Friday, October 12, 2012

Earlier Flight

Thank you Lord when we got through security we rode the train to our terminal with a very sweet couple and chatted there. Come to find out there was an earlier flight! We prayed for favor as we walked up to the counter with the lady who just got severally griped at, we put on our best smiles and begged for standby. We went to eat and came back to find out we will indeed make it to Washington 2 hours earlier! And better yet the sweet couple we met came up to us and said they would take us the 30 minutes into downtown since they live nearby! We're in great hands with the Father!!

United Airlines Need Prayer

Flying out of Amarillo via Southwest was a breeze. We showed up 45 minutes before our fly was due to leave. The amazing crew waived the baggage fee for our 250 lbs worth of luggage and did it with an encouraging smile!

Fast forward an hour to Denver International. Upon waiting 30 minutes in the check-in to recheck all of our luggage, the guy tells us that if we want to check them it's $200/bag. I say very sweetly that it's for humanitarian purposes and will all be donated to the orphanages in Africa. He says I need to remove the items to get to at least 53 lbs and throw them away. I begin taking out diapers and coloring books trying to holdback tears. We put it on the scale and were at 60 lbs. He says remove more. I open the suitcase with tears in my eyes and say, "These kids in Africa need this stuff. I can't do it!" As much as I hated to give this company $200 to get the donations there, I couldn't stand to throw more away! Thankful that we can now replace all I had to trash in Congo and support their local economy!
3 hour wait we go. Pray oh pray our standby on the 12:30 flight gets accepted so we can get to Washington DC earlier!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What To Expect

What to expect the day before you leave to fly clear across the world to Africa to pick up your son:
  • A child's room filled with all of their luggage. 3 suitcases for 3 different houses they will be staying at with detailed instructions, itineraries, schedules, medical release forms, insurance cards, sweet notes and gifts to Big K for each night he goes to bed, etc.

  • Your room filled with 3 very large, definitely over 50 lbs., suitcases filled with donations for the orphanages (Thanks everyone who gave. These precious kids will be blown away). A very large suitcase filled with baby Khristian's clothes and blankie, all of our food and necessary items and medicines to survive for 4 days and toys for baby boy to play with. 2 carry-on suitcases packed with our clothes. And 2 backpacks to hold ipad that has shows on it that we haven't seen in a year. 48 hours in an airplane...Bring it on!
  •  Expect to have it "altogether" until the day before you're suppose to leave. On that day, expect your emotions to be like a roller coaster ride. Crying one minute, smiling over the amazing things your child is doing/saying, feeling sick to your stomach because of your nerves, feeling overly drained, both emotionally and physically, and crying once again.

  • Expect to really cry when you put your babies to bed and know that's the last time you will pray with them, kiss them and sing with them for 9 whole days.

  • Take lots of pictures to add to the ones you already have on your new phone so baby brother can get to "know" his siblings. And for momma to have more pictures to drool over!
  •  Expect to say to yourself, "Oh my God what am I doing? I don't even feel equipped and capable enough to raise 2 kids, and now God has trusted me to train and love and care for this precious baby in Africa?!?! What is HE thinking?!?!"

  • And say things like, "Babe this is what He has called us to do right?" and "Um, do we know what we're getting ourselves into?" But then be sweetly reminded by Him that yes He has indeed called us, and as long as we trust and rely on Him, HE will get us through with such love, peace and joy!

  • Eat Daylight Donuts for breakfast, Mazzios pizza for lunch and The Grill for dinner because A. You don't have time to cook B. You don't want to fill up the dishwasher so that way you can start it just before you walk out the door and have clean dishes when you return and C. You know you're not going to be getting that kind of food for 9 days so load up while you can!
  • Expect to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support you've received from friends and family throughout the day. This will add to your crying and roller coaster of emotions! 
  • Have feelings of joy, anticipation, nervousness, excitement, fear all at the same time. Once again, crazy roller coaster ride.
  • Expect to stay up very late because you're trying to think if you remembered your underwear and toothbrush and clothes for the kid, and sleep animal for Big K. You'll continue to stay up because you're thinking about the first time you meet your son. Will he smile? Will he know who I am? Will he be scared? Will it be as sweet as the Lucy Lane Gotcha Day Video? 
  • Continue to have faith that He has ordained every bit of this. He wrote Khristian's story a long, long time ago with us in it. He knows the beginning from the end. He will provide and take care. And just like my friend said, "Soon it will be over and your +1 will just be part of the 5!"
Follow us to Congo as we pick up our baby boy, Khristian. We begin the journey at 6:00 am Friday, October 12!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Don't Ever Mention the V-I-S-A Word...Please

Have I ever mentioned I graduated high school at 16? And that I received my master's by the age of 21? And was Miss. SPC and President's Student of the Year? I mean, I am not a dumb girl. In fact, I sometimes refer to myself as a nerd. This being said, completing our Visa application stripped me of my intelligence. I felt dumb and stupid not once, but twice.

