Monday, December 27, 2010

I don't have to lie anymore

Well, okay maybe deceive people by being super vague, but it sure felt like lying. Now that time is over. We have accepted a referral for a 16 month old boy!! We are thrilled. We actually got "the call" two weeks ago (hence the lying), but we have been praying and working to have his medical records reviewed. We had our final questions answered today, so we called our agency and told them it was a yes. This whole thing has been surreal. Our dossier was in Russia for just about a week when we got our referral. I was totally unprepared and I still feel pretty unprepared. JJ has been much more calm, at least on the outside. He has been praying about the timing of our adoption and he felt peace about how quickly things were happened. I was caught totally off guard. Our agency actually called as we were driving home from the appointment to have our fingerprints taken. I thought I was going to pass out or throw up or maybe both. I have had two weeks to adjust, but I am still in some emotional upheaval. How will we make this work in three weeks? Oh yeah, we travel January 18th. We are going to Kotlas in the far north west. We have quite a bit of money to find from some place to get us to Russia. Once again, I just did not think things would move this quickly. I haven't even applied for grants. So, we will reach out to our family and our community and trust that God doesn't leave you hanging if this is His idea from the beginning. We are taking a giant leap of faith, because we really want to bring this little guy home.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A little bit here and a little bit there

We have finally started purchasing a few things to get ready for a trip to Russia. We picked up a few stacking cups when we were picking out stocking stuffers for our nieces. I got online and finally ordered carry-on luggage. I had done a ton of research earlier in the year, so I knew exactly which bags I wanted. They came in this week and I am very happy so far, but the real test will be how they handle during a trip. Today JJ had a doctors appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, so we had some shopping time in a town with a much bigger selection of stores. We picked up a photo album so we can leave pictures behind between trips 1 and 2. Just in case you didn't know already it is a pretty bad idea to go shopping two days before Christmas, but we made it. We tried to see if there were more males in the mall than an average day. I would say yes, but maybe I'm biased. The doctor has scheduled JJ for a scope of his knee January 21st. They actually don't know what is wrong. The MRI only shows a bruise on his bone. He torn the ACL in this same knee 13 years ago, so it may be related to that original injury. I hate that he is in pain most of the time, but I also don't want him to have surgery. We are praying he will be healed one way or another. We are also praying for wisdom as we continue to wait in our adoption journey. Wait is a verb, right? I'm trying to stay active. Tomorrow I plan to clean out the room that will become the baby's room. Then we will be a little bit closer to our goal!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


So, if I knew how to type excited yelling that is how this post should begin. We had our fingerprints done a week ago Friday and our I-171H came in the mail today!!!!! I did not expect things to happen that quickly. I have been blown away lately at our adoption process. JJ is happily calm. He has been praying specifically about the timing of our adoption journey this whole time. Either I have less faith, which is entirely possible, or I just lean toward worst case scenario, whichever case is true I have been shocked at the progress we are making. We have also blissfully begun our Christmas break. =)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dossier Part 1 and more

Today was a great day in our adoption process. The last 2 documents came back from Austin with an apostille attached. I took them to the post office this afternoon, so they are now on their way to our agency. They in turn will send the documents to Russia to be translated and hopefully allow us to be registered in a region. The same mail brought us a fingerprint appointment from USCIS. We will travel to Lubbock in a couple of weeks to have our fingerprints done. Praise the Lord! Today was not such a good day otherwise. I feel pretty awful. I think it is just a really bad sinus infection. I stayed home from work for the first time this year. I wanted to cry. I have been working so hard to keep all my sick/personal days so we can use them for travel. I told my aide I will be there tomorrow even if I have to come in a medicated haze. At least I have good news to cheer me up. And a wonderful God, and a sweet husband.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blogging Question

I have noticed some blogs have music that plays when you open the blog. Could someone tell me how they did that? I have started a blog for my PreK class and I would like to have our Christmas program music on the blog so parents can hear the tune. Thanks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paperwork Stress

