Jan 30, 2011

Weekly Menu.....

Monday-Porcupine Meatballs, green beans almondine, mashed potatoes and rolls.

1 & 1/2 lb ground beef
2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 & 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbs brown sugar


In a bowl combine the ground beef, uncooked rice, 1/2 cup beef broth, onion, garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Then form into 1 & 1/2 inch meatballs. If you make your meatballs too big the rice in the center will still be crunchy. Place the meatballs in a 2 quart shallow baking dish. Then in a bowl mix together 1 cup of beef broth, the can of tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Then remove the foil and bake for about 15 to 20 additional minutes.


Tuesday- Santa Fe Chicken (crockpot recipe) I have to double this because I have a LOT of mouths to feed! :)
4 chicken breasts in the crockpot (can put in frozen)
2 cans corn (drained)
1 can black beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 can rotel
cilantro
cumin
Cook in the crockpot on low all day. Shred the chicken when done. Serve over rice or with tortillas and top with cheese, sour cream, and sliced avacados

Wednesday- Crockpot Stew (with carrots and potatoes), salad and rolls.

Thursday- Chicken Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread

Friday- Out to eat....have a PF Changs gift card I need to use!

Jan 26, 2011

Our Adoption Story......

This could be really long so I am going to try to make it as short as I can but that may not be easy! (I will be linking up with Kelly's Korner blog and her SUYL...adoption stories!)

How our family began......we had been married one year when I found out I was pregnant with Taylor. I had wanted a baby for as long as I could remember so I knew once we got married we would start trying even though we were poor as could be and really shouldn't have gotten married much less have a baby. We were 19 and 21 when we got married! It took us about 8-9 months and lots of prayer to finally get pregnant. We then welcomed a healthy baby boy named Taylor, who is now 14! When Taylor hit the terrible two's we said NO MORE KIDS but about 4 years after he was born that changed and we started trying again. I saw a doctor after trying for about 6 months and that is when we were told we probably would never have another biological child again without invitro and even then our odds were not good! Neither of us felt led to do that and if I was going to spend that kind of money, that we didn't have, then I wanted to be guaranteed a baby. I was devastated at the thought of never having another child but knew I was blessed and at least God gave me one child. Boy did he have other plans for us....plans that if you would have told me that day I would have said YOU ARE CRAZY!
One day Marc had left for work and then called me and said "I feel like we are supposed to adopt a child....I know the Lord is telling me we are supposed to adopt and I think we should adopt from China!" That is all it took and I started endless research on international adoption and quickly found out that we were to young for China and would be 4 more years until we qualified so to me Korean babies looked the same (that is really how I picked Korea!) and we met all the criteria, so Korea it was! It was going to be $15,000 total and we had no idea how we would pay for it but knew we were meant to do it so we started the mountain of paperwork and waited for our referral. I just knew they were going to give us a girl...I mean China you almost always get a girl (this was Korea though!)....but the day before our anniversary we got the call and she said "Congratulations....It's A BOY!" Not only was it a boy....it was one of the cutest baby boys I had ever seen in my life!
Now most of our money was due....
During our wait for our referral Marc had changed jobs, making exactly $15,000 more and soon after that was sued by his previous employer for a non compete he signed when he was 17 and working in the warehouse. He had worked his way up that company to become their #1 salesman and they thought he would be a huge threat to them with him being gone. They had millions to spend on an attorney....we had nothing. To make a long story short the owner of his new company had been in on his first day there and said if you need anything don't hesitate to call me. Marc was not allowed to work after we were served with papers so I made him call his owner and tell him what was happening. This man stepped up....paid Marc like he was still coming to work each day and paid all our attorney fees. In the end Marc won his case and eventually became operations manager for another Texas based company this man owned. (Marc is now VP of three of his companies!) The day after our referral, this man, wired $15000 into our account as a bonus for Marc for all his hard work! WOW....God works in mysterious ways and if something is in His will he will find a way!
November 2Nd, 2002 we went to LAX airport and picked up our newest son, Noah Tae Estes! What a great day that was! Noah is now 8 years old and boy am I glad that God chose him for us. I can't imagine any other child or not having him as my son! That day I thanked God for us being "infertile"!

(I hope you are still with me......)

