Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Help Bring Home their Princess...

My friend, Amber, who blogs over at Strickland Sentiments, is the ONLY person in the WHOLE world who has these two things in common with me:

1) She's on the exact same waiting list as us waiting for her referral from Ethiopia.
2) I used to work with her "back in the day" at good ol' Target!

Yep, Amber is my only bloggy buddy that I know in real life that is also on the Ethiopia waiting list with CHI.  She and her hubby are currently in the throws of an Adoption Auction and she has some crazy fun stuff for bid.

Early Bird Christmas shopping with a purpose, anyone?!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


"Hi.  My name is Jennifer and I am addicted to Pinterest.  It's been 2 seconds since my last pin." 

Now, you have to know that I have a total addictive personality.  I know this about myself, so I try to avoid things that will suck up hours and hours of my time, but, I could resist no more!  So two weeks ago, my friend Amanda sent me an invitation {the second one since I rejected my first invitation in an attempt to rise above the peer pressure}, I accepted, and the rest is history!  {And, truthfully, it really does not take up hours of time...usually.} ;)

One thing about Pinterest, it has given me TONS of ideas, or "Pinspiration", if you will. :)  I just thought I'd share some of the things that have pinspired me and how I've copied them.

Pinspiration #1-Bathroom Decor
*Still need to get the hooks; an idea that I LOVE!!

Pinspiration #2-Patterned Coasters
*Helpful hint...I used contact paper cut to size to cover the scrapbook perfectly!

Pinspiration #3-Lanyards

Pinspiration #4-DIY Clothing Labels

*Do you like my craft line name?!  From now on, everything I sew will have a {faith} beyond borders tag sewn in...I'm giddy with excitement!!

Want to know more about Pinterest?  Click here.

Have a Pinterest account and want to follow me?  Click here:Follow Me on Pinterest

Want an invitation to Pinterest?  Leave me your E-mail address as a comment and I'll send you an invite! :)

Happy Pinning!

P.S. Did I mention that I had all the materials that I used in these crafts?! favorite price! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Office

When I was working in the Junior High, I had a su-weet office.  The building was brand new and I was on the second floor in a ginormous office that we lovingly referred to as "The Penthouse Suite".  It had an Inner and an Outer space {both equally large} and a testing closet.  Seriously, it was a great space!

So, in taking my new position, I knew I was downgrading a bit in the space department...and the newness department...and the factthatIhadawindow department.  In fact, everyone that I talked to referred to my new office as "The Closet".  And, indeed, it is far from my penthouse.

BUT, I took the new space as a challenge and used it as a clean slate to showcase some craftiness.  So, without further ado,


Blank Wall

The Feelings Wall

The Empty Bulletin Board Wall

The Office Supply Station atop the Desktop Hutch

The Built-In Bookshelves

The Beautifully Organized Counseling Library


Custom made curtains hide less-asthetically pleasing materials {aka storage!}
For this storage solution, I used copy paper boxes, my cricut, scrapbook paper {for the sides and the front labels}, spray adhesive, and Mod Podge.

Each counseling topic has a home! :)

I found these cute little metal and plastic wicker chairs with cushions in the "attic" storage area.  They were forest green with southwestern print cushions before I got ahold of them!!  Buahaha!

Perfect little chairs for 4th and 5th graders

I made a few little rosettes to tie in the clock {which sets on top of the desk that my awesome hubby painted off-white for me}...

...and the mirror.

So, yes, it's a little more snug than my previous office, but I really love it.  Though the JH office was super nice, I think this one is just more "me". :)

P.S. Notice my high-tech additions?  Now you can "Like" my posts {an easy way to make a comment without having to make a comment...unless you want to make a comment, which I LOVE!!} and, you can follow me on Pinterest!  Just click the button on my sidebar.  Not on Pinterest?  Well, it's time, my friend...comment with your E-mail and I'll send you an invite! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pretty Little Headbands

Erin over at Worthy of the Prize has been a huge support of our adoption.  She has commissioned me to make several things that she's sold at her sport camps and events.  Most recently, I did an order of 20 pretty little fabric headbands.  I love how they turned out! 

The Black and White Collection

The Brights Collection

The Retro Collection

Now I just need to make some for me! ;)

First Day of School {The Monster and the Princess}


Today was the first day of school for the students at CJ, which means it was Melia's
1st Day in the 1st Grade!!
Melia was more than willing to pose for an exhausting amount of pictures for me. :)

Melia with her beautiful teacher, Mrs. Knaup

Ready to Learn!

Camden actually started at a new school {on Monday}.  His school doesn't officially start for another week, so for now, he is playing it up with all the cousins and buddies that are in his class.

This Monster lunchbox from Nana helped to heighten the excitement of the new school!

Unlike his sister, Camden informed me that I could take two pictures of him because he didn't want me to "embarass" him.  Please!

Camden with his lunchbox and his "responsibility" {the Kindermat} in front of his school.

And, of course, it was my first day with elementary school students!  Though it was only my third day, I'm beginning to feel like a part of the elementary staff and am getting into the groove of the new job. :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some Adoption Misconceptions {via a 4 year old}

Oh, our children...

C and M on our way to Cow Appreciation Day at CFA

When we first started talking about adoption in November of 2009, we decided to be completely open with our kids about what was going on.  After all, adding a child/children to our family will be a huge adjustment not just for the two of us, but for the whole family.  We have been open about the way our family dynamics will change and have spoken to them about race and other issues that will inevitably arise. 

