Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Month Home

Wow, it's amazing to think that Easton has been home 1 month.  It seems like he's been here forever and such a short time all at the same time.  It's been an incredible journey and every day is another adventure.  First I'll give an update on all the excitement we've had these past few weeks! Then I know you want to know how Easton is adjusting!

First we spent our first weekend putting up our Christmas tree and Easton loves it. At first he wanted to knock the ornaments off but after correcting him several times he stopped that. Now he just wants the lights turned on all the time and if we start to leave the house he wants to make sure the tree is turned off.  He loves it.
hanging the first ornament

Then we went on a mini family vacation to Gatlinburg and had a blast. We spent time swimming, looking at lights, and of course eating good. We went with my parents and they enjoyed their time with their new (and first) grandson. Here are a few pictures from our trip.
He looooves water

We worried a little about his ability to adjust and "go with the flow" so soon, but he had no problems.  He's attaching well and seems to feel safe as long as we are around.  No issues interrupting schedule or where we are.  We can tell when he starts feeling stressed in new places (like Dr.'s offices) and it just didn't happen here. What a blessing. This little guy is so special, and so perfect for our family. God always knows what He's doing.

Then came Christmas.  We knew he wouldn't completely understand what was going on but we planned to celebrate like he would.  He did so well, and even though he doesn't understand presents or play with toys he enjoyed the time playing with us and opening presents (once he figured out how). Here are a few photos from our Christmas festivities and a few of him playing with some of his favorite gifts!!

his face says it all

I see sports in this boys future!

Starting early so he can be like Daddy!

Update on Easton
Easton is learning so much every day! He's growing like crazy (probably because he eats so much).

At 1 month home he's gained 9.5 lbs.  And it is so easy to see. His legs have almost doubled in size, his face is filling out, and you can't see his ribs anymore.

He's signing "more" "please" "eat" and "again" but uses "more" for almost everything he wants so we aren't sure he completely understands what he's saying.

He can blow kisses, give hugs & kisses, wave bye, dance when prompted, pat his belly and say "ho ho ho", and give the best high 5's around!

He loves to be turned upside down, be chased, be tickled, and rough house as much as possible.

His favorite things to do is throw the ball and any of the above mentioned plus run as far and fast as possible.

Favorite foods: yogurt and mashed potatoes (not together of course)
    He still has aversions to anything crunchy but will eat almost anything he can mash in his palate or just swallow.

He is not fond of our dog but tolerates her.

He loves to be active and keeps us on the go all the time!!!
He laughs more than anyone I've ever met in my life but has tendency's to get mad when he doesn't get what he wants (we are working on this).

He will mimic almost any sound we make, even though it doesn't sound the same when it comes out of his mouth, he's trying.

We are working on potty training, it's slow, but he's trying!!

Parenthood is such a joy and we are so blessed to be the parents of this incredible child. I'll leave you with a few more pics of all the fun we have!

four generations

he loves the lawnmower

still unsure about walking on grass

First haircut

running wild

He has learned to pass and catch this ball all on his own

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We're Home

We've now been home for 12 days and the progress Easton is making is remarkable. I'm sure I'll forget everything but I wanted to post just a few of things he's learned and an update on his health.

Last monday we went to his developmental pediatrician and Easton weighed in at 28.4 lbs, that's 4.5 lbs gained in less than 2 weeks. It's so easy to see too. He's face is filling out, those legs aren't quite as fragile and he's gaining strength.  The pediatrician appointment was basically to get established and make referrals to specialists. At the end of our appointment the following specialists were scheduled:

Orthopedics (due to his ankles and feet not looking like they should)
Audiology (just to test hearing)
Opthamology (just to test vision due to some squinting he does)
Urology (another post another time)
Genetics (to rule out any syndromes that might be causing his delays)

We will also be seeing the International Adoption clinic on the 18th which we are excited about. Our ST, OT, and PT referrals will come from here.

Since Eastons been home he's feeding himself almost all of the time.  Sometimes when we try to feed him he grabs the spoon from our hands and insists to do it himself!

He has learned where his spoons are at and often goes to the kitchen, pulls one out, and brings it to me! He's catching on quickly and loooves to eat. In fact he wants to eat 24/7. We are trying to work out an eating schedule. 

His rocking is minimal and the hand stems still happen if he's not focused on something. He loves to watch basketball in person and laughs hysterically during the whole game.
He's sleeping well through the night after working out some midnight waking up the first few days home.

He goes with the flow so well, loves when we get out his jacket because he knows we are going somewhere.  He's learning to like his carseat. It usually only bothers him when he wants to lay down and sleep.

He's started signing and can sign "more" "please" "again" and "eat".  He uses "eat" and "more" appropriately and will use "please" and "again" when cued to do so. 

We are trying to use the potty as often as possible but he soaks diapers several times a day. He urinates a lot and sweats a lot too. Mostly at night. There are times when he sweats so bad at night we think he's peed everywhere. 

He's so curious. Loves to figure things out. Loves being tickled, chased, and turned upside down. His laughter brings so much joy to our lives. He loses his breath he laughs so hard sometimes! 

He's beginning to make the "ba" and "ma" sounds quite often and will mimic us saying ho ho ho and "yayayay"

His eye contact is incredible and is ability to understand what we are saying is amazing. He has picked up what we are telling him so quickly.

Of course with all the good comes some bad. The good outweighs the bad, but it's still there.
I'm guessing he never learned to brush his teeth because it's a battle every day.  He also has a habit of pulling hair and hitting when he gets over excited.

He was obviously used to doing whatever to get his way because he can throw quite the tantrum.  He will pull his own hair and bite his fingers when he gets really mad. He's learning quickly that it's not working with us and they are getting fewer. 

As we speak he's running down the hall laughing which means he wants to be chased, so I'm cutting this one short. Here are a few pictures since we've been home!!

Putting on the first ornament

4 generations

sucking yogurt out of a pouch

I've never seen anyone so excited about cleaning

Gotchya Trip

I know this post is looong overdue, and for that I apologize! I've been busy running after this sweet little Bulgarian boy that now resides in my house!!

