Thursday, December 16, 2010

Still Waiting

Well we had a great time a few Fridays ago meeting with the Cottles and their beautiful little girl. We have been thinking about them a lot as they are in Taiwan as I type this blog. I couldn't think of a better Christmas gift than to get to pick up their son! We are so excited for them. We know Rylyn got her care package and has her two bottom teeth in. We have heard she is eating well and sleeping a lot better too! As far as we know right now the paperwork still hasn't been translated into Taiwanese. We are praying for a quick translation. Again we are so thankful for the awesome staff at the orphanage who are taking such good care of our baby girl. We can't wait until we can come get you baby girl!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meeting the Cottles

We are super excited. We are leaving in a few minutes to go meet with some friends that we have connected with through facebook. They live in Columbia,SC and have already adopted a beautiful baby girl from the HOGL. They are in the process of adopting her brother from the orphanage also. We are so excited for them and can't wait for them to go pick up their baby boy in two weeks! They are awesome enough to bring Rylyn a care package we made for her too. I can't wait to hear about their trip.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Greg's Side of the Story...

It was a pretty usual day for me. I had a lot going on and not enough time to get it done. I was working on some last minute thoughts for a sermon series I was giving in a few weeks. Around 10:00 am my phone rang with an unknown caller. My standard procedure is to ignore those calls as the last twenty had been insurance companies trying to recruit me to sell for them. On a strange thought, I decided to answer.

And. Every. Thing. Changed.

I picked up the phone and I heard a quite voice.

“Is this Greg?” I could barely hear him.
“Yes. This is him.”
I knew this was no insurance salesman because they never call me by my middle name.
“This is Ted from The Home of God’s Love in Taiwan. Do you have a few minutes?”
My heart stopped. Then it started pounding. This was the call we’d been praying about for months.
“Hello! Yes. I’ve got time. How are you?”
“I’m good. How would you like to be a dad? We’ve got a little girl here that we'd like to match you with.”
He wasn’t even finished and I started crying. I could hear people talking in my office, but time seemed to stand still. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
Trying to compose myself, I said, “Absolutely.”
“Well, her name is Liang-Ju Lin. She was born in July and she was 7lbs and ½ ounce. She has been with us less than two weeks.”
I was taking notes. Then I was crying. I could not believe this was happening.

Ted then gave me some more detailed information about the parents and her background. He then handed the phone to his wife Bev who had a few more items to share. I told them we were naming her Rylyn. Bev told me what items we could send to the orphange for her. Bev then said, she was going to email some pictures for us.
“Can you just send them to only me today?” I asked. “I’ve been planning to surprise Betsey on the day we got matched. Have you talked to her yet?”
“No, we haven’t talked with her. Are you sure that’s fair to not send them to her?” she asked me. “Well, let us know her reaction. Hope you can surprise her.”
“Thanks so much. This is amazing.”

I hung up the phone and just sat silently. I couldn’t tell if this was really happening. Just a few minutes passed and an email arrived from Bev. There were two pictures of my new daughter. I cried again.
I wanted to run out of my office and scream to everyone that I was going to be a dad. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to tell anyone before Betsey. I looked at the clock. It was nearly 11 and I had so much to do. I got back to work, not having much success concentrating.
I looked down and my phone was ringing again. This time it was Betsey. This was weird as she doesn’t usually call me from school. I politely pressed ignore on the phone. There’s no way I could hold it in if she happen to ask. She then sent a text: “Call me.” I didn’t reply. A few minutes later, another phone call. This time there was a voicemail—“Call Me!” I didn’t call.
There’s no way she knows. Bev said they hadn’t talked to Betsey.

Over the next few hours, I received 15 phone calls, 10 texts, and 6 emails from Betsey. I was staying strong. I was going to execute on this plan, but it was killing me. I really wanted to tell her. I wasn’t getting any work done, so I packed up to put my plan into motion.
First stop was flowers. I picked up a dozen red roses first. They were nice, but not good enough. I also picked up an arrangement of Asian Lilies. I thought that was fitting. As I was getting those wrapped up, I saw a little bamboo plant. It had two shoots growing up and they were shaped into a heart. That, I had to have. So, with the roses, lilies, and bamboo, I headed home. I put all the flowers in different vases and spread them all throughout the nursery. I placed the bamboo plant in separate jar and put it on the cabinet. Next to it, I left a note I’d written to Betsey. Next to that, I had a necklace for Betsey. It was a small silver charm that said mother in Mandarin Chinese.

There was still one thing missing.

I ran up the street and printed off copies of the pictures of Rylyn. I blew up some of them and came back and put them in the crib. As I was leaving the store, my phone rang with a local number I didn’t recognize. I had a meeting that night and thought it might have been him, so I answered.
Betsey was getting sneaky. She had borrowed a friend’s phone and called me.
“Where have you been?!! I’ve been trying you all day!” she said.