Three years later I was at home and keeping my best friend's kids and they were all screaming and laughing and I sit down to check my email and it was my agency that we adopted Noah from and it says...."I have been trying to contact you....if you get this call me right away!" So, I did! I could barely hear because of the kids but the lady on the other end said...."Tae Min's (Noah's) birth mother has had another baby and she would like for her children to be raised together...would y'all be interested?" Without hesitation, without asking my husband, I practically shouted YES! Then I said...."what is it??" (I just knew God was going to give me a girl!) She said "oh yes....IT'S A BOY!!!!!!" I said...."we will take him!" and then called my hubby! Ooops!! (then I thought to myself....wow God...you are so funny as I could not be any more girly if I tried and you have decided to give me THREE boys!) He knows best though! We then had two weeks to come up with $24,000....WOW! Korea had gone up since Noah's adoption! We had been saving some money already and were planning on becoming debt free so we had 1/3 of it and my parents gave us the rest. Of course they said we didn't have to pay them back that they wanted to do it for us but my husband would NEVER let them pay for that and not pay them back....plus my mom would then get to say what he wears and all since she paid for most of him!!! LOL! That was always a joke between us!
So, on December 30th, 2005 we went back to LAX and picked up our 3rd son....Jesse Min Estes! He was so tiny and stinky but was so precious! We went back to our hotel and cleaned him up and the next day we brought him home to Houston....on New Year Eve! One year later....we had paid my parents back in full! Again, if it's God will then somehow He provides and He did!
Jesse was always called our "Grand Finale"....he is a wild, Korean Dennis the menace but the sweetest cutest little boy you could ever meet! He doesn't meet a stranger and everyone knows JESSE! Today Jesse is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten!

Our family is now complete....or so we thought!

After God giving us a serious wake up call in our marriage and in our life as far as our Christian walk we almost got a divorce. I can remember just asking God why he would create this family that was so unique and let us get a divorce? He soon reminded me that WE had created this mess and that WE needed to clean it up and He would help us with His word and our faith in Him. After a LOT of hard work, changes, and prayer our marriage is stronger then ever! I would, as hard as it was, go through it all again to get where we are today! Thank you God for not giving up on us and making us stronger!

In December 2008 Marc was on his annual hunting trip and the boys were in school and I just thought something was off so I took a pregnancy test and what did it say...POSITIVE! I was shaking all over....I could NOT believe it! We were told that Taylor was a miracle baby and that we had a 1-2% chance of ever having a biological child on our own. Well...when the doctor tells you something like that.....God is upstairs laughing and saying...."little do they know the plans that I have!"
Marc was literally stunned.....I pictured him in that deer stand in a total daze the whole week...actually he said he didn't see anything that week as far as deer! Wonder why? Fast forward to August 8, 2009 we welcomed Emily Grace Estes into this world! (Her Daddy said from the day we found out we were pregnant that he knew she was a girl!) She is THE MOST beautiful baby girl in the world and I can't thank God enough for her! She loves her brothers and they adore her! AND I FINALLY GOT MY GIRL!!!!!!!

With four kids and three of them being boys it's hard sometimes for Marc to have one on one time with them so I signed he and Taylor up to go to Haiti with our church on a missions trip. (little extreme huh??? I am just weird like that!) Satan did everything he could for them not to go and literally at the last minute Marc said "oh well....I will just go!" Probably just so he didn't have to hear it from me! In July 2010 he and Taylor go to Haiti and the second day they were there Marc put a picture on his facebook of a girl at our church holding a sweet TINY little baby boy. I immediately knew in my spirit that he was going to want to adopt him. That trip not only changed Marc's life in a huge way through missions and strengthened his faith and his walk but it also led us to our fourth son....Vensly! Vensly is 20 months old and we are praying he will be home very soon! You can read about our trip to visit him a couple of weeks ago by clicking on January to the right on my blog. I blogged about each day there. It was an amazing trip that was also extremely difficult to leave. You can also click on the button at the top to read about how Haiti changed Marc's life!
Thank you so much if you have made it this far.....
My family may not be perfect and lord knows some days it is stressful to raise four kids but I would not want it any other way! I love how colorful my family picture will be someday! Can you imagine when we have grand kids??? WOW!
I know some of you reading this are probably dealing with infertility and feel like there is no hope of becoming a mother or father but remember adoption is not a second option it's just another option.
I actually look at Noah, Jesse and even Vensly and I can't believe that I didn't give birth to them....my love for them is no different then for Emily and Taylor! I just had three born in my heart and two under my heart but all of them have my whole heart!

Thank you for letting me share and please feel free to ask me anything! If I can lead one person to adopt I would be so happy!

God Bless!

Jan 23, 2011

Vensly....then and now!

