Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting Ready

Hard to believe tomorrow is a new year already. This one flew by. I started the year researching adopting as a single and praying about whether God was saying yes or no or wait. No clear yes or no for most of the year so I waited and kept on praying. In July, I led a team of 24 to Uganda & Ethiopia and on the second half of our journey - we visited an orphanage and my life was changed in a moment. I got my answer. The moment I picked up a sweet little boy and he laid his head on my shoulder, hugged tight and made himself at home in my arms. I chose him but he chose me first it seems. What a little snuggle bug. My heart melted in an instant. I wish I could show you a photo my teammate Ashley took at that precise moment when he snuggled in and I closed my eyes and soaked up the moment. It is my most favorite photo and it's so neat that it was taken that very first moment we met. I will treasure it forever. Someday I'll share it with y'all - once it's ok to post his pictures.
I've spent the entire week off painting. I painted a living room dark brown and I painted my little guys room a blueish color called Misty Surf. I LOVE it. It's so cheery and yet peaceful. I cannot wait until his little feet walk on these floors and his little smile lights up these rooms. I can't wait till I get to wrap him up in his new hooded bath towels that my co-worker and friend Merrill made for him. I can't wait to tuck him into his bed and read him stories in the rocking chair that I will soon have. I can't wait to show him on the globe I got for his room where mommy came all the way across the ocean to find him. I can't wait to be the one who takes care of him and makes sure he's loved and well fed and healthy. I can't wait to be the one who kisses him goodnight and tells him how loved he is. I can't wait for all of it. I can't wait till he's home.
I'm praying that 2012 will be the year that I bring him home. I'm hoping and praying by summer but of course, the timing is not in my control or I'd already have him here. I hope and pray that this Christmas was my last Christmas without him here and I'm so looking forward to next Christmas together as a family.
As I head into 2012, I'm hoping, praying, believing I'll have my son home soon. I just hit $17,000 raised toward this adoption so far - that is just mind blowing. The Lord has been opening doors and putting it on hearts and so many people have given so generously to this adoption. Thank you, thank you! On behalf of me and my little boy - THANK YOU. And may God bless you in 2012 in so many ways!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

You can help me get $2000 by voting

This is so awesome. My friend and co-worker Casi submitted me to be in the running for a $2000 adoption grant from the Angel Foundation for Kids and I actually ended up in the top 10. The winner will be chosen based on who has the most votes. It's super simple to vote - you don't have to register or anything. Just visit the website (link below) and choose: Autumn - Ethiopian Adoption and click vote. It only takes a moment. Please vote. I'm currently in 3rd place but WAY behind the top 2. Thanks so much.

http://angelfoundationforkids.wordpress.com/voting-page/

Monday, December 5, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

Best Christmas present ever this year would be getting a call from my adoption agency telling me that they have received my little guys paperwork and have his official referral for me. Once that happens, I could have a court date within a few months. That would be a dream come true. Praying, praying, praying. With God all things are possible. I know it takes years sometimes. I promise I'm not being impatient. I just believe prayer is powerful and our God is bigger than all of this. So that's what I want for Christmas - everyone who can to send up some prayers with me for the referral to come.

In the meantime, I just had a merch table at the Christmas Marketplace at my church this past weekend and it was so fun. But on top of being fun, it was just so sweet how many people asked about my adoption and bought stuff to support it and honestly, a handful of people didn't even buy anything - they just handed me a few dollars here and there as a donation. I was blessed by the support and encouraging words. And of course, even though I can't post pictures online, I am always ready to show off pics of my little man in person so the table was decked out with 3 framed pictures of him and a video that I put together for my concert was playing on my laptop on loop. So this was interesting - a friend from church said the other night she dreamed about me and my adoption and in the dream I was stressed out because they found out my little boy has a sister and I was trying to figure out if I would adopt them both or not. The weird thing about her dream is that it could happen. I've known from day 1 that while they are gathering his info, it could turn out he has siblings. This is why I am approved to adopt up to 2 children. So when she said that she dreamed that, I'm gonna be honest - it kind of freaked me out. Could just turn out to be a dream and only a dream. But wouldn't it be weird if it turned out he does have 1 sibling and it's a girl? Of course, I have no way of knowing at the moment but once I get that referral and all his paperwork is together, I'll know then. So we'll see if that dream turns out to mean anything. Financially speaking, I would have to get even more creative but if he has sibling - I will not separate them. I would adopt them both. Thus the reason I applied for up to 2 children - just in case. Now if he has 2 siblings, not sure I even could adopt 3 even if I wanted to. At the moment, I'm only approved for 2. Anyway, that's just a random thing that came up at the marketplace that has been in my brain swirling around all weekend.

I just cannot wait to get my little man home. I'm painting his room the week of Christmas and I got the paint the other day. And my friends are letting me use a crib that converts into a toddler bed for him - they dropped it off at my house yesterday. I'm almost done with my dossier and praying, praying, praying his paperwork is almost done too.

Would love your prayers!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fingerprinting and update

I have my fingerprinting appointment tomorrow. YAY - I'll be one step closer in this adoption process. My dossier is almost complete as well and I plan to send that off next week. Praying, praying, praying that my little guys paperwork gets completed soon so I can get the official referral and move towards the next really exciting thing: court date and then the most exciting thing of all: embassy date and bringing him home! Please keep praying for favor for this whole process. Your prayers are so appreciated and needed. This is a lengthy process and any number of things can cause delays. As you can imagine, I just want to get my little boy home and begin life together. Days, weeks and months are already flying by and I'm missing so much time with him. I know this is part of the adoption process but I do believe the prayers of God's people carry weight. So please, please, please keep praying for things to keep moving along and doors to keep opening, finances to keep coming as payments become due along the way and ultimately for me to have my son home as soon as possible. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pendants

Check out the Pendants/Paintings page to see the newest addition to the blog store - me and my dear friend Merrill Durham created original pendant designs. You can get yours today for only $15. We can also custom make something for you as a pendant if you'd like. Email me at: autumnkerr@hotmail.com if you want to custom order. Otherwise, check out the super cute pendant designs we've done. They make great Christmas gifts and your purchase helps support my adoption.