“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?” I wonder if she could see through my ploy?
“If you’re there, I can’t hear you,” I said. I then hung up. She’d be home in less than an hour. I could tell she was mad.

After everything was set up in the nursery, I set up a little video recorder. I heard the garage door open. I cut on the camera and sat quietly. I heard the back door open. Betsey put her stuff down and must have walked into every other room in the house before she finally opened the door to the nursery.
“Where have you been? I’ve been trying you all day?!!! Why, didn’t… awwwwe…you have a picture of her?!!! She’s soooooo pretty!”

Bets grabbed the picture out of the crib and looked at our daughter for the first time. It was such a special moment.

She wanted to know why I hadn’t answered my phone all day. I told her I was working on my surprise plan. Turns out that while Ted was telling the truth that he hadn’t talked with Betsey, he failed to tell me he’d left a voice mail for her! All Betsey knew was that he needed to talk with her and he left a number to call back.

That’s my side of the story of one of the best days of my life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Pictures

The orphanage emailed us new pictures of Rylyn. We should get monthly emailed updates and pictures. They even dressed her up all fancy. I can't wait until we can dress her like a rockstar. Pink tutus, converse shoes, cute leggings and a trendy t-shirt. Yay!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful in waiting

Well just to give everyone a little update....we are still waiting. It's not easy but it is incredibly comforting knowing that Rylyn is being loved well. I couldn't have dreamed of a more amazing orphanage and people to love her until we are able to bring our daughter home. Chris and Amy you guys have been an answer to prayer. Thank for all your help though everything. You have made the waiting game so much easier. Jennifer, thank you so much for helping take care of our baby girl! Sigh...I'm so thankful for all the times you have been able to hold her, rock her, make her smile, laugh and comfort her when she cries. We love you guys!

All that to say we haven't heard anything since November 5th. The day after match day we were emailed the power of attorney which we got witnessed and notarized and emailed back the same day. From my understanding we are waiting on papers from Taiwan to bring to the TECO office in Atlanta. As soon as we get those papers signed and filled out we will drive them to Atlanta to save a little bit of time. We were told the average wait until we are able to fly to Taiwan will be about 4 months. We are hoping it will be sooner.

We are hoping to meet up with some friends we met though the adoption process tomorrow night. We can't wait to meet their baby girl that they already adopted from the HOGL! They are also in the process of adopting her brother and will get to travel to Taiwan in a few weeks to go keep their son! We are so excited for you guys. They've even been sweet enough to take Rylyn's care package to her in person. Wahoo! Your first Christmas outfit, piggy blanket, taggie blanket, photo book and build a bunny will be on their way soon Rylyn!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Made with Love

Greg and I went to Build a Bear for our date night last night and made Rylyn a stuffed bunny. It was awesome because we got to go in the Build a Bear bathroom and record a message telling her we loved her. It will be the very first time she gets to hear our voice. We can't wait to send the care package. Here is a picture of Flops the bunny being stuffed!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Match Day....November 4, 2010! We were matched with our baby girl today. She is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We've decided to name her Rylyn MacKenzie Darley. We couldn't be happier. I got the call around 10:30am but didn't realize until my planning period what I had missed! As I listened to Ted's voicemail tell me that he was calling from the Home of God's Love orphanage and asking me to call back (informing me to be aware of the 12 hour time difference). My heart pounded, my hands were shaky...I knew it was the moment we had been waiting for. I tried calling Greg about 57 times but he wouldn't answer his phone. I called him from 11:00am until 6:00pm. I called him until my cell phone went dead. I even borrowed a phone from one of the YMCA workers I work with and answer. I had to get a ride home since I was still on pain medicine from my surgery so when I got home I'm not going to lie..I wasn't a happy camper. I opened the door...heard the oven on....and opened up the closed door to the nursery. When I opened up the door, there was Greg on the floor with roses everywhere. A video recorder video taping my every reaction and a picture of our beautiful baby girl in the crib! Wow! The joy I felt was unreal. Then Greg gave me a silver pendant written in Mandarin Chinese that said mother and sweet letter that he had written. Then I got to hear all the beautiful details.

Born July 26, 2010 at 7:00am
Weight: 7lbs 1/2 ounce
20 inches long

Arrived at the HOGL 2 weeks ago. A beautiful healthy baby girl who doesn't like to sleep much. ; )
And just like that...I am a mom. Such an incredible gift that God chose to give us. I am amazed. We've been told that from this point the wait will be about 4 months or until we will be able to fly to Taiwan and get our daughter. We are so thankful that she is being loved and cared for so so well. We couldn't ask for a better orphanage and we are so thankful for our neighbor Laura for telling us about it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

National Adoption Month

I learned not too long ago that November is national adoption awareness month. I was would be so perfect if we were matched with our baby girl this month! We will keep waiting and praying to find out if this will be the month we've been waiting for!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Greg posted this today on his blog and I thought it was very good truth to remember no matter what circumstance your going through or stage of life you are in:

If you were never told no, would yes matter as much?

