"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Soccer Days!

Oh, how I love soccer... Little one's playing soccer is rather a sight though :)

My kids were easy to spot- they were the one's usually upside down on their heads or turning cartwheels...

The Stars!

 And they're off!

 Oh,oh...will the sister score on the brother?
 Bring it on!
 Victory walk
The fans :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I cant make mommy friends clip ;)

Definatly got me laughing out loud...maybe because of a few mommy conversations I've had myself...too funny!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

School Days

School:  One month down...8 more to go. 
This past month we did a unit study on India, Mozart, and Van Gough.  India was the fave.

 we did mapping
 learned about the art of Henna painting, read many Indian Chilren's Classic Tales,

 learned about their holidays and then decieded to celebrate one of them :)
 Diwali is in October and the most favored holiday in India- celebrating light overcoming darkness.  We celebrated w/ an Indian meal including a delicious Diwali rice pudding :)

 Last month Sova -Grace started Piano lessons, Jacob is continuing on w/ violin.  We took a year off of dance to try soccer-and Sova and Caleb are on the same team.
 Nature Club has started back up...Jacob is working on a picture study of a mushroom :)
Here's my little kindergarten'er!  He's doing great!  Im so happy w/ our start to the year- I feel like we already did so much...what to do next- hmmm. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

'Rainy Season' : closed till October

August is the beginning of the "rainy season" in Ethiopia and the courts actually close and will stay closed for about 2 months.  At the end of September the courts re-open but they are typically a bit back logged from their break.  This isn't effecting us too much seeing how we don't even have a child referral....once you have a child referral you wait for a court date.  

We are still #4...and I'm feeling like how Caleb felt in the picture above- he wanted something really bad  - but he had to wait.

This wait is very hard.  It's hard to explain but it truly feels like someone is missing from our family.  Even when we are out and about w/ the kids and doing a quick 'kid count' making sure everyone really left the park and got in the car - I'm Always feeling like someone's missing- it's really weird.  

As I start preparing for this new school year w/ the kids I'm sad that there will not be a 4th 'student' at the kitchen table this fall. 
It's very frustrating to be on the waiting end when we know there are millions of children in need of a family.  Getting their paperwork ready is a very long and detailed process (and apparently quite slow.)  And like I mentioned before, our agency works w/ small orphanages- one question I Never thought of asking them when it came down to choosing an agency!  (lesson learned)

Normally while we wait I would be putting all of this stressful energy into organizing/ simplifying/ streamlining our home BUT the fact that we hope to move this fall is actually making me Not want to do anything in the house!  (my thought- why rearrange and organize it if it's hopefully going to be packed up in boxes this fall- correct?) 

It's time to remind myself that God's timing is best...and to rest in knowing that He is ultimately the one in control of these things.  In the mean time I plan on doing an in depth country study on Ethiopia w/ the kids for geography.  I'm excited to learn more about Ethiopia, practice cooking some food (spicy stews- lots of onions & turmeric) buy a hair braiding book, learn some Amharic phrases, and then hmmm well maybe GO!!!  (note the few bonus's of homeschooling...Im choosing to cover what I need to learn all while teaching the kids, having fun and preparing for their little sister's arrival...I love it!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#4 ?!?! :)

Got some exciting news :)
We jumped about 25 numbers and there are now only 3 families in front of us waiting to be matched w/ a child!
How is this possible?  Well...we just didnt want to wait!
 Ya see, if we stayed on the 'baby' list then we were told we could possibly have to wait another year for a refferal.  There is a whole new system going on in Ethiopia now and they are slower than ever...this is all new to the ethiopian adoption world and so w/ these new regulations and all the agencies have no trends so go by to give us realistic timeframes. 
It's all new.  Soooo...we didnt feel to good about that. 
We started to think about increasing our age request- and the more we thought about it...the better it sounded!  It's funny- we had that baby 'itch' but yet we were very much enjoying our new found freedom of having 'older' kids.  (think:  reading a book on the beach...for the 1st time in several years!)  Then we thought of 'starting all over' and the big difference in ages the kids will have (it's really nice having them being so close in age now- they are all into the same stuff!)

