Monday, August 29, 2011

Gotcha Day....One year ago

Angels lined the road on both sides of the street. Their trumpets raised high to announce the arrival of the princess. I can picture this in my mind. Hear the trumpets in my head. What a vision !! This remarkable sight was given to Deena as she and Mike drove down this road bringing Marianna to meet us one year ago today.

Not long after that I would see her again. This time as my daughter. 

By this time the Lord had stretched me, grown my faith and prepared me for motherhood yet again.

He held us tight through those rough nights early on

He rejoiced with us during all of our "firsts"

He said to us often "of course she can !"

He encouraged us when we were dissappointed by set backs and
He reminded us that He is "our Lord, our great physician"

What a year it has been. I have never been more blessed in all my life. Thank you sweet Jesus for the children that call me Momma. Thank you for Jiang Yu Feng that was born in my heart. 

 Forever to be My Marianna.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Olive Tees......

Hey ladies.....It's time to Get Your Verse On with a Wild Olive Tee…..if you don’t know about Wild Olive Tees you really have to check them out. (Sorry guys, they’re just for your lady and your kiddos) Imagine a great fabric, cool design and scripture to boot. I stumbled across these tees a couple years ago and my collection started. They’re not just great tees. I mean they ARE great tees but it was the heart behind them that hooked me. You see Wild Olive was created by three amazing momma’s that LOVE the Lord and LOVE the orphan as well. One of these ladies I met through the bloggy world. She’s a fellow adoptive mom of ten. Yep, that’s right, I said ten kiddos. Six of which are special needs babes from China. What an inspiration she has been to me and to so many others.

Wild Olive supports orphan care through An Orphan’s Wish in China and Sixty Feet in Uganda. Aside from the tees being great and 10% of all profits going to orphan care they are now

helping adoptive families with their fundraising.

Wild Olive Tees has selected OUR family to be featured from 8/20/11 to 10/15/11. Woo Hoo : ) !!

So, what does that mean? Well, that means that anyone that wishes to buy a really cool tee while at the same time helping to bring our sweet Josiah home can do so during this time. Shopping AND helping to bring an orphan home….sounds good, right? Not the least of which you’re spreading God’s word.

Ok, so here’s what you do. You go to the Adoption Fundraising Tees page of Wild Olive. Pick out your tee or tees : ) (They also have really cute tees for kiddos). When you’re checking out put our family code
BRANIFF0820 in the coupon code section. You can also put our name in the comment section. Now the coupon code doesn't discount the tee like a coupon code normally would, but it does ensure that a portion of the sale goes directly to bringing our little guy home.

We are honored to be a part of what Wild Olive is doing in the fields of the fatherless.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:27

We are so grateful for the support of our friends and family. The Lord has entrusted us with much and it has required much of us. We know that we couldn’t have done it without YOU. The Lord has used all of you for His glory to bring our children home. Whether you’ve sup-ported our adoptions financially or through prayer, please know that our children will be eter-nally grateful. Because of you they know the love of a family and the love of our heavenly Father. A very heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you, but to God be the Glory.

Please consider passing this on to your friends and family. They’re a great gift idea !
Spread the word. Spread the love. Spread God’s Glory to the Nations……

So long summer....

Just a few random photos from summer. It really was a fun summer....made lots of great memories.

Thank you so much for your prayers....Mari's surgery went very well. Her doctor took a few extra measures while in there to make sure that this does the trick and we're believing that it did. She is up and running around and back to her normal silly self. The swelling has gone down and she's breathing well. Sigh..... Thank You Jesus.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've been asked a lot lately what's going on with Josiah. Well, our documents are at the Chinese Embassy right now. They'll be ready to be picked up on the 22nd and on the way back to me. Then our dossier can go to China. Then the wait begins for our LOA. The front end of this adoption has gone pretty quickly. It was nice to be able to use many of the documents from Mari's adoption. No telling how the clock will tick on the Chinese end of things. The LOA's are so erratic. One of ours came in 120 days and one came in 46 days. No rhyme or reason. All in God's time. I'm resting in that for sure.

Rob's knee is healing and he started physically therapy yesterday. Trying to slow that man down is a whole different story. I keep reminding him "you know you are half way to 90" : )

Mari is having a second surgery on her nose on Friday. Prayers Please. The first surgery didn't work. We were reminded ever so kindly by her doctor that we have a pretty unique girl....didn't we know that though? :) He is such a sweet man and he LOVES Mari. They cut up together. It's really sweet. It broke his heart to keep cauterizing her nose. He finally said " I can't do this anymore ". So, we did the surgical cauterization and it didn't work. He hasn't had this happen before. This means the next step is to go in and stitch up all the blood vessels in her nose. There are a bunch of spider web like vessels in there. It's hard to stitch that nose because it's so little and there's a lot to stitch. It's shocking to me that this teeny weeny little nose can bleed like that. And this time the nose bleeds are by far the worse they've ever been. Please pray for divine healing for her nose. The next surgery if this didn't work is a type of nasal septal plasty and he doesn't even like to do them on children. So, we are believing that this will work. Claiming it in the name of Jesus. Period. She is such a trooper though. She's always reassuring me that it's ok and that's she's fine. The last one happened at Sam's with a buggy full of groceries. We went through an entire pack of wet wipes. It was awful. I couldn't get it under control for 45 minutes. That one scared me.