If every door you knocked on were opened, would the next door be as meaningful?

If there was no delay between prayer and answer, would you do it as much?

I hate waiting. I hate closed doors. And I hate lag time between prayer and answer. But, I think that’s where we find God. He’s behind the no because he knows a better yes. He’s not opening one door because they next one is better. He’s not answering the prayer yet because He has our best in mind. God is in the delay.

We’ve been waiting what seems like forever to be matched with the baby girl we are adopting. We pray for her every night. We’re praying for God to open the door today. Thus far, there’s been no answer yet. But, I know God is working in the delay. I know he has the perfect baby girl to bring into our family. But waiting is not fun. Closed doors hurt. But I know that the tears we’ve cried and the prayers we’ve prayed will be that much sweeter when we finally get the “Yes”. (We would love to have your prayers too!)

If you’re waiting, or knocking, or praying with no answer yet…keep going. God is in the delay with you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Home of God's Love

This youtube video is kind of old but it's Ted talking about the orphanage. I can't wait to meet him. Here is the link to find out more about the orphanage.

Taiwan Customs

Some random Taiwan customs I read recently:

Gift Giving

Giving and receiving gifts is customary in Taiwan . The Taiwanese appreciate gifts that connote sophistication and prestige. Instead of buying baseball caps for your new friends, chocolates or cigarettes might be a better choice. Also, since it is considered rude to open a gift immediately, don't be surprised if your gift is put aside until the recipient can open it in private.

Business Cards

Business cards, or mingpien, are an important part of everyday life in Taiwan . Most businesses, schools, and individuals have cards, and people exchange them like handshakes. English teachers find cards helpful in obtaining new private clients. If you can't read Chinese, make a note on the back as to each card's origin, or you'll soon find yourself with piles of illegible mingpien. Mingpien are ideal for finding shops or night spots that are located in confusing areas; simply get in a cab and point at the address on the card.


Always use two hands when handing paper to someone (including business cards). It is considered rude to offer paper with one hand, especially if the recipient is a superior.

Removing Shoes

You will be expected to remove your shoes upon entering a Taiwanese home. The reason is more practical than traditional, since it helps to keep the inside clean. Slippers will sometimes be available, but if you have large feet, they won't be an option. Always wear presentable socks when invited to someone's home for dinner.


You should tip service people such as porters and hair stylists, but don't tip taxi drivers or in restaurants. Larger restaurants will add a 10 percent service charge and a 5 percent value-added tax to your bill.

Boasting vs. Modesty

It is considered very impolite to boast in Taiwan . Always make sure to compliment people on anything that is worth noting. Conversely, when receiving a compliment, you are expected to play down your attributes and prowess. When someone compliments your language ability, for example, have a standard response ready ("I really should study more," or "It could be a lot better.").


Death is a taboo subject in Taiwan , so avoid it. Also, white, not black as in the United States and Canada , is the color associated with death.

Buy a Candle Grow a Family

This is what our candle bookmark keepsake will say:

Greg and I are so blessed to have your love and support as we continue to wait and pray for our daughter. We started our adoption journey in May 2010 and have worked hard getting all the paperwork, fingerprinting and home study completed as soon possible. Now we are waiting for the day when we get the call telling us we can travel to Taiwan to come meet and love on our baby girl. We probably still have more waiting to do but we believe that God’s timing is perfect...even when we are feeling impatient. We wanted to thank you so much for purchasing our adoption candle. By doing so you are not only helping the Home of God’s Love Orphanage in Taiwan (where our baby girl is) but you are also helping feed a hungry, orphaned child for a whole week! When you light this candle, please pray for our family and our baby girl.

You can stay updated on our journey by visiting:

We love you!
The Darley Family

Candles are $25. Let me know if you would like one. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Light a Candle Grow a Family

I am so excited about this pilot program our friends Kim and Dave have gotten involved with. Bridgewater Candle Company (a Yankee Candle competitor) has partnered with Rice Bowl ministries to come up with a special edition adoption candle!

With your $25 purchase, the proceeds from this candle will not only go towards helping us raise money for our adoption and the Home of God's Love orphanage in Taiwan, it will also feed a hungry, orphaned child for one whole week! What an awesome opportunity to help many people in so many ways! Plus, Christmas is coming up, what a great gift?! If you or anyone you know would be interested in purchasing a candle, please contact me @

Thank you so much for your prayers, love and support as we wait for our baby girl.

The candle size is: 8 oz / 227 grams. Burn Time: 50-60 hrs.

For more information on this awesome opportunity to help feed a child and grow a family, please watch the following video:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Few Picture Updates

Thought this one would be funny. Pog in the baby sling we got from our friends Wesley and Caroline. We tried to put him in the baby carrier like Chris and Amy's dog but he wasn't too thrilled about it.

