POPS FOR OUR ADOPTION!

Call me crazy but I have added another thing to my list of ways to raise money for our adoption. Introducing…THE CAKE POP! Lately some of you have noticed some pictures of cake pops that I have been doing. Two years ago I started making these for my girls. I learned from my most talented cousin, Megan, who would graciously answer her phone late at night only to hear a panicked girl who could not get her candy to melt properly or couldn’t get the cake to stay on the stick. Let me tell you-these puppies are VERY HARD WORK! I just love the end result, though! So for 2 years I kept trying to master them. I now can say I’m pretty confident that my buyer will love these!

Some of you have messaged me and asked to order some and then maybe jumped when I told you the price. Here’s the thing-these things take all day to do and the cost can be between $20-$30 on my end. I thought that doing these pops would be a great way for people to donate to our adoption and get something beautiful in return for a special event or holiday. But to make them worth my time, I have to charge a minimum donation of $125 for 50 of them and $62.50 for 25 of them. That makes them $2.50 a pop. I will leave you with some I have done in the past.

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If you would like to support us in bringing our son home and would like some cute cake pops in return, please email me at shancarew@gmail.com!

 

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WE FINALLY GOT TO HEAR THE WORDS “WE HAVE A REFERRAL FOR YOU!”

I’ve been singing this song for a week now!

‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world

I have been waiting 3 years to be able to share those words!!! It all makes sense now! All the wait, all the hurts, all the times I doubted but continued to cry out to the one who was and is faithful even when I pushed my faith aside. As I look back at the last 3 years, and especially the last few months, it is so clear that we were walking down the path that God chose for us.

I cannot share any more until I explain the day before “the call” took place. I found myself full of doubt, frustration, and fear. I chose to express those feelings to our case worker to which she replied with a phone call shortly after. She proceeded to be so very sincere and explained how our agency really has nothing to do with the speed up of referrals. I told her my fear was that we will never adopt and all this emotion and hard work would be for nothing. She prayed with me over the phone and told me she was so happy I was honest with her. Right after I decided to open my bible up randomly. I don’t do this often (I mean looking for surprise verses by randomly opening my bible), but the last few days I really was asking for God to simply speak to me to let me know that he’s got this. So I opened right up to Matthew. Matthew 10:28 and Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I was quickly brought to my knees with tears. I had surrendered all of my hopes and desires for this adoption before, but this time he was telling me that he heard me; and even if this takes another 2 years, to not give up faith on the one who is always faithful.

Fast forward to the next day. I was sitting in a quiet room while my daughter, Adeline, was in ballet. My phone rang and it said Alabama. I knew it was my agency, but I figured they were just following up from my previous phone call to see how I was doing. It was our Ethiopia director. She asked if I had a moment. I replied yes, and then she told me she had “some news for me!” I immediately broke into the ugly cry and I said “no, you do not!!” She then said the words I have been waiting 3 years to hear; “I have a referral for you.” What?!!! At this point I was shaking and Leslie could tell I was very overwhelmed. She kept telling me to breathe. I finally asked her to tell me about my baby! She wanted Kenton on the line to so I had to hang up without even knowing if it was a boy or girl! I quickly tried to call Kenton but my hands were shaking so bad that I couldn’t make that call for like 30 seconds. All this was at 2:00 and I had 30 minutes left of this dance class. Let me tell you how hard it was to walk back in and act like nothing was going on. I sat there in silence as tears kept rolling down my face.

So the next hour was the slowest hour I’ve encountered in life. EVER! I got Isabel from school 10 minutes early, and Kenton and I decided to meet at his parents house to get on our call with Leslie and Sarah to hear about our child. For the record, driving after receiving that kind of news without knowing details was near to impossible and its a miracle that I did not wreck my car!

Kenton and I met, got the computer set up, phones ready, and watch the clock. Finally, we heard that Leslie was ready. We got on the call and she proceeded to tell us our referral is a 14 month old BABY BOY!!  Oh my heart when I heard those words. At that moment, she sent us his profile with the 3 pictures that she had of him. He is BEAUTIFUL! At that point I was so shocked that this was actually happening, and I wasn’t really paying attention. I know. Weird. That night I put his picture on my phone and just stared. And cried. And smiled. And stayed awake pretty much the whole night and the night after. It is very weird how connected I already feel to him from a picture and he has not a clue who I am or how is world is about to change. I get to say “he is my son!” I have studied all three of his pictures so closely now because I always feel like I’m going to find out something new in them, and I don’t want to go an hour without looking at his beautiful face!

I am in love and its with a baby boy! When we started this process, Kenton and I both wanted a girl, but after a couple of years in this process, our hearts had changed and we couldn’t be more thrilled about adding a boy to our family.

What is next?

