really is my punkins!

Grammy giving Maddie a bath in the sink

Her hair lays flat with soap! Look at that doll-baby face! What a pretty baby!

What's up Grammy?





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