So like I said, the more we thought about increasing our age request- the more excited we got...
 There are only 3 other families (w/ our agency) open to a child over 3 right now.
Our new age request is:  0-3
It's possible to still get matched w/ a baby but way more likely now to be matched w/ a 2 or 3 year old. 
And we couldnt be happier!!! 

Now the new timeline:  with only 3 families before us open to children that age it sounds like it wouldnt take any time BUT  the courts in ethiopia take a 2 MONTH summer recess in August and September = there wont be much going on.
  Also, alot of other families who are in front of us on the list may also change their mind and increase their age range too...bumping us back a bit (and there are 30 families in front of us.)
  The orpahanges that our agency works w/ are kind of small too.

So again- they have no idea what to tell us...hopefully this fall, most likely by Christmas, possible to go into the new year. 

Before, the wait was annoying because we were so far up the list.
Now, the wait is exciting because we have no idea when we can get the infamous phone call.
I am preparing myself emotionaly that this too can take long...but giddy w/ excitement that if really may not be much longer! 

Now this seems more real to us and we are praying like crazy for this little girl across the ocean, for her safety & protection, for the healing of her broken little heart & spirit, and for Jesus to hold her in His arms until He brings us to her.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Faith...this is our Word of the Year and the word for this adoption journey and most likely our daughter's middle name :)

I am writing in awe of God's provision for us.  Exactly one year ago is when we decieded to adopt again- knowing very well that we do not have more than a few bucks to put to what God has told us to do! 
It was a leap of faith that we had no idea what would look like.

Sooo we started w/ lowly tagsale- that took on a whole life of it's own.  Once we got the word out- that we were collecting items for an adoption benefit tagsale, we ended up w/ our basement and garage stacked full to the brim- walking aisles only!  We had to do 2 weekends for the tagsale because of the mass quantity.  Yes, I have already written on how insane those weeks were but hey- $3,500 for a tagsale!  (initial fee paid)
6 months later- a Pasta Dinner Benefit at church.  This was actually fun.  It was pretty easy with not even too much planning involved. We had some good raffles donated.  Yes, we had several people helping us but it did'nt take a whole army.  One night of fun raised $3,500...scored the 2nd fee's.

There are tons of adoption grants that you can find.  We only applied to one of them...and we recieved a $3,500 grant from Steven Curtis Chapmans Ministry 'Show Hope.'  (http://www.showhope.org/)

An awesome friend of ours wanted to do something for us, so her small group at her church held an Artsy type of talent show/coffee house one night and raised $1,000!

We sent letters to friends and family making them aware of our adoption journey and we recieved donations through this as well.

When possible, Michael took on certain jobs at work that he would claim ahead of time in his head as, 'adoption money.'  We also 'ebayed' some of the better items from the tagsale and set up a really simple shirt and coffee fundraiser online.

So recap:  tagsale, pasta dinner, grant, donations from friends and family= yeah, a bit of work, some time and planning, stepping outside our comfort zone but... 

it is so worth it!
This process has greatly increased our Faith, it has brought more awareness to the need of adoption, it served as life lessons to our children- they have different mind sets. 

Most importanly, I love how this is a real testimony from God that he truly does provide.  He takes care of the details.  I cant believe that one year ago we set off on this journey with nothing and here we are...the adoption is almost paid for.  We only need $5,000.  I smile even writing this...
I follow so many others adoption blogs and journeys and there really is a miraculous thread that runs through financing adoptions.  Adoption is God's heart,  if you partner with God's heart do you not think that he will provide? 

Amy say's it in a moving way here...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

March: #45

In December when we finnaly made it on WACAP's  wait list we were #55.

We slowly crawled down the line a bit and in March, we became #45.
I hate seeing those high numbers but hey, it's progress right??

It sounds quite strange to be on a 'waiting' list to adopt when their are Millions of children out there needing familes.  We didnt have to do this w/ our 1st adoption and frankly....Im sure glad we didnt have to! 
Our adoption agency (WACAP) only has 2 orphanges right now (a 3rd is in the works) and that means only a certain # of beds available.  As soon as 1 child leaves another child is brought in from one of the in-country orphanges. 