This video is first time Marc laid eyes on Vensly! He said he knew from right then that he was our son. We didn't know this at the time but he had pneumonia and was very sick.
Marc came home and told me about him and we prayed about it and both knew without a doubt that he was our son. Still a little worried about him being so lathargic the whole time Marc was there we just prayed! We prayed that he was healthy....not only physically but also mentally. We knew that being in an orphanage he would be somewhat behind but of course we would do anything he needed once he is home. We still will! BUT....we have prayed over this little boy so much the last 6 months since Marc meeting him and will continue to for the rest of his life!



Here he is now....this picture was the morning we had to leave him! He was in the best mood that morning....so playful and sweet! Have I said how much I miss him?? A LOT!
Let me tell you that the baby boy today is totally different than the baby in the above video. He is smart and while at first I thought he acted younger then Emily....by the end of trip he is very much on target for his age. He eats with a fork bigger than his head and doesn't make a mess! He knows where his ears, eyes, mouth, nose and head is. He sings songs and tries to talk! Of course he speaks creole but I know he is saying something! By the end of the week God revealed that our prayers are working so please join me in praying for him for the rest of the time he is there. (I also pray that will be SOON!)

Jan 20, 2011

Psalms 38:4 UPDATED!

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalms 38:4

Love the pink building and the taptap but most of all love the scripture! After all this country has been through most of them still see that He is good!

Click on the picture to make it bigger and you can see Psalms 38:4 written on the taptap! It's in creole!

Jan 19, 2011

Dancing in the Minefields.......

A few months back my friend told me about this song and she said "THAT is yours and Marc's song....you have to listen to it!" SO...I did! She was so right and the weirdest part is how he said SHE was 21 and HE was 19. That is how old we were when we got married! Just strange that he talked about the women being older than the man. Anyway, this song is our song because we have danced in many minefields to get where we are today but I truly believe that after a lot of hard work and sacrifices we are living His promise to us as a married couple!
I copied the lyrics at the bottom.....



Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

Chorus:
We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

Chorus:
And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

Bridge:
So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos baby
I can dance with you

Chorus:
So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

Jan 18, 2011

Prayers for my boy...............

I took Emily to her well child check up today and she weighed 27 lbs and was 33 inches long. She is 17 months old. (I didn't know she was supposed to go at 15 months so we are a little late!)
Vensly is 20 months old and weighs 18 lbs and is only 28 inches long! He is tiny! I know they feed them well at the Creche and he is well taken care of but it's not like it would be if he were here. PLEASE pray for our paperwork and that the right people get our dossier in and OUT of the different steps it goes through in Haiti. He needs to be home. One thing I will say is when Marc first "met" him he knew he was meant to be ours but he was worried about him. He was very lethargic but we found out on this trip that he had just arrived at the orphanage and had pneumonia. Fast forward 6 months and that boy is SMART! That part I am not worried about but his weight I am. He just needs to be home so I can take him to our pediatrician and get him healthy and fatten him up! He can't let his little sister beat up on him! :)

Jan 17, 2011

Vensly had a little lamb......

But it took him a little time to start to like him.....we actually have video of him pushing him out of the way for throwing him out of the bed. We have may pictures of him just staring at him like in these pictures. So funny......
Then the last night I looked over and he was hugging him. It's so funny because V is not much bigger than the lamb so it probably was a little overwhelming to him! So cute!

(click on the picture to make it bigger.....)

Jan 16, 2011

My trip to Haiti....Tuesday....time to leave!

To read my previous entries click on the days below. Also, to read about how Haiti first changed Marc's life click on the button to the right.

Thursday and Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Monday

I didn't journal this day so this is just what we did and how I felt that day as I remember it now!

We decided the night before that we needed to be loaded up and on the road by 8:30 am as we were going to visit HFC orphanage/school before having lunch and heading to the airport and then heading home!
I was disappointed but then I remember thinking it is going to be just as tough to leave him at noon or three of four as it will be at 8:30am! And it was.....
We told Dr. Bernard and madame Claudette good bye the night before and took pictures with them as they were leaving very early on Tuesday so we wouldn't see them again. I was so sad to tell them bye....I had really grown close to both of them and feel like they are part of my family. I knew I would miss them so much and I do. It was like we were visiting grandparents and Brent, Mike and Missy were our brothers and sister!
I savored each moment with Vensly the night before as we put him to bed. We both just watched him sleep and we both (Marc and I) were feeling broken hearted already!
V woke up early...about 6...and in the best mood! He was talking, singing, playing, cooing and just being so sweet. I could barely look at him without wanting to cry!
I got him up, bathed him for the last time for a while and Marc dressed him. I remember that we couldn't hug or kiss on him enough.

