Sunday, January 29, 2017

Our Missing Piece

Our family has a missing piece and we need your help to bring her home. 
We are still a long way from being able to pay for Hannah's adoption and thought this fundraiser would be a wonderful way to raise more of her funds. 

Everyone who donates to our adoption through this fundraiser becomes a permanent part of our adoption journey; a piece of our puzzle! 

Here's how it works:
~We have customized a 252 piece puzzle featuring the above picture. Each piece will represent someone who donated to help us adopt Hannah! 
~Each inside puzzle piece is a $10 donation
~Each edge piece is a $20 donation
~Each corner piece is a $50 donation
~You may just want to be represented on one piece of our puzzle or on many pieces! 
~Your name will be written on the back of each piece you represent!

Once our puzzle has been completed, we will hang it in a double sided frame in Hannah's room. This will be a beautiful keepsake for us and her to cherish forever! We will always look back and be reminded of your generosity and investment in our family! 

You will be a part of completing the missing piece to our puzzle! 

So when our puzzle is completed, we will have raised $3,240 for our adoption!  

We would be so blessed and thankful if you were a part of this fundraiser! To get your puzzle piece, you can go through paypal or mail us a check.  Our paypal address is Be sure to send the money "Friends and Family" so there is no fee. 

I will be updating the blog regularly with the progress of the puzzle so you can see where you fit in on our puzzle! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Adoption Matching Grant

As many of you know, we are pursuing another adoption and this time for a little girl who we hope to name Hannah. All the paperwork has been completed and the homestudy is finished so now we just sit back and wait for that wonderful call that says, "We found you a baby!". I can't wait to get it and even now I answer every unknown number with a hope that it is "The Call".

Right now we are spending all of our time and energy into fundraising because as everyone knows adoption isn't cheap. But it is sooooo worth it. Our old church in Carrollton, TX, The Ridge, has partnered with Lifesong for Orphans and generously offered us a matching grant of $1000. Our goal for the remainder of the year is to raise the full $1000 and then have them match it for us. This will bring our total adoption account to nearly $5000 and well on our way to our agency's fee of $8000.

Thank you for all the support you have given us whether it be prayers, encouragement, money, time, or baby supplies. We could not do this alone and it is so fun doing it alongside all of you. People talk about Hannah all the time and she is already softening hearts and she's not even here yet. I can't wait for y'all to meet her. I can't wait for me to meet her. I'm dying inside with anticipation.

Here is the link to our myStory page if you want to read the story of our desire for Hannah and find out ways that you can help.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tis the Season--of Giving

I pulled in to the parking lot of Mardel, a Christian education supply store, and began to unload my children. Suddenly from out of no where a tiny, frail, elderly woman popped up behind me and began telling me about all her hardships. She was not your typical older woman. She had no perfectly sculpted hair. No dainty fingernails painted bright. No warm soft clothing covering her aging body. No sweetness in her smile. She was filthy. She was tired. She was sickly. She was tired of this world and the battles it has handed her.

A few moments in to our conversation she asked me if I could help her. She was living in Amarillo receiving cancer treatments and she desperately wanted to continue staying in her motel room that she could no longer afford. I told her that of course I could help and handed her the largest bill in my wallet, which was a ten.

We said our goodbyes and she left. I finished unloading my children and headed in to the store. We had no needs in Mardel. We were simply going there to kill time and look around. Of course we would buy whatever fun and cute thing we wanted and then we would head home to our warm safe house and continue on with our happy little life. I have no idea what the rest of day looked like for the little old woman, but I pray that she was ok.

As we were walking in to Mardel, my middle son asked, "Mom, why did you give her money? She's probably lying to you!" First of all, let me interject here that no matter how much you shelter your children, the world's views and opinions still get to them. This gave me the perfect opportunity to tell him, "Maybe she is. Maybe she isn't. But Jesus has told me to give to those who ask and she asked."

My husband recently ran across this quote by C. S. Lewis, his hero, and shared it with me. It says all that my heart feels when I see a needy person asking for help:

 " It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been 'had for a sucker' by any number of impostors; but it would be a torment to know that I had refused even one person in need."

As Christmas and winter approach, the needy in your area and my area will be more and more likely to begin asking for help. The streets can be a little kinder in the spring, summer, and fall, but the cold cannot be ignored. I just want to encourage you to be a cheerful giver. And just when you are thinking that maybe you've given enough I want you to remember this quote:

C. S. Lewis says, "Charity--giving to the poor--is an essential part of Christian morality. . . I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them."

