October Update

Well, here we are, on the other side of the decision making. We have spent a good deal of time these past few months looking at our options as far as adoption is concerned.

Basically, our choices came down to:
1) Wait for Rwanda to open back up. This was a serious option we weighed. But looking at the timing, it would most likely be 3 years or so before we had our baby. But Rwanda had become such a part of the journey. We loved the people already.
2) Look into a domestic adoption. There are children all over who need families, and this was where we were initially looking when we began.
3) Choose a different country. This was somewhat familiar as we had looked at various countries while in the research phase. We knew we wanted to stay in Africa for now, simply because it had become part of the dream. To incorporate another culture into our family was a big draw, and we've felt called to Africa. But where?

After much thought and prayer, we have decided for now, to pursue our child in Burundi. While there are many changes, there are also many similarities with Rwanda. Burundi neighbors Rwanda to the south and shares much history, including the tribal groups and the genocide of 1994. It has one of the highest poverty rates in the world, and the need is outstanding.

Of course, this meant quite a few changes to our "plans" as well.
1) We would need to sign on with an agency. We were originally planning on doing an independent adoption with the help of Mugisha Ministries for Rwanda. And we hope to someday continue that process. But Burundi is much more difficult to navigate legally, and nobody has done it before. So- here we are, signed up with an agency, as a Pilot family!
2) Our hope of adopting 2 children at once isn't quite a possibility. Unless biological twins are available, we will be matched with a child under 12 months of either gender. There are several reasons for this, and we're accepting of this policy.
3) We are going to be the "guinea pigs" of this program! We will be within the first 5 families to go through the program. Although that concept is scary simply because there is no where to base our expereince off of, it's also incredibly exciting and frankly, quite an honor. Because of our experience, more families will be able to find their children in Burundi.

So- that's the long-overdue update on our status in the adoption world. I'll be posting some insights we've gained through the Pre-Adoption Education we've just completed. Exciting stuff!
That's it for now, Shepard just learned how to climb out of the crib. It's nap time here, and I hear Mini Mom aka Mia scolding him now. Ahh, the joys of adventure-parenting. :)

Love & Hugs,

Anna & Co.


Fundraiser Success!

The fundraising event on Sept. 4th was to say the least, a raving success! We were truly humbled by the generosity shown to us that day, and since we've made our plans known to others.

We raised over $3000 that night, and are so incredibly grateful. And although the details are still unknown, we are trusting that this adventure is just beginning.

One of the greatest parts of the night was the hilarious pictures that came out of the WildBooth!
To see them all, click here: WildBooth!

A HUGE shout out to those who made the evening so successful:
Dan for your incredible music, the Mission Team for making such wonderful food, family for the assistance, Becks K for the greeting cards, and Julie for the moral support :)
Oh, and thank you STA men for helping with the keg!!

We are currently awaiting news on our options at this point. We are hopeful and resigned to keep positive. We have started to research other possibilities in the event Rwanda does NOT open up in the near future. Specifically, we are praying about re-visit a domestic (from the U.S.) adoption. We're open to many possibilities at this point.


Things I'm loving...

... tea parties with my littles. Yesterday, Mimi, Handsome and even Moses the Pug got dressed up to have a tea party of tea (h2o) and "teacakes" (blueberry muffins) on the floor with me. And yes, it was a miracle we found enough pieces of the 2+ tea sets we own to have enough cups & saucers to go around. Luckily, Moses prefers a little bowl. :)

... the Farmer's Market. Yesterday we were on our way home from having our Manto tests read, and stopped at the market. This is the 1st time all year, and I am wondering why I waited so long! For $10 we got the best looking (and tasting!) produce I've had all year. Really, it's the only place I should buy produce this time of year!
... meeting amazing families via the online adoption world. I've been so surprised at the connections that pop up between families simply from being on this international-adoption path together. Once we decided to stop researching and finally take the plunge, we've been dedicated. Things can't get done fast enough, or with less passion :) I have a feeling the friendships that are being formed through this process are going to be good ones.
... knitting. I'm working on the 1st of 2 Christmas stockings for the kids. My grandma has knit every member of the family a stocking up to the grand son-in-laws. She's passed on her vintage patterns and I've picked up the ball (of yarn. ha ha!) It's such a symbol of family and holidays that I am so happy to include my children in. I figured I better get started if they are both going to be done by December. And, I'll have more to do in the future, so really- I can't get behind on THAT!

