Monday, March 28, 2011

Memory Lane Makes Me Think of the Future

Today I went to pick up my 11 year old daughter at church. I had just finished up at our high school worship service and needed to get Kynzi. She volunteers with the little kids as their Sunday School teacher. As I walked down the hallway and saw all the parents walking hand in hand with their children or carrying them lovingly in their arms, I was suddenly swept away to the spring of 2002. I remembered carrying Karston in my arms and Kynzi holding my pinky finger as we walked down that very same hallway. So small and tender. So light. So dependent on me. Life was good.

Life is good now too. In a different way, but oh so good. Now I have a daughter who volunteers with kids ministry and a son who volunteers with Angel's ministry making food for the homeless. I like my life. I like it very much thank you.

Fast forward into the near future. My mind was overwhelmed with the thoughts of how I will be walking down this hallway again soon enough. This time it will not only be to get my middle schooler, but picking up my two very small, very dependent children who need me for everything. As I am holding one in my arms and a very cool and manly diaper bag on my other shoulder, Jeanne-Ann has the other baby. We are smiling as people all around us rejoice with us that our children are all finally home.

It was a short lived, yet very real moment for me. I am so looking forward to that day. I know I will have plenty of days where I will wonder what in the world have we got ourselves into, just like I have with the first two. Those moments are not what marks the days though, the fact that God has given us the gift of being parents and the moments of interaction, laughing and late night talks as I put them to bed are the things that make the day. Being a parent is truly a gift. I need to treasure that gift as much as possible.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Winner of Caption This

Thanx for the captions. That was a lot of fun. There were some really good ones in there. you guys are funny! We talked about it as a family and came down to one winner.

LorieN said...NRA Desperate for New Members, Now Allows Nerf Guns.

We had a close second that gets an honorable mention.
This is My Life said...
Jon Coats: this caption is a combo of your last name and nerf. With the Will-I-Am flare


Lorie, your shirt is on the way!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Day Without Shoes

I have discovered something about myself. The more I do for others, the more I want to do for others. Every time I do a service project  or go on a missions trip or help a neighbor with something I find myself wanting to do more. Ever since God opened my heart to adoption I have had this sense that I need to be doing more. I remember in the beginning of last year I gave up my Starbucks card I had been using for years to use a new (Red) Starbucks card. Every time I used it a portion of the money went to Africa. I know that may not seem like a big deal to you, but I love hearing, "Wow, I haven't seen that card in a REALLY long time!" or "Where did you get that card? I have never seen it before." (rookies). Anyhow, I wanted to make a difference even with my Refreshe Tea.

Sometimes the things I find my self doing or wanting to do are small, but sometimes they are more significant. I recently was on the TOMS website getting a shirt for a friend who was not able to get onto their website. When I got on I saw this information about "One Day Without Shoes." Let me back up a moment before I explain. TOMS is a shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to someone in a 3rd world country for every pair of shoes they sell. I LOVE that model. My wife and daughter have TOMS and I love that we have given a pair of shoes for each pair that they own.

Now, to the One Day Without Shoes story. I saw this about 2 years ago when Hanson promoted it and walked with a whole bunch of other people barefoot. I thought it was pretty cool, but I did not do anything that time around. TOMS is trying to raise awareness. This is what they say on their website. "Millions of kids grow up without shoes and at risk of infection and disease. One Day Without Shoes is the day way take off our shoes and raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's life."

So I have put together a "team" of people who will join me on this day to raise awareness. This team would not be complete without you. Would you join my "team" and go without shoes on this day and help me raise awareness of this issue? Click here and join my team. Let's get the word out there. Feel free to jump onto TOMS website and buy a pair of shoes too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't You Just Love A Good Giveaway? (Caption This)

I think it is time to do a giveaway! So here is the deal. We have some shirts left from our fundraiser and we want to give you one. All you have to do is post a comment below on what the caption for this picture might be (including the size you would prefer) and you will be put into the contest. Feel free to click on the "follow" this blog too. Hopefully we will have your size, if not we will get as close to that size and you can give it to a loved one if it doesn't fit.