We have signed and sent in our referral affidavit and now the new PAIR (Pre-Adoption Immigration Review) process begins. This is the orphan investigation that is done by the embassy on our son to make sure everything in his file checks out.  I was told this can take anywhere from 10-16 weeks. It also could be shorter or longer. After we clear, we then wait for a court date which could be 6 weeks from our PAIR letter. During this trip we get to finally MEET OUR SON and appear in court. We will be in country for about 7 days after which we will travel home unfortunately without him:( We then wait about 6 more weeks before we can travel again to finally BRING HIM HOME!

Kenton and I cannot begin to explain how happy we are right now! We have been so humbled by all of the love and support that has been shown to us in the last 3 years and we cannot wait to introduce our son to all of you!

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Tired, Annoyed, Scared, and Doubtful

I’m writing a dreadful post today. Its been over 3 years since we started our adoption. I’m tired, annoyed, scared, doubtful. All these feelings I’m sure are being shared by several prospective adoptive couples right now. Which is why I have a hard time talking about it with people or asking for prayer.

I am really struggling with praying for our adoption. Why should the Lord speed things up for us when I watched my friend Sarah wait over 5 years for her referral. Or my friend Shellie, who is literally stuck in the Congo waiting to bring her son home while the rest of her family waits back in the states. I find myself questioning my desires or God’s will for our family. But when I’m randomly driving or cleaning or even exercising, I can be brought to tears just like that over bringing home a child some day who does not even know what a mom and dad are. Who only knows of a few caretakers that change shifts and care for 20 other children at the same time. Not only that but I desire to be a mother in this way. I am so excited to experience the mysterious love of adoption. My heart aches! I break for that child. My desire is there! Maybe it’s those moments that I need! Instead of shoving that feeling somewhere, maybe I need to embrace it and think of those moments when I feel like I just can’t wait in this process anymore. Our child is worth it! I’m writing this so I can remind myself! He or she is so worth it and its time I start praying for our child as if he or she has been adopted by us already. It’s so hard, though! I start to pray and then the little doubtful thought comes in and says “what if this never happens for you.” That kills me! All this work and built up emotion and prayer could be gone!

I’m going out on a limb here and asking for your prayers. I feel like there are way more people deserving of your prayers than us right now but I’m going to ask anyway. God wants us to ask others to do that for us so why is it so hard for me to ask! I feel so unworthy of your precious time that you have to talk to the Lord so maybe when you’re unloading the dishwasher or folding clothes, you could say a quick one for us. We just got an email that our wait time could be about 6-12 months longer than we were originally told. We are open to an older child than most couples on the list but there hasn’t been any referrals since November so my hope that our wait time would be shorter is no longer there. I’m not asking for things to speed up for us. I’m asking for some hope and strength to keep on pushing. To keep on trusting when we write another check to our agency to update our home study because it’s been 2 years; or pay the $800 that the government charges to get our fingerprints done again, because for some reason 18 months from doing it the first or second time, they could’ve changed (said very sarcastically).

That’s it. I hated writing this. Just being honest.

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My first furniture flips!

I know the title of my blog says it is about adoption but now I am adding something else that I’m really excited about. I am now collecting pieces of furniture in hopes to turn them into something beautiful. I have my first 3 pieces that are ready to be sold!

My first piece is an old tv cabinet that we all had over 10 years ago, but with flat screens out now, people aren’t finding any use for them anymore. Not to mention they just aren’t that attractive. Sorry if you still own one;) I just knew there had to be another purpose to a piece like this instead of the trash dump. And, yes, I found one! I had a vision to turn this 90’s thing into a cute storage piece! So this is what it looked like when I bought it

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With a little creativity and a husband willing to help, this poor piece of furniture turned into this.

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But even with the doors back on, it just wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to do the hard work for people by searching for the perfect storage accessories for this piece to make it complete. So I did!

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Still not good enough for me. The baskets needed chalkboard labels. I found wooden labels, painted them myself, and glued twine on them.

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Now it is done and ready to be in your home. $525 is price of this beauty that I am afraid to let go of.

My next piece is a dresser that I painted with Province chalk paint, topped with a light and dark wax, and replaced hardware with vintage glass knobs.

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2014-02-22 15.28.40This piece will go for $250

My last piece is a coffee table that came to me with a nice glossy finish on top of a beautiful grainy wood. So my first step was to take that varnish off the top to give it a nice farmhouse look. With lots of sanding on top and  3 coats of Province on the bottom, I achieved the look I was going for.

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This one is so hard to get rid of since it goes so well in my house, but for $200 it can be yours!

If interested, please contact me at streick@hotmail.com

Thank you for looking!

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For one week you were my boy and I was your momma. The story of a baby boy born on 12/12/12.