Here are few more pictures of the nursery too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Waiting for news...

This is my first time posting here. Betsey usually is the leading voice here, but I thought I'd get into the game. We're now in October and still no word yet on being matched. Tom Petty had it right when he said waiting is the hardest part. Every day I wake up and check my email hoping that today is the day we meet our daughter. Thus far, no such email. But I know its coming. I know she's out there. And I know that at the exact moment, God is going to bring our little girl into our family. But between now and then, we're waiting. But as I think about this time, I don't want to miss out on what God is doing. I know that he is still working as we wait. I have to remind myself that while we wait, he still works. I guess that's not a bad deal. We wait. He works. Soon we'll have a daughter. Until then....we wait!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waiting for news...

Still waiting and praying. The nursery is just about ready. We can't wait for you to see your new room baby girl.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another letter in the mail

We got another letter today saying the State's National Visa center that received our approved I600A form for our advanced processing of Orphan Petition. The letter was informing us that within 3-5 days our petition will be forwarded to the appropriate visa-issuing post where the adoption interview will take place. I don't know exactly what all that means (as you can tell I pretty much copied it directly from the letter) but it sounds like we are getting closer. ;)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Approved to bring our baby girl back to the states

We got our I-600A orphan petition paperwork in the mail that states we are able to bring our baby girl home. We received the confirming paperwork on Thursday. Still not much news otherwise. Still waiting to be matched. I haven't heard of any new babies being brought to the orphanage yet. I did get a super cute pink skirt from a yard sale this weekend for a quarter. I love a good deal. Please pray for our baby girl's health and safety... and for us to be matched quickly. Thanks!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A little less clutter but not much news

I cleaned out our future baby girl's room a little bit more last week. It is starting to look cuter and cuter. My mom got us this adorable owl pillow which I love! Kim made the bedskirt for the crib which fits perfectly and is fabulous.

I wish I had more news to add to this post as far as the adoption process is going but we still haven't heard anything about being matched. We can't take any next steps until we hear something from HOGL. I've heard all the babies currently at the orphanage are all matched. We are praying that we are at the top of the waiting list for the next baby girl. Trusting God seems like it should be such an easy thing but I definitely struggle with it. I want God's timing to match up with mine. I want to be matched two months ago. I wanted to be pregnant two years ago. I want lots of things that don't seem to work out the way I think they should. It's crazy that looking back on things seem so much easier than being in the middle of them. When I take the time to picture it in my head, looking back I just know how thankful I will be for all this waiting because it is helping me depend on God more. Looking back at this time in our lives and all this waiting I know it will make me so so grateful for the chance to love and raise a beautiful our baby girl. Sigh...I am ready to be able to look back on this time and not be in the middle of it. Please pray that we will learn lots during this time of waiting.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fingerprints done

Greg and I drove to Charlotte late last night for our fingerprint appointment this morning. Our appointments were scheduled for 8 and 9am but we were out of there by 8:30am. It was short and sweet. So glad they scheduled us to come to Charlotte instead of Charleston. It has been nice spending the day with my sister and nieces and nephews. They didn't even use ink at the fingerprint office, everything is computerized. We felt like we were in a Batman movie with all the crazy technology. One step closer to being matched and brining home our baby girl. Thanks for continuing to pray for us throughout this exciting journey we're on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

One day at a time...

We go tomorrow morning to Charlotte bright and early to get our fingerprints done at the Department of Homeland Security. We got our addendum added to our home study confirming that we now have a pet piggy in our household. Our home study was resent to DSS, Department of homeland Security and HOGL. We were given updated copies as well. I heard that the two little baby boys at HOGL have now been matched. Now we are just doing more waiting and trying to be patient as God matches us with our little girl. I am hopeful every day....waiting for that phone call or email.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Matilda Jane Clothes are Adorable!

Ted from HOGL emailed us on Tuesday night confirming that they received the hard copy of our home study. That was great news! He was also asking why we were requesting a baby girl. Greg and I have talked and prayed about adoption for years now and we both feel that the Lord wants us to adopt a baby girl from Asia. One reason being, since we have been involved with the Free Chains project through World Causes, we've felt led to adopt from Asia to help fight the injustice of sex trafficking. We realize that sex trafficking is a major issue in many areas of the world, Asia being one of the highest. We tried our best to explain that to HOGL and are praying that can see our hearts and reasoning behind our request for a daughter and realize that we aren't just being picky. We haven't been matched yet. I heard from the grape vine that they may have an unmatched baby boy at HOGL now. We are trying to be patient and continue to pray each day for our daughter.