 I will say that this process has been long and hard. But nothing compares to the trials we faced on our pickup trip. All of those who went before us could have never given enough advice to prepare us for what would take place on our trip. Praise the Lord He hears prayers and we had so many people praying for us and Easton that we saw the hand of the Lord all over our son and we are now at home where all 3 of us belong!

 I'm going to try to do a quick recap and then do another post about Easton's progress since we've been home!

 Fortunately our flights were smooth and we didn't miss any. We arrived in Bulgaria as scheduled but had to wait for 2 other families to land that were also with our agency during the week. So glad we got to meet these families. Such precious people and nice to have other people to talk to that completely understood where we were at and what it felt like!

We went to our apartment which was incredible (and had a tub which is quite the commodity in BG)!! We went to bed way to early because we woke up at about 10:00 p.m. ready for the next day. It was a long night needless to say. The next day we left early with another family in tow behind us. We stopped in the city their daughter was in (Plovdiv) and got to walk around and grab some late breakfast while they went to the orphanage to pick up their daughter. Once they got her and got back on the road to Sofia, we were on our way to Stara Zagora to pick up Easton.

 We were so excited for this moment. Two years we had waited for this moment! We felt nerves and excitement all at once. Aparently the excitement took over that morning because I had forgotten my camera at our apartment. I had my phone so we got a few pictures in the car on the way back to Sofia but that was it! Don't worry I've taken plenty since then so I can make up for it!!

We walked into the orphanage, up those many many flights of stairs, and talked with the same social workers we had talked to 6 months earlier. It seemed like we had just left. We gave them Eastons clothes and waited. We heard those little foot steps coming down the hall and it was like we were meeting him for the first time all over again. He seemed just as little, and his clothes barely fit him. He was holding the bear we had left! We walked out into the hall and we are pretty sure he didn't remember us. Dustin knelt down to pick him up and he let him, but it didn't last long. He walked over to the wall almost to hide but Dustin knelt down and Easton grabbed his hand. Soon enough we were out the doors, breaking our boy free and we didn't look back!!

The car ride home was fun! He loved all of the cars and it was so late in the day we saw the lights of the city, which he also loved. He peed on dustin just like old times!! He rode like a champ and didn't get car sick to our amazement. We got back to our apartment and he ate rice and vegetables like a pro, even feeding himself for a few of the bites (which they said he couldn't do due to a coordination problem). We thought things couldn't have went better, we were on our way to being a family!!

We were flat wrong!

The next day, Easton woke up early. The whole day he laid around refusing to eat or drink anything. He wouldn't let us touch him and wanted to be left alone. We were devastated. We were heartbroken and didn't understand such a quick change in demeanor for our little guy. We knew he might shut down but this was way worse than we anticipated. We were worried for his health and wondered if he would make it through the week with us if this was how he was going to be. After all we had taken everything away from him, we were strangers, and he didn't appreciate us for it.

 The amount of prayers we had come in from all around was the most incredible thing. Dustin and I spent most of the day crying and praying and crying some more. We felt defeated. Its hard to work so long for something then feel so rejected. We had not prepared ourselves for this battle, mentally, spiritually, or physically.

Later that evening due to stress, he vomited twice. At that point we knew we needed to call for help. Our agency came to the rescue with a ton of medicine and an enema to stop the vomiting. Easton however did not appreciate it! There was some sedative in the medicine and after administering some hydrating liquids through a syringe we put him to bed. Dustin and I sat in the living room thinking to ourselves "what have we done".

 The Lord is merciful and heard our prayers. While it wasn't easy, the next day Easton would take pudding from a syringe. He lived on that for 2 days. Finally we could mix yogurt in with pudding and sneak it in. He was very smart because he would watch what went in the syringe and if it wasn't the pudding he would down right refuse it. We survived a few days like this.
 We took him to the medical appointment on Thursday and he weighed in at 24 lbs and 38 inches tall. The pediatrician recommended some baby food for toddlers and we went to get it. Easton began to take that through syringe. Eventually after persistence by the time we left he was eating from a spoon again. Still pureed foods only, but nonetheless he was eating!

As the week progressed we started seeing the little boy we remembered from our first trip. He loved a bath and we took 2 a day sometimes just to keep him occupied. He loved throwing a ball and boy does he have an arm. Knocking things over and being turned upside down kept him laughing...he's all boy!!
That week was one of the hardest times we've ever had to endure, but today we can say it was all worth it. We praise God for it because He was glorified.
While in country we were even put in contact with some incredible missionary families who took such good care of us! Cooking us a home cooked meal and even taking us to church to worship with our son for the first time! That also was an incredible experience!

 I'm going to add a couple of pictures here just to give you an idea of what our week was like. We spent a lot of time in the apartment due to cold weather at the end of our trip. The same cold weather that created a 31 hour travel time back home. Maybe Ill do another post on that sometime, but lets just say Easton travels better than Dustin or I either one do!!

Love this sweet face
eating like a little birdie
lovin bath time
finally drinking
this face had just filled up on KFC mashed potatoes!
learning to sit close and accept love!

This boy is learning what it's like to be in a family. Every day he accepts more love and trusts us more.  We praise God for bringing this child into our family. He fits perfectly and makes our lives more enjoyable than we could have ever imagined.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nothing More and Nothing Less

It's hard to believe we are only 4 days away from flying back to Bulgaria to bring our son home! His bags are packed (maybe a little too full) but we are trying to be as prepared as possible! My excitement level is finally started to outweigh my nerves and I am focusing on Gotchya day instead of the flight over (this helps me not get so nervous to fly). Every evening that Dustin and I sit down to spend time together we talk about how things are about to drastically change. We won't have quiet evenings to ourselves anymore. The TV will be overrun with cartoons and our house will probably not ever be as clean as I'd like for it to be again. Then we talk about how exciting it is that these changes are about to take place. I mean this time next week we'll be parents. It seems so surreal to think about, almost as if it's all a dream. When you spend 2 years working toward something, it doesn't seem possible for it to come to an end. But thank goodness it is!