I then gathered up all the clothes and shoes I had brought for him that week and put them in bags to leave with the ladies at the Creche. I decided to keep the cars he played with all week as I knew he wouldn't get to keep them and I want to bring them back next time. I also kept the stuffed animal....he didn't really love it anyway!
I remember the knot in my throat as I packed his stuff up.....
He also ate the last 4 cookies that we had and a few more cheerios. I had one organic baby food pouch so he had that for breakfast. I remember thinking "How did this week go by so fast?" I missed my kids at home like crazy but didn't want to leave my child here either. That was a sick feeling!
These are the pictures we took before we went to breakfast and before it was time to make a last trip to the Creche for a while.....



Notice in the pictures how he is touching our face....the last day or so that we were there he would just stare at us and touch our face and he loved my hair. Looking at these pictures make me smile and cry all at the same time! He is so sweet!

After breakfast it's time to take him back....I can't help but look at this picture and wonder what Marc was thinking....if I know him he had that knot in his throat too. His face says it all......


We walk down the 48 stairs it is to get to the creche and I am hugging him so tight and praying over him the whole way. We get into the creche and enter into his room where he stays and he starts to get antsy. They have a huge tub of soapy water in the middle of the room and some of the babies are out as they are bathing them. I kiss him, hug him, tell him I love him very much and Marc does the same. I then sat him down on the floor by the nannies and he immediately stiffens up and throws himself back and rolls on the floor all while making the loudest noise and then a screaming cry comes out! I just walked out of the room and outside the building and could still hear him. I have questioned myself everyday on whether I did it right or not and whether I should have gone back to console him for a while but then think to myself that he is to little to understand. No matter how I did it I was still leaving and not coming back for a while. There was no wrong or right way to do it and there definitely was not an easy way to do it. At that moment the knot in my throat actually hurt and my heart was broken. I know Marc's was to but I think he tries to be strong for me. (until he got a text from a very wise friend of his...you know who you are and know that I am thankful for you!)
As we went back to the guest house Brent was there to hug us and comfort us. He looked at me as I was crying and said "Imagine how our Heavenly Father feels right now....he hurts so much for you and Vensly both!" He was right....and I know that God is good all the time even when we hurt! I also know that He will give Vensly peace and comfort in knowing that we are mommy and daddy and we are coming back for him SOON! It still didn't stop the tears from flowing most of the day! Thank God we were with the people we were with as they are absolutely the funniest people I think I have ever met! I could listen to them all day. Mike and Missy have been exactly where we were that day and were so reassuring and sweet! They are proof that it's all in God's timing and that this story will have a happy ending!
Here are some pictures of all of us.....(excuse my messy face as these were right after we had to leave V)


We then left to head to the airport but not before stopping at Hope For Children orphanage and school. More on that later......
But one pretty neat thing is our family has a scripture that Marc and I claimed for our family a few years ago. We even tagged it on the walls of our church before the sheet rock went up and it is Jeremiah 29:11. I was sitting at HFC later that day and thinking about Vensly and feeling that knot again and the urge to want to cry but I look up and this is what I see on the wall.

You can read the scripture in English on my header at the top of my blog!

Fast forward to today and I can honestly say that I will never be the same person again. I may not be able to physically do the mission work that Marc wants to do as I am a full time mom that will eventually have five kids to take care of and I just can't leave them so much. I will say my children will all grow up learning about and doing mission work and I pray as adults they will want to continue on their own. I have learned that we don't need half of what we have or want! Things that I once thought were important are not!
This is going to sound really strange to some but I have even had a hard time putting on my jewelry since getting home. Don't get me wrong I love my wedding ring as it is beautiful but just because it has diamonds doesn't mean that it means any more then a simple gold band or even a plastic band would mean. Marc and I both have always been givers but after this trip I realize that it's never enough....you can never give to much!
Yesterday Marc spoke at a church and he answered a question of why Haiti? Why not help the people in the need here in our own town? It's not that we don't want to or won't help the people here but Marc said he knows his calling from God is for the people of Haiti.
I could not have started out the year 2011 any better then with this trip! 2011 is the year that I step up my faith, prayer time and my giving....whether it be monetary or serving!

If you have made it through everyday of my trip I thank you for reading and I hope I have inspired you in one way or another! If anyone is interested in adoption or going on a missions trip through BGM please email me or Marc at mestes1@gmail.com.