Who would have known that signing your name and the date over and over would be so stressful. I suppose that really isn't the stressful part. The stressful part is knowing how much time and work has gone into each paper and "what if" you have messed up some little detail and you have to redo something. Every big stack of papers that I put in the mail has caused some emotional upheaval. I think when the Dossier Part 1 papers come back from Austin with their beautiful apostilles (I am calling them beautiful even if they turn out to be boring) I will take a picture of me holding them in front of my fairly flat belly and call it a "paperwork pregnancy" picture. I feel pretty moody as of late. Why not? Of course that stack of papers still has to go in the mail. We are waiting on one document that we hope to pick up in person tomorrow, but it might not be done. I got an email, but I am not sure if I can get everything straight that may or may not be wrong before noon tomorrow. Ughh! I am so glad God is faithful and that He has never made me sign or date anything =).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Incoming and Outgoing

After I made all those phone calls two weeks ago, I got an overnight packet in the mail with all the Dossier part 1 documents but the license. We were thrilled! I teach the Bible study at church on Wednesday nights and I took the Home Study just so we wouldn't be the only ones to witness this momentous occasion. I was hoping to mail a copy of the Home Study to USCIS the next day, but when I read through everything I was concerned about the wording when it came to age of our child. I tried multiple times to find out if my concerns were valid, but no one seemed to know if it was a problem and our case worker was(is) in Russia. Finally today I found out there was nothing wrong with the way they had worded the age request and the license came in the mail!! I would love to say everything will be back in the mail tomorrow on its way to being apostilled and USCIS, but Thursday would be great as well. One more step down!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Call Me, I'll Call You

I have changed my approach. Instead of finishing my paperwork and waiting for some news, I now finish my paperwork and then call people in the hope that it will keep the process moving. I am still in the testing phase of this new strategy. Last week I realized that our case worker was going to Russia for two weeks. Well, she had to approve our dossier part 1 paperwork before we could get it notarized and, after persistent calling round one, I discovered that she would not be in her office at all on Friday. I took Thursday afternoon, trusted my students into the capable hands of my aides, and worked like a crazy woman to get all of our paperwork done before the end of the work day. Thanks to their fabulous help, I got all the paperwork done and faxed in time. Of course I called as soon as I faxed everything, but I got voicemail. I called as soon as the kids went home and found out that our paperwork was perfect! But (does there always have to be a but) they were missing our home study provider's license. They won't mail us the packet with their end of the dossier until they get the license. I gave them a few days to communicate and I tried my calling strategy again today. I took my sticky note full of phone numbers to the teacher's lounge and started with the home study provider. They have already sent a copy of the license to the Tulsa office. Next, I called the Tulsa office only to get voicemail. Later in the day I get a curious message from the secretary saying the license had been received. I'm still not sure where. I tried calling the Dallas office before I went home and found out that they have requested the license from Tulsa and it should be coming. JJ thinks I should call on Thursday, but I will probably hold out until Friday morning. I guess I've become the nagging widow from Jesus' parable, but if they don't forget me because I'm a little annoying it will be worth it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray!

We got an email from our agency with the instructions for our Dossier part 1. Dossier!! Then I went to the bank on my plan period to deposit the money from our latest garage sale. I discovered that we had more in savings than I thought. I had forgot to write down a deposit. I think we will have enough for the next round of fees. I was so excited that I tracked JJ down while the kids took a nap to tell him the news. The only down side to this day is that the home study still hasn't arrived in the mail. We got an email two weeks ago from our provider letting us know that the home study was complete from her end. It was going to the agency offices in Dallas to be signed. I know it was complete last Thursday, because I gave up and called our agency. I guess the only question now is how long mail takes to get from Dallas to the Texas panhandle. But at least I have paperwork to keep me busy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh You Bring

I have had this song running through my mind lately. JJ and I work at a Christian youth camp for a couple of weeks each summer. I was privileged to lead the worship for the teen week this yer and this was one of the songs we sang. I have been tremendously blessed by the music from Hillsong United, but this song stands out to me during our adoption process because of the words, "Oh You to homes that are broken". The power that God has to transfer lives and homes continues to amaze me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes Take One

I have wanted to try a new baking adventure and last night I finally got around to it. My mother and my granny both make this super yummy chocolate cake with a secret ingredient. No, I am not going to tell you. It is a secret! I wanted to see how it would work as a cupcake. I also wanted to try topping it with cream cheese frosting. First the batter was so soupy. Might I mention that if I have ever made this cake it was a long time ago. Well, I made a valiant and very messy attempt at filling the baking cups in my usual manner, with a ziplock bag. I did get to lick plenty of delicious batter off my fingers. It made enough batter for 18 cupcakes.
Then I had to guess at the baking time for cupcakes. When I checked them at 15 minutes they looked like little inverted volcanoes. Finally they became nicely rounded finished cakes. But alas as they cooled they sunk down again.

