Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We received an exciting email on Monday of this week...our homestudy was approved by the state DHR and was sent to the USCIS last Monday (the 14th). YIPPEE! That's progress, folks! We also have submitted our first set of dossier documents, which is required for us to get our first travel invitation from Russia. That is the trip where we will meet Sarge for the first time and accept his referral. We will also petition the court for a court date to formally adopt him on that trip. Sadly, we will return to the U.S. for several weeks while we wait for that court date without our Sarge. But, we plan to stay busy preparing for his arrival. So, the bottom line is, our dossier has been submitted to the USCIS. Now we wait for them to approve it. Then it is sent to Russia. Then Russia translates it, approves it, and gives us a travel date. There's nothing else for us to do except wait to get our travel date! Please pray that all of that happens quickly. We have been told by our social worker that it could be as early as late January!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Look at this blond-haired, blue-eyed angel! Her name is Victoria and she is in the same orphanage as our John Sergeant. I can't wait to see her in person when we go visit him for our first trip. I know it will be hard to leave her behind because she needs a forever family too! That's the hardest part of adoption; when you choose one child, it feels like you are turning down the rest of them. It's a really sad feeling, because you know that it's just by the grace of God that your child will be coming to a loving home while so many others will be staying behind in orphanages. Without mommies. Without daddies. Without brothers or sisters or grandparents. They are alone except for the workers who care for them. Although these workers may be loving, they have many children to care for and simply cannot give children the individual attention they need to thrive. It breaks my heart.

So, that's why I'm a Prayer Warrior for Victoria this Christmas. My goal is to raise 1,000 dollars for her grant fund so she will be more likely to find a forever family. As I've said before, there is no shortage of families who want to adopt these children, just a shortage of funds. No matter how small the amount, a donation to Victoria's grant fund will bring her closer to having a family to love her. You may click on the Christmas ornament in the lefthand column to go to the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree. There you will find instructions on how to donate to Victoria's grant fund. Please prayerfully consider donating. It will change a life forever. Guaranteed.

Monday, November 30, 2009


This word has been on my mind a lot lately. What does it mean to consume? To be a consumer? Engrossing, taking up all of one's mind or attention, buyer of goods/services...we all know the Webster's definitions. So what do I consume? What takes up my mind/attention? What do I buy? What do I eat/drink? Those are pretty hard questions to ask yourself. Really...take a sec and think about it. I'm warning you, this post is raw. I'm laying it all out there about myself and I hope you don't get offended if this steps on your own toes. I'm not judging, comparing, or trying to be holier than thou. I'm processing this within myself right now and I've got absolutely no room to judge.

After taking an honest look at myself, I'm pretty disgusted with what I've realized about my role as a consumer. For example, new clothes are my favorite thing to buy...but how do I feel about those clothes after I've washed them once? Not at all the same. And then I need to go consume some more clothes to get the same feeling again. It's bled into my child's wardrobe as well. Dressing him in trendy, expensive clothes gave me great joy for a long time. Now it makes me sad to think of how wasteful that was. How many children could I have clothed with the money I spent on clothes he wore less than 10 times?

And what about food? I consume a rich diet by most of the world's standards. I mean, I don't survive on rice three meals a day. Diet Mountain Dew and coffee make up most of what I drink. I spend more on a Starbucks venti skinny caramel latte and a muffin for breakfast than what 80% of the world's humanity lives on a day.

My attention? A consumer wasteland of worries about stupid things. Like what my neighbors think of the fact that my garland and house lights are different colors of white. Did you even know there were different colors of white? Me neither.

Do I ever worry about clean water? Being raped by militant groups? Having a family of my own? Being cold, sick, hungry??? Never. Ever.

But for OVER HALF of human beings on this earth...they worry about at least one of those things DAILY.

So what do we do? Do we just move on with life and hope it gets better? Here's what I've come to believe. I don't need to be overwhelmed by the stats...instead, I just need to move to change them!

We've started moving in this direction in a lot of ways in our house. We still have a LONG way to go. But I want to share with you something we are doing this year with Christmas giving. We have decided, on both sides of the family, to STOP the gift card shuffle. You all know what I'm talking about...nobody knows what to get anybody else because everybody has everything that anybody could ever want or need. So we all buy each other gift cards for stupid things like Starbucks, movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping malls. These are stupid gifts because if we really needed anything from any of these places we would just go there and spend our own money. Think about it...8 billion dollars worth of gift cards go unused every year. That could buy a whole lotta clean water and healthy food. Adoptions cost an average of 25K, so one of you mathematicians out there can tell me how many adoptions 8 billion dollars would fund. I bet it would knock a serious dent in the orphan crisis. And that's just from unused gift cards, people, unused gift cards.

So this year we are not buying presents. For real. No presents. For anyone. Santa will bring Clayton a few things because I'm not about taking the fun out of it for kids. But he's only getting three small gifts. Like I told him, "If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for you." And you know what the funny thing is? This is the most excited I've been about Christmas in a long, long, long time. Like probably since I was a kid. I'm so happy to not have to worry about coming up with a list of places from which I shop so my relatives can buy me a gift card. I'm even happier to not have to trek around and buy gift cards to places from which my relatives shop. But I'm most happy because our money is going to help someone build a house, help someone adopt a child, and help someone have food, water, and spiritual nurturing.

Think about it. Is it really that important that your sister get that ugly sweater that she didn't want in the first place? Do you really think your dad's life is enriched by the box of golf balls you've given him for the seventh year straight? Are you happier because you got that fruit of the month membership from Aunt Jane? Didn't think so.

If you do spend money on gifts, why not at least give gifts that help others? Below I've listed some sites to get you started.