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I can’t believe I am writing this post! It is still so fresh in my mind.  1 year ago today, Kenton and I got to be parents for one week to a very special baby boy. It has taken me one year to be able to write this and there still is a little burning in my heart as I sit here and type. Most of you know the story but I will remind you. Kenton and I were on a list for our agency to be able to provide what they call cradle care. Cradle care for our agency is a rare circumstance when the baby who is to be adopted cannot be placed in his/her adoptive home and therefore needing temporary care for the infant. Our agency is not a foster agency but they would like the infants to stay within the agency’s family so they ask couples who are waiting for an international adoption to volunteer if the occasion would ever arise. Kenton and I decided over 2 years ago to put ourselves on the cradle care call list pretty much expecting this not to happen. God had other plans.

We were called and we accepted. We had to have our house quickly inspected, which meant we had to do a few last minute repairs that kept Kenton up a couple of nights. The baby was going to be born on a Wednesday morning but we weren’t going to be his guardians until he was discharged from the hospital. To my friend’s advice, she thought that I should ask if I could be at the hospital right when he was born. I suggested this to our case worker and she thought that was great.  Not only was I going to get the other wrist band from the birth mom, but I also got my own room. I arrived at the hospital  at 6:00 am so nervous and so excited. I had never done this before so I had no idea what to expect as far as emotions. I waited about an hour in labor and delivery waiting room and then the nurse came and got me letting me know there was a healthy baby boy who was just born. I followed the nurse to the room where they were bathing him and doing what they do to newborns. I immediately fell in love and started snapping pictures. I wasn’t quite emotional yet because it was all so surreal to me. After they got him all snug in a blanket, they showed us to our room. What a crazy experience to not have given birth to a baby, but snuggling with one in a hospital bed as if I did just give birth to him. I was told it was my job to bond with him and hurt for him to take away his pain from disconnecting from his birth mom. For the next 5 hours I did just that. Wow! My heart just wept as I typed that. He was my boy and I was his momma.

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That night I decided to leave for a couple hours to get some clothes and to see my most favorite people in our Wednesday night group. Gosh I love them. I walked into a room full of my friends and their husbands and they just let me cry. I explained to them that I was so honored that I got picked to be his temporary mom and I was so hurt that I couldn’t be his permanent mom because he deserved that. After I cried with my friends, I went back up to the hospital to spend the night with this sweet boy. The whole night I told him how much he was loved by his birth mom and how much he was loved by me. I told him I was his mommy because he deserved someone to speak those words to him. He was my boy and I was his momma.

They next day I decided to go back home to shower and get a few things ready for him. As soon as I got home, I got a call saying the baby was being discharged which was about 2 days earlier than we had thought. So Kenton went on a quick shopping trip for a few baby items and my sister, Heather, ran to Gymboree to find this little guy a special going home outfit. She met us at the hospital to make sure we had everything we needed. I had a friend gather all of her baby equipment to let us borrow including a car seat, and… we were ready!

The next week was full of so many different emotions. Trying to be a mom to a baby that was going to a different home was so hard. So I had to act as if he was going to be mine forever. I wanted him to feel so loved and I knew that was the only way we could bond. I had to set my hurt or any fear of future hurt aside and just be his mommy. That weekend we cuddled and cuddled some more. We even got professional photos done by my bestie, Becky. During the session (actually the picture at the top of this post), I found myself so overwhelmed with emotion and I broke down. That picture will always remind me of the magical feeling that the Lord gives between a mom and a baby even when that baby is not from her womb. For one week he was my boy and I was his momma.

 This baby’s case was very rare because there was uncertainty of who would have custody of him. I obviously cannot go into details about his case but I can tell you that Kenton and I decided that we wanted to pursue adopting him. This was quickly shut down after we voiced our desire to our agency. Kenton and I were broken but knew that God had not chosen us to be this baby’s parents. It is the strangest feeling to have absolutely no control over a situation like this. Nothing I said could change anything. The next few days we continued to speak words of love and many prayers over him. We rarely put him down knowing that we only had a few days left. We bathed him so he would be all ready for his new family and we got in bed with this little guy one last time. Seeing my husband with him just broke my heart. Kenton loved holding him and cuddling with him in the middle of the night. We knew the hurt was coming and it was going to sting. The picture below is exactly how Kenton was with him all the time. This was the last night with our boy. When I think about Kenton with him, this is the picture that comes to mind. So peaceful in his white onsie snuggling on Kenton’s chest. Oh my heart! He not only was my boy but he was Kenton’s boy too.

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Wednesday morning came and it was time for the case worker to come get him. We said our goodbyes with lots of tears and he was gone. Such a strange feeling having someone take a baby away from you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. We had to stuff our emotions quickly after and carry on to a little Christmas program in Isabel’s class. That night as Kenton and I were trying to figure out how we would sleep knowing we didn’t have an infant to care for, we found ourselves snuggling with one of his blankets and we both cried ourselves to sleep. Our boy was gone.