I found a recipe for cream cheese frosting in my favorite cookbook. When the cupcakes were cool enough to frost the fun really began. The cake was so soft that it crumbled and cracked. The frosting filled the "volcano" holes, but stubbornly refused to be spread over the edges. I gave up on making pretty cupcakes. JJ and I are well practiced at eating ugly things since he insists on experimenting with cooking and I insist on experimenting with baking, so we plunged right in and it was so worth it! I wish I could send each of you one, but trust me when I say that they were fabulous. So, I give these cupcakes a 10 on the taste scale, but a 2 on the "nice enough presentation I could ask someone to pay money for them" scale. I guess we will have more adventures soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Any advice on buying luggage?

I have been getting emails frequently from our home study provider this week. The first draft of our report had some errors. She has made all the corrections and sent the second draft back to our agency. Things are happening! Small things, but things none the less. I have been exploring grant options so I can get our applications done as soon as we have the home study finalized.
I have also been shopping around for luggage. I will not let myself even look at baby stuff yet, but I figure luggage is safe. Our luggage came to us as high school graduation gifts. It has served us well, but it simply won't work for multiple international flights. I would love to get a wheeled carry on and a backpack for each of us. Does anyone have any luggage advice?? I read Good Housekeeping every month. I seem unable to keep myself from buying it. I think I am addicted. Anyway, they did testing on carry on luggage during the summer and their advice is probably sound, but I would love some first hand suggestions.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

That's Not Meat

I was encouraging one of my students to at least eat the meat on his sandwich when another student piped up. "That's not meat!" he said. "Oh? What is it?" I asked. "It's ham" he said. Oh the joys of Pre-K.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faith, Family & Football

So when I had such a yucky day on Tuesday my husband came home and the first thing he did, after I vented, was pray. Sorry ladies, but I married the best man on the planet! I was able to get in touch with our agency and our report was being sent back to our home study provider that day with notes about the needed revisions. I plan to call her on Tuesday afternoon to see how things are going. It was wonderful to finally get some information. Tonight is the first home football game. I have a new job this season. Well, I actually started at the end of last season, but it wasn't official. I am the filmer (is that even a word?) for all the varsity and jv football games. I get to stand way up high and capture all the aspects of the game for review over and over and over again. Coaches watch oodles of film, so I try to do my best. I actually volunteered for this job because it keeps me from hearing any negative comments from the fans and it allows me to stay quiet without people wondering if I even care about football. Which, in case you were wondering, I do care, I just don't yell. It looks to be a gorgeous evening for football. Go Panthers! (that might have been a yell, but I don't think it counts if it is electronic)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Contagious Tears

Today was a pretty rough day in Pre-K. We had so many students crying that at one point I thought I might cry too. I think my ability to wait out this home study is wearing thin so I'm on edge. My husband even asked me if I was okay this morning and at that point I wasn't too bad. We haven't heard anything since August 17th. We got an email that day saying the first, and hopefully only, draft was suppose to be at our agency. They were going to proofread the report and, if everything was in order, send it back to our home study provider. She will make all the necessary originals and get one our way. Maybe it is in the mail. I've tried emailing both our home study provider and our agency. Maybe I should just call. I hate to be pushy, but I feel so uninformed. You know what I should do. Pray more and worry less!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Just a little background before the story. My husband is now teaching elementary PE, which he has not taught before. I don't use the word "crap" in my conversations, but I just had to keep this story true to life. The following conversation was overheard in one of my husband's PE classes:
One little boy says, "Are we going to do this crap everyday?!"
Another little boy turns to him and says, "Look at yourself! You need to do this crap everyday."

Monday, August 23, 2010

First "First Day"

Today was full of emotion. My nerves at the unknown of a new school year. Parents tearing up watching their child starting school. Kids learning that what happens at home can't always happen at school, hence more tears. I had 14 students experiencing their first "first day" of school today. No hilarious stories yet. I am optimistic about this school year. Of course I am also hopeful that we will be much further along in our adoption journey by the time we wrap up this year. Maybe we will even have made our first trip. Why not be hopeful? I did make it through another first day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Momma!

