Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Friday, August 27, 2010

From Here To There And Back Here

What you see before you is the culmination of what we, in the adoption world, lovingly refer to as, The Paper-chase.   This pile of paper represents months of work chasing down the necessary documents.  Talking to the necessary people.  Securing the necessary appointments.  Just to  prove that we are who we say we are, we really do what to adopt a child, we really are healthy enough to handle it and we really aren't criminals!

And now it's pretty much over.  The chase is behind us.  We have secured all the papers.  We have even state certified all these pages.  Paul raced them to the state department the other day and brought them back with their shine seals all a-glitter.  So now what?

Now we send them from here to there and back here.  What?  Well, before that package can head to China it must take a little side trip.  So, that nice fat bundle of documents is on it's way to a courier in Washington DC.  Our courier will hand deliver it to the US State Department for their certification and the drop them off at the Chinese Embassy so they can authenticate them.  A few days later she will pick them up and then Fed-Ex them back here.

And this little side trip that our documents have to make?  Yep.  God provided for this step in our journey to Asher.  It was made possible by people like you!  People that read this blog and answered a call to help. You may have prayed for us.  You may have sent money.  But either way, I want to thank you!  

simple fundraisers

Free fund raising

to track your progress for fund raisers

I realize it doesn't look like we have much going for us, but you have no idea what that little bit means in the face of this adoption.  It represents God's provision.  That, my friends, is everything.   He provided what we needed, when we needed it.  And I have to hang onto the belief that He will continue to do that!  Provide as needed. 
All this brings me to the fact that as we speed {to use a hopeful word} towards this next adoption, I need to get a timeline posted for our little man.  Guess what I'll be doing this weekend? 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rites of Passage

This week has been full of these little events that mark progress.  Forward progress!  The kids started school and that is definitely an event.  Around here it does not involve donning loaded backpacks and heading for parts unknown school. Around here it looks a little more like Li++le House on the Prairie than Hannah Montan@.  Minus the dirt floor, long dresses and lunch pails, of course.  But, we totally rock the one-room-school-house!  This year we will be educating two 8th graders, one 4th grader and one very excited kindergartner.  Until we add the mayhem preschooler!  I will produce pictures within the week.  But, we've been a little too busy for any snapshots yet!

When will that preschooler arrive on the scene?  Well, we are one step closer as of yesterday.  After spending the day at the beach......what's that?  Yes, the beach.  I know, I know.   We just started school and we already took a day for the beach.  What can I say?  The principal approved it!  Got a problem, go see him.

Anyway.  The mail that waited at home for me included.......{insert drum roll}.....the long {since June 18th} awaited immigration approval!  It states that we are in fact {after our second two month homestudy involving 4 interviews, our second local background check, various medical appointments, a financial study, AND a federal database background search} suitable to adopt a child!  Again.  Whoo Hoo!  Forward progress on the adoption front!!  It feels good to have that behind us because that is the last approval we need from our country.  Now it's up to Chin@. 

Now what?   I have 12 documents that Paul will be hand delivering to the Secretary of State on Thursday.  They should come back with a nifty certification page stapled to the top, all shiny and sparkly with the state seal!  Then it's on to Washington DC for those precious pages.  Our dossier should be Chin@ worthy in about two weeks!

And what Rites of Passage post would be complete without the age old defining mark of teendom?  Guess who got braces this week?

 That's right.  Noah is a newly inducted brace-face!  Metal Mouth!  Tin Gin!  Well, you get the picture.

Noah followed his brother into this world, but Parker will have to follow him to the orthodontist.  Parker is not scheduled to get his until January.  For now, while his brother is still in pain, he's thankful for that!  He plans to spend time enjoying popcorn and carmel and peanuts and all the ooey gooey crunchy stuff that is now off-limits to Noah.  But, it will only come back to bite him when Noah gets his braces off months before Parker!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hotel Gour: Part III

In which I drag the unsuspecting guests to historical sites....actually, they were pretty suspecting since most had been here before and knew the drill!  I made three visits to the downtown area this summer. That's three opportunities to find parking for a vehicle that dwarfs most SUVs and won't fit in a parking garage. Fun times, letmetellyou! This just happens to be the documentation of Brianna, Christian, Megan and Darling Daughter's {visiting from Not A Significant Source} turn.

Happy faces picnicking at The Battery. 
What you can't see in the background are the terrifying mutant squirrels, no longer afraid of humans. They don't appreciate their station in the food chain and they stalk you as you picnic at The Battery and pelt you with acorns to manipulate you into throwing your picnic at them!  Don't believe me?  Just you try to have a picnic down there.  Watch your back.....that's all I'm sayin'.    