I never knew it was possible to love and miss someone so far away, that I knew so little about. Having spent only 3 short days with our son, the love that we have for him is as if we've known him for all 6 years of his life. We hurt for him, knowing that the situation he is in and the life he's endured has not been easy. We pray for his heart and healing daily, knowing that he is about to endure a terrible loss. His small world is about to be turned upside down and we are the cause for it. It's not something a child can understand at such a young age, but we pray that he clings to us in this time of turmoil. We want him to know how loved he is. Not just by us but so many people that are just as excited as we are to bring him home.
Easton is going to have to learn how to be a part of a family. He'll have to learn how to be dependent on us for his needs. He's going to have to learn trust, affection, and love. We would be silly to think that these lessons will come easy. We just pray that they come!

Yesterday we received our expense report for in country cost and they were way more than we expected. At first I stressed out, we had not prepared to see those kinds of numbers for an expense. We knew it would be a little more because our trip has been extended but we were still in shock. I pulled together our adoption fund, remaining grant funds, and our safety net to realize we had just enough. Nothing more and Nothing less. Isn't God good? I am reminded of the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert. Each day God provided manna. Just enough. Nothing more and Nothing less than what they needed. What an incredible way to grow your faith. Yes it takes away our safety net for medical expenses once home, but when it's needed we fully believe God will provide.

Dustin and I often worry about our ability to parent. Once again I think to the Israelites, God's chosen. Easton is one of God's beloved. Just like the Israelites, it is God who is providing for Easton. He chose us to be his parents. We will be nothing more and nothing less than what he needs. We are trying our hardest to live in this truth!
It is our hope that we can update daily during our time in Bulgaria, but we truly do not know what the coming weeks will hold. Will you pray for us? Pray for Easton. Pray for the workers that have cared for him for the past 6 years. Pray for our family. Pray for traveling mercies. Pray that we can turn to God for guidance in every situation. Pray that Easton grows up to become exactly who God intends for him to be, Nothing more and Nothing less.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Countdown has Begun.

Short and Sweet here, but nonetheless EXCITING!
Our travel dates have been confirmed and our airline tickets are booked!
We are 18 days, yes 18 DAYS, from leaving to go break our boy out of that orphanage forever!
We leave on November 16th and will arrive back home on November 27. The day before Thanksgiving. Which is the absolute most perfect holiday to spend together for the first time. Afterall we do have SO much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oh Happy Day!!

I know I'm a little late with this post, but as the title says, we had a happy day!!!  We passed Court!! Easton is our son! No longer an Orphan! His ransom has been paid, and he's been declared set free!!! 

We absolutely can not wait to bring this little guy home! Right now we are waiting on our judge to sign a decree, which should take place at the end of this week.  Then his new birth certificate will be issued!  Right now we have been given tentative travel dates of Nov 16-27. These dates are soo perfect for us because we get home right before Thanksgiving and Dustin will have 5 days home with us before having to go back to work.

We are so excited to be a family of three! We are preparing for travel, and probably waaay over thinking everything!  We are trying to think about things to keep Easton occupied for 12 days in an apartment while it's cold outside.  Parenthood is a scary thing when it's new, but it's even scarier when you are in a foreign land.  We are praying for wisdom and guidance, because God knows we will need it. We can't wait to get him in our arms.

We hope these next few weeks go by quickly and we are able to break him out of the orphanage as soon as possible!!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

About time for a little Sunshine!!

My last post was asking you to pray. This one is not much different!  Last time I was asking you to pray that we would get a court date toward the end of September. Well it didn't happen. We didn't hear anything.  In fact my last ray of excitement diminished that week.  It's getting hard. Harder than I ever imagined and I find myself more frustrated and sad than I do excited. Its so hard to anticipate something so many times just to get no results. Eventually you quit anticipating.  I'm there.

But then we got a small ray of sunshine. God shined down on us and saw our hurting. He had mercy on us and folks...we GOT A COURT DATE! I always love to ask God's people to bathe something in prayers that is coming up. And I typically love to give everyone plenty of time to do so.  This time I have not (given time that is). Ive been so worried that something will happen as it usually does, and court will in fact not happen. I suppose that chance is still there, but I'm tired of living without faith that my God is big enough to take care of it. If something does happen we'll just know our time is coming soon.  Otherwise, START PRAYING!!  October 15, yes that's Tuesday...the day after tomorrow, is the big day. In fact court will happen sometime while we sleep Monday night due to the time difference.  We need prayer! We have paid E's ransom now we just need a judge to declare him set free!!!

If all goes well we travel 4-5 weeks after court, which puts us getting home just in time for Thanksgiving. Boy do we have a lot to be thankful for.

Oh, speaking of travel.  We have one other request. PRAY for travel too. I mean not only that travel gets here quickly and goes smoothly, but there have been some changes lately. There are some new requirements with TB skin testing that will require our stay in country to be extended to 10-11 days instead of 1 week. Now this isn't a huge difference, but what we thought was fully funded, well now it isn't.  Pray that the extra funds will be there for the length increase and medical exams that will have to take place that we hadn't planned for.

NOW that we have the big news out of the way, I'm finally prepared to update some pictures of E's room.  There are still some boxes sitting around so ignore those, but we are pretty proud of his big boy room and can't wait to see him in it!

 My favorite part of this picture is the shadow box hanging on the wall! It has Dustin's old jerseys and newspaper articles in it from baseball.  Don't mind the giant inflatable bear lol it was $1 and I couldn't pass it up!!  Of course we got a bean bag, even though it's covered with stuff right now, but he loves the one at his orphanage, so it was only fitting to get him one for here!

 Love that puzzle and everything it represents!!!
The book shelf is full of awesome stuff, but among my favorite is E's grandpas baseball glove and trophies.

Ok I have a slight obsession with shoes and I've passed that on to my sons very own collection.  I just can't pass those little things up!! He's got a great variety :)

Want to know what I'm most excited about? Well besides the obvious of passing court and bringing home home, I can't wait to share his beautiful face with the rest of the world once he is ours! Stay tuned hopefully they are coming soon!!