Our entire adoption process has been smooth sailing. We have not had one single hiccup in any of our paperwork. Papers have never been returned to us. Perfection and promptness has been my motto through it all.

Back in early August I printed off the Visa Application from the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I filled out 2 sets of applications for us both. Attached a copy of our passport and yellow fever card. I then saw we needed 2 more passport photos. Well darn, I wish we would have known that 9 months ago when we got 4 sets of photos made. We could have gotten 1 more and just saved it. So we waited for a day I actually put makeup on, stood in line for 15 minutes, and took our photos not once, not twice, but three times. The first time Trevor's head didn't fit inside the "picture mold". Then my picture was too "pale"! Great...I'm obviously really white! Third time was a charm.

On September 7 we received our travel invitation from the DRC. That Monday I booked our flights and printed off the itinerary to attach to the visa application. I read through and checked off all instructions. To the post office it went and $40 later it was on it's way to the Embassy in Washington. About a week later I received our pre-paid envelope back in the mail. I was super excited and tore into the package only to find our applications and checks. I freaked out. Our program director happened to be in the hospital so I freaked out more. Luckily another sweet program director immediately returned my e-mail and said, "honey you were suppose to send the actual passport." What?!?! Just 2 weeks before I'm suppose to leave I'm suppose to take the chance of my passport being lost in the mail? Back to the post office I go, praying it gets approved and back to us before we have to leave in 1.5 weeks.

I just got back from the post office. We received the pink slip in the mail while we were in Lubbock stating they had a package for us from the Embassy. Columbus day was yesterday so I had to wait :-( I eagerly ran into the post office to get our package. I ripped it open and just began to cry. What?!?! All it is is our passports. There's no visa, nothing. We're not going to be able to leave Friday! What do I do? I felt the Lord say, "Be still my child. Look through the passport." I flip through thinking a small piece of paper with VISA at the top was going to fall out. Then it dawned on me to read the pages of the passport. Under the Visa page there's a blue stamp written in French obviously approving us to travel to Congo to get our son! Whewsh....just 3 days to spare!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our Last Trip of 4

As I was driving to Lubbock Friday morning, the kids screaming in the back...just 30 minutes down the road and still 2.5 more hours to go, I yelled out, "This will be our last trip I make by myself!" But then I sadly thought, "This will probably be our last trip I do indeed make by myself for quite sometime." I have no idea how life will be with 3 kids all under the age of 4, and one of those struggling with accepting me as a mom and little K as a sister and big K as a brother. I do know that God has ordained this adoption and has a plan for peace and acceptance of love!

Our last trip to Lubbock as a family of 4 was filled with lots of fun!

Friday night my parents took us to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Cancun. I had to take a picture and brag to Trevor since it is his favorite place :-)

My amazing dad volunteered to watch the kids so my mom and I could go to Wal-Mart to buy everything we needed to survive in Africa for 4 days! We had the best 2.5 hours in WalleyWorld! Mom and I do not get to spend much time just the 2 of us so I very much cherished the time together.

It was quite funny as we were checking out my dad calls and says, "Tawny you need to just come home and put sissy to bed then go finish, she's very cranky." "Yes dad I know. That means she's ready for bed. She only had an hour nap today. All you do is put milk in her cup, rock her for a minute then lay her down and walk out of the room." "But Tawn Tawn I scared." "Dad just try it. We're headed home if it doesn't work." Ten minutes later he calls, "Success, it worked! Stay as long as you want!" I had no doubt it wouldn't...I just love him!

Yeah I about freaked out too when I had to pay that price! But it's well worth it for the Ramen noodles, shower shoes, pomade and sleep cap!

The next morning my sis-in-law Megan, my mom and I woke up early to go walk in at the Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness walk in the 30 degree weather for my mom's best friend, Kelly.