Go.Seek.Love (proceeds from these super cool shirts go to our friends', the Dixon's, adoption fund)

Dadz Designz (nap mats, color bags, and chalkboard mats; proceeds go to another family adopting a child from Reece's Rainbow)

Just Love Coffee (helps with our adoption fund)

Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree (Christmas Ornament with every donation of $35...I'm fundraising for Victoria R6 {there is more than one Victoria}...please donate to her fund!)

Mazza Mosaic (all December proceeds go to Reece's Rainbow)

Beads For Life (I love the Katogo necklace! Jewelry is made by Ugandan women and proceeds go to help end poverty in Africa)

And then there's this cause which is just amazing:


Well, Friday was the big USCIS appointment to have our fingerprinting done. Greg's brother and sister-in-law were in town for the holidays so we made it a family affair. They walked to the nearest shopping center in search of coffee while we went in to have our prints taken. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. We'd heard everything from "it's a horrible experience" to "no big deal, we were in and out in a few minutes." Thankfully, we fell into the latter category.

I have to interject that we had tickets to the Iron Bowl for the same day as our fingerprinting appointment. Those of you who aren't from the football-obsessed south may not understand the importance of this annual event. So I will just say that it's arguably the biggest rivalry in college football-Alabama vs. Auburn. Kickoff was at 1:30 p.m. in Auburn, AL and we had a 9:00 a.m. appointment at the FBI office in Birmingham, AL (three hours away) for our prints. Obviously, getting our child would take precedence over making the game, but we sure did want to make both appointments if possible! We joked that God was testing our committment to adoption by making our USCIS appointment on the same day as the Iron Bowl. HA!

We arrived a few minutes early, without anything on us except our i.d.'s and the paper they sent us with our appointment date/time. The security guard was a jovial older gentleman who informed Greg that he was wearing the wrong colors (he had on his Bama gear and the security guard was an Auburn fan) and would be detained. He gave us each a number which was funny since there were only about three other people in the entire building. We had a good laugh with the security guard and discussed who would win the game while we waited for our number to be called.

The entire process took 17 minutes from the time we walked in the door until we were back in the truck. The lady who took our prints was so sweet and asked all about the adoption. She told me she was trying to get approval to adopt, but that she was a single mom and didn't have a lot of financial resources. I told her I would add her to my list of adoption prayer requests and she told me she would keep us in her prayers as well. Her boss had to approve the prints she took and he was equally as nice. He told me that they were all going to watch the game on the t.v. in the back because their last appointment was at noon and gave me a big "Roll Tide".

So now we just wait for USCIS approval. We also got word from our social workers at our adoption agency and our homestudy agency that our homestudy was approved by the adoption agency and was headed to DHR for state approval. We are praying that it will come back quickly. We've been told to expect a month, but we have friends who got theirs back in two weeks, so we are hopeful that it won't take that long. We will keep you updated...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

USCIS Appointment

We got our USCIS appointment in the mail on Thursday! We will be going to the Birmingham on the day after Thanksgiving to get our prints done. I was surprised they were open that day, and we will have family in town. Oh well, guess they will be taking a field trip to the FBI office in Birmingham. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what USCIS approval means, the USCIS has to give you an appointment to come get your fingerprints taken. USCIS=United States Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services. We have already had fingerprints done with the state of Alabama. Those were easy...go downtown to the police department, get printed, take them to the homestudy agency and they send them to the state. That is a part of the homestudy process. USCIS approval means we get another set of fingerprints done (biometric prints) and a background check is done with the FBI. This can take some time and is a big step in getting our dossier completed. We hope that since we got an appointment so quickly, our background checks will be returned quickly too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

National Adoption Day

While working out this morning I saw Nia Vardalos being interviewed about adopting waiting children in the U.S. foster care system. It was a great interview and thought I would share it for those considering domestic adoption.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where to Begin?!?

I guess I'll start with the most exciting news regarding our adoption. Our homestudy is FINISHED and on its way to our adoption agency! YIPPEE! We also received a phone call from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration last week to let us know that they didn't have record of our payment for our FBI background checks. Yikes! Good thing I had the receipt, which I promptly faxed to them. I was told we should receive our fingerprint appointment soon and that the appointment would likely be within the month. Yay! I'm trying not to get my hopes up since I know this part of the process can be slow, but just hearing something from USCIS made me excited.

Now for more exciting news. We were blessed to be a part of a gathering of six other adopting families that all go to our church this past Friday night. Our elders and their wives spent the evening talking with us about orphan care and praying over our adoptions. It was so encouraging to be a part of such a loving, supportive, and most of all Christ-seeking group. We all share a passion for orphans and there is not a doubt in my mind that a movement of the Holy Spirit is happening among God's people everywhere to care for orphans. I'm so thankful that our church family is taking part in orphan care and that so many families are seeking God's will for them to adopt. Since that meeting, I have learned of two other families who have committed to adopt and one other family that is strongly considering adoption-all in our church family. How awesome it is to witness first-hand and be a part of God's movement in his people! I'm humbled that God chose us to adopt. I'm unworthy and definitely unable to do it without him! Won't it be awesome for adoption to be such a normal thing for all of our children as they grow up together? I am giddy just thinking about how God is working and so excited to see who else God calls to adopt one of his precious children.