We are currently in ATL so Greg could help out with the Do Good conference. My sister in law has introduced me the the cutest baby clothes ever! There is this lady who designs super cute and trendy baby clothes called Matilda Jane. I love almost all of them. They are a little pricey and you can't buy them online unless there is a sale. They have home shows like Pampered Chef or you could find some some of them on ebay. Here is the website to check them out. I will definitely be recommending these clothes to clients who have little girls who don't know what to wear for a photo-shoot! Here is a link to her website:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Good and Bad...

We still haven't heard much from HOGL. I recently went to Nightlight to get more original copies of our home study. I didn't realize we would need so many. I picked up four on Wednesday, 1 original and 3 that we will mail to hogl when they ask us to. Our good news was were scheduled for finger printing appointment in the mail from the department of homeland security yesterday. We go in to the Charlotte office on August 6th at 8:00 am. I am glad it was Charlotte and not Charleston because we can stay with Laura, Grae and all the nieces and nephews for the night. The bad news we found out yesterday is we will have to do an addendum to our home study since we added our new Darley member to the family. We got our pig named Pog last week. He is very sweet and active. Even though I contacted the orphanage and said we wouldn't need to change anything and our home study was fine, the adoption agency we are going through said otherwise. They said If there are any changes in our household it has to be reported by law in our home study. So...we are out $100 and Nightlight has to resend our home study to DSS, homeland security,etc. But, I don't think it will hold up the adoption process much if at all. So that is good news too! Please pray that we will hear from HOGL soon with a match. We are ready for our baby girl to come home!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back from Vactation

We just got back a few hours ago from our Western road trip with our friends the Halls. We had a lot of laughs, made a lot of memories and experienced some crazy things. The trip was really fun but we are glad to be home. It seemed like everywhere we went in California, Utah, Houston, etc. there were adorable little Asian girls all over the place, which made us stop and smile. It's so fun to think about our baby and how she is doing, how big she's getting....

No real news as far as being matched yet. All we've heard was there had been a glitch in the computer at the Home of God's Love Orphanage and their computer crashed. As of now, they haven't been able to open up our home study on their computer yet due to all the issues. We are trying to be patient as we're waiting to be matched with our baby girl. Please keep praying.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Home study mailed...

Yippee! The home study has been e-mailed to Home of God's Love as of 3:00pm this afternoon. We are soooo excited!! Now more waiting and praying to be officially placed on the HOGL waiting list and matched with our baby. All the home study corrections have been made. Next a copy of the home study will be mailed to DSS and we will mail a hard copy to HOGL to be translated into Mandarin Chinese. We are still in the process of waiting for the Department of Homeland Security to mail us our fingerprinting appointment. Waiting and praying, praying and waiting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We had our final home study review yesterday at 4:00 at the Nightlight Office. We had to read over our final home study and edit it for mistakes. It only took about an hour. Now all we have to do is wait for a few things to be changed and then we will be emailed and mailed the final home study. I am so ready!!! I spoke with Mandee from HOGL through an email yesterday and she said I could email them the home study. That should speed things up and on being put on the official waiting list. Wahoo! So as soon as we get the home study emailed to us, it will be mailed to DSS and we will mail a email and mail a hard copy to the orphanage. I heard that the 17 babies who are currently at HOGL are matched but they may be getting 1 to 6 more babies in the next week or so. It is crazy to think that one of them may be ours. It makes me excited to think about it.

Kim and the kids came over today and dropped off the glider chair cover. It looks awesome! I love it. Isn't it cute?!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finsished the Mirror...

Okay, here is what the updated button mirror looks like. The picture didn't turn out too amazing but I think the mirror turned out cute. We now own a hot glue gun thanks to my great mother in law. Otherwise the mirror would have been buttonless. I am excited about finalizing the Home study tomorrow. Wahoo!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Things are Coming Together

So we have the final home study meeting Monday at 4:00! I am so thankful God hears and answers prayers.

This weekend has been nice and relaxing. I started the reading a new adoption book called Adopted for Life. It's been pretty good so far. I also started the final Twilight book which I automatically got sucked into. I am sure I will have it done in a few days. Greg and I rented the Book of Eli which we will probably watch a little later tonight. I worked hard on the nursery for a few hours today and made some improvements. We went to Michaels today. I decided that I like Hobby Lobby WAY better because it's bigger and they have fabric. I got a few more embroidery hooks to put different fabrics in and hang on the wall. I also bought the first letter of our baby girl's name to hang on the wall. I painted it yellow and it will hang in between all the different embroidery hooks. I love how it looks. I also painted the wood frame around a yellow mirror that I hung on the wall. I am thinking about gluing colorful buttons on it or somehow adding fabric to it to make it look even cuter. I also painted a bunch of letter blocks with bright colors, hung lanterns from the ceiling to see how they'd look and cleaned the room up a little bit. I can't wait to see what the recovered chair will look like. I know I will love it! I am glad I switched from the elephant bedding. I feel like this room is much more personal than a bedding "set." Greg and I have both worked hard on making this room as perfect as we can for our baby girl.