Start Praying!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's hard not knowing

Let me say first that this adoption is by far one of the hardest things Dustin and I have had to do. The emotional highs and lows are hard to deal with. The waiting is killer...we had been warned but to experience it is completely different. We knew going in to this adoption we would have a basic timeline. So assuming we would follow this basic timeline, has helped us for the most part. Until there are really long gaps in between movement. Then it becomes the hardest. We are in one of those moments.

We haven't had movement since early August. The last thing that happened for us was a signature from the MOJ and our file got moved to court. Since then...NOTHING. We've checked for updates but it seems the judge who has our file is still on vacation. A month long vacation mind you, perhaps even longer than that. VESTA did let us know that she has hearings scheduled for next week and the first week in October, so we are asking everyone to band together and PRAY HARD that our case is heard within these next 2 weeks. What a huge step this will be. It will mean E is officially and legally our son. I mean to us this happened a long time ago, but now the Bulgarian Gov't will recognize it. It's just hard not knowing how close or far away we are from this point.

We will travel roughly 4 weeks after our court date to bring our son HOME...where he belongs!! It's becoming real folks!! Just a few months ago Dustin and I were estimating E would be home within 100 days, now it's less than 100 days until Christmas!! This means he's only 6-8 weeks from being home if our estimates are right. Oh how we pray they are right.

A dear family that we have become friends with traveled to meet their son last week, and just so happened they were at E's orphanage. They saw him!! What a blessing from God, it's been so hard to not have updates! They asked about him and the social worker said he asked about us every time she went in his room. Now lets get real, this is a little hard to believe since he has 0 words in his vocabulary, but it's nice to imagine that he remembers us and is waiting for our return. Soon little buddy, soon!!
Please lift him and our family up over the next few weeks and pray hard that we receive a court date soon! We have a hole in our hearts that needs to be filled and a large family waiting to meet our blessing!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's Get Caught Up!!

Our blog has been acting up a bit lately so I've been unable to update like I've wanted to.  First some exciting news in the Grant world!!

We have been so graciously chosen to receive 2 incredible grants. The first is a matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans who have partnered with Orphan Care Alliance, that we are so close to funding!!  It was a total of $2500 which they will match dollar for dollar.  We only need about 600 more to have that funded!  If you're interested in sending a check to Lifesong for Orphans, here's how you do it!

Send a check for the amount you wish to donate to:
 Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40/202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

Then put in the memo Section: Perkins Family #3574

It's as simple as that and it gets doubled to go toward our adoption!! We are so grateful to this ministry for choosing our family to receive such an incredible gift.

Then last month we were chosen to receive a generous Show Hope grant!  I love this program so much and they have truly played a hand in leading us to adoption.  They have helped to bring home so many beautiful children that have impacted our lives!  Now they are helping to bring home our son!  Just a few months ago we were celebrating the 10 year anniversay with Show Hope in TN and now we are joinging the Show Hope family!  So excited to be apart of this amazing group of families who are making an eternal difference!

Now on to some Adoption News! 

Good news first.  Around the first of July we were informed that our Article 5 had been issued and we had been submitted to the MOJ for a signature.  This is great news!  We are only a few steps from traveling now!  There is  a small group of other adoptive parents that are in the same stage as us that took their first trip shortly before we did. All of those families have now received a signature so we are not far behind. We hope to have a signature by the end of the month, which is quickly closing in. 

The bad news is that the most recent family to receive signature (who traveled 2 weeks before us)  have been told the courts are officially shut down for August and court will not happen until mid-late September.  That puts us even farther behind them.  So what we assumed would be a september/october travel is turning into a october/ early  november travel.  The up side to all of this (we always try to find one) is it gives us an opportunity to get fully funded, and prepared for our little guy to make his grand arrival!  The down side is we miss him soooo much and each day gets a little bit harder! 

We are only about $5,000 from being fully funded, including the remainder of the Lifesong matching grant ($3,800 if we get it funded)  We do have one more grant to be reviewed in early August and we ask that you all join us to pray that we are awarded a portion of the grant.  This grant has the potential to finish our funding!!

We have also FINALLY redecorated E's bedroom! I really need to get some pictures up! I just love it, it's tooo cute, or I guess a better term would be cool!!  There are lots of reminders on the wall of the people who have helped make this possible, and of course from his daddy's glory days of baseball, haha!

We've even got some of Diado's (grandpas) baseball stuff (gloves and trophys) from when he played in little league and highschool. I love having all of the history and stories in his room. I can't wait until he's old enough to understand it all!

There won't be much movement now through probably september, but hopefully I can update with news of another grant!

 We are going to take one last HOORAH before E gets here, and are taking off to the Virgin Islands for a few days in August.  We are taking my parents who have never left the southeastern US or who have never flown. This should make for an exciting trip!  I'm excited to see them so excited about traveling, since dustin and I both love it so much!  We have never been to the beach together since we met so this will be an exciting trip!  We figured we'd better get in before all of our vacations turn into Disney World!! (which by the way we are definitely looking forward to)!!

Until our next update.....

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


This part of the process seems to have few and far between updates.  We do have an exciting one for today though.  The last day we were in Bulgaria, our US agency sent off our I800 application for us.  This is kinda the final piece of paperwork that we file with the US to apply for the ability to get citizenship for our little guy once we pass court.  Basically once this application is approved everything else happens in Bulgaria.  Well it had been a month and we hadn't heard anything so I broke down and called them just to check progress.  There is great news!!

Our I800 was approved last wednesday (no pinkslip by the way) and sent to Washington DC via 2 day air.  There it will be uploaded to a computer system where the US embassy in BG will access it (hopefully by tomorrow) and then issue an Article 5.  The Article 5 will then get translated and submitted to the Minister of Justice for a signature.  We are hoping to have our article 5 issued, translated, and submitted by the end of the month.  This could mean that we get a signature in July since things seem to hurry up around this time of year. However we are still thinking we won't get court until things start back up in September then hopefully travel back in October.  But for everything to be complete on our side is exciting. Now we truly have to sit back and wait, everything is out of our hands and our country for that matter!!

