Monday, March 23, 2015

Adoption/Prayer Update from the Lemons'

I have a tendency to say too much...which could mean this blog post won't stay up long.  I'm not really sure what I can say and what I'm suppose to keep quiet, but honestly, we're asking the Lord for favor and hope you'll join us.  For quite some time Amy and I have been asking our family, friends, and church to join us in praying for a lingering court case in one of our adoptions.  We're asking for prayer again today, but wanted to let you in on what's going on....at least partially.

Our adoption with 'I' is going quickly and smoothly so far.  God has been so faithful to walk us through.  He's legally ours, and we are hoping to travel next month to meet him and file some paperwork with immigration.  He can't come home yet, but we are getting close.  We'd definitely appreciate prayers as that journey begins to unfold.  To meet our son for the first time, and turn and leave him half way across the globe will not be an easy task, but we really believe it's a step we need to take.  We're just waiting on an Embassy appointment!

Our other adoption hasn't been quite as smooth.  We have been in process with 'A' for about a year and a half now, and it's still not completed.  Last year our agency allowed us to move him into a different orphanage for a transition period.  And for just a moment, let me say how incredible our adoption agency is!  They have more integrity in their pinky finger than I've seen in most agencies through and through.  They've walked with us, been transparent when we've all made mistakes, and have even stopped taking money until things are settled.  One of our ladies in particular has become what I would consider a close friend.  Joelle talks about her often, and we are so grateful for her.

The transition was a decision we (Amy and I) made on our own.  When 'A' was sent into this orphanage it seemed like a huge blessing from heaven.  We were getting updates, and a few families were contributing to really make this a great home for our kids.  We were committed to doing everything within our power to make this home a safe place for children for years to come, even after our boys were home.  Since that moment we've had a person that has come in and done everything she can to wreck our adoption.  She's made false claims about our son that have resulted in a court battle.  Without going into a lot of detail, tomorrow is supposedly our last court date where the court will make a final decision.

I want to make sure skeptics fully understand that we understand adoption.  Adoption was never the plan of Creation.  Adoption is a beautiful redemption from the fall of sin.  The fact that a child cannot stay with his/her biological family was never in God's plan.....it's a pretty good reminder of what sin has done to the beauty God created.  Adoption is redemption from brokenness.  I remember standing with Joelle's biological father two years ago.  He was a good man.  He was a good father that sacrificed everything so his child could live.  He's not a bad man.  We pray for him.  We talk about him and his family.  He sacrificed his own desires for the life of his child.  It was messy, ugly, and wasn't the highlight of his life...adoption is sacrifice.  It's sacrifice for everyone involved....especially our children.  If a child has a biological family member capable of caring for him/her, Amy and I will always 100% support them!  But our children's families can't, and have made very clear that their situations were dire without adoption.  A's biological family has made very clear what their desires are, and we are a part of them.

So we are asking our family and friends to join us in powerful prayer today/tonight as a judge we've never met sits in a court we've never seen, and rules on a case that will ultimately change our lives forever, one way or the other.  If court goes our way, the plan is to hold both of our boys on our trip next month.  If it doesn't we're not really sure where it leaves us, because we don't have access to A.

This has all been a beautiful reminder of how out of control our lives are.  That's good to remember from time to time.  God is good....really good.  And we trust 100% that regardless of the decision made tomorrow, or even if it is put off for the millionth time, God's plan is always best.  But we also know that a God that created all ex nihilo (out of nothing) is more than capable os squashing the enemy and showing us favor tomorrow.  We believe that God is capable of redeeming the people that have caused us the most heartache over the past six months.

And that's what we'd ask.  Pray for those that are doing wrong.  Pray that the Lord would grab their hearts and show grace in a way that draws them to His goodness.  So many moments I've wanted to pray destruction and evil on them....but God has shown me that even our enemies need grace.  I'm praying for her today.  If she's reading this, know that our family is praying that God would show you His grace!  Pray that the courts would do what's right tomorrow....we believe we've been very transparent and done exactly what God has called us to.  We, and our agency, have shown integrity and refused to lower our morals/ethics.  We have done right.  Pray that He would reveal this tomorrow and we'd get closure.