And for my last piece of exciting news. We were totally blown away by a message we received yesterday from a former student from our campus ministry program at University Church. During her time at UA, she was one of our "adopted students." (Our church matches college students with families in our church to give them a "family" while they are away from home). She is now a young professional in Atlanta and her church there received a donation of 1.5 million dollars to be given away to people in need. Each member of the church was given $1250 to give away. She told us that after a lot of prayer, she wanted to give it to us to help bring Sarge home!!! Can you imagine how emotional I am just typing that right now? Multiply that times a hundred and that's how I felt when I got her message. I was totally humbled, honored, surprised, moved to tears, etc., etc., etc.!!! What an awesome and unexpected gift. GOD IS GOOD! I'm sharing that because I really hope that if you are reading this and you are considering adoption, DO NOT LET SATAN USE MONEY AS AN OBSTACLE. Trust in God. Pray about it. If God is calling you to adopt, he WILL provide. He just will. I have been convinced that the expense of adoption is a tool of the enemy to keep orphans, children who are especially close to God's heart, from finding loving families. Don't let Satan convince you otherwise and don't let him win. How sad would it be to stand before God and find out that he just wanted you to trust him in his plans for you to adopt and you let something as meaningless as material possessions or money get in the way? I realize these are strong words, but they are not my words, they are God's. He tells us, ""Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6). Trust God to provide for your adoption and he will not fail you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just Love Coffee

Our fundraising storefront is up for Just Love Coffee! Click on the logo above to go to our store, or visit this link: You can order some pretty cool tees, hats and other gear if you aren't a coffee drinker. Coffee is a great holiday gift, so stock up for those last-minute gifts to the postman, hairdresser, teachers, and other service providers. Thanks for visiting our store!
We are about five thousand dollars away from having all the money together to pay for Sarge's adoption. For every bag of coffee sold in our storefront, we will receive $5. We also receive a portion of the proceeds from the other products like t-shirts. We are very thankful that Rob Webb created Just Love Coffee to help families raise money for adoptions while providing a great product!

P.S. Below is the "about us" narrative from the website. It explains the background for Just Love Coffee.

"Rob Webb knows coffee. When Rob was two years old, his father started Webb's Coffee Service, which blossomed into a full-blown refreshment service supplying businesses in Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas, and is now run by Rob.
Rob Webb knows the adoption process. In the summer of 2008, Rob and his wife Emily were called to adopt from Ethiopia. After much prayer and discussion with their first two children they started their adoption journey in August 2008. During the flurry of paperwork and preparation, Rob & Emily read books not only on adoption in general, but specifically on Ethiopia. Learning that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee caught Rob's attention, and after reading about the living conditions and wages of the average coffee farmer, he was compelled to take action. What developed through his reading and his trip to Ethiopia to unite with his daughters was a realization that he could combine his expertise and longstanding desire to roast his own coffees with his desire to help others. Just Love Coffee Roasters was born! Roasting Fair Trade Specialty coffees, Just Love uses proceeds to help an Ethiopian orphanage and families adopting not just from Ethiopia, but from anywhere in the world."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christmas Shopping + Free Advertising

This year, a lot of the gifts under our tree are going to be products that donate all or a portion of their proceeds to fund adoptions. If you are fundraising and want me to feature your products on both of my blogs, please leave a comment and I will do a special post dedicated to your fundraising efforts!

I'm kicking it off with one of my favorites so far. These hats are just too adorable. I've ordered hats and scarves for Clayton and John Sergeant already and now I'm thinking about getting and adult one for me! They are SOOOOOO CUTE! 100% of the money raised goes toward the adoption of sweet Olive! Place your order soon so it can get here in time for Christmas! Click on the link below for more styles and designs.

Monday, October 19, 2009


We mailed our I-600A Application with a big fat check to the USCIS today. Just FYI for any of you who are adopting and haven't done this step yet, there has been a change in where you send your application. All of the apps now go to Lewisville, TX, and then they will forward it to your local office. I'm not sure why they decided to do it that way. Seems like an extra step to me. I'm hoping it doesn't slow down the process!

Just in case you have no clue what I'm talking about; basically, it means we have to get another set of fingerprints done. We had to have one set done a couple of months ago for the state background check. The fingerprints we have to get next are biometric fingerprints through the Department of Homeland Security. After they get our application, they will give us an appointment and tell us when to go get them done at the nearest "local" office. Our closest office in Birmingham.

There ya go...boring post for the day of where we are in the process. ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Watch and Move!

Be warned: this video is very moving. I have watched it several times and I'm still moved to tears every time I watch it. Most of you know we found our John Sergeant "at the end of Reece's Rainbow." What an amazing ministry started by one woman who wanted to see orphans with Down Syndrome find loving homes! Andrea is just a wonderful person but I know she would also want me to point the glory to our God and not her. I'm just so thankful she allows God to work through her! (Plus she's a Bama grad) :)

So before you watch this video, I want to ask you a question: what are you doing for "the least of these?" If your answer is "nothing", then pray and ask God what you should be doing to help care for orphans. I know not everyone can adopt. But there are so many other ways to participate in orphan care. For example, there are many families who want to adopt waiting children featured on this video. I have become friends with two of these waiting families. The reason they aren't able to adopt? Money. That's the only thing that keeps them from giving these children a loving home. It costs anywhere from 16-35K to adopt a child internationally (and for those of you who are is about the same to adopt domestically...adoption is EXPENSIVE regardless of the country). Most people don't have that kind of money just lying around. You may be thinking, "well, if they don't have the money then they shouldn't adopt." If that is your response, let me ask you this: Would you say the same thing about someone trying to have a biological child? Most of us who have children the "normal" way don't have to come up with that kind of money to get pregnant. My opinion is that the expense of adoption is a tool of the enemy to keep orphaned children from having loving homes. There are great families, Godly families, who long to adopt one of these kids but simply can't because of the money required to pay for all of the adoption fees.