Thanks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Third Season reunited

In case you missed the show - here's a clip of my old band, Third Season, during our performance at the Love BIG adoption fundraiser concert on 11/12/11.

If you'd like to have a Third Season CD with 10 original songs on it, I'll send you two for $10. Email me at: autumnkerr@hotmail.com and include your paypal address and I'll send you the invoice and ship it out asap.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

An amazing night

The adoption fundraiser concert was amazing! I was so blessed by how many people attended as well as so many people lending their talents and time to help make it possible. I'm blown away! Thank you to Phil Keaggy, Brad McKelvey, Kelise Cameron & band, Jessica Dawn and Andrew K, and all my bandmates who joined me on the stage - Robin & Keith Mawdsley, Dana Hester and Rodney Hull (thanks Rodney for the idea to get the band back together for this). It was so much fun!!!! What a night!!! Thank you to Belmont Church for allowing us to use their amazing Sozo building facilities. Thanks to Matt Mendians for doing sound. Thanks to all my amazing friends who came early, stayed late, helped in so many ways!!!!

The concert raised a total of $1767 toward my adoption. You know what that means??? I just surpassed the $15K raised so far mark which means I'm more than half way there!!! I am so thankful. Every person who has donated has helped me get that much closer to bringing my sweet little boy home. A million times THANK YOU!!!!

Today is the Day!!!

I am SO excited for the adoption fundraiser concert tonight!!!! So many friends are helping and coming and amazing artists are performing and I get to reunite and perform with my old band. It's just all so exciting. And one of my team members from the Uganda/Ethiopia July trip that I was leading when I met my little boy came into town last night for the weekend to attend the concert. She printed and framed the cutest picture of me holding my little guy in those first 5 minutes that they handed him to me and he just snuggled right up in my arms. So precious to have a sweet moment like that captured into a photo. I will cherish it forever!

I am excited to see who all is able to attend tonight! Would love to have as many people there as possible. It's going to be so fun!!!!!

6pm at Belmont Church Sozo building
Phil Keaggy is performing early so be there right at 6 so you don't miss him!!!!
Other performances include:
Brad McKelvey
Jessica Dawn
Third Season
Kelsie Cameron and band


Monday, October 31, 2011

My little pumpkin


Super excited to have gotten this adorable picture today of my little guy (on the left) with one of his little friends at the orphanage looking out the window. A sweet lady who was on my co-workers medical mission team to Ethiopia last week stayed longer and went back for a visit to the orphanage by herself and caught this adorable moment! Thanks Cherie! I love it! And because you can't see either one of their faces, I can post it online too! Yay!
I cannot wait to get this little man home! I just wanna scoop him up in my arms and cover him in kisses and tell him I'm his momma FOREVER!
Praying the orphanage gets his paperwork together asap and things move as quickly as they can. I got a receipt in the mail today from my I600 A petition for his US immigration. They'll be sending me an appointment for fingerprinting in the mail very soon. Woo hoo! One step closer.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Getting the ole band back together for a cause



Today was the first Third Season band practice in over 6 years and it went really well. It was almost surreal playing our old songs and being back together practicing. It was so fun and it really came together well. I feel so incredibly thankful and blessed that all 4 of these guys were willing to do this show with me. The lineup is just slightly different than it was on our 10 song cd - Dana Hester is playing lead guitar at the show. He was in Third Season after Robin & Keith left and he played bass. This time around, he's playing lead. Robin is playing rhythm guitar, Keith is on bass and Rodney is on drums. I'm on lead vocals. We're playing 6 songs off of our 2004 CD tittled "Different State of Mind". And I still have a bunch of those CD's left so they will be available for only $5 at my adoption fundraiser concert on November 12th! Phil Keaggy played lead guitar on two of the tracks on the CD too! And I'm thrilled that Phil is available and lending his amazing talents to the show on the 12th too!!!! Several other talented friends are playing too including Brad McKelvey, Kelsie Cameron and Jessica Dawn. It is going to be a great show!!! I hope lots of people can be there. All proceeds go toward my adoption.

There's a $10,000 chunk due as soon as I receive the official referral on my boy so that's the main reason for fundraising like crazy right now. I now have official notarized copies of my home study so I am going to apply for grants within the next few weeks too. The Lord has been providing in so many ways so I have no doubt he will continue to do so. I am so thankful and daily blown away by His provision and the support of so many amazing people. Thank you to everyone who has been buying stuff from my blog store and donating and for all the encouragement. I don't think I can ever fully express how thankful I am.

I cannot wait to get my little boy home. Praying the Lord will move heaven and earth to get this adoption through as soon as possible. Every day is a day I miss with him and I'm ready to have him here with his momma! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birth

Today a baby was born - Jordan Robert Lawrence, son of Simon & Amanda Lawrence. Amanda is Visiting Orphans Executive Director. All of our staff that were in the office today went and met baby Jordan. He is so cute!!! So very excited for the proud parents and so thankful for a smooth delivery and healthy baby and momma. Answered prayers! I've known Amanda for a long time and I know how deep the desire in her heart has been for years and years to be a momma. I loved getting to see her every weekday during her pregnancy and getting to visit the day little Jordan was born. Such a miracle of life! Such an amazing God we serve. He is faithful and I love watching Him fulfill the desires of the hearts of my dear friends. It is yet another reminder to me that God keeps His promises and He does fulfill those desires that He put there in the first place.