And last....pray for the hundreds of children that are stuck right now and unable to come to the United States.  The reason is really not important.  One of our families lost their son last week due to preventable causes, and we believe enough is enough.  We're hoping the red tape will be cut this week, and we'll gain a few hundred beautiful new citizens!

Lots to pray about, and we hope you'll join us as we rely on the true Judge that doesn't needs courts and governments to get things done!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Life Lately

Well, I am just going to throw this out there... I'm terrible at updating this little blog.  Unfortunately, time just gets the best of me and Instagram/Facebook is so much quicker than writing out a blog post.  BUT, for the sake of memories, I decided to do a "what's been going on lately" write-up!  So, in no particular order, here's what life has been like in 2015 so far!

1.  We have had some CRAZY weather here in North Texas this winter.  The snow/ice kept us home for three different snow days.  It was great to spend some extra time as a family.  This particular day brought us lots of puffy snow, and we lasted all of 15 minutes outside playing in it!  As much as Joelle loves the thought of snow, she would still prefer to stay inside and just look at it from afar!

We did the typical "we never get any snow so we are going to cram everything possible in 10 minutes" thing... snow ice cream, snow angels, mini-snowmen, snowball fights!
 So glad she has a daddy like Jared because I could hardly step foot out of the garage in fear of getting too cold!
2.  Joelle's still rockin' the Kindergarten thing!  She's become quite the little reader... and is now reading on a level 12!  That's about a mid-year 1st grade reading level :))  (Need I remind you that she has only known English for TWO years??!!) We couldn't be more proud!
 The best part is she LOVES everything about school.  She prayed and prayed that we wouldn't have to stay home on those snow days.  She just loves her teacher, working, and the little friends that she has made!  I know it won't always be like that, so I'm cherishing every moment!
3.  We've been trying out different hairstyles!  My goal was to learn how to braid, but it's just not happening right now.  Thankfully we found a lovely lady about 10 minutes away that will try any of my ideas!  AND, she's super fast!  This hairstyle took about 45 minutes and will last for 2 weeks.  I still really love the puffs, and the braids back to puffs gives it a new, fun look!
4.  We also celebrated Joelle's 2nd Gotcha Day!  We bought fabric while picking up Joelle in the Congo.  Jared met a sweet lady in town that is a wonderful quilter!  She turned the fabric into a beautiful quilt!
 To celebrate her gotcha day we did a few things... Medieval Times, ice skating, and ate at her favorite restaurant!  It was a fun weekend until I got sick as a dog!
 5.  For Valentine's Day this year we decided on a family date rather than just going out as a couple.  We knew that we would be taking an anniversary trip not too long after, so we wanted to include Joelle in on the Valentine's festivities!  
 6.  Speaking of anniversaries... Jared and I celebrated TEN years of marriage on March 12th!  Jared planned the PERFECT vacation to Turks and Caicos.  We had such a great time together, and it was just as beautiful as can be!  I even got BACK in the water to snorkel after Jared saw a shark just a few feet away from me.  I call that conquering a pretty large fear of mine!
We are taking Joelle there in June, so we went to the location where we will be staying and gave her a little FaceTime tour.  We can't wait to go back!
 BUT, we missed Joelle quite a bit, so we let her sleep on our floor when we got home!  We also went a little crazy buying every stuffed animal we found.  I mean, every girl needs a huge lobster, whale, and stingray from the Turks, right?!
7.  We are still persevering with adopting our two little boys.  We've had quite a bit of movement, and I hope to update that whole process on here very soon.  Until then, we appreciate all of your prayers! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Jammies and a Questionnaire!