Small children disobeying signs that say "don't climb on cannons".

His defense? 
His aunt told him to. 
Do you believe that? 
What aunt would tell her nephew to climb aboard a cannon, I ask you? 
Did not.

Okay, so someone's got the right idea. 
Stroll and let others work up a sweat!

Well, at least sweat looks good on her!

Best buds walking at Water Front Park

Isabel is always prepared for the possibility of a quick dip.  I swear she's part mermaid!

Who needs a swimsuit?  It's to hot to care!

I'm just gonna get a little sprinkle, just to help me cool off. 
That's all. 
Just a little wet?

Annual trip to Kilwins
You could gain 10lbs just smelling that place! 

Beautiful Girls!

Uh oh!  DD found an ally and needed a photo shoot!

She's a little goofy!

But, she's a lot pretty!

And it was such fun to have someone to photography that wasn't running for cover or fussing at me to step away from the camera!

Thanks for spicing up the downtown area for the day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Crazy Love Yesterday and Today

 Yesterday, I got an email from our adoption agency asking us if we could give them an approximate date that our dossier {all the legal paperwork} would be ready for Chin@. Our pre-approval for Asher expires on the 13th {that would be tomorrow, folks} and they need to apply for an extension for us since we are still working on our dossier.  The email read that Chin@ is being less lenient with granting extensions these days.  That was a little upsetting to say the least, but it didn't really rattle me, especially since I emailed with her again and she made it clear that we would get an extension, they just needed some dates to apply for it.  Whew! 

But, I did get my cage rattled yesterday. 

Well, it's like this....I got to figuring up how many weeks it will take us to get everything ready for that dossier, and it looks like we will be ready in the next 4 to 5 weeks!  Great, right?  Except that means that 4 to 5 weeks from now, We need to have $6500 in our account to pay the fees required to send a dossier to Chin@!  And 3 to 5 months after that, we are going to need about $20,000 to travel to Asher and bring him home!  After we have already paid out $5593 to get our dossier papers together! 

And that had me rattled to my core. 

For a little while, anyway. 

Then my husband called.  I pounced on him!  And do you know what that man said to me?  That wonderful, crazy, amazing husband of mine!  He said to stop worrying.  He said that God is in control of this, as always.  And, that He would provide for this adoption, just as He provided for the last one.  We will use everything we have, to prove our faithfulness, and God?  He'll show up!  Then he told me to go pray and cut this out! 

So I did.  And God reminded me of all the ways, even just this week, that He has provided for us.  I needed some supplies to do some homeschooling things and had no money to purchase them.  First another mom posted on a homeschool loop that she was giving away some of the things I just said I needed.  So I went and got them.  Then  while I was looking for something else, I came across all the other items I needed, right here in my very own house.....and I have no idea when I acquired these things or where they came from! But, I ended up with everything I needed. 

Today, I was reading blogs.  The same blogs I always read.  And, I came across this post by Linny at A Place Called Simplicity.   Linny is an amazing, homeschooling, adoptive Mama with a heart. for. God. And in this latest Crazy Love #5 post, she is helping those in the adoption process raise money to complete these adoptions!

And I am left in awe of my God.  Because for some time now I have wrestled with the idea of putting a "donate" button on our blog.  But {gulp},  that would mean actually admitting to all of you, that I need help.  And {sigh}, I am not good at that.  Actually, I'm terrible at it.  But, after my prayers yesterday and today, I now know that this is what God wants me to do.  He wants some one, or many some ones to have the chance to reach out to us.  Or others on the behalf of orphans.  Because if you head over to Linny's blog and check out her Crazy Love #5 post, you will find many ways you can help the orphan! 

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  And the Lord has asked us to bring home orphans.  He will provide the means to do it.  We just have to trust him to prove it!  If you feel lead to be a part of that, feel free to use the donate button on the right, and know that every penny will be used to bring Asher home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Soon He'll Know

Pretty soon the L'il Emperor will know we exist.  Up until now, he has probably been oblivious to the fact that, half a world away, a family has been making plans for him, praying for him, loving him.  Not just any family, but his family.  His forever family. 

He has no idea that his name is Asher David Jun'an Gour.  He has no idea that his room is blue or that he'll get to share it with two of the coolest big brothers ever.  And one of the biggest cows-of-a-dog...that's our Georgia!

 He never given a thought to the fact that his world will be rocked on a daily basis by two bossy loving big sisters either!  

Two girls that can not wait to start telling him what he can do, where he can go, who he can play with how much they love him so!