My hope is that through watching this video, or maybe reading this blog, or whatever way the Holy Spirit moves you, that you will prayerfully consider participating in orphan care. If you don't know where to start, please email me or leave a comment and I will get in touch with you. Or maybe God will even move you to adopt one of these orphans with Down Syndrome! I'm here to tell you, a year ago, we could not have imagined adopting a child with Down Syndrome. But once we opened our heart and eyes to God's will for our lives, we knew without question we were supposed to parent one of these children.

Finally, as I mentioned in an earlier post, 90% of babies with Down Syndrome never get the chance to come into this world because their parents choose to terminate the pregnancy. These children featured on the video are the lucky ones. Now they need families to care for them. Please help them find those forever families! OK, enough's the video:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Update

Well, just when it seems there is good news, the enemy comes in to try to extinguish hope. The family I talked about in the last post, the one that is in country and waiting for the paperwork issues to be worked out with their child, have been told that it looks like the paperwork may not be worked out (again). I can't imagine the roller coaster they are on at this moment. They need a lot of prayers and so does their waiting child. He is an older child, which means he will likely be institutionalized if they are not able to adopt him. :( :( :( Please get on your knees for this family!

As for the other situation, there is no new information that I know of. Right now, it still looks like that child will not be adopted at this time. I am just praying for that child and the mother who hoped to bring her home. Please join me in praying for both of them and for the situation to somehow become a testimony to God's power and love.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Harsh Reality

UPDATE: Just got word that it looks like the paperwork complications with the family that is already in country are being worked out and they will be able to adopt the child they had planned to adopt! Keep praying for the other situation to have a good ending as well!

Adoption is full of unknowns. It's risky. It takes a lot of faith. Just like having a child biologically, there are a lot of things that could happen to end the "pregnancy". Tonight I've been reminded of how sometimes plans to adopt fall through and my heart is heavy for two families that I've met through Reece's Rainbow. Please pray with me for these families. I'm not going to put names on here. It's really not important, plus these families would probably appreciate the privacy. But specifically, you can pray that they will have peace as it looks like the children they expected to adopt may no longer available for adoption. One family is already in country and waiting to find out if paperwork can be worked out to allow them to move forward. The other person was finished with their homestudy and compiling the dossier when they received word that their child was no longer available through their adoption agency. Again, I'm asking you to please pray for these families. Thank you.

Supah Cool Store on Etsy

Looking for really cool adoption announcements, birth announcements, Christmas cards, moving announcements, etc??? Here is an Etsy store that you will LOVE. And you will love it all the more because 100% of the proceeds go to help fund the adoption of Selah Dixon. Our friends, the Dixons, are adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. You can be a part of bringing Selah home AND get some supah cool cards too! It's a win-win! Check it out:

Monday, October 12, 2009


Epic Fail

That's the grade I would receive for blogging everyday for 31 days straight. Oh well, good thing it's not for a real test or anything. :) I'm still getting back on the horse and will try to blog for the rest of the month. I will not be defeated! Ha!

Here is a little website I recently discovered and a link to an article that I found particularly interesting. Check it out! Especially if you are considering adopting a child with Down Syndrome. The name of the site is Down Syndrome Facts and Fiction.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Homestudy is OVER!

Well, we finished the last part of our responsibility to toward our homestudy yesterday. YIPPEE! We were told it will take about two weeks to get our report finished, then two weeks at the state DHR office for approval. After that, it will go to the national office where it will probably hang out for no more than three months. At least that is what our social worker told us. We have learned from others to expect the unexpected, so we are not setting our hearts on any timeframe. Of course, we hope it will be done a.s.a.p. so we can go get our little boy! Regardless, it feels great to have a great big checkmark next to homestudy. Now I'm off to compile our dossier documents...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homestudy Visit is Today!

Our homestudy in-home visit is scheduled for 1 p.m. today! That will mark the end of our homestudy duties and the beginning of our wait for them to complete the homestudy report. I am sooooooo excited to be nearing the end of this (very important) part of our adoption process. Our house is cleaner that it has ever been, I think. Maybe even cleaner than when we first moved into our house! I know they're not looking for dust and lint, but I didn't want our social worker to open and closet and find "Monica's closet." either. My good friend, Karen, came over yesterday and spent the entire day helping me deep clean and organize. It was so nice to have someone else to work with and another set of "fresh eyes" to see things that needed to be done. She's a detail person so she wiped down and cleaned things that I would've never even noticed (read: top of the fridge, kitchen canisters, plant foliage, etc.). Hopefully I can maintain the house a little better now that I have a fresh start. I love to organize, but I tend to let things like dusting and wiping fan blades and windexing windows go for months and months and months! I'll update later today and let you know how it went. Say a little prayer for us!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Watson's Adoption

This adoption video was made by another family adopting two children from Reece's Rainbow. One has Down Syndrome. I love the song, especially the line, "your courage asks me what I am afraid of?" What are YOU afraid of? What is God asking YOU to do to live courageously for HIM?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Angel Tree 2009

So many of you may be reading this adoption blog and thinking to yourself, "That's great that THEY are adopting, but I can't." Well, you may not be able to adopt (or you may not THINK you are able to adopt...I'm going to blog about that tomorrow so come back to read about it), but you CAN help orphans and participate in orphan care. God has COMMANDED us to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). So before you think, "there's nothing I can do," please click on the Christmas Ornament in the left sidebar. After you read about the Angel Tree Project, PRAY about donating to one of the angels listed on the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree. The pictures won't be up until NOVEMBER 1, so that gives you the rest of the month to PRAY about how much God wants you to give. Any amount would be a huge step toward helping these children find forever families! The money goes to their grant funds. 100% of your donation will go toward the child's adoption. It is very expensive to save a child's life through adoption. So a child with a larger grant fund is often more attractive to potential adoptive parents, simply because it makes adoption a reality for them. So once again, please be a part of orphan care and donate to these children. I am a prayer warrior for Victoria and would love to see her have a HUGE grant and adoptive family as a result of the Angel Tree project! But if God puts another child on your heart, then by all means donate to them! All of these precious children need homes and your money, no matter how little or how much, could make it possible for them to find their forever family!!! I will be reminding you all again on November 1 that the Angel Tree is up, but until then, I want to strongly encourage you to PRAY about if God is calling you to be a part of the adoption of one of these sweet angels.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Will Babies With Down Syndrome Just Disappear?