Childbirth is such a miracle. I once witnessed it when my cousin Heather gave birth. If I hadn't already believed there was a God, I certainly would have after that experience. Today, I'm reminded of what a miracle it is and my thoughts and prayers turn to my little boys birth mom. She has been on my heart so much lately. I'm thankful to her for carrying him in her tummy and giving birth to him and making an adoption plan for him. I can only imagine how hard that must have been. I don't know her, I don't know all her circumstances but I can only imagine that she must love him, must want him to be loved and well cared for. I wonder if I'll ever get to meet her. If I do, I want to thank her for bringing this sweet life into the world and I want to tell her how much God loves her. I hope she knows that - wherever she is, whatever she's doing, wherever she goes - I hope if she doesn't already know that she will soon be fully aware of God's love for her.

If I never give birth to a child, I'm ok with that. I'll still be a mom and that's what matters. But I do wish I could've been there to welcome him into the world, to know what he looked like when he was born, to hold him in those first hours and days. I don't know any of that and it's likely that I never will. But what I do know is that I'm gonna love him and hold him as much as I can when I do get him home. I can't get those moments back but I can make all the ones to come filled with the most love possible. I just pray that I get him home as soon as possible. I'm sad that I've missed so much already but how much I will cherish every moment once he's here. I cannot wait to be his forever momma!

My co-worker Kathleen spent the day with him today. It made me happy to know that he was being loved on and that today he received the gifts I sent for him - a kid proof photo album and a soft baby blanket. It also kind of made me sad that I wasn't there too. Trusting God in the timing and praying for favor at every door. So glad to know my little snuggle bug is safe and got loved on by a sweet friend today. And as soon as she gets back, I will have lots of new and I'm sure, super cute pictures!!!

We welcomed baby Jordan into the world today. I can't wait to welcome my little boy home. Nothing is impossible with God!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Big News!

Just announced - Love BIG Adoption Fundraiser Concert
featuring the fabulous Phil Keaggy!!!!
Also performing:
my former band Third Season, Kelsie Cameron & band, Jessica Dawn and more!

Click on the Concert Event Link tab above for full details and to purchase pre-sale discounted tickets!!!


Friday, October 7, 2011

And the winner from the Simply Love coffee mug drawing is...


All of those people who bought Simply Love stainless steel coffee mugs and Just Love coffee - their names went into a drawing (actually 5 entries for every mug or bag of coffee purchased and 2 entries for those who promoted it online). I just did the drawing for the winner and Gina Keltner is our winner! She is an adoptive mom too! She gets to choose a free item - either a Simply Love mug or t-shirt. Congrats Gina!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

While I wait

Tomorrow night I begin adoption classes. 3 Monday nights in a row through my home study agency. The Sunday before the 3rd class, I begin another set of classes that are on Sunday nights for 6 weeks at Brentwood Baptist and will go along with a book I just started reading called The Connected Child. There's also a conference called Empowered to Connect which just happened here in Nashville while I was in India so I missed it. I'm super excited that they are offering this class. So many things to prepare for and learn about things adopted children could struggle with. I'm so excited to be a mom and have absolutely no hesitations about moving forward but I also know that there could be a lot of things that could arise in the future as a result of the first years of my child's life before he came home. In contemplating some of the topics these classes will touch on, I started thinking about my sweet little man and how snuggly he was. I started wondering what his first few years have been like. He just clung to me when I picked him up. That makes me think he's not totally unfamiliar with affection and perhaps even a mothers love. But it also makes me think that he's very desperate to have that again. He screamed and threw a tantrum when I put him down. There was no gently, quietly putting him down without waking him. He knew the difference between being held and being laid in a crib. And he was mad to be back in that crib. I so wish I could bring him home right now. The less time in an orphanage and the more time I could have with him, to begin healing his hurts and teaching him what love looks like - the kind of love that isn't going to leave - I would be there in a heartbeat if I could go get him and bring him home right now. It makes me sad to think of any hurt or heartache in his life. It makes me sad to think of all he may have been through in his first few years on this earth. And I just want to scoop him up in my arms and love on him and tell him he's home and he's safe and loved. I'm longing for the day when I can and praying the Lord will move heaven and earth to make it happen. I already feel like his mom and every day that passes, it is getting harder and harder to be here when he's way over there. But in the midst of all this - I know the Lord loves him even more than I do. And I have to trust Him with this sweet little boy. I'm thankful that his orphanage is rather good and there are missionaries and teams going in there and loving on those kiddos pretty regularly. That gives me peace. I just pray that God keeps my little boy safe, healthy and well loved on until he gets to his forever home. And praying that he can come home soon. Every day that passes is one more day I missed with him. It's getting harder.
I may seem like a fundraising machine and some people might by now be sick of all my adoption posts about my blog store, yard sale, t-shirts for sale, etc. But here's my motivation - there is a sweet little boy halfway across the globe waiting for a mom and as each step in this adoption progresses, I don't want to be the one holding it up because of lack of finances. If things move quickly (and I pray they do) and doors start opening - I want to be ready to run through them because it means I'm one step closer to bringing him home. I already feel like his mom and as a mom, I'm gonna do every thing I can to get him here. I don't know what he's been through, I don't know what issues may arise when he gets here or how he'll adjust or attach to me - but I know that I'm gonna love him - no matter what. And I'm gonna read every book I can and take every class I can to be prepared in advance to be whatever he needs me to be so that he can know that he is loved and wanted and is home. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New t-shirts - Go. Be. Love.

So a few months back this headline came to me to use on a great photo of one of our Visiting Orphans team members in Uganda holding a baby - Go. Be. Love. So fast forward to now - it's on that photo on our website and we're now using it on t-shirts. They're super cute and comfy. AND I get to fundraise with them for my adoption. When you buy one, you'll be supporting my adoption and Visiting Orphans at the same time - it's a win - win!!! Check out my Love Store to purchase yours today. Available in mens, womens and junior/petite girls in a variety of sizes and colors. $25 each!