There has been alot going on in the Ethiopian adoption world this year.  There is 1 judge who signs off on all of the inter-country adoptions and she will be lowering her case load per day.  If there are delays, slow downs and bottle necks in the courts over there- then it keeps the children waiting longer in their orphanges and it keep this mama waiting for a refferal!

We were expecting to get a refferal this fall and travel to Ethiopia by Christmas.  It's too early to really say, but I think that we may have to re-adjust our timelines...
WACAP will not be officially changing their timeframes until the fall- it is too early to project delays but Im pretty sure we are being put back at couple months...
We just have to sit back and hold on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thank you! (pasta dinner benefit)

Im a little late here posting about the sucess of the pasta dinner benefit...but what a night!
I cant believe how smooth and actually 'easy' that was :)  I did a lot of needless worrying I must confess.  I dont like organizing events- I become a bit too focused and think too much about it.
Jacob and I spent the whole day at the church setting up and making it look good. 
We could not have pulled this off w/out the help of sooo many, once again.  We owe so much thanks to all who helped out...especially the amazing Miano's who cooked up their delicious homemade sauce and were a God send in the kitchen to us!
There were some really great raffles and  last minute Don put together an adoption DVD that streamed all evening- video clips of us meeting Sova-Grace for the 1st time and some really great adoption videos I found off youtube. 
We were really hoping to share our vision and God's call to adoption that night and I'm pretty sure that was successful...
We raised $3500 in one evening and are feeling so greatful and blessed by everyones's generosity.
Thanks to all who came out...it was a great night!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pasta Dinner Benefit

On Friday March 25, we will be having an Adoption Benefit Pasta Dinner.
It starts at 5pm and goes till whenever.  I'm actually really looking forward to it :)  It's gonna be fun!
We're pulling together some really great raffles too!
 We are looking forward to hanging out w/ everyone...we'd love it if you joined us!

Faith Living Church                    Friday March 25, 2011    5pm- ?
20 Grove Street                           Food, Fun & Friends
Planstville, CT                            

(*tickets will be sold at the door- suggested dontation is $15 adults, $5 children)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Glimpse

 Most orphans that are adopted come from 2 orphanages.  That was the case w/ Sova Grace and I recently found out that even though we are adopting a baby- this will be her case too. 
 As traumatizing as it is to move a child from the only 'home' she's known to a new 'home'- it is a good sign that that child is getting closer to having a family. 
Sova was in her 1st orphanage from birth till 3 years- but that orphange was not licensed for international adoptions, so once no one from India came forward to adopt her- she was moved a few hours away to a larger orphanage that was able to do international adoptions, where she stayed one more year. 

Now for Ethiopia- once a child is brought to an orphanage they will stay there until a family signs papers stating that they plan on adopting that child (referral papers- hopefully by this fall for us! )
As soon as that child is 'matched' with a family then that child will move to (in our agency's case) a smaller orphanage which our agency (WACAP) calls the 'WACAP House.'  The children there will all be adopted out through our adoption agency within 2-4 months...so it's a pretty short stay.  There are usually only 18-24 children there at a time.  Once a bed empties...another child will get the chance to move one step closer to having a family.
Families that have traveled before say moving the child to the WACAP house is a very good move...usually better care than the government run homes.  So here's a little glimpse of the 'WACAP HOUSE.'

It's pretty surreal to see these pics knowing that within the year we will be walking through these gates to our daughter...

It seems like a lifetime away right now!  Oh please Lord, hurry things up!

side note:  the courts in Ethiopia have been pretty stagnant...there is literally ONE judge that handles EVERYSINGLE adoption case!  Completely nuts...there is alot going on there right now concerning adoptions so things are slow.  Surprisingly our agency still stands on the same timeframes that they gave us.  They reassure us saying that things happen in waves and batches over there.  Praying hard for some type of movement!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Driving on a long car trip Jacob drew this picture in the back seat.
It says "I love you" with the a picture of 4 children holding hands- signed Jacob, Sova and Caleb
and baby
Oh pure sweetness...I will save this picture forever...she's already born in his heart.