This is an absolutely shocking article to me. Read more here:

Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?

Shared via AddThis

After reading it, I did a little research and found that the statistics cited are not high. It's pretty much the same on every website I can find (+/- 2 percent). Approximately NINETY-TWO PERCENT...NINETY-TWO PERCENT! of women who are carrying a child with Down Syndrome elect to abort. NINETY-TWO PERCENT! It's staggering to me. I just can't get my head around that statistic. That is more than nine out of ten. Now I'm asking myself, what can be done? How do we change this? I don't know, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

31 For 21

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month so I've decided to take the 31 for 21 blog challenge and blog every day in the month of October. I realize today is the I'm late. Greg would tell you, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't late! So I'll post three days into November to make up for it...maybe. :)

So to start off, here's a great video about a kid with Down Syndrome named Matt Ziesel whose father is the coach of a high school football team. Matt practices with the team and at a recent game, scored his first touchdown in a real game. Read the story accompanying the video. What a great life lesson for everyone on the field and at the game about what is really important in life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Snappy Comebacks

When we first started out homestudy, one of the ten thousand eight hundred and forty two documents we had to read gave some of the most indispensable advice we've received yet. It basically said, "Have a snappy comeback ready for some of the questions people will have about your adoption." It's crazy what people will say/ask. I guess it's a lot like those insensitive statements that people make when you're pregnant. You know, the ones like, "are you sure there aren't two in there?" or "Your nose is HUGE!" or my personal favorite "I knew you were pregnant before you told anyone because your hips started spreading out." (that one was from a co-worker when I was preggers with Clayton).

Let me preface by saying, we know a lot of people think we are crazy for adopting. We also know that they think we are especially crazy for adopting a child with special needs. We are totally fine with that. People thought Noah was crazy when he followed God's command to build an ark. We feel like we have received a command from God to adopt, so to us ignoring that call would be crazy to us. So I'm not upset or mad that people say insensitive things about our adoption, but I just want make sure that I use that as an opportunity to explain what we are doing and gently call attention to the more insensitive comments, especially the ones that may hurt Clayton or John Sergeant when they are old enough to overhear and understand.

Here are some of the comments we've encountered and my "snappy comebacks." I'm sure I'll be adding to this list as we get closer to our travel date and after we get back to the states. Feel free to comment and add your own!

Question: "Have you thought about that a child with DS will be your child for life?" (meaning they may not gain complete independence...this one is by far the most common we have received)
What I want to say: "Why no, we never thought of that. Thanks for sharing your insight. We went into this not knowing A THING about DS, so people like you really help educate us about what to expect." (Dripping with sarcasm)
Snappy Comeback: "All of my children will be my children for life."

Question: "Isn't it expensive? How are you going to pay for that? You know you could use the money to help a lot of kids instead of just one if you donated it to a charity."
What I want to say: "That's none of your business!!!"
Snappy Comeback: "The cost is minimal considering it will prevent a human being from being warehoused in a mental institution. We will pay for it with money. We have chosen to grow our family through adoption and we will continue to support charities of our choosing regardless of our decision to adopt."

Question: "Are you not able have more children of your own?"
What I want to say: "I'm assumming by "have" you mean produce biological children. If so: Are you serious?!? You really feel entitled to know that very personal detail of our lives? And since you are already so concerned about us "buying" a child, you should understand that if we pay that much money for him then he's ours." (again, dripping with sarcasm here)
Snappy Comeback: "John Sergeant IS our own child." And sometimes I'll add the following just to make them realize how inappropriate it is to ask ANYONE that question. "I was diagnosed with a chronic illness when Clayton was three months old. It makes it risky for us to have biological children. However, that did not play into our decision to adopt. It is something we have considered since we were dating. But since you asked about my reproductive health, I'm giving you an answer in the hopes that you will understand how personal and painful that question might be for some women to answer."

And since we're on the subject of reproductive health:

Question: "Well you know what's going to happen now that you are adopting. You will get pregnant."
What I want to say: "Do you know anything about how babies are made?"
Snappy Comeback: "We have taken measures to prevent that from happening. But if it did, it would be a blessing, just like every other child on this earth."

Question: "Have you looked into adopting from (insert country here) instead of Russia? My third cousin twice removed adopted from East Bumfuzzle and it was cheaper there."
What I want to say: "We aren't really discount shopping for a t.v. set. This is a human being."
Snappy Comeback: "We have already committed to a specific child and have carefully considered any cost associated with his adoption. There are a lot of factors that played into our decision besides the cost."

Question: "Aren't you concerned about Clayton (his reaction, not getting attention that he is used to, not having a "real" sibling, the list goes on and on...)?"
What I want to say: "Would you be asking this if I was pregnant??? I'm almost certain not."
Snappy Comeback: "John Sergeant will be his "real" sibling. We have thought a lot about how Clayton will adjust to a new sibling. We are preparing him for the addition of a child to our family. We expect that he will be a great big brother. We are trying to raise him to be compassionate and loving, and we feel like growing our family through adoption models those qualities."