New Christmas jammies call for a little photo shoot with my sweet girl.  I *may* have gone a little overboard with the Christmas pajamas this year.  I can't pass up holiday attire... whether it be for bed or events.  It's true... I'm that sucker!  You make it, I'll buy it ;)
 I also sat Joelle down and had her answer Christmas questions for me.  Moments like these just make me want to freeze time...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just a *little* annoucement

We recently had our Christmas card pictures taken.  Thanks to C's The Day Photography, we now have some pictures that we all love so much!
Although the main goal of our little photo shoot was to get this shot...
That's right... TWO boys!  We may not know when these two little boys are going to join our family, but their sweet little faces have already brought so much hope and joy to our family.  

To my sons,
You are so loved already.  You have a big sister that can't wait to carry you (I don't think she realizes that you both know how to walk...maybe she should start lifting weights!), share her toys (maybe when you are here the toys will actually get played with!!), and read you stories before bed each night.  She has a lot of love to share, and promises to be the best big sister ever.  You have a Papa that is ready to wrestle, throw the ball, and do all things boy with you.  He'll be your daddy, coach, and best friend (when you are older that is!).  We pray for you often.  We pray for your safety, health, and protection.  We ask God to prepare your little hearts for the day we will meet and become a family.  We pray that He will help your little minds and hearts to know that everything is going to be okay.  Somedays we pray that God will do BIG things and allow a miracle to bring you home very soon.  And then somedays we don't know what to pray.  Waiting can be tough, so on those days we pray that we would always trust and have faith that God will bring our family together in His timing.  You see, HE did that with Joelle.  We've seen how BIG and GOOD our God is, and that helps on the tough days.

We may not have you here, but you are already a part of our hearts and family.  You have stockings hanging on our fireplace.  You have rooms that are slowly being prepared.  Your pictures sit around our house reminding us to pray for you often.  You are the central topic of many conversations because so many people care about you already.  While we eagerly await the day we have all five family members under one roof (which is kinda crazy in and of itself) we promise that we will fight for you.  We will persevere and fill out paperwork.  We will make phone calls, write emails, and light up with hope when we get updates.  We will look at your pictures and analyze every detail (I've already tried to count your teeth...I don't know why except that I'm a crazy mom).  We will imagine what it is like to hold you in our arms and cuddle you.  We will long for the days when we get to kiss all FOUR chubby cheeks!

It could be a year or more until you are here... we just don't know.  We promise that we will come for you as soon as we get the phone call.  And when we get there we will scoop you up, hug you through the tears, and try to be everything you need.  That moment...it makes all the waiting worth it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween!

I'm not a big fan of Halloween.  I like pumpkins, cute costumes, and candy, but I could really do without all of the scary stuff.  But, I have a little girl who is really into all things "scoopy" (otherwise known as spooky!).  She loves to scream, squeal, and run away frightened.  I think she just likes the drama of it all, ha!  So, celebrate is what we do!

She held onto the desire to be Batgirl for Halloween for an entire year.  Her best little friend from preschool was Batgirl last year, and although she had a few other costume ideas, like being a stop sign, she pretty much held onto the thought of batgirl for 365 days! 
 She literally has no clue who Batman is, but somehow he is her favorite!
I am pretty certain she is the cutest little Batgirl around!  I ordered her costume from (this) shop.  We had trunk-or-treat at our church on Wednesday night...
On Halloween night we trick-or-treated with one of her best little friends... the one and only Peppa Pig!

And, she also rocked a Crazy Hair day at school for Red Ribbon Week.
It was a fun and busy week!  As a teacher, I'm so thankful it's over.  The next two holidays are our favorite... after all... we do get time off from school and that makes them the best!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

School Days!


I often get asked how Joelle likes school.  Well, I think these pictures say it all...