I cannot believe how much a boy would tug my heart. I absolutely love my girls but there is something about being a momma to a new born baby boy that just gets you. I only had him for a week but he was my boy and I was his momma.

Tonight the day before baby boy’s birthday, my friends came over for the usual Wednesday night hang out. Becky came in with two covered pans, to which I asked very quickly what was under the foil. She said we had to wait until our other friends arrived. When they arrived, Becky uncovered the pans for us to see cupcakes with blue frosting. She told Kenton and I that she had baked cupcakes and brought a candle b/c she knew that we would be thinking about this little guy all week. Right there in our kitchen, Becky, Mark, Emily, John, Kenton, and I lit a candle and sang happy birthday to this sweet baby boy. Ok, I mostly just cried while they sang. Emily had a card for us too! Yes, I am sad, but man am I grateful for these beautiful friends of mine. Becky, Emily, and our other friend Holly(they moved otherwise I know they would’ve been here tonight too) have heard me cry multiple times because of my desire for another child. So tonight was no different. Only I was quickly comforted because I know my friends will hold me up when I need it and this time is no exception. I could go on and on about them and how much I love them! Since I’m on the subject of our friends, I cannot go without talking about Kenton’s group of guys that he has been friends with and has met with every Thursday for the last 13 years. These guys are jokesters and like to drink a beer and play poker but when Kenton and I went through this last year, he was able to show up at guy’s night the following Thursday, tell them everything he was feeling, and not hide any emotion. I love them for that. Their wives are amazing too! They all surrounded Kenton and I with love and encouraging words when the hurt just kept on hurting. Our friend, Jonathon, told us he believes that this baby needed temporary parents like us to love him and have a hope that he might have been ours permanently. Parents that would hurt so much when told they couldn’t adopt him. Thank you, Jonathon. That has always comforted me. I can honestly say I loved him so much that the hurt was worth it. For one week he was my boy and I was his momma.

So that’s the end of our story. We feel so blessed beyond words that we got to experience this sweet boy’s first week of his life even though it felt like someone ripped our hearts out, chopped it in half, and put back in to mend itself.  A year later we are still pursuing this crazy adoption journey and we continue to believe that this long wait is NOT just for the sake of waiting. I think going through this reassures me that I indeed have way more love to give, and that we will have another child someday.

Happy birthday, sweet baby wherever you are. I love you very much and will always hold our one week together close to my heart. For one week you were my boy and I was your momma.

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Widow and Orphan Fund-raising Project

Kenton and I are excited to announce that we, along with a team of volunteers, will be taking part in a ministry called Both Hands. Both Hands is a ministry that was created to help the widow and the orphan at the same time. On November 16th and 23rd we will be working on a widow’s house. Ms. Manon (our widow), suffered the sudden loss of her husband this past July. Our team will be serving her by painting the exterior of her house, staining her deck, yard clean up, and some indoor deep cleaning projects. Our hope is that Ms. Manon will find peace and comfort during this tough time through our project.

The orphan is helped by sponsored donations for the days of our project. It is kind of like a 5k run for a cause only we will be working on a widow’s house not running. The tax deductible donation will directly go into our fund-raising account through Life Song for Orphans in contribution to bringing our child home from Ethiopia.

How to sponsor our project

  • Sponsor us by making a tax deductible donation on our project page. There you will be connected with our personal page on the Both Hands website. You are able to make an online contribution as well as directions to send your donation through mail. You can also read about all the other projects happening around the nation.
  • Pray that we are able to have all our supplies donated by local hardware and paint stores.
  • Pray for good weather.
  • Feed our team on those days or keep your eyes and ears open to business that would be willing to donate food on those days.
 
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Switching Countries

SWITCHING COUNTRIES!
We have made the decision to remove ourselves from the Uganda waiting list. After sitting at number 13 for all most a year, we finally moved up to number 9. We were excited to see things moving along. As we were getting closer to receiving a referral we became more concerned about the time we would have to stay in country. When we started the adoption process with Uganda almost 3 years ago we expected to be in country for 4 to 6 weeks, but we were hopeful the process would improve. The process has not improved and the estimated time in country has increased to 7 to 8 weeks.

We expressed our concerns with our wonderful Uganda case workers and they graciously told us about another program in Life line. Our agency recently became the umbrella agency over a little agency that works in Ethiopia. We felt very encouraged about the process and all of our money would transfer to that program! We are open to a little bit more in a child than most of the couples on the list so that also was very appealing to us. So we did it! We officially switched to Ethiopia! Right now the process consists of compiling our dossier which is the paper chasing packet that will be sent to Ethiopia. We hope to have it done in the next couple of months. With new fees and more money due at one time, we are trusting the Lord that we will be able to have the funds at the appropriate time of each fee. If you would like to contribute, we have a few ways you can do that. I will be posting about a fund-raising project we have coming up. Stay tuned!

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