This is a statement, but it's probably the one that bothers me most: "I'm glad you aren't adopting a (biracial, black, or other ethnicity besides Caucasian) child. Is that why you are adopting from Russia?"
What I want to say: "You are ignorant."
Answer: "There are children of all races in Russia, just like in the United States. Children are children, regardless of their race. It just so happens that we are adopting a Caucasian child from Russia."

We don't expect everyone to understand or respond positively to our decision to adopt. Most people have no clue about how much preparation, reading, research, etc. goes into the decision. I think when those people hear someone say, "We're adopting" they automatically think that it was because that person/family wanted to be like Angelina Jolie. Or that the person/family made the decision rashly without much consideration. Newsflash: that's ususally not the case at all. In fact, most adoptive parents are far more prepared in their decision to have children through adoption than parents who have children the "normal way" (to use the words of another insensitive person). In my opinion, going through all the preparation to adopt is a far more labor-intensive process than getting pregnant, no pun intended. (And I've done both). I have even had someone leave a negative comment on this blog about our decision to "adopt a retard so we can pay someone else to raise them." Not sure what was meant by the "paying someone else to raise them" part. I'm guessing daycare (which by the way John Sergeant will not be attending but even if he was...)? Again, in "none of your business." I can't imagine what misery that person must live in to say something so evil and ignorant. However, I do hope that we will give gentle answers to such people and help them to see how a little sensitivity goes a long way in talking to adoptive parents and their children.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday John Sergeant!!!

John Sergeant's newborn pic. Not sure when this was taken, but it is the earliest pic of him we have.

Today Sarge turns two. I thought it would be a good time to show off the few other pictures we have of him. It is breaking my heart that he is somewhere in an orphanage and can't be celebrating with his forever family. I wonder if they even acknowledge birthdays in the orphanages. I feel certain that they do not; but a little part of me hopes that at least his caregiver gave him a birthday hug today. It's been really bittersweet for me today, thinking about how different it will be this time next year. I am so excited for him to get here, but it is so sad to think about the days that he will spend in the orphanage until then. So say a little prayer for our Sarge today! Next year we will have a big party to celebrate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

If You Think Adoption Can't Change a Life...

Read this article about a young man, Alex, with CP who was adopted from Russia. Alex was originally named Sergey, just like our little Sergey, who will be known as John Sergeant when he gets home. Holly, get out your kleenex! :)

And make sure to watch the accompanying video:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Doing Back Flips

We have loved listening to and reading the words of Francis Chan lately. What a gift he has for boldly speaking God's word and challenging us to live courageously for the kingdom! Greg and I both feel that God has used his messages to speak to us on God's will for our own lives. This is a short clip of one of my favorite analogies I've heard from him. Also, let me give a plug for his book, "Crazy Love," which I just finished last night. It is so full of scripture and I love the simplicity of his writing. May God continue to use Francis for his glory. I want to be doing back flips on that about you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Heart-Felt Thank-You

We have more money in our Reece's Rainbow fund. Thank you so much to whomever donated. We feel honored that you would help us in our journey to get John Sergeant home! We may never know who you are; how Christ-like that someone would give generously without any expectation of recognition. Your rewards will be great in Heaven. Of course, you already know this.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Adoption Date

Not "date" as in the day it will happen, but "date" as in a day out with my husband. We got a babysitter on Thursday and spent the day doing adoption stuff. We had a phone interview with our adoption agency that morning. After we finished that, we headed to the police department to get fingerprinted. We grabbed lunch and then went to Birmingham to our homestudy agency office for our first interview with them. At some point during the day we realized it was the first time in a looooong time that we had spent the entire day alone, together, without Clayton. It was a really fun day that reminded me why I love my husband so much and made me so happy to be going through this adoption process with him!

In case you are wondering, both of the interviews went great. We got some more information from our adoption agency about John Sergeant. We were given a better idea of our timeline and what to expect when we go to Russia. It was very reassuring and I feel like I have a much better idea of the whole Russian adoption process now. Our homestudy interview was more personal; just a lot of questions about our family and such.

So this isn't the most interesting post ever. But it's very exciting to us and I'm thrilled to be able to document three more steps toward bringing John Sergeant home!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Got my physical done today at my regular endocrinologist appointment. There was a lot of blood work and such that had to be done, so it took a while. I have to tell you that my endo is a God-send. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic, and so is he. He takes wonderful care of me and goes above and beyond the call of duty. So today when I go in with this physical for him to fill out that has to be notarized, he says, "No problem, I can do this. Let me take care of it all while you are here." Now I have to explain, I had already done lab work to prep for this appointment, as I typically do every three months when I see him. It didn't call for ANY of the tests (HIV, TB, etc.) that the physical required. He took the time to send me back to the lab, re-order the tests, do the complete physical, and even agreed to take it to a notary himself rather than having me bring one to his office (they don't have one at his office like some doctor's offices do). He contacted all my other doctors (gyno, eye dr, and dentist) and requested records WHILE I WAS THERE. Now maybe all of you have fab-o doctors who do this kind of stuff for you all the time, but it's been my experience that most doctors would put the paper in your file, have you do all the preparatory lab work, gather your records, and then come back for the physical. I certainly don't think most of them would personally call, from their cell phone, while they are in the room with you, to all of my other doctors and request records. And I'm sure they wouldn't go to the notary themselves to sign the paper. It is supposed to be ready for me to pick up this afternoon...what a great doctor!

Tomorrow: Phone interview (adoption agency) at ten a.m. and first homestudy interview with(homestudy agency) at 2 p.m. Whew!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If You are Looking for an Adoption Fundraiser...