Miss Melia, well, she gets it.  I know there will be lots of things that will come up for her when the adoption is complete, but she knows what she will say when someone says {for example} "That kid's not your brother, he's black."  She plans to respond "Yes, he is, we adopted him from Africa."

She also understands that we will get a referral, wait for a couple of months, go "visit" our child, come home, and then go back to bring him/her home with us.  She gets it.

Camden, on the other hand, not so much.  He really hadn't said much about it {except in every. single. prayer.} until recently, when two hilarious misconceptions came out, as follows:

Misconception #1: EVERY child is adopted.

Melia and Camden are in the middle seats of my soccer mom mini-van on the way home from swimming one afternoon.  Melia suddenly says to me, "Mommy, Camden wants to play together and I want us to play alone...which should we do?" to which I respond "You should play together...that's why God gave you to each other."
Having not gotten the answer she wanted, she groans "Mommy!" while Camden attempts to explain:
"That's right...God said 'Camden and Melia, I am giving you to Trevor and Jennifer to play together.'  And then we were adopted!
{Of course, it was a good opportunity to explain that I am their birth mommy and their forever mommy and that their siblings will have a different birth mommy, and I will be their forever mommy, but SERIOUSLY?!}

Misconception #2: I will give birth to our adopted child.

I took Camden shopping today and at one of the stores, there is a play area for kids so he is playing with another boy who is probably 6 years old.  They introduce themselves to each other and then I hear him telling the other boy "I am going to have a baby brother.  Well, we don't know if it's a boy or girl."  The lady who works there is grinning at him and then up at me and I feel the need to quickly explain that we are adopting.
As we are exiting the store, I tell him that he should tell people that we are adopting when he is talking about his new brother or sister so that no one thinks I have a baby in my belly.  He replies "so, when we know if it's a brother or sister, then the baby will be in your belly?"  OH. MY. "No, buddy," I say, "the baby won't ever be in my belly."
So, after some thought he says "So, is Jesus gonna put him to us?"
After explaining about how his daddy and I will go pick the baby up in Africa, he seems to understand...
we shall see!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's Going on in Ethiopia?

I realize I haven't posted much about the adoption.  There really is a reason for that {because nothing much has been happening}, but I realize that just because our number isn't decreasing doesn't mean there's not information to post.  So, here goes...

1) Our number actually increased after the last time I posted {in June}.  An Ethiopian family joined our agency's wait list, so they were placed on the top of the list.  When I checked with our consultant, she gave me our new official number of 16.  We have not moved from this spot since then.

2) Referrals from our agency have screeched to a roaring halt.  With the exception of one special needs little girl who was referred to the #17 spot, there have been NO referrals in 7 weeks.  This is the longest lull in referrals there has been since we have been on the list.  It's difficult, to say the least, to be this close to getting a referral and yet for there to be none given.  Just another opportunity to learn patience {you'd think I'd be getting good at it by now! ;) }.

3) Reasons for the slow-down were given to us last week by our agency.  There's a list...
  • First of all, our agency's in-country representative changed in June.  This transition has caused a little of the halt. 

  • Secondly, as part of Ethiopia's attempt to crack down on unethical adoptions, the country is requiring a lot more paperwork, which is difficult in a country that does not have the abundance of technology that we do.  For example, if we need a copy of our birth certificate, we get in our car, drive 15 minutes to Carthage, Missouri, pay $15 and get a printed, state-sealed copy within minutes.  However, many children in ET are not even registered as they were born in their homes and not given care in a hospital {this also explains why many adopted children are given an approximate age}.  

This article, though a little dated, explains the issues with the process and the new paperwork requirements 
  • Last, our agency is beginning to work with a new orphanage,  Debreberhan Orphanage Centre.  While this may seem like it should increase referrals, the fact is that the orphanage is going through some trainings with our in-country staff and won't offer referrals out of that orphanage until the orphanage has received all the training and all the kids in the orphanage are paperwork-ready.  {I could totally be wrong, but this is where I believe our little one is!}

4) MOWYCA Letters have increased from the five letters per day {which is what they alledgedly were planning} to anywhere between 10-15 per day.  This is still a slow-down from six months ago, but it is better than expected.

5) Court Closure began this week.  In ET, courts close for the rainy season from August through September.  What this means for the process is that although referrals are given through rainy season, no one will be traveling for their first trip {the court date trip}.  However, people who have passed court can still get their Embassy date, which means they can go get their little ones! YEA!  Also, the MOWYCA is still open, so we are hoping this will be a time that they will be able to get caught up on the cases that have passed court except for their letter.  This court closure is a difficult time for many families who have a referral but did not get a court date before the rainy season.  Please keep those families in your prayers!

6) Orphanage Closures have been occurring in the southern region of Ethiopia.  The closures have occurred for several different reasons and the children are being taken to different orphanages in the country.  While this is a good thing in a number of ways, it's scary to think that in a country with so many orphans, they now have less places to go.  This coupled with the slow-down in getting the children into adoptive homes makes for a grim picture. :(

7) The Drought in the Horn of Africa is heartbreaking!  Having recenty gone through a natural disaster in our area has amplified in my mind the amount of help that's needed in the midst of a disaster.  Please pray about how you can help.  There are many's one:

Thank you all...for your continued prayers, for continuing to read {even when there's not a lot of news}, for your support.  Hopefully we will have some more news soon!