We plan on bringing Jacob with us to Ethiopia on one of the trips (we have to go twice!)
I found him at the table with our globe- he was drawing the country of Ethiopia with a cross in the center.  He then labeled the country and wrote,
 'I Love TFT'  'Love Brother'
TFT are the 'possible' initials of the baby IF we end up changing her name (making her Ethiopian name her middle name- but we are ahead of ourselves in this dept anyways!)
Jacob Loves a certain name- regardless of the choice, once again...he's gonna be a great big brother!

Sova has pictures from Jacob in her Life Book that he made for her while we were waiting for her.
Whenever he talked about her he would say, "baby Sova." 
 So funny considering they are 13 months apart!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Day in the Life

My good friend over @ http://www.simplehomeschool.net/ wants to see some 'days in the life of...'
Well here it goes:  A week in the Turner's Homeschool
(2nd grader, 1st grader and a pre-K'er...using Sonlight Curriculm w/ a bunch of add in's)

 I would love to tell you that I rise at 5:20 am to go to the gym (like I actually used to do!) but right now I'm allowing myself to  sleep in till 7:30am- yes I am awoken by the children...I realy dont like it that way but that's just the way it's been going (ok...I've gotten in the bad habit of staying up too late! Im working on fixing that problem:)

7- 7:30am- kids wake up, wake eachother up, crawl into my bed and tell me to get up :)
 while I get ready and make breakfast and very strong coffee, they watch PBS kids.

Breakfast/ Read-a -louds
Once Breakfast is on the table and coffee is inhaled I call them in to eat and start our day.
 While they are seated and eating I know I have their full attention so this is actually where I get a good chunk of our 'schooling' done. 
We go over our scripture verse of the week, I read them a passage out of their children's Bible and then a piece of children's poetry.  For history we are reading a book on missionaries- I read that to them and then a page of Osborne Time Traveler's.  By this time the 4 year old has had enough and I let him leave the table but the older two stay for one more read aloud.  That would be a chapter out of our current 'chapter book' ('Dr. Dolittle' right now)

When breakfast and read-a-louds are done, I clean up the kitchen and the kids get dressed and brushed.

4 and 6 yr. old are then able to play the leapster, take turns on a phonics computer game, or just free-play- while 7yr. old practices his violin for 15 min. with me.

When violin is done 7yr old is then free- while I call in 4 yr old to do phonics with me on the bed,
  we then go to the table to learn to write letters, numbers, shapes, mazes, and other pre-K types of fun stuff.  This only takes 10-15 total.

Now on Mondays- I would show a Science dvd and then read a science book and do a science activity/ experiment.

On Tuesdays- we look at an Art book and then do some type of art lesson or craft

Once a week I still leave open to actaully go out and do something- like a playdate, a museum, library, appts, or claim it as a 'stay home day' when the morning routine is done and they are playing good together I just let them play until lunch- other times when they seem bored I start them on their individual  afternoon school work early.

Again, I take advantage of the fact that their mouths are full of food and they are quiet and I will read either their chapter book, science or history while they are eating lunch. 

After lunch 4 yr old goes down for a nap.

 I work with 6 yr. old at the table while 7yr. old reads his book on the couch for 15 min. and then is free to use computer. 

6 yr old at table still needs me w/ her...she does phonics/reads to me, then math, a little Language arts instruction, handwritng, copy work, and a couple pages out of a 1st grade work book.

6yr old then naps or plays in her room quietlty

7 yr old then comes to the table.
He does his 'independent work' while I make tea, pick up the house and get dinner prepped if needed.  He does math, cursive workbook, and copywork by himself.  I check it and then we have tea & a snack together. (maybe my favorite part of the day?)
 I then do spelling with him, Language arts instuction, and go over money & time. 
He is very focused and can whiz through it all except language arts....he doesnt like to write and get creative- so that is where I spend most of my time w/ him. 

By 3:30 the other kids are up and they have a snack.
 I put on 'Liberty Kids' (history movie) or let them pick out a DVD or play Wii while I check mail and emails (ok maybe FB too.) 