I wish I had could say that our family does without some of the luxuries of life because we have given so much away, but hopefully that can be our goal for this upcoming year. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall Learning Activities

Fall is a wonderful time to learn. There is so much to explore and create and tons of ideas for learning with a fall theme.  We have been observing pumpkins, leaves, apples, and all the fall creatures that are out and about right now: spiders, grasshoppers, bats, etc. It's such a beautiful time outdoors so we are trying to spend as much time as we can outside. Here are some things we've been learning with this month

We all loved visiting the apple orchard. We brought home tons of apples, a new big bottle of local honey, and some fresh apple butter jelly. Yum! 

During our outside time, the little guy (3 years old) has started riding his big bike.

.And of course swinging with his furry friend.
We've collected leaves and done leaf rubbings. That was tons of fun!

We found a tarantula at my in-laws house and brought it home to observe for a week. Adam (3) wrote  a little story in his draftbook about it and we even added a cotton ball web. 
The pumpkin patch seemed like the greatest place on earth. They raced through corn mazes, slid down huge hills in potato sacks, jumped in bounce houses, petted goats, and even cut their own pumpkins from the patch. 
Their favorite thing to do was play in the corn pit. They buried each other as best they could and probably could have stayed in there all day. This place was a sensory seekers heaven! 
After a few days of admiring our pumpkins from the patch we decided to hammer golf tees in to them. It was a great workout for these two and tons of fun! 
 Here's Adam practicing identifying his numbers. I found this template online for free at 
 This is a game I created for my busy bag business. I've numbered bats 1-10 and his job is to feed the bats the correct number of bugs. 
 I can't wait to see what other kinds of things we can study this season. We already have a big camping trip scheduled, two more trips to the pumpkin patch, and a trip to a pecan farm. This beautiful weather is just spurring us on to observe so many things around us. Hope you are enjoying your fall, too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Our Adoption Testimony