The first picture is when they first handed him to us....notice how he kept his head far away from us. He did not want us to touch his face or head!

This is the day we left....amazing difference! He actually couldn't get enough of touching our face and hair! Wow....I love that boy so much!

Jan 15, 2011

My Trip to Haiti.....Monday


We had to leave V today as we were going to be spending the day with Dr. Bernard. Oh, I did not want to leave him even for a minute much less a few hours. Dr. B knew I was struggling with not wanting to take him to the Creche so he asked me if I would rather Mrs.B take him and I said yes! He said, "If you trust her with your son?" LOL!! (Those who know him can just hear his funny loud voice with his Haitian accent!) I love that man! (the picture above cracks me up because the look on V's face is telling us "I can not believe you aren't taking me with you today")
As much as I didn't want to go I knew I had to and little did I know God has us in that car that day for a reason. HE had planned our day! There was an American business man with us named Craig, who happened to be an engineer, which was right up Marc's alley! Since we only had one driver that had to drive us all around we were all stuck with each other for the day!



The above picture is New Life Link, which is Dr. B's office. We spent about two hours there doing some adoption stuff and Dr.B and Craig had a meeting. The rest of the day was spent riding in the car it seemed. That gave me a lot of thinking time and reflecting on what I have and what I take for granted. I told Marc that I just couldn't shake the feeling of wanting to cry. A lot of it was wanting to get back to my baby boy since I knew that tomorrow I would leave him for a while!

I can't really put into words what today was for Marc but it was definitely a God's perfect timing with the right people kind of day! :) BIG things could happen from this chance meeting for the people of Haiti! I am excited and praise God for what He is going to do.

Marc also helped Dr. B figure out his cell phone.....that was funny! This man has a doctorate and I don't even know how many master's degrees and yet he couldn't figure out how to turn it on vibrate! He even laughed about it. Marc actually struggled with it for a while before he figured it out.


We were on our way to pick up Missy's birthday cake and as we are going through traffic we were completely stopped and I looked over out the window and I could not believe my eyes....a man was laying under a taptap (a huge dump truck type truck) and he was in a puddle of blood. He obviously had been run over by it but I prayed and begged God to please let him just be hurt and not dead. It was terrible and a picture I won't soon get out of my head! I still pray for him when I think about it.

Finally, we make it to the guest house! Marc and I sprinted to the creche to pick up Vensly! Marc made it in first and I was right behind him. V was across the room and spotted us and hurried over to us...it looked like he was going straight to Marc but then he went right around him and put his arms up for me! If he hadn't already stolen my heart before he would have that moment! Sweetheart!

We took him back, had dinner and then played before bedtime! He was a little fussy tonight as he is a little rotten now! :) (I love it! I would have rocked him all night if I needed to!) I laughed and cried knowing this was my last night to put him to bed for a while. He was oblivious......we were about the exit his life for a while! My heart physically hurts!






I pray tonight for the Lord to give Marc and I peace in knowing that V is going to be taken care of but most of all I pray that the Lord gives Vensly a peace in knowing that we love him and will be back as soon as we can! Thank you Lord for this time we have had with our precious baby boy.....

Until tomorrow.....good night!

(check back tomorrow as i will try to put into words the day we left our son after spending an amazing week with him. I didn't journal that day but will do my best to describe it. Makes me cry just thinking about it.....)

My trip to Haiti....Sunday

(This is all copied from my journal that I wrote in while in Haiti so it may not even make sense sometimes and some things may be totally random but it's my trip in my words and thoughts!)

Thursday and Friday

Saturday



Sunday- We didn't go to church today as NBC came and did a follow up story on Mike and Missy and their amazing journey to complete their family. They were filming at the Creche and asked Marc and I if they could interview us about our adoption process. It was really neat and we answered a ton of questions. IF the story gets ran then I hope it will bring a lot of people to adopt and bring more people to go with BGM on mission teams.
The work that they do is nothing less than amazing....they are a gift from God for the people of Haiti.