On a lighter note the girls start school on Monday. I'll be teaching Kindergarten and first grade this year. I'm really excited. These are the fun years. I want to enjoy every minute. They have been begging me to start school for the last month...."No way Jose !" It was just the middle of July. They really do thrive with a more structured routine so I started letting them review a couple of weeks ago with a sort of "loose" school schedule. Kind of getting them back to a routine. They love school so much. What a blessing. I love teaching them but I really love the summer too. It's been such a fun relaxing summer. Just what we needed. Things will get busy soon enough. Mari is starting speech and adaptive PE through the local school system. She's excited about that. It frustrates her terribly when someone cannot understand her. I've never heard of a child being excited about speech, but she is. She is my lion hearted girl. She does it all with gusto. Speech therapy will be no different. Izzy starts piano lessons at the beginning of September. She is beyond excited. She was given a keyboard for her birthday and plays all the time. ALL THE TIME ! We can't wait for her to learn something. She knows the musical alphabet and I hear quite often during the day Izzy playing A,B,C,D,E,F,G up and down the keyboard. Over and over and over...... :)

God bless the stay at home Momma. And I thought I worked hard as an Accountant. My 10 hour days as a CFO pale in comparison to my 14 hour days as a mom. I'm really ashamed to admit that I never used to think of staying at home with your children as a full time job. I definitely didn't have the proper perspective back then. I recognize now that not only is it the hardest job but by far the most important job that I will ever do. I'm so grateful that the Lord is allowing me to do this. Just praying that I do it well. Hope you guys had a great summer too. Soaking up the last few days.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wrapped around their fingers

This is what two little girls can talk a grown man into doing : )

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pink Umbrellas

Yesterday evening as I cooked dinner I could see out my kitchen window pink Barbie umbrellas floating through the yard. Rob was on the back porch reading. It was temporarily 80 degrees because it has just stormed and was still lightly raining. The girls were on an adventure to find worms and "save" them from the rain. I watched them dance around the yard and I marveled at how sweet and innocent they were. How happy they were to look for worms to rescue and to pick flowers and then run to the back door to give it to me. What joy in these simple things. I went outside to join them and was completely overcome with emotion. Before I could get the words out Rob looked at me and said "I don't want to forget these moments....let's not forget these moments" and then he went and got the camera. They are special moments indeed. Our girls are growing so fast. They are at an age that constantly reminds us of Ryan and Jess. Jess was 6 and Rye was 3 when Rob and I met.  I can hardly believe they are 23 and 20. It sometimes doesn't seem possible. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that they are grown and gone already. Izzy told me today "Momma, I don't want to ever get married". When I asked her why, she said to me "well, I want to always live with you Momma so I'm not getting married, ok?" Sounds good to me : )  What I realized was that Ryan and Jessi at some point in their lives said "I'm never leaving home" too.  I know now how quickly your children go from never leaving home to can't wait to get out of the house. What I didn't know then was how quickly that transition would happen. I didn't know then to soak up every ounce of time with them because in a blink of your eye they are gone. These moments with our younger children are so precious to us. We've learned a lot from parenting our older children. We've made lots of mistakes. I would love a do over in many instances. I know I'll make mistakes again. They will just be different mistakes.  I'm trying to do it better this time around. When you know better you do better. This time around I let dinner wait and I go outside and watch the pink umbrellas dance around my yard.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Care Package

Here are a few glimpses of our boy opening the care package we sent to him. I love his "chub" ...he reminds me some of Izzy when she was just turning two.  So glad to see that he's healthy. We've been so spoiled by having our children at Hidden Treasures. We're not quite used to the "rare" glimpse. We're used to getting lots of updates and pictures. This will be challenging for me.

We also heard via email that our I800A is approved and on it's way in the mail. Yeah !

I haven't posted about him accept to introduce him to you guys. I've been sort of holding it off the best that I could. You know by staying really busy with the girls. Trying so hard not to let Josiah slip into my heart fully. Knowing how hard and long adoption is, I foolishly thought that I could put this off some. I know...crazy, right? The longing for him has started though. The Lord placed him in my heart and there's no holding back the love I have for him already. I'm his Momma and I want him with me. How in the world did I think I could hold that off.  So, it's heart is aching for my boy waiting for me a world away. SIGH !!!! Godspeed to you Josiah.