One step closer! And not many more steps keep us from bringing our son home!!

Monday, June 3, 2013


We are the featured family of the Give1Save1 Europe Ministry. First if you haven't checked this awesome ministry out please's GREAT! Second follow the link below and check out our story and video...then if you feel led, give a dollar to help bring our son home! If you aren't able to do that, then just share this link everywhere you can! The only social media I have is Facebook and this blog, so my friends who are everywhere...share it there too!!!


After you've read our story you can go to our fundraiser set up through Pure Charity on that page or just to the right over here in the side of this blog -------->>>

If you aren't a member of pure charity, it's easy to sign up and it's free. Then you can click "Back this Fundraiser" and you will be able to give as much as you want.

We need to reach this goal to help pay for our second trip and associated fees.  Please help and share!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Education: Foundation for the Future (Lifesong Blog)

13-5 MM Email
The commitment to provide a quality education to every child we serve is just one of our four pledges we make to "our" kids. We believe that education is a foundation for the future and is the start to change nations and peoples from the inside out as they fight against cycles of poverty and unemployment.


Mesaye's story of hope in the midst of tragedy is just one of many. Thankfully, she is receiving an education and hope for the future because of her sponsor. But the impact goes even beyond Mesaye! Her grandmother, who has no means of providing for her schooling, is now able to witness Mesaye's growth and trust in her future legacy.

Sponsors support a child like Mesaye with quality education, 2 meals a day and exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for only $19/month! When you sponsor a child, you impact a family!

(100% of sponsorship received goes directly to the need -- helping children! No administrative fees deducted.)


While providing vulnerable children with an education, we also have the opportunity to share with them the good news of the Gospel of Christ. Watch Teja, student at Lifesong India, explain the impact of not only education, but also spiritual discipleship he received.

Learn more about Lifesong India>>


Rising to the Top with Technology - Lifesong Honduras tells of the dramatic impact technology has had in our school. Read full story

"Poor" Kids Come Out on Top - Students at Lifesong Zambia excel on their mock exams! Read full story

Adding Fun into School Days - Students at Lifesong Liberia enjoy new playground & school uniforms. Read full story

Gift of Education - Moses, student at Lifesong Zambia Schools, shares why he values and appreciates the education he is receiving. Watch Video

Monday, May 20, 2013

Trip 1

I know this has been a long awaited post.  Finally after a week of settling back in I'm able to post details from our first trip. During the week I e-mailed close friends and family the details so I'll be copy and pasting those e-mails into this post essentially. So here it goes!!

Day 1-Sunday
We left L-ville Saturday afternoon with a pretty bumpy flight.  Landed safely in ATL and took off on our big jet for London.  It was a long flight with little sleep. Which certainly caught up to us once we got at London Heathrow airport.  After following the trusty advice of a fellow American traveler we ended up in immigration which we later found out we didn’t have to go through…go figure. Well by the time we got through immigration our flight was gooooone.  We were stranded in London!!  It took us forever to figure out who to talk to because the Bulgarian Air  guy was gone (apparently they only send one flight out a day and since ours was gone…he was too.)    So a nice gentleman from Airfrance searched and searched to find us a new flight to Sofia or else we would be spending the night in London.  Well low and behold there were no straight connections.  Our best option was to go through Brussels (which we didn’t even know where it was) and then fly on to Sofia.  We took it, it was our best option and would get us to Sofia before the end of the night. We were so exhausted, by the time we finally landed in Sofia which was exactly 24 hours from the moment we took off from Kentucky.  Our driver picked us up, gave us a quick tour of the city, exchanged some money, and to the aparment we went for bed.  Might I mention it was a beautiful apartment, very uptodate and Dustin loved the Espresso Machine!!

Day 2-Monday
This was our free day in the city since everyone else was off of work still celebrating Orthodox Easter.  We had a pretty great day exploring Sofia and its rich history. Such a beautiful city and pretty easy to navigate.  In the evening we took a free walking tour of the city and it had a lot of information about the history of the country. It was great to learn so much about our son's culture.
We were both doing well at this point and really wasn't experiencing any Jet Lag or exhaustion...we were just ready to head to meet our little guy!

Day 3-Tuesday
The day started off getting up at 7:00 to get things together. We left at 8:00 for Stara Zagora….I got car sick twice on the way …not fun at all but felt good once we got to Stara Zagora.  We were ready to meet our little man for sure, no sickness was stopping me!!!  When we got to the orphanage Dustin got really nervous all of a sudden and that made me nervous.  First we met the orphanage director which was a wonderful meeting then we left our meeting with him and went to a small room, the same one Easton's pictures were taken in and waited for him to come in. We knew this would only be a few minutes because it was time for him to take a nap. 

The orphanage workers refer to him as Pepee (pronounced Pep-ee)  it's the cutest thing ever.  So this is what we have been calling him.  When he came in he was just as little as we expected, maybe a little smaller. Just by looking I would say he's in a 2T. His little legs are so thin, his belly sticks out, and his arms are just as small.  But oh those eyes.  He has the biggest eyes you've ever seen, pictures just don't do him justice.  He went straight to sit down and Dustin and I sat beside him and he just stared at us, made many hand stems, and began to rock back and forth. This is a very common stereotypical orphanage behavior and it's a self soothing method. We were fortunately prepared for this and just looked past it to play with him. The meeting was short and after a few minutes he layed down and began rocking even more with his hands cupped just under his ears and his care taker said he does this to put himself to sleep so we knew he was tired.  We left, came back to the hotel room and started talking about the whirlwind that had just happened.  He was making great eye contact but it was obvious he was unsure about what he should be doing and was nervous. 