After the interview Dr. B gave us permission to take V with us so we all loaded up and went on a scenic tour of some beautiful parts of Haiti. We saw some of the most beautiful places.....it was amazing! Brent described Haiti as a beautiful women that has been raped over and over. Sounds very harsh but that is exactly how Haiti is. With huge tears in his eyes he told me he prays everyday for God to take back this country! (I love how Brent has been here numerous times but never gets immune to the devestion and needs of these people)
I was so excited to have V with us the whole day....for the first time ever he has a mom and dad ALL to himself and you can bet we catered to his every whim! He was perfect though. The bumpiness of the ride put him to sleep most of the time in the car.
Brent took us to the most beautiful and yummy restaurant called the La Reserve. It reminded me of somewhere you would eat in Cozumel or some exotic place. Another time that you forget what is happening down the street! Sad.
Our meal was so GOOD! Even though most things I have eaten at the guest house are good this was a nice change. That is when we discovered that V can eat with a fork....and very well! Emily has some work to do when I get home! :)



It is such a different way of life here in almost every way except for maybe everyone has cell phones. The cars are so old and rugged....honestly, I didn't see one car here that I wouldn't be embarrassed to drive here in the states. (I am actually embarrassed to say that!) It's true though....I can't think of anyone that would want to. We seem to always think we need the latest model or we always need one step up. I am ashamed to admit how disappointed I was when Marc didn't buy me an Escalade that I REALLY WANTED! (wanted...not needed)
V didn't ride in a seat and he hung onto us for dear life as it was a bumpy ride!

We have ridden in the car a lot today so I continue to smile at anyone I make eye contact with and today is the same....some smiles some not. Survival faces everywhere!
We went up as high as the van would make it on the mountain and we to a kind of look out point of all of Port A Prince....amazing view that was beyond gorgeous. I really felt God's presence there....really wished to have my other kids there with us and them moment would have been perfect.

Tonight was tough to get V to sleep. I think it's his stomach....his Daddy thinks it's called already being spoiled rotten! :) He deserves it! I love holding this baby as he is such a cuddle bug....he lays his head on my should and wraps his arms and legs around me so tight! He fell sound to sleep and slept until 6:30 the next morning.
I am dreading Monday morning as we are going to have to leave his for a few hours to go into town with Dr. B.

(After V fell asleep we went downstairs and laughed for hours with Brent, Mike and Missy! I have only know these three for about three days but I already love them like they are family. They may have to move to Houston!)

This guy became a fast friend of ours too....God has laid him on Marc's heart in a huge way! V liked him to and that really makes me happy! Peno has a beautiful girlfriend and two precious little girls and will be getting married in December! We will be spending some of Christmas break at his wedding! God has good things in store for he and his family.





A few things about Vensly....he acts like he has been with us forever! I think he knows we are mommy and daddy and love him more than anything in the world! I so wish he could come home with us. Dreading Tuesday.... :(
Come back for more tomorrow......God Bless!

Jan 14, 2011

My Trip to Haiti.....Saturday


Saturday-
Marc left EARLY this morning with Brent, Mike, Missy and Jenny! I am not sure what they are doing but I know that got to ride motorcycles and Jenny was hurt pretty bad riding in a tap tap by getting hit by a basketball goal. Luckily, she will be fine!

This morning V woke up shy again but it wasn't long that he came around and remembered that this lady will do whatever I want and give me whatever I want! He played for a short time and I got him bathed and dressed and then....the stomach pain HIT!!! It is terrible the way he flops around, stiffens up and today a screaming CRY! Finally, after about two hours of this on and off it got really bad so I got Mrs. Bernard to go to the creche with me to get him some medicine. She translated and the "nurse" gave him some medicine and the bottle said ADVIL....I had just given him Tylenol and she knew that!


He never lets go of his cars though.....whether he's hurting or playing he always has them in his hand!

I also went into the creche to take more pictures of the babies and children and I am going to be totally honest....I can't stand the smell in there. It makes me want to throw up and makes me so terribly sad! I can't stand to see the babies in their cages....I mean cribs! It tears my heart out! I went to take a picture of my friends little girl and she was just laying in her crib when I got there and when they got her out it startled her and she looked so pitiful. When I was done they opened her crib and motioned for her to get back in....she just threw herself back in but didn't want to! She reminded me of my Emily right then. Her and Emily are about the same size and seem to have the same attitude but sweet spirits! If I didn't know she already had amazing parents waiting for her I would have started her process at that moment....that is the connection I feel with her! Maybe it's because of her mother and maybe it's because she and V are the shy ones of the group!
I do a lot of people watching while here and today it was a lady ironing. Unbelievable! I didn't even know it was still done like that today....I know it's not where we live. It was brown, rusty, big and bulky without a cord. I later found out it was heated with coals. When she finished ironing all those uniforms they looked like they just came from the cleaners. Did you know that I take Marc's clothes to the cleaners about every two weeks and it's at least $100 when I pick it up. Just because I don't want to iron it all with my nice, electric iron! Wow...

