Yep. That's us. Roughly 5 months into our paper pregnancy phase of this adoption. And surprisingly it seems we are about halfway there! We've gotten our dossier completed and it has been logged into China. That was our MAJOR hurdle, and we were/are so very thankful to have that behind us. Currently we are being told we can expect our LOA, or letter of approval, within the next 20-50 days. Once we have that in hand, we should travel within 10-14 weeks. So it's getting close....much closer than I ever expected to be at this point!
With all that's been going on, I've not made time to update my blog in quite awhile, so let me just fill in a few details! In March we celebrated my Mom, Dad, and Nathan's birthdays as well as several other close family members. Mom got a severe case of diverticulitis just before her birthday, and was hospitalized, right about the time Greg and I were getting over the flu. however, my flu turned into pneumonia, so I wasn't able to help out much while she was in the hospital. Once we were all feeling better, we celebrated Nathan's birthday by taking the kids for an overnight stay in Birmingham to a hotel with an indoor pool, and we utilized our season passes to take them to the McWayne science center. It was really nice to get away, and spend some time as a family.
In April, we celebrated Annabella's 3rd birthday (her first birthday home with us.) She had a wonderful party, and was blessed beyond measure with gifts, family, and friends.
In May, the boys finished school with AMAZING report cards, Annabella was finally approved for 330 hours of speech therapy a month by the school system, and that will begin through the school this fall. Mom had surgery for her diverticulitis in Memphis, then Dad began having heart trouble and wound up needing 2 stints. He's still not 100%, nor is Mom, so I'm helping out as much as I can with them. We also got all of our paperwork completed and logged into China as mentioned above. I also found an incredible support group of adoptive families who are going through the adoption process roughly along the same timeline as us on Facebook, and that has been such an amazing resource and outlet! Since things are moving so quickly with this adoption we've really begun to try to kick our fundraising into overdrive by having online yard sales through Facebook, and we are gearing up for a bake sale next weekend, then a yard sale at our home the following weekend. Because of my parents health, we've decided to take the boys with us to China this time, and are completely trusting in God to provide a way for this to happen financially as we can't do it on our own!
We've also been trying to decide how to best rearrange so that Matt will have his own bedroom. We've finally decided to move the twins into the playroom, and turn their room into Matt's. the playroom is slightly larger, so it will better fit the twins, plus there is a wall mounted tv in that room, and it will be great not to have to unhook and move all their video games from that room! Though Nathan has been bunking out in the twins room, we are going to hook his tv up upstairs, and hopefully he will be content to move back to his room up there. With no extra money to spend on making a cute room for Matt, I've been researching ways to economically decorate it to at least look more like a toddlers room. Here are a few of the ideas I love!
We have a bedding set we got using a gift card for Target we received as a gift. It has alphabet and animals on it, so sticking with that theme, I would love to do his name above his bed. The "A" "W" and "E" above are some of the cool ways we could really add texture and make an impact without a lot of money. My Dad could cut a letter from scrap plywood, and cut the holes for the lights for the marquee letter, and the lights we can get for 40% off at Hobby Lobby for around 6.00. The paper rolled one wouldn't cost a penny. I already have plenty of scrap paper from old books from when I taught altered art classes and even have a spare chipboard letter "A" upstairs. And of course the string and nail o e, we could do with scraps stuff laying around the house. I can't afford curtains, but I do have loads of scrapbook paper and a few circle punches. I thought about getting some in the colors of Matt's bedding and making some shorter lines of them to serve as almost a "valance." The one thing I'm dying to purchase is these alphabet cards! They would cost less than 10.00 including shipping, and I'm so, so, so in love with them! They are 5 x 7 each and it includes the entire alphabet! I would love to either stick them to the wall, or possibly hole punch them and tie ribbon around them and hang them from small limbs in his room.
For the animal side of the decor, I was thinking possibly using scrap plywood to cut out one of the animals like the alligator, or elephant from Matt's bedding much like the whale pictured here. We could probably freehand it, and use a jigsaw to cut it. This however would require a small can or possibly two colors of paint, so probably to going to be able to swing it. Love the idea though! Sooooooo in love with the fake taxidermy unicorn! There are tons of tutorials for how to DIY these, so going to keep researching them to see if we could possibly pull something like that off. Again, I'd probably go with an animal from his bedding...maybe the giraffe. Speaking of giraffes, this is the cutest little framed print! Super easy to do! I could print or freehand the image then cut it out of scrap fabric or scrapbook paper. Adhere it to scrapbook paper background, and use one of the bazillion frames we have upstairs to frame it. I still have a little white paint leftover from Annabella's dresser too, that I could paint the frame with. I may do a set of three of these to hang on the wall. The fabric totes pictured are hand made by a lady in the UK, and run around 75.00 USD each. I am wondering if it would be possible to sew so e, or find cheap fabric hampers like these or even fabric square or rounded baskets that I could sew or adhere felt or fabric onto myself for reasonable. Still researching and pondering how to make these become a reality for his toys, because they are SUPER cute!
And last but not least, dollar store plastic animals. What could be cheaper or cuter than these! So many possibilities, not sure which way to go with them, but we've amassed quite the impressive collection of them and NO ONE plays with them. So I've salvaged them from the yard sale pile, and am contemplating the best way to utilize them. The "zoo" is something I've had pinned on Pintrest for some time. Our older boys have a thing for stuffed animals and we have about 100 zillion of them. Maybe more. We have seriously considered buying the dowels and just making one, or two of these for the kids. This would fit Matt's room perfectly, and is not too babyish for the others, so we might yet wind up making these!
So that's just about all the news I have for now! The boys have been at church camp since Sunday, and they will be home to or row. I can't wait to hear all their stories and about all the things that they have experienced. We didn't think they would be able to go, but were so incredibly blessed to have found out that their camp fees were taken care of! Humbled at how God provided a way for them to attend! Ian's always we covet your prayers and support for our family as we continue to follow with blind faith this path that The Lord has set before us!
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8