We went to lunch, then called a taxi and went back to the orphanage at 4:00.  We were hoping this meeting he would open up a little bit more.  When the caretaker brought him back, he went straight to a sitting position and began rocking.  They left us alone which was really unexpected.  We tried cars, balls, and snacks but nothing was working, he was so unsure about everything.  Then it's just like a wall fell.  We went over to a rocking toy and he got on it and this little boy that was hiding inside just came pouring out.  I've never heard such a laugh in all my life.  A laugh that can make everyone in the room light up...and smile like none other.  After a few minutes dustin decided to try letting him look out the window, he wasn't sure at first but quickly decided this was a good thing. He loves to be held, chased, tickled, and thrown in the air. He laughs hysterically at all of them. He communicates but definitely in his own way. He's stubborn...go figure. When he doesn't want to do something he turns his head and won't look at you and makes a very demanding noise close to the word "Nah".  Noises is all he makes, and a large variety of them, from squealing to growling, but it's strange how quickly we caught on to what several of them meant for him.  Even though his communication is lacking, he is so smart.  He understands everything being said to him, from sit down, stand up, throw it, chase him, you name it he does whatever you say (as long as he wants to).  He loves being tickled.  At the end of the meeting he was getting tired because he would lay down and rock, we didn't want him to do this so we would tickle him every time. Eventually he would rock and if we didn't tickle him he would stop scoot closer and start again as if asking us to tickle. We learned how to say "give me five" in Bulgarian and he caught on quickly doing it every time we asked.  His motor skills are behind but he is strong and has a good grip.  He is full of energy, laughter, joy, and curiosity.  We are just smitten with him.  We were told that we could take him outside the next day which we are looking forward to.  We will also be meeting with the specialists who work with him so we hope to ask some questions about his development and skill level.  

We needed to buy him sunglasses because he thought it was so funny to wear dustins.  He would be rocking and completely stop if he saw dustin was taking his glasses off to give to him.  His shoe size was a 23 in european sizes but I need to look up the correlating US size.  He honestly seemed basically healthy, and certainly felt heavier than 25, he burped a lot, grits his teeth, sucks on his tongue, and still does hand stems.  Dustin said he thought they would go away quickly after being home because once he was holding him and was so tired he just completely relaxed and stopped all stems. 

Day 4-Wednesday
We went to the orphanage this morning and he clearly did not remember us because it took some time for him to warm back up to us.  We went immediately outside and he was pretty apprehensive. He's terrified of grass, which isn't uncommon. They told us sometimes bigger spaces scare him.  This is understandable because when you are used to living in the same room with same 10 kids your whole life, anything new would be scary.  He loved swinging, seesawing, a little springy duck that rocks. He wasn't too sure about the slide either but he attempted it holding our hands a couple of times. He had a good time and laughed a lot.. During the evening visit he seemed to remember us and was waiting on us when we got to the orphanage. He was ready to go outside. He had a little jacket on and I checked to see if it had a size and surprisingly it did.  It was from the US so it clearly said 24M.  Yes he is still wearing 24 months at 6 years of age.  I think it would have been a little tight if zipped so our guess of 2T is just about right, and childrens size 6 or 7 shoe. He has long feet. We had to take his shoes off once to change him after he peed on dustin (true story, it was hilarious)!!  He pulled his own pants back on after we changed him and then tried to put his shoes on, so he is learning to do some things on his own.  They said he still can not feed himself. He can hold a spoon but can not figure out how to get it to his mouth and also needs help drinking from a cup.  Developmentally he is about a 12-18 month level.  But he is much farther along in is receptive language understanding, he clearly knows what is being said to him and does just about everything like I mentioned before.
We were able to speak with his psychologist today also. She said in her opinion he will never talk unless there is a miracle (when she said this all I wanted to say is "good thing my God is a miracle worker").  She said to never expect great things from him, and it made me sad to think at such a young age he had been given up on.  We see so much potential in this little guy. She talked about his motor skills and size.  She said that he understands everything like we already knew, and that he is good at following directions.  He is strongwilled and determined.  He loves to lay on a beanbag she said.  Basically she told us everything we already had read on a piece of paper, so nothing too surprising. Of course this didn't change our minds at all. Only makes us more determined to get him home and in an environment where he can excel.

Day 5-Thursday

This was of course our last day with Easton and we were very sad to leave him behind.  He is used to us leaving at this point but his disapointment will come tomorrow when we don't show up.  Be in prayer for him.

This morning he was ready for us again!  We went to the same room we've been meeting in and we waited for the social worker to come because we had to go get his Visa picture made. We weren't sure how he'd handle the car ride but it was hilarious, he laughed the whole way.  They say he loves to ride in a car. They will sometime take the kids to a local zoo.  This orphanage that he is in is such a great place considering it's an orphanage.  He is in a small group of about 10 boys with 2 caregivers at all times.  We had been told he wouldn't be fed much or given liquids but this is quite the opposite. He is given a breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, and supper.  And they are large portions with milk.  He is a big eater. This evening when we went to get him he was very grump, in fact started crying as soon as we got outside and wouldn't quit until he saw a nurse bringing his snack. He was just hungry.  We quickly agreed we would bring lots of snacks for our journey home with him, b/c we certainly do not want him crying like that on a plane!!!  Dustin was allowed to feed him which was such a great bonding experience.  He loooves to eat.  I put the spoon in his hand once and he took the food and put it to his mouth (unlike they said he would do). But then he refused to do it anymore.  Our theory...he is capable but doesn't because they will just feed him.  I would let someone feed me too if I could, haha, he's just lazy. They had already told us how lazy he was haha, there is a beanbag chair in the room that he loves to lay on. Once we took him back to his room and he went straight to it.  We see so much potential in this little guy. I'm pretty sure he's gotten everyone fooled. He's capable of much more than he lets on but allows everyone to do it for him because they will...pretty smart! 

He loved his new sunglasses, and his teddy bear.  He would stop rocking if I would take the bears hand and rub around his mouth and on his cheeks, it soothed him.  After eating he was ready to play, not an ounce of crying.  We are just so amazed by this child. It's hard to look at him and see a 6 year old. We often forget he actually is 6. But what a smart 6 year old he is.  When we put his glasses on him we would say in bulgarian, Pepee you are so handsome, and he would just smile as if he already knew it haha. He has taken to us pretty well, and I believe with time will attach pretty well.  Unfortunately that will be many months from now.