Here are some pictures of the room improvement. Try to picture it without the office furniture and the clutter. It will look even better when that gets moved out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Study Almost Done...

Greg and I both had to go to our doctor's offices to get our physicals done as part our home study process. Our doctors had to type up a letter saying we both mentally, physically and emotional sound and able to adopt. When Greg went to his appointment two Thursdays ago the printers were down at the doctor's office so Greg's sweet doctor wrote a handwritten letter for us to fax over to Nightlight. It turned out to be undated and a little hard to read so I had to go back to the doctor's office today and kindly ask for another one with the date and request that it be typed up this time. They were great about it though. Kelley was with me and we only had to wait about 15 minutes. So we did the word jumble and attempted a crossword puzzle while we waited. For some liability reason the doctor's office wasn't able to fax the letter to our adoption agency so I had to drive to my school to fax a copy. But, since there is all this crazy construction going on at my school, the landlines were down which fax machine. worked out well though because I went over to the Goforth's house for a quick visit and fabric drop off and they had a fax machine which they let me use. Side note: Kim, you're the greatest. Thanks again for agreeing to recover our glider chair! I can't wait to see it! So thanks to Chad, we were able to get the typed out letter to Nightlight's office today. When I got home from errands and meeting Boston's dog Cocoa, I checked my email to find out that we can come in for our final home study meeting on Monday or Tuesday of next week. That's what we were praying for before I have to go out of town!!! God is awesome! So yay...we're getting closer. Thanks Lisa and Erin for all your hard work and help on getting the home study done quickly.

Praying for our baby girl...

Another week of waiting and praying. It still blows me away to think that our baby girl is growing and developing a little more each day. We're assuming that she is still in her birth mom's tummy. We are so ready to see her sweet face.

We worked more on the nursery this week. I have been feeling so crafty lately. I got my hands on a staple gun and decided to go ahead and recover the footstool to the glider last night. I searched online for about an hour last night and found an awesome adoption resources website with a bunch of adorable Asian baby dolls, decorations, books, etc you can purchase for a relatively cheap price. Plus if you spend $25 or more it's free shipping! I put a bunch of these cultural items on my Amazon wish list. We will definitely be getting her one of these dolls when we send her care package to HOGL. Thoughts on which doll we should get her? Greg likes the first one the best. I think I like the second one.

I like this one for when she gets a little bit older.

Please pray that our home study papers will be finalized and all our paperwork will be sent off by the end of this week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Joys of the Jockey Lot...

We had our first fund raising attempt yesterday at the Anderson Jockey Lot. If you have never been there, it is definitely an experience. Our friends Wesley, Caroline, Laura and Ryan donated some unwanted items from their house for us to sell to raise money to bring home our future baby girl. It's crazy to think she may not even have been born yet. Greg was such a trooper making it from 6am-2pm in the blazing heat and sun without a complaint. I was impressed. We met a nice lady at the booth across from us selling fruit and lingerie. It was an interesting combination I thought but, she couldn't have been nicer. She ended up giving us some of her fruit and if you were we were not offered any lingerie. We ended up making about $260 fro our sales towards our adoption fund. Not too bad!

We haven't heard back about when the final home study meeting will be. I am really hoping it will be this week though. We did hear that our background checks came back clear and the only thing they are missing is Greg's doctor letter which I will fax in the morning. Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blog attempt number 2

I just tried to post about the super cute fabric I bought from Hobby Lobby the other day, how we we painted an accent wall in the nursery brown, how we got a good deal got on some adorable clothes at Target since the sign was marked wrong and my new summer hobbies since I don't have 24 kids, teaching and the after school program filling up my time. It doesn't look like it saved though...

Oh well, here is attempt #2: I have enjoyed finding crafty projects to do around the house. I know I am jumping the gun with the nursery but it has been a fun time filler looking for fabrics, decorating, painting and finding nursery ideas. To clarify, neither of the posts on the blog are actually our nursery. They are just ideas I found of other nurseries that I liked. Ours will end up looking more like the second one though. I like all the colors. I bought 12 different miss-matchy fabrics from Hobby Lobby the other day that I am working together to go in the room. I am excited that Kim agreed to make pillow, a dust ruffle and recover this glider chair that I bought from a Pace Island yard sale 6 years ago. Sorry mom for stealing it back from you. I know you got pretty attached.

I am working on repainting this black end table we had in the room. Since there is no black in the room anymore we decided to go with yellow and a antique looking knob for the front. I have one more coat to do and I will post some pictures.

These are the cute Target outfits we got a deal on. I love them!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bedding Change of Mind...

I may have changed my mind on the bedding now. I was searching a bunch of different blogs this morning and found this nursery I really like. I may like it more than the elephant bedding that I already bought. This is though... Maybe I could take a poll on which one is cuter. Feel free to comment on which you like better. Here are the two choices:

I have decided either way I go I want to incorporate elephants. ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Home study part one completed...check!