All that is about to change!

He is about to find out that this Mama and this Daddy are over the moon to be his parents and bring him into our family for once and for all!

Thanks to Angela and Kelly at Lady Bugs In Love, our sweet boy will be receiving this package soon.  And, a letter from us!  I know it doesn't look like much, but it is.  A stuffed panda to hug, a toy to play with, a camera for his nanny to take his pictures for us and a photo album.  An album filled with pictures of his family.  A book where he will see, for the first time, what is in store for him! 

He'll get a glimpse at and  into his new home! 

Yes, I put the train in the floor just to make it interesting! 
Well, he's 3, y'all.  I need to give him something to look forward too, right?

And hopefully, he'll be excited about becoming one of us!

Where are we in the process to get our l'il man home?  Well, we have done all the paperwork and submitted it to the proper authorities here in the US.  We are waiting on our immigration approval to bring an orphan into this country.  This approval required that we get our fingerprints done for a federal background check.  Our appointment for that was not until August 18th, but we went a few weeks ago and did a "walk-in" appointment.  We have not heard back from them and are waiting {not so} patiently for them to send us an approval letter.  Paul with call our officer tomorrow to see where we are in the line-up!  Once we get that coveted approval letter it will be a race to get all our documents certified.  Paul will run them up to the SC State Department to get them state certified and them we will send them to our trusty courier in Washington DC.  She will get them over to the US State Department for us and then run them over to the Chinese Embassy to be approved yet again.  Once each paper has all it's stamps of approval we will send the whole lot of them to our agency, Madison, up in Delaware and they will take it from there.  It will be their job to get to China, submit it to the CCAA and get us a LID {log in date}.  Then we wait....again.  For more approvals.  Good thing I don't have esteem issues!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hotel Gour: Part II Birthday Version!

So, I guess you guys have been dying to get another post about what we did all summer long. Right?
Yeah, that's what I thought. Well, you're getting it anyway. Because, guess what. We had a couple of Birthday Girls hanging around this summer!  So we had to celebrate Gour style, don'tchaknowit!

Isabel and Mia, born on the same day.....just six years apart! In different countries. So who knows what that really means with the time zone differences and all?

We had our customary breakfast-n-bed for the girls.

Well, it isn't actually in bed, so much as it was served at Isabel's palate on the the boys room. Which just happens to be where she slept the entire month of July. Happily!

Sweet Mia with her sweet roll....a little confused about all this food in the bedroom! And so early in the mornin' too!
This was just the precursor to our birthday dinner later in the day. We filled the day with a basketball game and a trip to the pool if memory serves me correct. And then enjoyed a lovely messy dinner of baked ziti and CAKE!

Doesn't she wear it well?  I mean what good is eating baked ziti if you can't really get into it!  Right?

Beautiful Mia turned 3!

And Isabel, also beautiful,  turned 9!

NINE!  That is one year away from double digits, y'all!  How can my girl be getting so big and so old? Where does the time go? Having her birthday with Mia just reminded me of what it was like when she was so little!

And Mia just happens to be SO. STINKIN'. CUTE!

See what I mean?

I so wish I'd gotten video of this. I laughed so hard everytime she said it.  I'm not saying where she learned to this phrase {thankyouverymuchbeccagulke}!  But it is too cute to hear a prissy,dressed up three year old with attitude saying it!

A girl and her favorite things:  Elmo and tutus!

Isabel was lucky enough to have had an Iceskating party the weekend before with cousins and friends galore! I'd love to show you all the highlights from that wonderous event.  But, I can't.  Blogger and Picasa and I are having some issues.  Namely, I can't upload anymore pictures to this blog until I pay for more storage.  Boo Hiss!  But, I guess I'll be breaking down and doing that today because they have me over a barrel here, folks!  And, plus the hubby said to just do it before I get a headache trying to figure out a way around it.  Which I'm pretty sure there isn't. 

The happy birthday princess!

Surrounded by best friends and cousins!

Christian's first time was a big hit!

Look Mom, NO HANDS! 

And clearly, Claire's still got it
 As you can see, she is just as talented at skating now as she was back in the winter when she graced the ice for the first time! 

Recognize that beauty on the left?  Yep, that would be Darling Daughter from over at Not a Significant Source.  She visited again this year for the better part of the week and managed to make herself one of Claire's all time favorite buddies ever!

And, she makes a great skating partner too!

Jordan and Maggie having a good time!

The special cake!

Special God sister!

And my beautiful girl at the center of it all! 

She had a great birthday and she is thankful to all the friends and family that came and enjoyed it with her!