We just arrived back in sofia via bus and grabbed some KFC...we needed a small fix of home!  Tomorrow we will be in sofia signing papers to officially commit to this little guy.  Then early saturday morning it's back to the states we head. We should land in Louisville around 5:00 assuming we don't miss any flights!!!

Day 6-Friday
We spent the day walking around the city and doing a little shopping.  Then we went to a notary to sign some papers to make this thing official!  We went back to the apartment and started packing for our early flight out of Sofia on saturday morning.

Day 7-Saturday
We had a pretty easy flight home, just long and exhausting.  We were glad to be home but bittersweet because we were missing part of our family.

We can not wait to share pictures and videos, but of course we can not until we have passed court.  Our estimate is that we will travel back in October. Until then I'll leave you with this picture, because it doesn't reveal his identity!

Hope you've enjoyed!

Friday, April 26, 2013

IAC 249 Results

My dear friend who posts these IAC results on her blog allowed me to steal this particular post for good reason!!  The IAC meeting is the meeting where referrals are issued. The results are usually posted to a public site a month or so after the meeting is held.  This post is special because #14 is our referral.  I mean we already knew we had it, but to see it publicly listed is exciting.  In case you missed it it's the one with large font in black...hehe!!! Praise the Lord!!

IAC 249 Results

The following referrals were issued in IAC Session 249 which was held on March 21, 2013:

1) Spanish dossier from January 2010 referred a male child aged 2 years and 1 month

2) Spanish dossier from January 2010 referred a female child aged 1 year and 4 months

3) Dutch dossier from March 2010 referred a female child aged 5 years and 6 months

4) Italian dossier from April 2010 referred a female child aged 6 years and 7 months

5) German dossier from May 2010 referred a female child aged 1 year and 8 months with features in health status

6) US dossier from August 2010 referred a male child aged 2 years and 2 months with features in health status and a family history

7) Dutch dossier from December 2010 referred a female child aged 4 years and 3 months with features in health status

8) French dossier from December 2010 referred a male child aged 4 years and 2 months with a family history

9) US dossier from January 2011 referred two female children aged 5 years and 7 months & 7 years and 9 months with features in health status

10) French dossier from July 2011 referred two male children aged 8 years & 6 years and 3 months

11) US dossier from March 2012 referred a female child aged 2 years and 3 months with features in health status

12) Portuguese dossier from April 2012 referred a male child aged 2 years and 2 months with features in health status

13) Canadian dossier from June 2012 referred a male child aged 2 years with features in health status and a family history

14) US dossier from July 2012 referred a waiting child (#983) with a profile on the MOJ site

15) US dossier from October 2012 referred a waiting child (#1988) with a profile on the MOJ site

16) French dossier from October 2012 referred a male child aged 6 years and 6 months with features in health status

17) US dossier from March 2013 referred a female child aged 10 years

18) US dossier from March 2013 referred two waiting children (#1449 & #1578) with profiles on the MOJ site

19) Italian dossier from March 2013 referred a brother and sister aged 10 years and 4 months & 6 years and 2 months

20) US dossier from March 2013 referred two waiting children (#1933 & #976) with profiles on the MOJ site

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm Going To Prepare a Place for You

As the day inches closer that we will take off on a plane to meet our son for the first time, Dustin and I both grow more and more excited to hold him in our arms.

Our travel dates have been moved forward a week so we are 16 days from leaving as of today. That seems unreal to me in this moment.  We have been staring at this picture since October and it almost feels as though that's all he is..a picture.  I have no idea what emotions I will feel the first time we see him. What scares me is the emotions he might have. Dustin and I have said over and over "what if he doesn't bond to us?".  I know it's not a thought that people like to think about, but it is a reality.  It was pretty quickly that we had to stand on the promises that God has given us.  God has picked this child out and said "This is your son".  With that we have to know that God is preparing his heart for our meeting, just as He has been preparing ours. 

During a bible study at church a few weeks ago we began to talk about what the disciples must have felt when Jesus was telling them He would be leaving.  They clearly did not understand. They did not know what they would do without Jesus by their side. In fact they were pretty terrified.  He continued to explain that He was going to prepare a place for them where they would live forever with Jesus once their separation was over.  Jesus had poured so much time into building relationships with these disciples who followed Him so closely and now they felt He was leaving them to fend for themselves in this world that already had nothing promising for them.  If these men could not understand this time of separation then how can a small child?

I think about what it will feel like when we spend a week with our son just to leave him.  We can tell him over and over that we have to go back to where we came from to prepare a place for him. A place that will offer love and shelter and a family, but essentially a place that he can't imagine because he's never seen it, or heard of it.  It's heartwrenching to know we will bond with this child who has longed for a family for so long then we will leave him just like we never met him (at least he'll think so).  We'll be home working so hard to bring him home, but he won't know that.  We very likely will become a distant memory in his tiny world. 
Sure we will leave pictures, and a teddy bear, and a blanket, but in no way will that replace physical touch and time spent together.

Often I imagine these older children with their picture books of the families that have come to adopt them.  How after this family leaves they show all of their friends these pictures and explain how these people have come to save them from this place, to show them unconditional love, and to adopt them.  How proud they are to "show off" their new mommies and daddies.  Isn't this a great picture of what God has done.  God sent His son so that we could be adopted into His family.  We are co-heirs to the throne along with Jesus.  And even though physically He is not with us right now, He has left us all of these things to remind us that He is coming back for us.  His scripture, much like those picture of families, we should look at daily and is a reminder of His love.  The Holy Spirit, just like those blankets that wrap us with comfort and security, we turn to in moments of uncertainty for guidance.  Shouldn't we be just as excited to share with everyone we meet our Father who has paid our ransom and come to rescue us.  It is a love unlike we've ever known and we should want all of our orphaned friends to understand all we have to do is say yes to receive this love.  Don't you think every child in an orphanage would say "yes I want that love" if they knew that's all they had to do.  We don't have to wait for a family to choose us because we've arleady been chosen!