Tomorrow is my momma's birthday. We had the privilege of having my parents and my grandpa over for lunch. I made a cake and decided to practice my piping skills. I know that is still my biggest weakness in cake decorating. I have made my momma many birthday cakes over the years, some of which I literally cried about because they were such tremendous flops. I would not call this cake a thing of beauty, but it was an improvement. And my mother loved it as all mothers do.
On the adoption end of things, we are still waiting on our Home Study report. We have been told that a first draft in currently being proofread by our agency.
School begins tomorrow, so my daily routine will change drastically. I'll try not to bore you with a Pre-K story every day for the next 180+, ( I have a husband for that chore) but some will be too hilarious to keep to myself. I'll try to post about the first day of school though. I think I am more nervous that the kids. So many new little faces starting their first ever day of school. It is a huge responsibility, but also a joy. So here is my joyful school is about to start face. Yeah, that might need some improvement too, but we did have a lot of fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I watched the movie To Kill A Mockingbird over the last couple of evenings. It is my favorite movie and I can never make it through without tears. It has forced me to think about the world and home I live in and into which we will bring our child. I do not want to live in a cold place without human interaction. I want our child to know that there is right and wrong, not some fuzzy gray in between. I watched the commentary on the making of the film, which I had never done before, and the words from a lawyer they interviewed made the most sense to me. I cannot put things as eloquently as he did, but the idea was to make your home what you know it should be. Don't get so bogged down in the whole world and all the problems it contains. No one person can solve them. Yet people are not so isolated that what they do and say won't impact others. So uphold your beliefs for your family and be to them and for them what you desire for the world.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Adoption Reminders

We took a trip to get school supplies (yes, teachers buy school supplies too) yesterday and so many things reminded me of our adoption. I saw fabric in a craft store and thought of how we might decorate the room. I saw toddlers and wondered if our child would be about that size when we brought him/her home. I walked past the baby section in a store and got panicky about all the stuff we will have to buy. The best moment for me though was leaving a quick stop and wondering if the bathrooms in Russia could possibly be any dirtier! I'll be sure and let you know when I finally answer that most important question.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I would like to write about how frustrated I am that we had our last home study visit almost 2 weeks ago and still no sign of a report, but I simply can't. I am frustrated, but my woes seem minor when I read about others and their seemingly endless wait to bring their child home. So here's to a 2 week wait. May I always keep things in perspective.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Camp and Candy

We have been going like crazy. The church we pastor participates in a Camp Meeting in a nearby town every summer. Everyone who wants can attend and three services a day are held for almost a week. We were asked to run the concession stand and we got permission turn it into an adoption fundraiser. We were so blessed by the outpouring of love, support, and money that came our way. I actually haven't worried about the financial part of adoption (which is huge for me), but I know we will need so much help to make our adoption a reality. So, thanks to all the fabulous people to bought yummy junk food, to my family for working way too many hours, and to God who never ceases to blow away my expectations.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why Baby Cakes?

I know the name for this blog might be strange, so I thought I'd try to explain. I wanted something catchy. I wanted my blog to stand out. I also wanted it to quickly and easily describe the content of the blog. Baby Cakes fills both those goals. I hope to blog about our adoption journey, one aimed to bring our baby home. I also hope to talk about my interest and adventures in making and decorating cupcakes. I've found baking to be relaxing in a strange, busy sort of way. I'll try to post a picture of a cupcake I've made in the past, but since I'm new to blogging it just might not work. I hope to sell some cupcakes eventually to raise money for the adoption. I am by no means a professional and I will be keeping my "day job", but it is fun and maybe it will help along the way. It at least inspired a fun name for the blog, so that's a start.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beginning and Ending

Welcome! Today marks a new step in our adoption adventure. I have decided to blog. I have enjoyed reading so many adoption blogs. It seems to be a fabulous way to chronicle our journey and share with our family and friends. And truly, even if no one else ever reads our blog, it will give me a creative outlet for all the ideas, concerns, frustrations, and joys of life in the pre-parenting stage. Today also brought the end of our home study visits. We were able to have our in-home visit and wrap up all the loose ends needed for the report. Hooray! Let's celebrate today!