Here ya go! My friend, Ed, told me about Just Love Coffee Roasters, which was created by a friend of his to help families pay for their adoptions. I've already filled out our pre-application to help us raise money for our adoption. If I haven't said it in the past, we are not soliciting money for our adoption. We hope we can pay for it by saving as much as possible and borrowing the rest if needed. However, we will not turn down donations if God has called you to help us financially. We plan to help others financially with their adoptions, so we understand the calling. Anyway, we figure that lots of people buy coffee. And lots of people buy free trade, organically grown coffee. So if you are one of those people, why not buy your coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and help a family who is adopting? Five dollars per bag of coffee sold goes to the family's adoption fund. That can add up fast! It's a win-win! The site isn't completely up and running yet, but you can browse around and read about it. There are also fan groups on Facebook and Twitter (I don't Twitter so I don't have a link for them...sorry!). I will keep you updated and let you know when you can start buying coffee to help with adoptions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Early one morning, Greg and I were laying in bed and Clayton came to join us (as he often does...usually between 5 and 6 a.m....why o why?). He was chatting it up so we knew there was no hope of dozing back off for an extra hour of sleep. So we started talking about Sarge and where his place would be in our bed when he got home. Out of nowhere, Clayton yelled, "HEY! SARGE CAN BE THE JELLY!" Explanation: we make "Clayton sandwiches" which is a family hug with Clayton in the middle. I guess he was thinking he could be the peanut butter and Sarge could be the jelly and we could make pb&j sandwiches instead of Clayton sandwiches! I love the way that little mind thinks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Donation Thank You

Not sure where it came from but I was so excited to see $25 in our grant fund with Reece's Rainbow. I just can't explain how humbling it is to receive money from someone to help with adoption costs. So a big heartfelt thank you to whomever donated from the Davises...including our newest family member, Sarge!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Around the World

Hopefully my posts will answer some questions I know many people have about our decision to adopt. I'm also hopeful that it will raise awareness and serve to advocate for growing families through adoption. So that being said, I wanted to start by explaining our decision to adopt internationally.

True confession time. I never thought we would adopt internationally. I always said, "There are so many children suffering in America, why would we go to another country to adopt?" Not that I disagreed with international adoption at all, but my personal experiences just led me to feel strongly about domestic adoption. You see, I've been a social worker for almost 10 years. I've seen more than enough abused and neglected children right here in the U.S. So it was hard for me to understand going around the world to adopt a child. But then we started researching waiting children with Down Syndrome. When we learned that there are over 200 families on the waiting list to adopt a child with Down Syndrome in the U.S., our focus turned to international adoption. The statistics on orphans with Down Syndrome in other countries were absolutely staggering. Here are a few that I gathered on various humanitarian organizations' websites.
  • There are 700,000 orphans in the country from which we are adopting, including "typical" children and those with special needs.
  • Statistically, 1 in 733 live births results in a child with Down Syndrome, therefore there are approximately 955 children in the country from which we are adopting with DS who are orphans.
  • There is no place in society for these children who are seen as "defective." They are put into orphanages by their families out of shame and fear. 90-95% of these orphans have at least one living parent and sometimes an entire family. Doctors typically advise the families to give the children up because of the widespread belief that these children will not be able to be contributing members of society.
  • Children with special needs are allowed to stay in "baby houses" until they are 4 years old. Then they are transferred to state mental institutions or special orphanages for children with disabilities. Once they are transferred, they are no longer eligible to be adopted.
  • 85% of these children die within the first year of being transferred due to the lack of proper medical care, nutrition or LOVE.

Below is a video expose' that I found on orphans in mental institutions in Serbia. Although we are not adopting from Serbia, the conditions shown are very similar in many Eastern European countries. If you choose to watch this video, please be prepared for some heartbreaking graphic images of less than humane conditions.

We have been told to expect a negative response to us when we walk the streets with our child when we go to pick him up. We have been told that complete strangers may come up and chastise us for having our child in public. I just can't imagine living in a society where humans with disabilities are seen as disgraceful, disposable and social outcasts. This is one of the most compelling reasons we had for choosing international adoption.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Family Support Page is Up!

Yay! It feels real now...we have a page on Reece's Rainbow. Here's the link:

Or, you can click on my super-cool button in the right sidebar, designed by Amanda! You can also add it to your own blog if you wanna copy the code below the button. And would you look at that elephant...seems Sarge is already a Bama fan!

And now I'm off to do a happy dance...

Clayton's Two Cents

We've been talking to Clayton a lot about the adoption. He's constantly asking questions about Sarge and wanting to know when he's "coming to my house." It's hard to explain to a three-year-old why we have to wait so long to bring Sarge home. As usual, Clayton has an opinion about the process and here are some of the funniest conversations we've had:

Clayton: "Why are you looking at Sarge?" (I was actually calling somebody on my cell phone but Sarge's pic is the background pic on my phone).
Me: "Well, I have his picture on here because I miss him and looking at his picture helps me feel better."
Clayton: (after a couple of minutes of silence) "Mommy? I miss Sarge too. Can I have your phone to call him?"

Me: "Clayton, Sarge is a long way from Tuscaloosa. Mommy and daddy will have to fly on a big airplane to go get him."
Clayton: "You don't have to go. The mailman can just bring him."

Me: "We are going to give Sergey a new name. We are going to name him Jonathan Sergeant. You can call him John Sergeant or Sarge."
Clayton: "We can name him Shad Johnson Sergey." (referring to former UA player Rashad Johnson, with whom Clayton has been mildly obsessed since he was old enough to say "Roll Tide")

Rashad Johnson and Coach Saban

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Jonathan Sergeant Davis


This is all I can really post right now. We aren't going to post his birth name or where he's from until we get clearance. But here's his picture and the name we've chosen for him. We are going to call him John Sergeant or "Sarge". Jonathan is a family name from both sides...Greg's middle name is John and my maternal grandfather's name was John. Jonathan means "God has given" which we felt was very appropriate. Now here's the interesting part...Greg and I both had the idea of naming him Sergeant on the same random is that? Actually, I thought about Sergeant and Greg came up with Sarge. When he asked me what I thought of nicknaming him "Sarge", I couldn't believe it. I just started laughing and said, "I was thinking Sergeant just this morning, but I thought you wouldn't like it!" I will say that Sergeant is kinda similar to his birth name and we wanted to keep a part of his birth name.

