Wednesday, January 29, 2014

our wonderful supporters and NEW shirt design!

Alden and I are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have been given since we announced we were adopting. We are thankful for each and every one of our friends, family, co-workers, church members- all of you who are praying for us and supporting us! We can't wait for our boys to meet you all :)
Below are just a few of our amazing supporters who helped our tshirt fundraiser for Sheppard succeed! (I love these pictures!!!)
Sheppard, you are so loved already

You have so many people praying for you right now

friends and family you will soon get to meet

they are holding up our arms as we fight for you and your brother

and we all can't wait for you to finally come HOME!
Once again, thank you! THANK YOU!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Trauma and Attachment 101

Thank you all for the outpouring of support and prayers since we have announced our second son! Alden and I are in awe of how God has placed so many wonderful people in our lives for this very specific time and we aren't taking any of you for granted! 

I wanted to share a little about our training process to prepare for the boys. The way we will be parenting them will be very different than the way a family would parent a bio child who has formed healthy attachments, and for those of you who will be a part of our daily lives this might be a bit of a shock at first since it will be different than the way we ourselves were raised and the way you might be raising your kiddos. By the way- it is ok to ask us questions about this! We love talking about adoption!

So, I wanted to share some of the recourses we have found to be helpful for our friends and family who are going to be part of our daily lives once the boys are home, and also for those who are in the process of adoption/fostering and those who are thinking of making that leap and are looking for more information!

Last weekend, Alden and I had an all day training on trauma and how it affects the brain- mostly the adolescent brain. It was incredibly helpful! This was a free training through DSS where we are licensed foster parents. (We have delayed taking in foster kiddos since we are now pursuing our two boys overseas. Our foster community has been incredibly supportive of us and have been our biggest recourse for preparing for our boys once they are home- we love them!) This training was AMAZING! Can't stress enough how good it was! I could write a novel about how parenting a hurt child is way different than parenting a healthy child BUT others have already done that for me ;)

So, if any of you want some good reading to understand what our boys *might* be like when they come home, or if you are wanting to prepare for your own foster/adoptive kiddos, here are a few of the top books that were recommended to us at our training:

Brainstorm by Daniel J. Siegel

This one has an audio book version (yes!) and you can listen to the first bit of it on the link I posted- can't wait to listen to this book! We are becoming 'brain nerds' haha. I have NOT yet read this entire book, it has just been very highly recommended by the people who are doing our training on trauma and a lot of their training is from this book- I can say the training is VERY enlightening and helpful, so I assume this book is as well :) They also recommended Parenting From the Inside Out by Siegel.

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis

This book has been so highly recommended to us by so many different people that we got it over the summer when we thought we were *only* doing foster care (haha!). I have started it but haven't finished yet- but I can tell it's going to be extremely helpful! Definitely a must read!

Adopted For Life by Russell D. Moore

We love this book! It's not about parenting style, really, but I had to throw it in! We read this over 2 years ago when we didn't yet know how God was wanting us to grow our family- this book was key in helping us make our decision. It is written from a Christian perspective with entire families in mind- not just for adopting couples. It's for the grandparents, siblings, friends- everyone in the lives of the adopting couple as well! Lots of great information about how God loves adoption and how all children are blessings- such a great book. Can't recommend it enough! My mom and Granny have already asked me to send them our copy :)

And for the more visual learners, Harvard has a fantastic site with short videos and scientific information (that is understandable ;) ) that illustrate childhood brain development and what happens to a child's brain if basic needs are not met or if the child is abused. Can be sad to watch and read about, but very helpful when it comes to understanding the foster/adoptive child's behaviors. The link to the site is here: and the link for videos is here: Highly recommend this site- I have spent HOURS watching videos and reading articles already and have found it all to be incredibly helpful.

And last but not least, some practical advice!
Fun To Grow On by Virginia Morin

I have not read all of this book yet, but from the parts I have read I already know we will be bringing this book with us while in country! It is full of helpful ideas and games that give you the ability to not only interact with a child, but also to promote bonding and healthy attachment with that child! The games may seem silly at first read, but to a child who has not had healthy attachments in the past, they are HUGE. The best part is a lot of these activities can be done anywhere you are- waiting in line at the grocery store, or on a long airplane flight. Even if you don't have foster/adoptive kiddos, I think this book offers lots of creative ways to help you engage with your kids or grandkids in a meaningful way. Can't wait to read the rest of this book!

What other book or web site recommendations do you have? Please let us know in the comments! :)

Friday, January 24, 2014


We have been keeping a secret from you :) (it's been so hard not to tell!)...

From the beginning of this process, we have felt that there was another kiddo out there for us....we didn't know who s/he was or where s/he was.....we just felt very strongly that Sheppard wasn't going to be the only child we were bringing home...

So we prayed. We asked God to show us who this second kiddo might be. We looked through the many (many) other faces of kiddos listed on Reece's Rainbow. We prayed some more...

And then, one normal morning as I was sipping on coffee and trying to wake up, we got an email from our team in country- Sheppard has a best friend in his orphanage. He is also available for adoption. Yep, you read that right! A BEST FRIEND! I almost spilled coffee all over my desk!