Also - there's still time to get a Simply Love coffee mug - those are on the Love Store too if you scroll down to the bottom. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tons of new items for sale

View the "My Store" tab on the top right and check out all the super cool items I got in India that are now for sale on my blog to support my adoption. Lots of different kinds of tea and sets, cute purses, jewelry, etc. Shop for friends and family for Christmas or for yourself. Let me know if you have any questions. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm Ready - No Turning Back

I'm sitting in the Newark airport on a layover right now - flying home to Nashville in a few hours. Ready to pick back up on this adoption process after an amazing 10 day journey to India. It was a great trip and an amazing team. So glad I went. Being with those kids just made me long to be a mom and get my little boy home from Ethiopia asap. Just came across this picture of him hugging me so tight. I can't show his face but this is the back of his head so I wanted to post it. I can't wait to bring this sweet little snuggle bug home. I was talking with my team member who has 3 daughters and she was talking about family vacations and I had mentioned how I don't usually take vacations anymore. I either go to Michigan to see family when I have time off or I go on mission trips with my job. But it got me thinking that of course, I will want to start the tradition of a family vacation when I get my little man home. I'm sure many will be to Michigan to visit family but I'm excited to think about all the other adventures we can have together. If somehow I could bring him home tomorrow - I would not hesitate - I am SO ready. Obviously, there's more to the process so tomorrow won't be the day. But I am so looking forward to the day when I get on an airplane to head back home with my little man in tow. And from that moment on, I'm a mom. Forever. No turning back. I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this. I've known I've wanted to be a mom since I was a kid. I always thought I would have been married with kids years ago. So while the plan is very different than my early ideas about it - I have such a peace and joy about this plan. I trust God knows exactly what he's doing. Me, my little boy and our dog Auty - a family. I've seen those placards that say Love Makes A Family and I fully agree. It's not the "traditional family" and not everyone will understand but I'm ok with that too. I'm ok with every part of this. More peaceful and ready than I would have even thought I would be if you had asked me a few months ago as I was praying about adopting as a single. I've been listening to this song called "I'm not gonna leave you here" by my India team members Abner & Amanda from the duo Johnnyswim (they're awesome - you should check them out) and I feel like the chorus so captures how I feel about that sweet little boy in Ethiopia. I am NOT gonna leave him there. I am going to do everything I can to bring him home. I will sell all I have, do a million fundraisers, yard sales, concerts, whatever stacks of paperwork - whatever I have to do to get him home. I already feel like his mom so I am just praying for the Lord to move heaven and earth to keep opening doors to bring him home! I'm ready. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Got his bedding!


Got his bedding - someone donated it so it was FREE! Sweet. It's perfect. The leaves will match the tree of love I'm painting in his room and I'm gonna paint the walls a golden yellow and I'm going to do some paintings to go along with the animals on the bedding. How fun!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Adopting as a Single

Sometimes when you tell people you're adopting as a single - you see this look on their face that hurts your heart. That look of - are you crazy? And then the questions and comments start coming "Do you really think you should adopt a boy? Boys need a dad." and "Don't you want to be married first? Being a single mom is gonna be hard." My heart hurts when I hear those questions and comments. And I think Jesus is saddened by it too. First of all, I don't think parenting in general is easy. I don't know of any parent friends of mine who have ever said "this is a piece of cake" whether they have a husband or not. And who says easy is better anyway. The things in life that build the most character and are used the most by God to transform us to more of a likeness of Christ are usually not the things that are easy. Quite the opposite. Secondly, I never said I didn't WANT a husband but I don't have one so I'm just trusting God in it. Also, I agree that boys need dads but I also think girls do too - just as much. But at the same time - I see and hear stories EVERY day about dads who aren't very loving or good to their kids or dads who are absent or end up leaving their families later for whatever crazy reason and then there's a single mom who has no choice but to be a single mom because dad just jumped ship. That is tragic but it happens. People get pregnant and don't end up staying with the father of the child and sometimes those kids are boys. The moms make it work. And you don't say to a pregnant woman - hey, better not do this - your child needs a dad. Yeah, a little too late for that kind of a comment cause the baby is on the way. So why is it any different for adoption? There is a child and that child needs a parent. The baby is on the way - it's a paper pregnancy! And isn't one parent better than none? Isn't one loving mom who will devote her life to this child, who will care for his every need and be intentional to keep Godly men around him to be a positive influence and who will teach him about Jesus and how God adopts all of us into His family and how this mom chose him and wanted him and went to the ends of the earth to bring him home - isn't that better than a child sitting in an orphanage waiting, hoping, praying that someday maybe he'll have somebody to love them? The bible doesn't say "care for orphans and widows once you're married"! We are all called. And for some, married will come first. For others - they'll care for orphans in other ways like going or sending or financially helping or all of the above. But for me - I'm gonna keep working in orphan care at Visiting Orphans and sending people out and I'm gonna always have a heart for what I do because I've gone, I've seen, I've held and I've loved orphans around the world and I have God's heart for them. But it's no longer enough for me to go and love and then leave - I want to make an eternal impact - an everyday investment into a child that deserves a chance, deserves someone to put them first, someone to tuck them in every night and someone they can count on for the rest of their lives. God is calling me to be a mom. So if you ask me if I'm sure - I will answer 100% yes. I've been feeling this tug for a long time and the tug has gotten stronger since Dec 2010. Since then, I've prayed and prayed and prayed. I've gone back and forth between two prayers - "Lord, I don't want to get ahead of you if you are telling me to wait. I don't want to get impatient and run ahead of you and do it unless you are calling me" and "Lord, if you are calling me to adopt as a single woman then I do not want to be afraid or hold so tightly to the order I thought things would happen (marriage first) and miss out on your plan. I want to be open to your plan looking differently than mine and trusting you in it." I had to grieve the plan I thought was gonna happen. It's not in the order I would have chose but you know what - God sees a bigger picture and I trust Him. And so the order it's in is the right order. And who am I to question that? So am I sure - yes. Why now after all these months of praying? Because someday changes to now when you hold a child in your arms that feels like yours, who lays his head down and holds on tight as if "he's home". It changes when it's not just the idea of a child out there somewhere but it's a real child you hold in your arms and he falls asleep and you cannot fathom this child not ever having a home and you can't imagine him not being part of your family.