Caption This

Friday, March 04, 2011

Names?? Yes, our babies have names!

Names are a difficult thing. They are an important thing. It has been said that your name is your favorite word in any language. Your name is you. It is who you are. When I came to look at the job at Salem Alliance 14 1/2 years ago, I asked for a picture directory of the students. There were about 80 at the time and when I spoke to the middle schoolers that weekend part of what I did was line them all up and try to say all their names. I got about 90% of them right. It was amazing!

I work really hard to remember people's names. I know it's important to them. I even ordered one of those late night infomercial Mega Memory packets a bunch of years ago. Honestly, it has helped me a TON! I am way better at remembering people's names than I used to be. Now my friend Jeramy Williams (no relation) is the master at this. When he shares stories about people he always uses their first and last names. He knows who these people are. I try to know more than just names too, I want to know people. I want to know their stories. That's why I think it's important to really focus on the person you are talking to. Making eye contact and engaging in the conversation.

I am starting to veer off topic a little bit, so let me turn back to where we started. Names. What's in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell so sweet...or something like that. When Jeanne-Ann was pregnant with our first child we were settled on the name Brittain. We had a friend in college with that name and we really thought she was cool and loved her name. When she was born, we both immediately said, "She doesn't look like a Brittain." That was a weird moment. I never thought that could be real for babies. So for a couple of days we just said "her" and "she" a lot.

We finally settled on Kynzi Anike. We loved it. It fit her. It was perfect. Jeanne-Ann and I talked a lot about how we would spell her name, but I made an "executive" decision when she was still "under the influence" of the pain medication. (insert smile here) Karston Thomas also went nameless for a while. After some back and forth on how we would spell it we finally named him. We worked really hard at choosing the right names for them.

That brings us to today. You have read that we are adopting 2 kids and we just got both of their referrals this last week. We have been talking about names for a long time. I got us both an app for our phones that we could look up names. Jeanne-Ann has been doing a lot of research on names and their meanings. She looked for names meaning "chosen." As we looked through the names we found several that made the possible list and some that just made us laugh. Can you imagine our kid being named Flavia? Can you say, "Flava Flav!!?" Now, if that is your name or a loved one I am sorry, I am not laughing at them, it is just not a name that fits with us. Other favorites in that list...Mustafa (almost Lion King), Nazarite, Vala and Waljan.

Another meaning we have talked about is "purpose." There were only a few names on this list, but one name that we loved was one we had already talked about. How cool is that? That being said, we have talked about a LOT of names over the last year. It kinda drives me crazy, but Jeanne-Ann loves to talk about it. ;) The kids have given names and we will use them as middle names, but we are giving them these names.

And now for the reveal.

Our son is Haakon. This means chosen. God chose this child for us and we chose him. You may feel a bit confused as to how to say it, so let me help you. Hawk-en, or if you want to say it the Norwegian way, Hawk-awn. We will nickname him Haak or Hawk. A little history on this name and part of why it jumped out at us on this list. After we told our parents about it my mom emailed me some things she knew about this name. Some of these things we knew already, like it is the name of the former King of Norway and the current Crown Prince of Norway. Now for my mom's email.

Did you know that in 1994 the olympics were held in Norway.  It is the olympics where everything went perfect. There were no weather delays. Perfect sunny days with perfect temperatures. (it didn't hurt that Norway did so good:):)). Crown prince Haakon lit the Olympic flame and the mascots were Haakon and Kristin. Yeah for Haakon. Beautiful name with lots of history. 
One  from old history is Haakon den Gode. He was known as the king who tried to deal with conflict by being good and not using weapons. He also became a believer in Jesus and spread that to the people who to this point in history only believed in the old Norse gods like Odin 
Our daughter is Nyah. This is a name we have had for quite a while. We talked about it, loved it, threw a bunch of other names into the mix and kept coming back to it.
I googled Nyah and found out a few things.
Nyah is a town in northern Victoria, Australia.
The following names are baby names related to Nyah and are suitable names for brothers and sisters of Nyah: Boys - Amare, Dakarai, Daktari, Daniachew, Danso, Demissie, Diallo, Diji, Donkor, Dume, Jabari, Girls - Shani, Zula, Both genders - Damisi, Kamari, Makena, Nalo

I love it! I love her! I love them!