(V can walk....we weren't real sure if he could but we went to play a little b-ball and he took off walking....I wanted to cry again!)
While Marc is out V and I do a lot of walking, playing, singing, eating cheerios and cookies, and I people watch out my window and balcony or just walking the grounds. We sleep with the windows open and I am getting used to the roosters crowing, the gate opener talking on his cell very loud, the sweet little deaf girl making sounds of running and laughing, and lots of dogs barking. Just the sounds that make me think of Haiti. I love it!

I have always known we are blessed and I do thank God for all we have but suddenly I feel very guilty for what we have and I feel ashamed that we don't give more. There are so many things we could do without that could help these people.

2:15pm and after our third fit with what I am assuming is his stomach aching he is finally sleeping! I just had another really good cry!

3:45- I just woke up and he is still sleeping soundly so I am going to read my Bible. 1st and 2nd Peter! Amazing that God speaks so clearly to what you are going through or what He wants you to do with His word! He is good all the time...even in Haiti where it seems like it's been forgotten.
4:45- My precious baby is awake! Time to wait for Daddy to get home and get ready for dinner. I love dinner time and hearing about their day, laughing at Brent's stories, hearing about Mike and Missy's family and just talking with Dr. B. I have laughed till I cried on this trip! Most people think Dr. B is so serious but he's a funny man that love the Lord and loves us!


I love the time Marc and I spend together after V falls asleep...we lay in my bed and read every one's sweet comments on facebook. People praying for us and for V and for Haiti! It's amazing! I hope our story will inspire others to pursue adoption....

Jan 12, 2011

My Trip to Haiti.....Thursday and Friday!


I am going to post only one or two days at a time as it could be really long!
(This is all copied from my journal that I wrote in while in Haiti so it may not even make sense sometimes and some things may be totally random but it's my trip in my words and thoughts!)

Thursday- We got up at 3am this morning in order to get to the airport by 6am to catch our flight to Miami and then on to Haiti. I was very excited but very worried and felt extremely guilty for leaving my other children to go to a country that I knew nothing about and that is in a state of devastation and other things right now. Was I being a responsible parent by going? I knew they were in great hands but it was just the fear of the unknown!
We made it to Haiti and on the way off the plane we met up with Brent Gambrell and Mike & Missy Wilson. It was an instant friendship! They are the most real, honest, funny and Godly people and I instantly knew we were blessed to have them in our lives! (As I write this now I know that those three will be forever friends of ours....God blessed us by bringing them into our lives!)
So we go through customs and head out of the airport....the five of us! The airport was actually nice...not what I had expected. Luckily our baggage was all there so we headed out to the van and then...the chaos began! Men EVERYWHERE wanting to help you with your bags. Pitiful....luckily I wasn't by myself or it would have taken me 3 hours and a LOT of ones to get through that crowd!
We first were headed to Dr. Bernard's office....he is the owner of The Bethel House where we are staying and he owns the orphanage where Vensly is. They are all on the same grounds. On the way to the office I couldn't even take it all in....it was overwhelming. Very unreal....devastation, sadness, terrible smells, chaos, lots of cars everywhere, trash, lots of rubble, lots of people selling "stuff", some smiling faces, mostly faces of survival, lots of kids playing and laughing, and so much more! I would try to make eye contact with the women I would see while the car was stopped and occasionally I would get a smile back but not often! Sad....
We got to Dr. B's office to pick him up and all of his workers were so gracious and gave us chairs to sit down and a coke. The office worked like an office in the 70's. It was neat to sit there and watch them go through so many dossiers. They all want to get the babies home as bad as we want them home. Dr. B especially!
Then we head to the Giant Store and oh my gosh it was nice! We bought only a few things, including the Horizon organic milk that I feed Emily at home, and it was $37...that is more then some people here make in a month. Wow!
Finally, we meet our little guy! I was expecting a stinky, dirty but cute little boy but when they brought him up to me they handed me a TINY baby boy that was dressed in his Sunday best and smelled SO GOOD...he is precious!
He is so sad and shy....maybe that is just his survival face? I am now writing on Friday about my day on Thursday....I have yet to hear him cry. He is a perfect little baby but he is just not sure about us though. He does a LOT of staring. I put him down last night and he slept from 9 until 8:15 this morning. He then woke up drenched in urine, and with very little water I didn't know what to do. So, I got him all bathed and clean and put on some clean clothes. I washed his jammies and ONE sheet with baby shampoo with very little water....it was not easy but I did it! I didn't need my fancy red washer and dryer to get his stuff clean. I hung everything out on my balcony to dry in the sun. I suddenly became very thankful for my washer and dryer and the numerous sheet and blankets we have at home! (But wondering....do we really need all that??)