**We are applying for a grant and the organization has asked us for our adoption testimony. Here is what I wrote: 

Our Adoption Testimony
                Our journey with growing our family through adoption started many, many years ago. I, Maile, taught 2nd grade in the public school system for 4 years. During my years as a teacher, I got to see all kinds of families and fall in love with all kinds of kids. I’ve always loved kids and this is true for my husband as well. My first year of teaching a little boy named Zachary was placed in my classroom. He was a foster child and had been through horrific, horrific abuse. Zachary became my favorite human that year. I begged my husband every day to let us adopt Zachary. I called his CPS worker, I learned about him through his foster mom, and I prayed over him daily while he was in my class. I was 22 years old, had never parented, and certainly had no experience with a traumatized child. My efforts to “adopt” him never worked out. However, I learned a lot from that experience. It opened my eyes to the world of foster care and adoption.
                Fast forward four years to when I gave birth to my first child. I had loved hundreds of children, but none like him. I loved him so much that I quit my teaching job and decided to stay home with him full time. During that time I got to see that life at home with children was exactly the life God had created me for. I was good at it. My husband was good at it. I liked it. My husband liked it. So when our son was 1 year old we starting talking about foster care. We liked our home and wanted to share it with others. The problem was we didn’t know any one who did foster care who also had small children at home. The only people we knew who fostered were people whose kids had grown up and moved away or people who for some reason couldn’t have biological children.
                In the spring of 2010, I was invited to an event hosted by Buckner Child and Family Services and while there I met a family who had 3 bio kids ages 3, 5, and 7 and 3 foster kids ages 1, 3, and 4. I know without a doubt that God had me meet this family for a reason because it was right then and there that I knew we could do this. I went home that night, told my husband, called Buckner the next day, and 6 months later I had our first foster baby in my arms.
                We have fostered 4 babies. We have said “hello” to four traumatized babies. We have fed them, rocked them, bathed them, changed them, taken them to countless doctor appointments, worked with them through hundreds of hours of therapies, escorted them to many family visits, sat in on court hearings, scrapbooked life books, filled out thousands of pages of paperwork, and ultimately said good bye to four healthy babies. We loved our babies. We died a little inside when our babies left. But we know, that we know, that we know, that we loved those babies well. Those babies changed us.
                With every foster baby we have hoped to keep them. Sure we’ve supported their bio families. We’ve encouraged them around every turn, but deep in our hearts we wanted to keep them forever. We learned through fostering that we could love any child. Any child.
                In June of 2012, my friend called me and wanted to talk about a boy that she knew. His name was Terrance and he was about to turn 12. Terrance had been in foster care for 2 years and his adoptive placement had just fallen through. She knew of him because on the day he was removed from his home there were four other children removed as well. One of whom she had adopted. Because of that adoption she had kept up with Terrance and his older brother Keishun and had invited them over for every family event: Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc. She had spent the last two years getting to know him and was devestated that his adoption wasn’t going to work out. His caseworker had called her to let her know that both he and Keishun would now be available for adoption and would she like to take them both. She already had 4 kids, but decided that yes, they would take Keishun, who was 15. My friend wanted me to help her find a home for Terrance. I quizzed her briefly about him, I had heard her talk about him for years so I knew a little bit already, and I told her that I would draft a letter to our church and see if anyone there would be interested. Once I hung up the phone with her I couldn’t stop thinking about him. The weaknesses that he had were our strengths. The strengths that he had lined up with our values. He seemed like a perfect fit for our family. So I told my husband. And my husband said, “Let’s do it”. One month later, Terrance moved in to our home and changed our lives for the better.
                I had never, ever, ever thought about adopting an older child. Never had it ever crossed my mind. I’m actually glad I had never thought about it because I might would have talked myself out of it. But when I met him for the first time my heart said, “that’s my boy”. He has been my boy for 4 years and for 4 years I have delighted in him. Remember how I said that those foster babies changed me. Well, Terrance has changed me. He changed me so deeply that my husband and I made a commitment to only grow our family through adoption from this day forward. We took surgical efforts to assure this would be so.
                So now it is 2016. We have three sons: 2 bio and 1 adopted. There is a piece to our story that has yet to have been discussed and that is the piece that includes Hannah. Hannah is a child that my husband and I have talked about since before we were even parents. Hannah is an idea. She doesn not yet exist. At least I don’t think so. Hannah has always been our hoped for daughter who has a special need that we are deeply attracted to. The “Hannah” in our minds has Down syndrome. We both love people who have Down syndrome. I don’t know why we love them so much. We don’t have a person in our family with Down syndrome. Neither of us have ever had a close friend that has Down syndrome, but we love people with Down syndrome and because of that we want to raise one. We want a daughter who has Down syndrome. God placed this desire in my heart a decade ago and I have talked about her for as long as I can remember. All of our friends know about our desire for Hannah. We’ve talked about Hannah with everyone we know. We’ve always known that we would have a Hannah “some day” and that “some day” has arrived.
                We are actively seeking to adopt a daughter who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. I have been asking the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His for the past 5 years and my heart is broken for people who abort their babies and for babies who are aborted. We want her because the world says she is not fit to live. In fact, that belief is so strong that over 90% of babies who get the Down syndrome diagnosis get aborted. Let that fact sink in. Over 90% get aborted! They never get their chance at life on earth. And we as a people group never get the chance to know them. The world says people with Down syndrome are a burden, but I believe children are a blessing from the Lord and that the highest calling on my life is to have a quiver full of them. Hannah is worthy of life and I can prove that because God is going to create her. He will knit her together in her mother’s womb and she will be perfect.

                So your question was, “How has God led you to adopt?” and my answer is that He has placed a very specific desire in my heart and I have carried that desire around for 10 years and now my heart is just about to explode with the waiting of that desire to be fulfilled. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Tubs for Adam