It is my deepest prayer that our son knows we are coming back for him. That he doesn't feel abandoned at the end of our week.  That he can look at our pictures and understand that Mommy and Daddy are working so hard to bring him home.  It is my prayer that we can show him a love that he's never known before.  I've been reminded by so many wonderful adoptive parents that have gone ahead of us to take things slow.  To make sure we go at his pace, which will certainly be slower than ours.  It will take so much time for him to learn he can trust us.  I'm even certain there will be times he will test our love and commitment to him, much like we do with God.  I'm reminded of a beautiful scripture in Malachi 3 when I think of this happening.  God was dealing with a rebelious people who had done so many displeasing things.  But God said "I the Lord do not change".  Essentially saying no matter what you do, I'm not going anywhere. No matter how bad you are, I still love you. There's nothing you can do to make me love you any more or any less.  What a wonderful picture of God's love.  I hope our son understands this.  Nothing he can do can make us leave.  Our love for him will not change. Sure their may be moments of frustration but we will be his family. FOREVER. 

It is because of this love God has shown us, that we in return are able to show this love to a child who so desparately needs it.  Because God adopted us we are able to adopt these beautiful children.  I have seen a quote going around on social media a lot lately and it speaks so loudly.  "We adopt not because we are rescuers but because we have been rescued."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Perfect Timing

I have held off trying to publish a new post because I truly wanted it to be filled with exciting news instead of more of the waiting game we've been playing for so long.

Well Folks this is it! I can't hold out any longer and fortunately I don't need to...wahhooo!

Just when I thought I was losing hope in this process, and realizing that I am horrible at waiting, God moves.  God didn't just move a little, I mean he REALLY MOVED!!!

We had expected our referral to be issued from the IAC meeting on March 6th.  After a week or two of waiting we realized our case obviously had not been reviewed

So we waited some more.....THEN....Friday we received word that there was a good possibility our referral had been issued this past week, but we would wait until Monday before receiving confirmation. 

I honestly didn't expect to hear anything on Monday.  But we did.  We got the best confirmation!!  Our referral had been issued and we had been officially matched with our son.  All that was left was to get the paperwork translated then issue travel dates.  We were told 2-3 weeks before travel dates would probably come. I was ok with that, seeing as we had waiting so long up until this point, knowing that travel dates was the next step made us excited. we received an e-mail titled   "Travel Dates". What...Are you kidding me?? We weren't expecting these for weeks.  How awesome is God!  I think He was showing off a bit with this one. 

We are very fortunate to have received a pretty good notice. We've heard of 7 day notices before and that made me pretty antsy.  Fortunately we got a 6 week notice.  Where does that put us??  We will be flying out of the US on May 11 and landing in Sofia on May 12th.   How perfect is that?? In case you haven't caught on to the date, let me be the first to tell you, that is Mother's Day.  God's timing is beyond incredible and we feel so blessed to be spending our first mother's day in our sons country. Granted we won't see him that day, but to know we are so close makes it all seem a little bit better. 

As I'm writing this post I'm realizing there is sooo much to be done to prepare for travel.  But we are just thrilled to have a date and can't wait for 6 weeks to fly by!!

We appreciate all of the prayers that have been going up for our family! Please keep our son especially in your prayers that God will continue to prepare his heart to meet his new mommy and daddy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One Child. One Life. One Soul.

We are excited to begin posting stories from Lifesong for Orphans.  This is an incredible ministry and any opportunity we can take to advocate for orphans and share in the wonderful work being done around the globe, we rejoice! These are God's children and we are blessed to be a small part of sharing His story of their life.

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Matthew 25:40

One Child. One Life. One Soul.
An ongoing theme of our ministry is the power of ONE. Not to ignore the often overwhelming 147 million orphan statistic, but to focus on making an impact on ONE child. As Andy Stanley says, "Do for ONE what you wish you could do for every one. And when do you for ONE, you often end up doing for far more than just one." 
Please enjoy these ONE child stories...


In Zambia, like many parts of the world, witchcraft is very prevelant. At Lifesong School in Zambia, we teach the children that God is more powerful than witchcraft and the witchdoctors that practice it. They can have power through Jesus Christ to fight off evil, through HIS NAME! Listen in as Paul shares the experience that he and his friends had with a local witchdoctor...
Pray that God will continue to show himself to Paul and use this experience to build his trust and faith in our Father God.
Learn more about Lifesong Zambia >>


Thomas grew up on the streets without any parents to care, protect or provide for him. A missionary brought Thomas to Lifesong's Master's Home of Champions, knowing he would be cared for. Listen in as Thomas shares his heart for the people of Liberia and the role he sees for himself to bring Christ's name known!

Pray that Thomas will continue to grow in His relationship with Jesus Christ and with boldness, share the gospel to others. Learn more about Lifesong Liberia >>

Read more ONE child stories...

Katie Rescued from Orphanage -- Katie, born with down syndrome, was 9 years old and weighed only 10 pounds when Joe & Susanna traveled to adopt her. Read Full Story

Natasha Breaks the Cycle -- "I was looking for someone to understand me, to love sincerely...I received all this!" Read Full Story

"I am your mommy!" -- Beautiful account from one of our Lifesong Adoptive families, sharing their first moment they met their son Cohen from Congo. Read full story

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Puzzle Fundraiser

Some Exciting News...


What an incredible amount of support we recieved during this fundraiser. In only 5 days we had family, friends, and strangers come together to purchase every piece of this 1000 piece puzzle.

                                                       Here is the completed puzzle!!! 

We feel sooo blessed to be posting this sooo quickly.  Also we drew for the gift card that was part of a giveaway if we got the puzzle funded.  Jayne, Grant, and Isaiah Litton were the winners of the gift card!!! 

In other news, our paperwork left for BG at the beginning of this week. We are truly hoping to get a referral next week..fingers crossed!  We also applied for 3 grants this week. These will be vital for us to fund our second trip and all of the fees associated. We always appreciate prayers and will keep everyone posted.

Lets all pray that our next post contains a referral and travel dates...wooo hooo!!!!