I wasn't even supposed to go to Ethiopia with that team originally. We were all along going to Uganda and Ghana. It's been planned for over a year. And literally the week we were about to purchase the flights we had on hold for 2 months - I felt like we weren't supposed to go to Ghana but instead were supposed to go to Ethiopia. I wasn't totally sure why but I knew all the in-country details of Ghana were NOT coming together, the cost of the flights to go there were crazy high and when it came down to it - we would only have 3 full days there as opposed to 6 days in Ethiopia. My team of 24 people were presented with 3 options - keep with Ghana and only have 3 days, go to Uganda only for the whole time or do Uganda and Ethiopia - we'd have 6 days in each. Every single person chose Uganda/Ethiopia. I knew God had something big in Ethiopia. For 24 people from all over the country who had never met to be in 100% agreement to completely change countries at the last possible minute - that is truly amazing! God was in it and I was excited to be on a team that was already so flexible. I knew something big was gonna happen but I didn't know it was going to be me meeting my son! But God knew. And He gave me this amazing team to encourage me - they have been so amazing in this whole process. I've been blown away by them and almost everyone in my life who has been encouraging, supportive and positive. So while I talk about the looks you get and the questions and comments people make - I'm thankful to say that has been few and far between. I honestly thought I'd get more of that. I got more of it when I was "thinking" about adopting as a single than I have now that I am actually pursuing it. And even those who do ask those things - I don't think they have bad intentions. I truly think they are trying to be helpful and realistic. But I just think God is so much bigger than all of our fears - we can't let less than perfect conditions keep us from moving forward. We can't let our own ideas keep us from being open to God's. If we do, we may just miss out on the best decision we ever made. I am not afraid. I am also not naive. I know it will be hard. But I'm not gonna miss out on all the good stuff just because it might be hard. I'm called to be a mom. I've always known. It's who I am. And sometimes when God calls you to something, it may take awhile before you see that dream fulfilled. But if He called you, He will be faithful to bring it to pass. I'm excited to be a mom. I'm excited to watch God move and provide and orchestrate details to make it happen. He is already writing this story and I hope that the more I share about what He's doing in it, the more it will glorify Him and encourage others to step out in faith too in whatever He's calling them to. I'm excited that Jesus loves that little boy even more than I do and I know He will move heaven and earth to get him home. God is so much bigger than any fears I have. He's so much bigger than the $30K it costs to adopt internationally. To Him, that's nothing - He is the God of the Universe after all. And I'm just excited to see what He's gonna do!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. - Ephesians 3:20(NLV)


I love how the Lord works. Turns out the exact same blog that really encouraged me earlier this year is one that several other single moms I know that are now adopting had come across and been encouraged by too. This is the link of any of y'all want to read this awesome blog about single's adopting: http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2009/08/should-single-woman-adopt.html
That blog has probably the most comments on it of any blog I've ever seen.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Little Boy's Room

I love thinking about decorating my little guys room. I am thinking of doing a jungle theme to go along with the tree of love that I'll be painting on the wall. The top two bedding sets I liked the best so far are below. And then right after I posted this initially - I found two more (below that). The carpet in there is blue so I had started looking for something that worked better with that. I may just look on craigslist, second hand stores, etc and see what I find. So hard to choose:) His bed will be transformed into a toddler bed with a rail so the crib bedding will still work best as opposed to larger toddler bedding. So, I'd love to get a vote and see which one y'all like best. I'm not going to get all the extras cause he's 2 and certainly doesn't need a mobile or a lot of the other things and I don't want to go over the top with a "theme". I'm going to do some paintings myself to match and keep it simple. I didn't want it to be too babyish since by the time I'll get him home, he'll likely be around 3 years old.



Option #1
Jungle Adventure Animal Safari 9pc Crib Set
By: JoJo Designs


Option #2
Beansprout Safari 6-Piece Crib Bedding Set
By: Pem America

Option #3
Trend Lab Sweet Safari Blue 4 Piece Crib Bedding Set
By: Trend Lab

Option #4
Carter's Blue Elephant 4-Piece Crib Bedding Set
By: Carters


Monday, August 29, 2011

This Week's Special!!!


Simply Love GLOBE travel coffee mug
$15 SPECIAL







BUY A COFFEE MUG AND YOU COULD BE A WINNER!!!
Every coffee mug purchase gets the purchaser into a drawing for a free Simply Love t-shirt of your choice or a second coffee mug free - your choice. You get 5 entries for every coffee mug purchased and you can earn an extra 2 entries for reposting this on your facebook or blog. Just comment and let me know you posted and I'll put you in the drawing. You can get 2 entries for posting even if you don't buy a coffee mug.

These mugs are pre-order at this time as I need to sell 36 to place the order. Order will be placed as soon as I hit 36!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

iPad Giveaway Tomorrow!!!

I can't wait to see who is gonna win the iPad tomorrow. 206 individual entries. Each person got 1 entry for every $25 spent or donated from this blog (or in person). Some people have multiple entries. I'm excited to do the big drawing tomorrow night - Sunday, August 26th at 5pm. There's still time to get your name in the drawing!!! Somebody is gonna win. Why not you?