What are your "bright spots" these days?


Fundraising Party!

We're excited to announce our FUNDRAISING PARTY! Things are underway for planning for this event, and we couldn't be more excited for the project! (Well, I'm excited- Lucas is so busy!)

Anyway, our desire was to have a family-friendly event where people could come and celebrate with us and hear about this adventure. If they feel like supporting, awesome- but we're mostly excited to get together with everyone and share.

Things are coming together superbly, and of course I have too many ideas with too few resources. BUT- it's going to be fun! Now, Let's just pray that not everyone is out of town and will come :)


Summer Update

Seeing as how the summer is about 1/2 over, I thought it would be a good time to update.

On the adoption front:
*Our 1st set of fingerprinting is officially done. This was the set required by our homestudy agency for the initial background check.
*We've had the 1st of 2 homestudy visits with our social worker. It was in our home, and it really wasn't as big of a deal as we thought. Everyone tells you that, but I just figured everyone else's houses were cleaner than ours!
* Our "official" fundraiser is in the beginning stages of being planned. September 4th (Anna's birthday!) will be the day. It's basically an evening to hear our story, participate in our journey, and enjoy some family fun. Spaghetti dinner, the photography WildBooth!, and LIVE music from Dan Rodriguez! Please mark your calendars. 6pm-10pm 9/4/10

In other news:
*We're loving summer! From the mission trip to Kadoka, SD I was blessed to take last month with the students from our church, the family 4th of July, the birth of our 1st niece Lourdes May, and the family vacation we just got home from.
*Lucas' photography business has been blessed to stay busy, busy, busy. Lucas and I have had a great time shooting weddings, seniors and families together. Our hope is that is continues to be a successful and enjoyable endeavor for our family.

More later!


Catching Up

It's been a good long while since I posted here. However, things are starting to pick up, so I expect we'll be updating quite a bit in the future.
We recieved word that we are officially a part of the Mugisha Ministries family in early May. Mugisha Ministries is a ministry that exists to assist families in independent adoptions from Rwanda. It's such a nice medium. We're not using an agency, but we have someone helping us through it who has gone before us. Tina, the woman who runs it, is simply amazing. Through our phone and email conversations, I imagine we will become quite good friends.

We have begun the fundrasing endeavor. Oh Joy! I say that somewhat sarcastically, but really, we are joyful in waiting for God's amazing provision. We had 2 garage sales at Anna's mom's house which were less than mediocre. BUT- we had great donations from many amzing friends, and did come out ahead. Although we don't plan on attempting another one there. Ever. :)

Please mark September 4th (Anna's 26th birthday) on your calendars! We're having a super party/fundraiser. Details to come, but make sure to mare it down now!

Lucas (The Skipper) is busy with shooting weddings, working part-time at a church and fixing up the upstairs. We're finishing off the attic space which is quite large, in order to have some extra room for our homestudy. We've got a busy summer!
Anna's been helping Luke shoot weddings on the weekends, continues to be employed full-time as a youth minister, and push this whole adoption process forward. What a labor of love!


Homespun Oreos

This recipe was making the rounds a couple of months back.

She had a version, as did she and I knew I would have to give them a whirl. The result?
I guess they were pretty "oreo-esque" with their hard wafers and semi-sweet filling. But I think they would be even better with a semi-soft cookie. From what I hear, that would be more of a "Whoopie Pie" than an Oreo, but I digress.
We ended up eating some of these ourselves, and brought some to a get-together with our friends. I think the reviews were generally good, but you know, an oreo is an oreo. It's hard to improve on a something that great.