Meet "Pierce":

That's right! :) We are bringing home TWO teen boys! (are we crazy or what?!?) Since our second son was not already listed on Reece's Rainbow, we had the honor of choosing his alias- we chose the name Pierce, which is my maiden name. We think he's trying to look like a rock star for his picture- his hair cracks us up! ;) We can't wait to meet both our boys (and we can't wait to tell them they are going to be BROTHERS!) We are in awe of how God is orchestrating all this out for us. He is so good.

Adding on another kiddo to our adoption will add some more costs in fees once we are in country- it should be around $5,000- I'll update our page of estimated fees and our fundraising thermometor once I figure all that out. We know God's got this. He is leading the way for us and all we have to do is say yes. (I've had Hillsong-United's song "Oceans" playing on repeat all day...haha. It's becoming our theme song.)

Thank you for your support and prayers :)


Just a quick update today- the Tshirts are arriving!!!! You can see the funds are in from our Tshirt fundraiser and have been added to our thermometor on the right! God is so good!

Ok, so if you ordered a shirt and want to be featured on the blog, please email me a pic or post a pic to my facebook page of you wearing your shirts and I will put a giant blog post together of all our wonderful supporters!

THANK YOU! You all ROCK and God is using you to do BIG things in Sheppard's life!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

first snow and paperwork madness

We have a snow delay! Our first snow of the season (finally) has brought with it a delayed work schedule, which of course equals time for MORE ADOPTION PAPERWORK. Which at this point seems NEVER ENDING. But we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and all the paperwork is of course worth it!

I did make some time to take a few pictures of our dog in the snow though!

Yep, we have a husky! Her name is Tehya and she is loving this weather. I'm pretty sure she sniffed every single snowflake in our yard this morning.

Then she stood guard over her domain. This is her favorite perch outside- she can survey the entire yard this way.

Tehya loves loves loves babies and kiddos. We can't wait for Sheppard to meet her! 
We have cats too, but they were grumpy this morning so they didn't get a photo shoot ;) 

and now for what the rest of my morning has consisted of...

The infamous "paper baby" that I had heard so much about... the never ending piles of forms that must be filled out perfectly, notarized perfectly, apostilled perfectly....not to mention the fees for it all as well...All of my dreams are about paperwork these days. Thankfully, my sweet friend Chrystal who is also adopting a son from the same country we are came over one day to help me organize my binder! SO helpful! Now I have everything in order and I know where it all is...and anytime I start to find it difficult to breathe from all the stress I just close the binder and look at my sweet son's pictures. Perspective- Sheppard, you are so worth it! Before we know it, this paperwork is going to be done, our training will be completed, the fundraising wil be finished, and we will be waiting for our travel dates so we can finally be with you in person instead of an ocean away...

Well, now Alden is awake and we are making bacon (mmmmmm). Which reminds me- my friend Chrystal is having an amazing fundraiser this Saturday!!!


If you live locally, come on out and support their son's adoption and get some awesome smoked meat in the process! 
Here is a link to their blog as well:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

fundraiser updates

I have 'adoption brain' right now so I apologize for how scatterbrained this post is going to be :) Wow we are blown away by your generosity and kindness! Our T-shirt fundraiser was a whopping success with $1400 pledged! Yep you read that right! Amazing! We haven't added that total to our fundraiser thermometer on the blog yet since all the pledges haven't come in. But I'm sure you can see that the amount on our thermometer has jumped considerably as well. We have had wonderful friends and family and people we don't even know continue to send us donations! Also my coworkers had a fundraiser for us this week- my lovely friend sold plates of cheesy nachos and jars of salsa for Sheppard! Sorry I forgot to take pictures. Things have been moving so quickly- which is good!

We have just been blown away by everyone's kindness and generosity. If you are reading this blog and are afraid of taking that leap of faith into adoption because of finances, just know that it's all God's money. He does provide. He loves orphans and he loves placing them in families!

We meant to post something on here over the holidays. It was going to be a wonderful post about how we wish Sheppard was here with us this year and how we can't wait for next Christmas...We were driving home from my mom's on Christmas day and Alden and I were just...sad. Sheppard was that very moment an ocean away from us on Christmas day and that reality hit us hard. Yet another holiday without a family. We had so many mixed emotions. We were super excited and thankful that we had a son (!) and that this would be his last Christmas without us (!) but also grieving the fact that he is not with us just yet. We couldn't love on him and let him know how cherished he is...I wasn't expecting this part to be so hard. The waiting....the holidays honestly flew by in a blur and we felt somewhat numb. But overall we were so thankful that God has us on this journey- it doesn't matter how hard it is for us- it's been much, much harder for Sheppard to be an orphan for 15 years. He is more than worth all the waiting, all the fundraising and all the paperwork.

Speaking of paperwork...I'll update about that next time! Things are moving very quickly and I barely have time to catch my breath before the next thing needs to be done! Thankfully God has provided all the funds we need every step of the way- no forms have had to be delayed because we didn't have the fees ready! God is teaching us what it really means to trust him for our daily needs, and he provides each and every time!