Thursday, August 25, 2011

3 days left

Sleek. Black. 16 GB. Awesome. Apple. iPad 2.

Yes, it could be yours. In 3 days, I will do the big drawing to see which amazing donor will win. Every single one of you has helped get me one step closer to bringing my little boy home. I have been blown away. Thank you, thank you, a million times - THANK YOU!!!!

My good friend and co-worker Casi Mattox is gonna come over Sunday evening and help me with the drawing. We will capture the moment on video and will post it on facebook and the blog as soon as we are finished. The winner will be contacted shortly thereafter.

If you haven't gotten in on it yet for your chance to win - you can do so by purchasing any Simply Love item or by purchasing another item on my blog store $25 or over or by making any donation $25 or over. You get in the drawing multiple times for every $25 you donate. So if you donated $100, you get 4 entries. And whether you win or not, just know that your donation or purchase goes toward my adoption of a sweet little 2 year old boy in Africa.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blessed by my visit to Michigan

I'm sitting in the Detroit airport right now waiting for my flight home to Nashville and I'm thinking about my quick Thurs to Sun trip here to Michigan (where I'm from). I came for my brother Mike's wedding and am so glad I did. It was beautiful even though the original location got rained out, we ended up moving it to the pastor's church who was marrying them and that worked out great. Thank the Lord for that being an option and the church being available! What a blessing. By the time the wedding got moved and happened, the rain had let up and we were able to enjoy the Huron Lady boat ride that the reception was on. It was a little chilly but really nice and the skies were clear. My youngest brother was the one getting married and he looked so handsome and reminded me so much of my Grandpa Draveling. I almost cried when I first saw him. His bride, Jamie, was absolutely stunning. They both looked like something out of a bride magazine. Gorgeous couple. My sweet, adorable niece did a very good job throwing down rose petals and I was so happy to have gotten to spend that afternoon with her. We went to the Burger King playland and then to my aunt's house so she could play with the dogs. I got to give her a bath and get her ready for the wedding and then bring her to the bride who then did her hair. Today, I got to catch part of the 1 year birthday party for the son of my best friend Stacey and got to see a bunch of friends who came while I was there. I didn't get to stay very long cause I had to get to the airport but it was so nice to be able to be in town for that. It was a great trip, even though it was short and I got to see so many people in just a few days. Got to see cousins, aunts and uncles, my mom and even some old friends.
The thing that I hadn't totally expected was the excitement about me adopting. I brought a photo album of pictures of the little boy I met on my recent Africa trip who I'm trying to adopt and it was so neat to see how excited everyone was about bringing this little guy into the family. They passed around the photo album, asked for copies of the pictures and so many people said they would be praying and couldn't wait to meet him. People donated toward the adoption and asked about his room and talked about life when he came home. It was just really neat. I have been blown away at every corner these past few weeks at the overwhelming amount of love and support. I think part of me expected more comments about raising a child by myself and thought I might get a lot of people who were doubtful about whether single adoption was a good idea. But I have not experienced that at all. Everyone has just kept saying over and over how they know I'll be a great mom and that little boy will be so loved, they can't wait to meet him, they think it's great, they want to help anyway they can and so on and so on. Even just sitting here writing about it, I'm holding back tears because I just feel like I'm the most blessed person in the whole world. I have a HUGE support network all around me back home in Tennessee and her in Michigan and even beyond that. I've gotten words of encouragement from people I knew in high school and middle school and college and all across the world. I'm blown away!!! That's the best way I can describe it. This little boy is so wanted and so loved already and I'm so thrilled that it's not just by me! The whole family and friends network in my life already love him and can't wait to welcome him with open arms. So to all of those who fall into that category who are reading this - I cannot thank you enough. You have blessed me with your love, encouragement and support more than you will ever know. Thank you, thank you, - a million times thank you!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Update

I was originally scheduled to leave for Michigan yesterday for a week long visit. My brother's wedding is next Saturday and I usually go for a week in the summer to see family and friends anyway. But now that I'm adopting - I decided to shorten up the visit. For two reasons - to save money on rental car and pet care by making it less days. And two - to use M-W days off to get some adoption related stuff done that I need to do during the day. So I'm not leaving until Thursday. And my sweet best friend and her hubby ended up offering up their 2nd car while I'm there so I won't have to rent a car at all which saves like $175. So sweet of them! So Monday, I have my full physical and my doctor will fill out all the paperwork needed to declare that I'm healthy and can raise a child with no physical or mental issues. Tuesday I have my first home study appointment. I have the application all filled out and will turn in the first $900 that day. That is half of the cost and it's due up front. Monday, I will also mail a signed and notarized contract to my adoption agency. I sent my application in last week along with the application fee. Now, it's the contract that is due. I received a ginormous binder in the mail Friday from my agency filled with pretty much everything I need to know. If you try to go through the entire thing at once, it's a little overwhelming but they have it organized really well and it walks you through what you need to do and when. I'm not sure when I get the official "referral" on my boy but I'm trying to work as fast as possible on my end to get what I need to get done so that I'm not the one holding anything up. I also have a trip to India for work in a few weeks and I'll be gone for 10 days so praying I have all that I need to get done finished before I leave so that while I'm gone - no one is waiting on me for anything. Each step of the way takes time and even though they give you estimates on how long that will be - it's just an estimate and it's better to hold those timelines VERY loosely and just wait until you get the word that you're on to the next step. I can do that. God is in control and I'm just trusting Him! In the meantime, I am thankful to have met a few girls who are helping out at my boys orphanage and one of them has kept in touch with me via facebook. She loves him and he loves her and I know he's being looked after. That makes me have a huge sense of peace in knowing he is well loved and cared for during the wait time. I can only imagine the turmoil I would feel or other adoptive parents feel when they have to wait and their kids are not in a good situation during that wait. Thanks to some amazing women of God who have moved to Africa to help at his orphanage - the kids there now have a very good environment to be in while they wait for their families to get the approval. Praying for all those families who are adopting - that their wait will be minimal and their children well cared for and loved in the meantime.
As I wait, I have lots to do by means of paperwork and appointments and research. I want to be as educated as possible about being a mom and especially about things that a child could experience from 1) being adopted and 2) being from another country. I also need to find a good pediatrician and my friend Katie's little boy from AFrica goes to one she loves so I'm gonna check her out first. She also had a contact for a doctor that can read international medical reports cause I need one of those too. So it's nice that they have gone through this process and can share some of their resources with me.
I'm about to pick a weekend to do a yard sale and so if you're reading this and you have items you'd like to donate for me to sell at the yard sale - let me know. I'm collecting items and hoping to have a huge yardsale to raise additional funds.
A fundraiser concert is also in the works so stay tuned for details on that.