Adam is my busy boy, the busiest boy I've ever had. Therefore, I have to keep his tubs fresh and fun or else he quickly looses interest. This proves to be a challenge for me because I have four kids and lesson planning for my older two take top priority. However, as often as I can I rotate toys and make new tubs for Adam and when I do it makes for a wonderful learning experience for him.
Adam loves to DO. He likes to move around, play games that involve action, and have lots of activities on hand. He generally does one thing for a maximum of 4 minutes so if I'm going to sit and play with him for 20 minutes we need at least 4-5 games. I love this about him because I never get bored either.
Here are the tubs he has out for this Monday morning:
What Shall I Eat?
This tub has three little tong animals that all like a certain food. Their food is buried in the yard "tub of grass" and he has to pick out their favorite food. The squirrel has almonds, the frog has plastic flies, and the rabbit has orange pipe cleaners (carrots). This is such a great workout for his hands and is really fun for his animal loving self. He loves to make the rabbit grab a bug and then spit it out. Laughter helps this tub last a lot longer than 4 minutes.
 Snowball FLIGHT
Here is his action tub. His job is to squirt air onto the snowball and push it across the room. It is a workout! His little hands can't squeeze for very long, but the challenge of getting the snowball to a certain destination helps him persevere. He loves the reward of clapping and cheering once he gets it to the right place and it spurs him on to do it again and again.
 Build a Snowman
He did not like this tub. It was boring to him and he didn't quite get the point. But he did it with me because he's obedient and sweet. I think this will be more fun for him next year. He doesn't quite understand what a snowman is and therefore didn't really know where to put all the body parts. I'll pass this on to the 6 year old for now.
 Transferring Ice Cubes
He loves tongs. LOVES. TONGS. So every week I make sure he has something with tongs to play with. This week he is putting plastic ice cubes into a deviled egg plate. This is so great for his hands, plus we count as we go. We also practice little phrases like: "my turn", "your turn", "try again", "uh oh", etc. Adam doesn't say any real words yet so practicing these phrases is good for him and his speech.
 Cleaning up gave us the perfect opportunity to count to 24. We rarely get opportunities to count above ten because his attention won't last that long, but cleaning this game up and placing one cube at a time in the bag kept his attention long enough to reach 24.
 Sorting Shapes
I love Target's Dollar Spot. I just love it. Our new city has one tiny Target and that tiny Target has one stinky Dollar Spot, but this is an old favorite from years ago. He loves this sorting toy and almost always picks it to take with him to church on Sunday for a busy bag. I had it on his shelf this morning and he grabbed it first thing.
 This was our focused activity this morning. I had sticky notes with letters on them and he had to match them to his letter chart. Of course with him we have to add the action so I would hand him a letter, say the sound and word that matches that letter and then he would run around the run, slide down the slide and run over to place it on the board. Ha! Whatever works, right? We were able to practice about 10 letters before he tired of this and moved on to something else.
Telling the Story of Jesus
My goal for December was for all of my boys to be able to tell the story of Jesus' birth (well not the baby boy). I bought Adam this magnetic nativity set at Hobby Lobby and we've been practicing retelling the story. He's now to the point where he can put the magnets on the board while I tell the story.
Spelling His Name and Saying His Verses
This little chart is up in our playroom for Adam to practice putting the letters of his name in order. He also has two Bible verses that he's learning that stay on top. He can't say them, but he can do the motions for both. Eventually we will add another verse to his collection, but these have taken him a long time to learn. His brothers now know about 100 verses each so I know he'll be adding more soon.
His Morning List
This is Adam's morning list. His brothers get paid on Sunday for all the work they've done during the week and Adam has acted interested lately so we thought it would be fun to give him his own list. He gets a sticker for each thing that he does and then will get paid $1 on Sunday. His list includes: brushing his teeth, drinking a cup of water, giving the mouse her food, and bringing down the baby's bottle each morning. Simple, but fun for him. 
Here's hoping this week is a great learning week for my busy boy. I hardly post on this blog anymore, but I know how much I learn from other moms and the things they post so I like to share every now and then what I'm doing with my little learners.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Playing Lucky Ducks a.k.a Best Toddler Game Ever!

We have a game in our house that every baby, and I mean e.v.e.r.y baby has loved. It's called Lucky Ducks and it's nothing special other than it makes horribly loud quacking noises and little ducks spin around in a circle. However, when you mix in the skills of the genius Jeremy you have a doozy of a game.
Each little duck has a shape on the bottom of it. The rules in the game state that each player chooses a shape and if you pick a duck with your shape on it then you get to keep it. However, we don't play it like that.
 Jeremy planned out each shape to be a different activity: star is dance like a super star, circle is run around the circle in our house, triangle is kiss the mom, and square is usually something like bang your head in the couch, or throw a ball at the person next to you.  
 The boys adore this game and frankly so do I. I get kissed four times every game (because there are 4 triangles) and usually when one boy draws a triangle I get a kiss from everyone. It's great!
 Here's Adam running around the circle. Soooooo cute!
 Here they are dancing like a super star.
 Here he comes for a momma kiss :)
 And here they are, doing what Jeremy does best, playing games and making life fun.
Go play a game today. It's the best way to spend your time.