There you have it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

We Got Our SECOND Referral!!!!

I was sitting in my office today and planning on heading out to our adoption agency to deliver the biggest check I have ever written. It’s the referral acceptance check. I know we didn’t have the second referral, but I did not want the check to be any hindrance at all for the next part of the process. I was planning on leaving at 11:30, but a few things kept coming up and it was delaying my departure.

Again, Jeanne-Ann and Babe are the same people.
I got my jacket on and was almost ready to go out the door. Then all of a sudden, at 12:31PM, the phone rings with that special ringtone that will forever hold very special meaning to us. It was Tami at Dove! She said she had another referral for us! Gulp! I asked if Jeanne-Ann was on and she told me she could not get ahold of her. What?!?! I told her I was putting her on hold and would try to call her and conference her in. She didn’t answer her phone? 3 calls...NOTHING! CRAP!!! I got online and found the number to the school and told Debbie at the front desk I HAD to talk to Jeanne-Ann. I knew it was between morning and afternoon classes so she should be free.

A minute later Jeanne-Ann was on the phone and I conferenced her in with Tami. “Oh no!” Jeanne-Ann cried when she heard it was my voice on the line. That meant Dove did not call her, but it must be about the referral. So we had to find out information over the phone. No running home and getting the kids out of school this time. We wanted to know the gender and age and a few other things before we got off the phone and looked at pictures, etc.


I am going to have another daughter!!! I can’t believe it. Wow! Amazing. Kynzi has been praying so hard for a little sister and of course we would have been happy with a boy too, but soooo excited we have a little boy and girl.

I am walking on air right now! My heart is so overwhelmed with love for these two beautiful children that will be mine and Jeanne-Ann’s forever!

After I got off the phone with Jeanne-Ann I jumped in the car, headed to the bank to get a cashiers check and then drove to Dove. Once I arrived Krista saw me through the window of the office and greeted me at the door. There were most of the people from the office ready to hear all about it. I obliged and shared the story about our two kids! What a fun moment to get to share with the people who are pretty invested in our journey from a totally different side than most people we know.

I headed home and when I arrived Jeanne-Ann had told the kids we were going to do something. I think Kynzi may have had an idea, but she was trying not to let on. We set up the computer and Jeanne-Ann said she wanted us all to look at our son again, but when I opened the screen they saw their new SISTER! Kynzi screamed and jumped up and down and then proceeded to dance all around the room as Karston watched and said, “Cool!” Then it was time to connect with the grandparents and other family members as quick as we could. We could not keep the lid on this one for too long.

We went out with some friends to Green Apple frozen yogurt to celebrate. We wanted to celebrate both of them, but decided this round should be a little less expensive. Haha. We love getting to celebrate with others and love that you get to be a part of our journey, whether you are a great and close loved one or a blog “stalker.” You are part of our journey. Thank you for your encouragement and your support. We now will dig our heels in for the next waiting period, which we have heard is harder than the first one. I can understand because now we know who they are and we love them already. We just want to be with them and love on them and have them home with us. With a face and a name and two real human beings tied to our dreams, we long to hold them in our arms. It looks like it will be 3-4 months before we leave for Ethiopia.

My sweet, beautiful chosen children...I love you. I long for you. I have been praying for you every single day of your life! I can’t wait to hold you in my arms and snuggle you and love you an kiss your faces! We are soon as we can.

Want to read about our first referral? Click here.

Names to be shared soon. Keep your eyes open.
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