On a side note - I am going to buy my friends child's toddler bed that will eventually convert into a headboard for a twin bed. I think it can also be a crib too. They are getting a new set and will be selling theirs and it's literally exactly what I would have wanted - all dark wood with a high back - this isn't the exact one but it's pretty similar.


I won't get it for a few months but I'm excited to know what it's gonna look like so I can start looking for matching pieces. My grandma is also going to make a quilt and some valances for the windows which is exciting!!! I'll do some paintings to match the quilt. I'm wanting to do jungle theme since we'll have the tree of love in there with all the leaves that have people's names on them. I thought it'd be cute to do monkeys and giraffes and zebras too. I sent my grandma some samples of styles I like so we'll see what she comes up with. So fun to think about decorating his room! Even more exciting to think about bringing him home.

Praying, praying, praying for God to continue to open doors, give me direction and wisdom and be with me every step of the way. And most importantly to keep my little boy safe and healthy and well loved in the meantime.

Thanks for all the support and prayers everyone! I so greatly appreciate it. You are a part of this journey - and so many people are literally helping me to bring him home with generous donations and purchases from the blog store. I feel so blessed! Thank you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

iPad Giveaway

Simply Love t-shirts for men and women and coffee mug designs are now for sale on the Simply Love page of my blog. For every Simply Love item purchased your name will go into a drawing for a brand new black 16GB Apple iPad 2. Drawing will be held on Sunday, August 28th. Get your stylish Simply Love gear and help support adoption at the same time. Every item purchased helps me bring my little boy home from Africa. Thank you so much for your support!!!

Special thanks to Kari Gibson of mycrazyadoption.com for allowing adoptive parents to use her Simply Love designs to fundraise with!!!

2 different t-shirt designs. 4 color choices for guys. 5 color choices for girls.


Monday, August 8, 2011

No Guarantee

I am very excited to be moving forward with this process of trying to adopt a specific child from Africa that I met and fell in instant love with on my last trip. Doors are opening and I'm walking (or running) through them. I'm doing all that I can and there are moments when it's a little crazy to think about all the stuff I have to get done but I am fully in this and willing to do whatever I have to do to try to bring this little boy home. But all along in regards to this sweet little boy - I have been praying for his best interest and for God to show me if I'm his mom or if He has another family for him. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping with all my heart that I get to be his mom and so far, it is looking like that hope may become reality. But if it doesn't, I trust God. If God has a different family for him and a different child for me - I trust Him. It's not about what I want or hope - it's about God's plans and above all - that's what I'm after - being in His perfect will for my life and the life of that little boy. He loves that little boy. And he loves me. And he wants the best for us both. I hope that best includes me being his mommy. But there's no guarantee. And that's ok. I appreciate all the love and support everyone has given. I am so thankful for all the prayers that have gone up and will continue to go up. And for all the donations made to help me bring him home. It means more to me than you could ever know. Let's keep praying, keep hoping and keep moving forward - and let's see what God does.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Overwhelmed with Love

I found out today that things are moving forward and a contract was signed between my agency and the orphanage on behalf of that special little boy I feel in love with. Provided I pass the home study and all finances come through, etc - it looks very likely that I will get to be that sweet little 2 year old boys mommy. I am beyond excited. I am in complete and total awe of the Lord opening wide the doors to make this happen. I prayed that He would close doors if it wasn't His will and open them if it was. You can't get any more open than this!!!! I'd say I have the green light thus far from the Lord!!! And it is moving fast!!! I am truly in awe of His timing and His provision. He loves that little boy so much and I know He'll move heaven and earth to get him home if home with me as his momma is where God has for him to be. It's so amazing to watch the Lord work all things together. When it involves something as complex and as expensive as this - it's the perfect opportunity for God to be glorified because there's no way we can take credit for any of it. I've cried probably 5 times today - the response from everyone in regards to this adoption - has been amazing. I cannot express how blessed I feel. I have some seriously amazing people in my life. This little boy is already so loved! And I am so excited that there will be a visual representation in his room (The Tree of Love) as a reminder everyday of all the amazing, generous people who helped to bring him home. People have donated that I have never even met. Friends have not only donated but been such an encouragement! So many prayers have gone up. So many kind words, people posting my blog/donate link on their facebook, people spreading the word, helping me come up with fundraising ideas and so much more!!! And this is only week 1. Wow - I'm just blown away. In less than a week, people have donated $1920! Truly amazing. I am believing God for the rest of the $5180 I still need to turn in right away. Thank you for all the prayers, for all the encouragement and all the generosity. I don't think you'll ever fully know just exactly how much it means to me!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lots of Fundraising Options

I just spent like 5 hours adding two new pages to the blog - International Store and Paintings. I'm selling items to raise money for adoption. I paint so all the paintings you see were done by me. The rest of the stuff I've bought around the world on all my mission trips. This past trip to Uganda & Ethiopia - I ended up with way more than I intended to buy and I'm kind of glad now cause it'll help toward bringing a little one home! Moving right along in the process. Found a new adoption agency who is willing to work with me and they are already researching that little boy for me. I should know soon whether I can adopt him. I'm hopeful. So thankful for so many people who donated in the past few days and have gotten me close to my first goal of $900 which is half of the cost of the home study and is due up front to get it started. I'm planning to get started this coming week. More fundraising coming soon - ideas are churning in my head for a concert and I'll be adding Simply Love t-shirts and merch to the site hopefully next week. In the meantime, check out the International Store and the Paintings pages!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And so it begins...