She really does love EVERYTHING about it.  She loves waking up to an alarm and cuddling with Papa before getting ready.  She even loves tucking in her shirt (to her panties I might add!), and brushing her teeth in the mornings.  From the second she walks into the building, she is as happy as a clam.  Sure, there are days she is exhausted, and could use a little more sleep, but overall she never fights me in the morning.  She is an independent little soul who wakes herself up, gets herself dressed, and has even started fixing her own hair... well, sprucing it up in the mornings, ha!  I do the puffs each week!  The only battle I have to fight is her little chatty-self because I'm not quite ready to talk five minutes after waking up!!  

I realize that school probably won't always be this exciting for her, but I am so thankful for these days.  We are thankful for her teacher, for our school, and for all the little friends she has made.  Oh, and the friends... she just loves her little friends.  She giggles every time she tells me stories about her little group of friends.  It's precious!

As far as she is doing academically... we couldn't be more thrilled.  She loves to read and write.  Joelle actually has pretty neat handwriting.  She would prefer to read, write, and color over playing with any other toy in our house.  She has a really good memory, and is normally able to tell us all about her lessons at school.  She's recently learned about 2D and 3D shapes and can identify all of those, she can write to 100, make patterns, and do basic addition.  More than all of that, I am thankful that she is learning how to be a friend, how to love others, and get along with others outside of our home.  

We are still working on building her vocabulary.  There are several words she just doesn't know because she's never been exposed to them.  When she is reading and someone corrects her or tries to read it quickly for her, I try to remind them that she's only been speaking English for 1 1/2 years.  And that would be the equivalent of them knowing how to read when they were one year old!  Patience is the key, and realizing that some things will just come with more time.  

She's still spunky, full of sass (in a good way!), and has the biggest personality.  The Lord has blessed us with a pretty precious little thing!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE first day :)

Today was the big day... Joelle's FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN!  We've been getting ready for this day all summer long!  We've been stocking up on uniforms, backpacks, lunchboxes, and school supplies since June... if there's one thing I love it's a reason to shop!!!

I'm just going to be real honest here.  I had to be at school at 7:00 this morning, so we didn't get to take our B2S pictures before school.  It was just too early and hectic.  So, I made Joelle pretend that she was going to school around 6:30 tonight.  Whatever works for a photo op, right?!  Thankfully she obliged and gave me some pretty stinkin' cute smiles!

I printed Cara's Kinder sign right after school and got out my camera!  

Joelle's First Day of Kindergarten... Mrs. Myers is her teacher... and she wants to be a farmer when she grows up!  She has specifically pointed out that she WILL NOT be a teacher because kids would drive her bananas when they don't listen, ha!

Isn't her bow just the cutest?!  That was a gift from my sweet friend, Amanda!  You can find her bag HERE, shoes HERE, and the sign HERE!

Apparently it's still pretty sunny at 6:30 pm!  The outside pictures just weren't cutting it!
In reality, this is what our morning looked like:

We all left the house around 6:50 this morning.  I went to the school to greet my students at 7:00 and Jared took Joelle on a little father/daughter breakfast date to Chickfila!  He braved the carpool lanes, parent crowds, and classroom drop-off!  I may not show my appreciation for Jared enough, but I am so thankful to have a husband that is 100% a contributing partner in our marriage and parenting!  I don't know if there's a better Papa out there :)  I do have to add that on Joelle's "love list"  I am 3rd to Jesus and Jared.  It's sad but true!
They came to visit me and bring me breakfast as soon as they walked into school!  We snapped a quick picture, gave kisses, and went about our school business!

 Jared walked our sweet girl to class and took the picture that I made him promise he'd take! 
And then several hours later we played dressed up and reenacted the whole day, ha!
Seeing Joelle throughout the day just made my heart skip a beat.  I've missed so many of her years, that I was over the moon excited to have her with me at school.  I don't want her to grow up quickly, but I have been waiting for today since she came home!  Just getting to drive her to and from school and sneak a few kisses during the day is enough to make me one happy mama!  And, I'm even happy to share my after-school snack with her... even if that means she ate all of my cookie because "it was just so good she couldn't stop to share" :)