We finished the first part of the home study on June 1st. I think it went pretty well. We were asked a bunch of questions about our family, values, beliefs, etc. After a little over 3 hours, we were finished. Lisa and Erin were super great at making the process fun and comfortable. Now we are waiting for our home study report to be typed up to have our final meeting at the Nightlight office and then the papers will be sent to DSS and from there, Taiwan.

Greg and I drove to Orange Park today to surprise my parents. They got back from their Trafalgar trip (Italy, Austria, France, Switzerland and Germany)around midnight. Even with 30 plus hours of no sleep and they were still excited to see us.

We went yard saling in OP. Greg got the new google phone on Friday and it has this amazing garage sale ap that maps out all the yard sales in the area and gives you gps directions to each one. I love it! We hit about 40 yard sales in a fe hours. I found a really cute skirts, shirt, tights and pair of sandals I got for our baby girl. I will try to post picture of my fun finds tomorrow when we get back to SC.

Oh, we justed checked our banking statement and the check from our I-600A form was deposited. That's good news, now we know The Department of Homeland Security got our check. Just waiting on our letter to tell us to come to Charlotte or Charleston to get our fingerprints done. Still praying!

Monday, May 31, 2010

We have a crib up in our "crib"

Thanks to Wesley and Caroline for being awesome and wanting to clean out their house a little before their big move, we now have a crib. Greg slaved away sanding, primering and painting yesterday and wha la here it is...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Highights for Kids

I found some cool facts about Taiwan on this Highlight magazine website for kids.

I will have to show them to my 1st graders. They love this kind of stuff.

Q Where is Taiwan?

A Taiwan is an island in the Pacific Ocean just off the east coast of China. It is separated from China by the Taiwan Strait. The tropic of Cancer runs through the middle of Taiwan. This means that the southern part of Taiwan is in the “Tropics.”

Q Does Taiwan have any nicknames?

A Taiwan is sometimes called “Ilha Formosa,” which means “beautiful island” in Portuguese. Portuguese sailors gave Taiwan this name in the sixteenth century. Taiwan is also part of the Republic of China, which includes the islands Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and a number of smaller islands.

Q What is the land like?

A Taiwan has a diverse landscape. It has mountain ranges, foothills, tablelands (flat, elevated regions), and coastal plains and basins. The Chungyang Shanmo (Central Mountain Range) covers two-thirds of the country. The highest peak in this range is called Yu Shan (Mount Jade), which reaches 12,959 feet (3,950 meters).

Q What is the temperature like?

A There are two seasons in Taiwan: the hot season, which lasts from May to October; and the cool season, which lasts from November to March. During the summer (hot season), the temperature in low-lying coastal regions can rise to 95 degrees F (35 degree C). In winter, temperatures can go down to 41 degrees F (5 degrees C). Coastal regions are very humid, though, which can make the hot seem hotter and the cool seem cooler. In the mountains of Taiwan, temperatures stay a bit cooler year-round. In the coldest months, you might even find snow on the peaks of high mountains.

Q What is Taiwan’s most extreme weather?

A Taiwan has typhoons, violent tropical cyclones that begin in the ocean but can sweep across land. The typhoon season in Taiwan lasts from mid-August until early October, and up to six storms might hit Taiwan during that season each year. Hurricanes are another type of tropical cyclone. An intense tropical cyclone is named “typhoon” or “hurricane” depending on where on the globe it occurs.

Q What animals live in Taiwan?

A Mammals living in Taiwan include black bears, wild boars, rock-monkeys, mongooses, leopards, sambars (a type of large deer), dolphins, and whales. Amphibians include many types of tree frogs and salamanders. Reptiles include lizards, turtles, and snakes. There are also different types of insects, fishes, and birds.

Q How big is Taiwan?

A Taiwan is about 242 miles (390 km) long and 87 miles (140 km) wide at its widest point. Its total area is nearly 13,900 square miles (36,000 square km), which means its size is between that of Maine and Indiana.

Q What is the largest city in Taiwan?

A Taiwan’s largest city is Taipei, which is located on the northern tip of the island.

Q How many people live in Taiwan?

A The population of Taiwan is more than 22 million. That means that on average, there are 1,595 persons per square mile (616 persons per square kilometer). In Taipei, Taiwan's most crowded urban area, there are an average of 25,219 persons living in each square mile (9,737 per square km). So a space the size of a football field in Taipei would contain the homes of 44 people. Taiwan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, second only to Bangladesh.

Q What language do they speak?

A While Taiwan has more than one hundred actively spoken Chinese dialects, its national language is Mandarin, which is also the national language of the Chinese Mainland. Southern Fujianese (also called Taiwanese) and Hakka are two major dialects also spoken by many of the island’s inhabitants. Mandarin is used as a universal language so that everyone can communicate with one other. It is spoken in government, school, and other public functions. Less formal conversations are held in dialect.