Found out today that the adoption agency that used to work with the orphanage I visited in Africa will no longer be working with that orphanage or at least that's what they told me today. Also found out that a past team member is using a different agency to adopt from there so all hope is not lost. It's good to be figuring this out ahead of time because the home study may be slightly different depending on the agency so hopefully I'll know soon. Please keep praying - I'm super hopeful about this boy! I'm open to what God has but I really pray I get to be this little boy's momma.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fundraising Begins

Just spoke to a home study agency today and found out that the home study will cost $1800. I have to have half up front to start the process. And so the fundraising begins. T-shirt design and some other products coming VERY soon. In the meantime, there is a donate link now on the blog if you feel so inclined to donate toward my adoption. It's becoming more real every day. I am excited. I already have some really neat ideas for how to decorate the room. This will sort of tie in with a fundraiser - if you click on the Tree of Love tab, you will see what I mean. Thank you to everyone who has commented on here or my facebook. I am so thankful for all the positive comments and most importantly all your prayers.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

All Things Possible

When I was in Africa, I was counting up the money one night and saw that one of the bills had writing on it. I realized the writing was scripture. The numbers were familiar but I had to look it up to see what it said. Philippians 4:13 - "I can do everything through him who gives me strength". I had sort of forgotten about that until this afternoon and it just popped into my head and I was reminded of that scripture and several others similar and that fact that it was written on some money I had in Africa. I think that's my verse for this process of adoption. I need to hold on to it for days when it gets challenging. And another verse that's very similar too - Matthew 19:26 "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible." And Luke 1:37 where it says "For nothing is impossible with God."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Over It

The mourning process that I wrote about in a recent post on my other blog (autumn-seasonsofautumn.blogspot.com) where when you start to consider adopting on your own as a single, without a spouse, there’s a mourning process of letting go of the order you thought things would happen. I landed on US ground Wed morning after leading a Visiting Orphans team to Uganda and Ethiopia and things just didn’t seem so blurry or confusing anymore. There’s a little boy who I met and held and loved on. He’s not “the idea of a little boy out there somewhere”. He’s a real little boy that I met. That changes things. That makes me more focused on him and wanting him to have a family than it does on me and not having a husband. I felt a surprising sense of urgency to not delay on finding out more. On Thursday morning, I called the adoption agency his orphanage works with. The information was not promising honestly but instead of feeling discouraged, I feel hopeful and believe with all my heart if it’s meant to be - God will open the doors. The lady basically told me that to adopt a specific child like that - you have to have had a home study to even talk about a specific kid. Secondly, she’s not even sure he has paperwork yet and even if he did - there are families waiting for a referral who would be ahead of me. After all that, she said that if I really felt strongly about adopting - I should start my home study asap and give her a call in early Sept and inquire again. If nothing else, my home study would be good for any African country and I could pursue another country. She said if my paperwork and his were ready at the same time - MAYBE. And maybe is a lot more promising than NO. I know that there’s a very real chance I won’t be able to adopt him specifically. But I still feel compelled to try. And I feel really strongly about adopting from Africa. And as I proceed, I’m doing so knowing that God knows the plan - He sees the full picture and if this isn’t the child He has for me and if I’m not the mom he has for that sweet little boy - perhaps He’s just using this to move me forward in this process and get me unstuck from the deciding if I’m ready stage. In a weird way, it’s kind of like losing my job 2 years ago - you don’t know where you’ll end up but I just knew God would use it and it would all work out one way or another. And I wasn’t pretending I had any clue what that would look like - I just had faith that He had a plan and when it was time - He’d show me what it was. And wala - I landed in my dream job (only a God thing!!!) and I am incredibly thankful. He also provided in really awesome ways the entire time I was unemployed. All Glory to Him because none of it was me nor could I pretend to take credit for it. He is an amazing God. So now that I’m here at this stage - it’s like when I lost my job - I’m filled with faith and I’m not scared. I just feel strongly that I’m supposed to proceed and see where He takes me on this journey toward being a mom. He knows who my child is. He also loves that little boy even more than I do. So while I hope and I pray that I get to be his momma - I trust that God is His father and will take care of that little guy. I can try, I can pray and I can do my part - but ultimately the outcome is in God’s hands. And honestly, that’s the only place I want it to be because His ways are better than my ways. Do I have a bunch of money saved in a bank account to get started? Nope. But I know my God is a God who provides. And I just need to step out in faith and trust Him to help me find creative ways to fundraise! I think the testimony at the end of all this will be that much more glorifying to God because I won’t be able to take any credit for any of it because I’m relying solely on Him. That’s exciting to me! In the meantime, I need your prayers! I doubt it will be easy - but I believe it will be worth it. God’s not interested in what’s easy on us - He’s interested in our character and transforming us into the likeness of Christ. I’m over the fact that I’m not married. I finally realize God didn’t miss me when he was handing out husbands:) He didn’t forget about me. But He did give me a love of kids and a heart for adopting and the desire to be a mom. So I’m done second guessing it. I’m done wishing it was the order I thought it would be. God’s plan for my life is the right plan for my life. I just need to stop trying to make up my own plan:) I’m over it and I’m ready to take the next step... in faith. 

Perseverance

By definition Perseverance is: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, o...