Going to bed that night I thought to myself if I just had my kids at home here with us all would be perfect in the world!



Friday- by today when I walk into the bathroom or into another room where he can't see me he makes a loud noise....not a cry just a loud noise! I think he may actually be starting to like me! :)
We brought him a stuffed animal and Jesse gave him two hot wheel cars and he doesn't really care for the lamb yet but he LOVES the fire truck and car! He doesn't put the cars down. He eats anything I give him....except raisins. Loves the cookies and cheerios. I think he's very hungry....not starving but just VERY hungry! :( He constantly keeps a cookie in his hand. Earlier I was cleaning the bathroom and washing more clothes and I turned to check on him (he was sitting in his crib playing with his cars) and he had finished his cookie and was eating each TINY little crumb from his hands and on the bed....every last bit! BROKE MY HEART! (Emily most times has a cookie or cracker for each hand!) First cry for me!
We just returned from lunch. Here they make your lunch, set the table very nice and then come and tell you it's ready. When you are done you actually leave your plate on the table. THAT took some getting used to! I have noodle with a sauce on it. It was like ramen noodles...pretty good! V had rice with mystery sauce that was pitch black on it but he LOVED it and ate it up!
His stomach is hurting pretty bad I think a he starts to stiffen up and roll around groaning. His nose constantly has snot down it and he has a terrible chest cough. If we were home he would for sure be on antibiotics or even breathing treatments. He hasn't had a dirty diaper yet! He is almost two and seems so much younger then Emily. Right now he LOVES for me to tickle his feet.
I just turned on the ceiling fan and he is saying something and hasn't taken his eyes off of it. I am assuming he has never seen a fan before!
He is enjoying playing in the crib with his cars and he holds them under his neck sometimes....so funny! He's cooing and talking right now....I think he is warming up to me and starting to trust me. He seems more relaxed! We are waiting on Daddy to get back....he, Brent, Mike and Missy are doing a rice feeding in Canez today. Usually a team does it so it probably goes faster but today it's just the four of them and Peno! I know Marc is so enjoying being back there......

Well they finally made it back to the house after dark, which Dr. B does NOT like! He likes everyone in before dark....especially if you are white!!! LOL!!! That is what he said! That man is so funny!
We are dinner, visited with everyone for a while, came back to the room and put V to bed and we crashed! Early morning for Marc....and lots of playing for me and V tomorrow!
I can't quiet figure out why yet and maybe it's the lack of things to occupy your time that could be spent talking to God and reading His word but I feel His presence so much here in Haiti. Read my Bible while he napped and played today. The quiet was nice!

(More to come......)

Jan 4, 2011

Happy 17 Month Birthday Emily Grace!

(Posting this early as I won't be able to blog for the next week....more on that later....it's a surprise!)

Emily Grace,
You are such a mess...one minute you are sweet as pie and the next you will knock the daylights out of us! You can hit like a boy! You do give the best sugars and hugs though. Your favorite word right now is GIMME!!! You just started saying it one day when we were are Micheal's looking around and it has stuck! GIMME GIMME!
You are saying more and more words all the time and try to copy what we tell you to say. You still love your brothers but you also give them a run for their money too!
I am so blessed to be with you everyday and not miss a thing....for that I thank God!
I love you so much!
This is my precious baby girl last January! What a baby she was and what a little girl she is becoming now! I can't believe how fast time flies!

This is my sweet girl now with her baby doll she picked out herself for Christmas. I love that my baby doesn't see color even now at 1 year of age! I can't wait till she meets her fourth big brother!
Her gown she has on is just like one that I wore at her age on Christmas!

Jan 2, 2011

Happy 5th Gotcha Day Jesse!


Thursday December 30th was 5 years since we met our second son from Korea! What a great morning that was at LAX airport. He came off the plane in a stroller sucking that thumb....which he still does at 5 years old! He had a horrible over and some really interesting teeth but he was our baby and we thought he was adorable! He wasn't the happiest baby in the world but that didn't take long to change!
Now, he cracks us up everyday and is 5 going on 20. He loves to be outside and is all boy. I crack up at the things I find in his pockets before putting his pants in the washer....usually lots of acorns, hot wheels, and change. He is one of a kind and we are blessed to be his parents!