Q What sort of government does Taiwan have?

A Like the United States, Taiwan is a democracy—a system in which government officials are elected by the people.

Q What sort of things does Taiwan produce?

A The making of electronic devices for computers and other machinery is the major industry in Taiwan. Most consumer electronics (computers, games, CD/DVD players, etc.) contain components manufactured in Taiwan. The other major industries include plastics, chemicals, machinery, and agriculture.


We can't wait to go visit and see our baby girl!

Home Study...

Yay! We have our first home study visit scheduled for June 1st at 5:30. I heard it is just a light 3 hour process of interview questions. Yikes!

We finally completed our I-600a form today with a little help on some confusing questions from Kim and Andrea. Two new friends I have met a long the way on our adoption journey who already have beautiful baby girls from the HOGL orphanage. Thank you both very much. We will be mailing the form out in the morning.

I talked to my 94 year old grandma, Bubbles, earlier this week who was in the hospital due to a panic attack. She's thankfully fine now, back to her old feisty self. I had heard from my sister Laura that when she was in the hospital she met an Asian nurse that was helping her. Apparently, she got so excited that the nurse was Asian that she told the whole hospital that she was going to have a granddaughter who would look like this nurse. The sweet nurse wasn't even Taiwanese but go figure,her new granddaughter will look just like her. I wish I could have been there for that. It made me smile.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Getting Things Together One Piece at a Time

I am fairly confident all our 5 references have been emailed to HOGL orphanage and our 3 references have been mailed to Nightlight adoption agency. Thanks to all our sweet and helpful referencers for helping with that.

We are still in the process of trying to figure out a few more answers for our I-600A form before it can be mailed off and processed. I will try emailing my new friend Kim for help with those. Apparently after that form is sent off and approved, we will receive a confirmation saying we can either travel to Charleston or Charlotte to get our fingerprints taken and sent off.

I just ordered that cute elephant bedding I posted last night. It should be here in a few weeks. Yay! We also signed up for our first adoption class on June 8th in Greenville. That will knock out 2 hours of the 10 hours of adoption educational hours we need. I also checked out an recommended parenting book from the Powdersville Library this afternoon. Every 50 pages equal an hour of credit. Knocking the little things out one step at a time and praying like crazy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Future Baby Girl's Room

So... I found the cutest bedding on the JcPenney website. It's trendy pink and brown elephants and I love it! I know it's a little early but I don't think I can resist. I also heard it may go out of print soon. I am going to have to get it and hope the cute accessories will still be around later on. This is what I hope our future nursery will look like.

Our Taiwanese Journey Begins...

After talking about adoption for many years now, God has finally brought a peace to both our hearts to go for it! We are so excited about our journey.

I know many of you are curious, "Why Taiwan?" There were lots of different reasons really.

#1- reason being- We really want to be parents!

#2- we want to do something more to prevent sex trafficking and potentially rescue a little girl who may have potentially ended up in the sex trade. (Many of you know about the non-profit organization Greg started called World Causes. Since World Causes' project Free Chains started 2 years ago in hopes to raise awareness, prevention and fight the issue of sex trafficking, God has given us a heart to adopt from Asia. This is the Free Chains site if you are interested:

#3-we want to love and raise a child to dream big dreams and do big things for God.

#4- Taiwan was the only Asian country that we met all the requirements for. How's that for a clear answer!

2010 Taiwan Adoption Requirements:

Parent Ages: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 20 years older than the child, and not older than 55.
Travel: Both parents must travel. Length of stay is approximately 1 week.
Marriage Requirements: A married person who adopts a child shall do so jointly with his/her spouse.
Income Requirements:
Prospective adoptive parents must have a stable residence, legitimate work and sufficient financial means.

Those are a few of our big reasons in a nutshell. As far as our time line goes, last week we turned in our application to start our home study process. We are going through Nightlight Christian Adoptions Agency. ( Our great neighbor Laura works with them and has been a huge help. She's been very patient with my hundreds of questions. Thanks Laura!!

This past Friday, Nightlight accepted our application and our first home study visit should be later on this week or early next week. Yay! The home study process takes 4-8 weeks.

From what we've read the on the country specifics for Taiwanese adoption, the time line is as follows:

The child may be adopted about 10 to 14 months from completion of paperwork to birthparent match or referral. From match or referral to travel, about 4 to 6 months

After our home study through Nightlight is completed, Greg and I have decided to go directly through Home of God's Love Orphanage in Taiwan. We have heard amazing things about this orphanage and are praying hard for our future baby girl.

We have turned in our application and 5 references to the HOGL orphanage. Mandee has been wonderful with her quick replies and confirmations of references. We are thankful for her. Apparently the HOGL orphange changed their polocies a few months back so we are not officially on the waiting list at the orphange until they receieve our completed home study. We are working hard on getting it done a.s.a.p.