Tuesdays we go to Ballet/ grochery store @ 4:15 otherwise I will start dinner and again....clean up the house.

Thursdays- I try to cram all of the above into the AM only- which is do-able if I skip
4 yr old pre-K and Language arts w/ older kids.
 6 yr old goes to weekly occupational therapy in the afternoon and then 7 yr old goes to violin lessons.

Fridays- I do just the basics - reading , math, maybe copywork...after lunch we go to our weekly Homeschool Group from 1-3 (60 something kids!  It's a really fun group:)

Once a month the kids go to a homeschooler's Nature Club on Mon. afternoons
 and 7yr old goes to a Homeschooler's Lego Club ( how fun does that sound!) on the 1st Friday AM of every month.

Sometimes I feel like I'm running on a treadmill all day (without the benefit of calorie buring) and worry that Im not giving my children the best...and other days I look around (sometimes I have to look hard through the forts and mess) and can litteraly be brought to tears by the joy I find in raising these kids and teaching them to learn, create and love. 
As crazy as it can get, I still want to freeze these days in time...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dear Friends and Family Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

“A father of the fatherless…God sets the solitary in families…” - Psalms 68:5,6

Some of you know we have felt called and directed by God to adopt a child from Ethiopia into our family. We are adopting a little girl, and will be matched with a specific child in the next several months, then travel toEthiopia to bring her home!  Ethiopia is a country with 5 million orphans in the land 1/2 the size of Texas.  That's 1 in 9 children, and of those children- 1 out of 6 don't ever make it to their 1st Birthday.

Some of you are probably wondering what has prompted us to adopt again. Well, primarily, we’ve felt so clearly directed by God to adopt, and we also desire to give an orphan child a family that she probably won’t otherwise have. Our daughter Sova, came home from India at age 4 and she still talks about the orphanage, the other children, and some really heartbreaking questions. "Why did you take so long to come get me...I was waiting and waiting for you." Watching her flourish is amazing but is a constant reminder to us of all the other children left behind. We know we alone can't put a dent in the orphan crisis but we can make a difference to one. Adoption is a strong passion placed upon our hearts and amazingly even our children's heats. We have heard, "mom, we have more room, we need more kids, I will share my bed!" "we should knock down this house and build a bigger one for more orphans."

The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to another child, but it is in finding the finances to make this happen. We know that God is leading us once again to adopt and believe He is bigger than finances, so we are truly relying on faith that God will provide. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, home study, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc. to be $20,000 - that’s certainly money we don’t have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. By God’s grace we’ve been able to pay the initial $6,500. We held a large scale tagsale this fall that brought in $3,500! We also set up 2 fundraisers on our family blog - we are selling adoption t-shirts and fair-trade coffee. Our children initiated collecting spare change and after 4 months they were able to donate $40 towards bringing home their sister! They are decorating cans for anyone who would like a 'brining home baby' coin jar...they are very excited about this. As you can see nothing is to small (like saving cans!)...little by little we will get there!

If you are interested in taking part in this journey with us there are two ways you can help:

1. Prayer – Please pray God would tenderly care for this child until we are able to bring her home, that God would prepare our children for the upcoming changes to our family, and that God will give us wisdom, discernment, and insight as we raise this child.

2. Financial support - Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us pay the remaining $13,000 in adoption expenses to bring our daughter home?

Lifesong (www.lifesongfororphans.org) has graciously set up a fundraising account for us to raise adoption funds. If you would like to help bring our daughter home, you can send your tax-deductible gift to the address below. Lifesong is a trusted and will pay our adoption expenses out of funds received.

1. Please make checks payable to: 'Lifesong' You should preference how the donation might be used by writing “preference Turner #1618 Adoption” in the memo section of your check.

2. Mail checks to:

Lifesong for Orphans
Att: Turner # 1618 Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Thank you for considering us in your giving this year.

Sincerely Grateful,

Michael, Jill,
Jacob, Sova-Grace & Caleb Turner

Please Contact us w/ any questions....Thanks!