I would maybe consider trying out a softer cookie, as well as adding a little peppermint flavoring next time. It WAS however, a great reason to whip out my new favorite mixer and break in that baby.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [depending on how sweet you like your cookies]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.


Spring Ponderings

Ok, this post is sure to be one of randomness.

There is a bunch going on in my crazy brain that I will generously share with you. (You're welcome)
Lately, I have been on an adoption mission once again. We filled out an "information form" for an agency in Texas to pursue a domestic (from the US) adoption of an African American or Biracial child. The info form is like a pre-application application. We received a response 3 weeks later. The 1st part said that they were unable to accept us as a family for this program. My first response was "ok, God's ordaining this process step by step" my second response was "Why the heck not?! What's wrong with us?" I basically found out that they were not willing to take us on for fear of not having a birthmom choose us. We are an all white family, with 2 young kids already. From their experience, they believe it would be hard to match us. A hard truth I suppose you could say. Alright, I appreciate that they are trying to save us some pain and heartache over a possibly never-ending process.
The 2nd part of the reply from this agency invited us to pursue any of their international programs. I immediately went to look at them and went straight back to Africa. Funny, I have learned SO MUCH about adoption since I started looking in July, and I'm right back to where we started, and with much peace.
Where are we now? We are at perfect peace with pursuing an adoption from... Dah dah dah!
RWANDA! There is incredible need there, and the more we learn, the more we fall in love with the thought of adding to our family through this process. Anyway, I will have MUCH more to say on the subject of adoption, so I;ll save it all for another day. However, we will be working on paperwork and the beginning stages of this adoption this summer and fall.
In other news, it has been a rainy, muddy mess for about a week now. The snow is melting like cotton candy, and good riddance! I can say that I am MORE than ready for spring and warm weather. The poor dog and kids have major cabin fever. Trips to McDonald's for the "playplace" aren't holding up very well. Remind me why again we are living in a place with a 6 month long winter???
Mia and I are going to a babyshower this weekend and are in charge of dessert and favors. We're making this cake , and sugar cookies that look like onesies, and these for favors. I'm excited to try out these new things and to party with my favorite ladies.



So, it is indeed that time again. The time where I waste countless hours soaking up "year's best" lists and thinking about another year to accomplish something.

Not that I'm complaining- I actually like a new year. Something about fresh starts and trying again that really puts the oomph back in my trot. But I don't waste time with the traditional "loose weight", "eat better", "exercise once this year" resolutions. No no, I just like to spend time looking forward to the things I am excited about. Things like:
- Spending more creative time with my kids. Even if I am tired, had a long day, etc. I want to push myself to get on the floor and "make pancakes" with the deck hands.
- Dating more. Yes, dating my husband. We go out once in a blue moon, and only for anniversaries, maybe a birthday. I want to get babysitters more and take that hunk OUT! He's too handsome to not show off more often. Besides, we have family in town. HELLO FREE SITTERS!
- Commit to working on a fun project for ME once a week. Whether it's a new baking recipe, knitting project, tearing down a wall, I want to have some more personal "accomplishments" this year. My kids are self-sufficient enough to whine at my feet for periods over 5 minutes. I can squeeze a little more "me" time in.
- Give more. This year, I feel like I have become stingy. Part of that is due to raising a family on one income and trying to save for future endeavors. However, it's a dangerous line. Do I "save" too much, squelching the generosity I want to cultivate in our family? Reckless spending and giving whatever we can are two very different things. I want to challenge myself more in this area.
- Open my mind. I feel that there are so many things I would love to know. Being a naturally eager learner, I am challenging myself to read more, listen MUCH more, pray more, and share about the same amount. (I can be a blabber mouth).

I'm greatful for the chance to "better myself". When you really think about it, New Year's is all about grace. What a better time to think about the grace- and 2nd chances- we are gifted with.


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