It brought tears to my eyes seeing Kelly all dressed in pink with the biggest, beautiful smile on her face. Her determination and strength through the whole process is one that I will always admire! We give God all glory for His healing for Kelly's girls! A shirt we saw that morning: Yeah these are fake. My real ones tried killing me :-)

Kelly with her 2 girls and precious grandkids!
Since my brother was watching my 2 kids and having a man play date with his brother-in-law and his 2 kids, us girls decided to head to the one and only Starbucks! There's nothing better than a good, ole' Pumpkin Spice Latte to bring such joy to your life. Well besides your kids giving you the biggest hug and kiss and saying I love you. And your hubby spanking you on the behind and telling you how sexy you look. Oh yeah, and picking up your son in Africa after 9 months of praying over his picture EVERY day. Well and Jesus! But besides that, that darn coffee after being in the cold for 2 hours comes close!

Trevor then arrived with 4 of our friends from Dalhart and we all met at the Pumpkin Patch. We were saving the Pumpkin Patch trip for when Khristian got here but since we won't make it back down to Lubbock before Trevor's best friend, Josh closes his patch, we decided to take a short trip with the kids.

It's only lunchtime and I feel like I've already saved the world but much more fun to have! Stupid us, took our 4 OU loving friends with us to the game. Needless to say, Tech was such a disappointment and we left during the 3rd quarter!

This is always one of our most favorite parts of game day, but on a day we lose by 30 points, this was definitely the best part of the whole game!
In 4 short weeks we will make the trip back to Lubbock for the UT game. This time not as a family of 4, but as a family of 5! Oh I cannot wait...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And We're Back

Wow! I cannot believe it was over 9 months ago that we stopped blogging. SO much has happened since then!!

We received the referral of our precious baby boy, Christian Paleo on Valentine's Day. What a great gift! Christian is his African given name. Isn't God amazing? For the rest of his life, our little boy will know who saved him! We will change it to a K to match our other kid's names! They said he was 6 months old and weighed 11 pounds. After we received the court documents in June, we realized he was actually 10 months old and weighed 11 pounds.

On June 11, he officially became ours according to the Congolese government. When we received the documents I cried and cried reading his precious momma's name and learning of his sweet, but very sad story. I thanked God that I learned of his mom and could pray for her by name. I praised Him for her. How hard it must of been to give her up son. I just want her to have peace knowing that he is being loved and taken care of!

June 12 he was moved to his foster home. Since then he has probably gained 20 pounds and look so incredibly healthy!

We are so excited that we leave in exactly 7 days to "go to him and leave him as an orphan no more"!

We will be blogging our journey of packing, flying, the first time we meet him, our stay and the journey home! After that, I can't promise anything with this blog because I will then be a mom of 3 kids under the age of 4, 2 of those being toddlers just 2 months apart! Life is going to be crazy...a good crazy. A crazy I would never change for the world!

I mean seriously?!?! Look at that smile!
He won't have a problem adjusting at all... ;-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

With Great Sadness

When Trevor and I started this blog we did it as a means to keep our family updated with our adoption journey since neither of us Facebook. We also wanted to be an encouragement to those who were considering adopting. It is such a scary process to begin alone. We wanted others to realize the amazing call God has asked from each of us. We wanted to have a support group of people who understood the roller coaster ride of adoption. We wanted Him to be glorified through it all.

In the 6 short months that we have been blogging, this has happened. We have had two families contact us with questions about adoption because they were considering begining the journey. I walked into candlelight the other night and a friend I met over 8 years ago found our blog and has been following the process. A few moms were encouraged to teach their children about having a giving heart because of the Alco story with Big K. People have seen how faithful our Lord and Savior has been to us by providing the funds we needed for every part of this adoption. We have developed a relationship with many other adoptive families by reading each other's blogs. We have brought an awareness to the country of Congo and the millions of orphans there. Over 4,100 people have viewed our blog. People from Russia, Jordan, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, United Kingdom and India have heard our story. Hundreds of people have been praying for us and our little +1. God has been so good.

Unfortunately though we live in a scary world and crazy things happen! For the safety of our family and our little +1, we are going to suspend our blogging until we get our little boy safely home in our loving arms. Nothing that is said on this blog, that could be taken wrong, is worth the chance of losing him.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for following our story. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for giving. You have no idea how much everything each of you have done has meant to us. I know our +1 will one day have the opportunity to read about the journey and realize the love that was shown for him before we even knew him. He will understand what he meant to so many people. From the deepest part of our heart, thank you. We love you so...