So there he is...go ahead and comment away on how cute he is! :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You're Doing What?!?

That's probably what most of you will be saying after you read the following statement:

We are adopting.

That's right...we're adopting. A little boy. With Down Syndrome. After I've repeatedly said we are a "one and done" family. So how did we get to this decision? Because let's face it, most of you are wondering that so here's the short version:

Because God told us to do it.

Now for the longer version. When I was in high school, God began to nudge me toward people with special needs. I volunteered with the local Special Olympics and it was the highlight of my year, every year. Seriously, given the choice between going to prom or helping with Special Olympics, I would've chosen the Special Olympics. I especially enjoyed working with the kids who had Down Syndrome. I just felt like those were the kind of people I wanted to be around. People who didn't care what you looked like, what kind of clothes you wore, what kind of car you drove. They were the purest, most genuine example of love.

Fast forward to college. At one point during my 5 major changes, I was an early childhood special education major. During that time, I was placed at RISE for a practicum rotation and I met lots of kids with Down Syndrome. I grew especially close to one family, the Gabriel's, and babysat for them often. In fact, their daughters were the flower girls in our wedding. I also babysat for a 16-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. Around the same time, I met Greg and he shared my love for these two special kids. During a conversation before we married, I asked Greg if he would ever consider adopting a child with Down Syndrome. It was something I felt an urging to do and I wanted to make sure my potential husband wasn't going to run screaming from the idea. He told me he thought he could see that in our future, but we both agreed that it was something we would do "later."

Greg and I really hadn't talked much more about adopting a child with DS since we had Clayton. In fact, Clayton was such a handful as an infant/toddler that we thought he was probably it for us. That coupled with the fact that I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes led us to believe we were only going to have one child. Honestly, I was completely fine with that. I was an only child and felt like I had a great childhood and upbringing. I was comfortable with our little family and thought we could do a lot more financially with one kid. Both Greg and I agreed that our family was complete and we started planning to build a house on some land we own. We were going to continue building our "American Dream."

But something didn't feel right. So a couple of months ago, we started praying for God to open us up to whatever he wanted to do with our lives. Around the same time, we started going to a class at church taught by our friend David Breedlove called "the bucket list." Basically it was about living your life with the end in mind. It asked the question, are we are living our lives now to serve God or ourselves? Are we allowing God to work his will through us? Is our "bucket list" one that is for our benefit or for the benefit of the kingdom? Greg and I both felt like there was something else that God wanted us to do, but we didn't really know what at the time. We just knew we were laying ourselves out there and opening our lives up to anything he wanted.

A few weeks ago Greg called to tell me that something we had been praying for had finally happened. We had finally found someone to buy our share of a small business we had been a part of for the past few years. The first thing I thought of wasn't seed money for a house, but adopting a child with Down Syndrome and I told Greg. It kinda came out of nowhere, but at the same time we both felt like it was something that had been cultivated inside us for years. We started praying for God to show us if this was what he wanted us to do and we kept getting a resounding, "YES!" At one point, I called to talk to a friend who told me, "If you feel like God is saying 'duh' every time you ask him for an answer, then it's probably something he wants you to do." And that's exactly how we felt. I named this blog after reading Proverbs 24:12. It describes exactly the call we have to adopt. If we didn't do it, I know when I get to heaven, God will ask why I didn't follow his lead. And then he will show me what he could've done with my life if I just hadn't been so stubborn and selfish. Because he knows my heart. And he knows I have a heart for kids with Down Syndrome. And he knows that Greg has also developed the same love for these kids. And I don't think it is coincidence that we feel this tugging to bring one of these children into our family.

I have been extremely humbled during the decision-making process. It's made me really examine my motives, my judgement of others, and my own insecurities about what others think of me. God has given me a renewed spirit of boldness and courage and he's reminding me daily that it doesn't matter what the world thinks. He tells us in 1 Cor. 3:9 that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to him. The wisdom of the world would say, "Why do you want to do that? You have a healthy child. It's going to be hard. It's going to be expensive. It's going to mean you won't get to do/have some of the worldly things that you really wanted. Do you realize you will have a 'child' for life and will never have an empty nest?" But to God, those sound like crazy questions/statements!

We are working with a ministry called Reece's Rainbow. Please take a look at their website. We have chosen a child and I will eventually post more about that (with pictures) on here. I am waiting to get the o.k. from our agency about what we can and can't post on here since we haven't *officially* been accepted. I can tell you that he is one of the waiting children shown on their site. Right now we are just starting the home study process and application with our agency. It's a long process that will take 8-12 months. We humbly ask for your prayers. Some specific things we are praying for now:
  • the care of our child while we wait to bring him home
  • Clayton and his adjustment
  • wisdom as we learn about how to parent a child with special needs
  • wisdom about how to make the transition from an orphanage to our home as easy as possible for our child
  • the "paperwork pregnancy"
  • his name...we are trying to decide what to name him. He has a birth name but it is very foreign. We want to keep some part of it, but we want to call him something more American. We are trying to decide quickly because we want to start calling him that around the house for our sake and Clayton's sake. If we keep calling him by his birth name, it could get confusing!

So pick your jaw up off the floor and join us in the process if you dare! It's going to be a crazy ride and we believe God probably drives like a maniac!