Sunday, May 31, 2015

Avery's Baptism!

God is so good!  He has really been working on our little family this year. I'm not sure if I have shared this before, but Avery was the one who first prayed for a sister (with a different skin color) in our home. God used her to encourage us to adopt a daughter from China and she has been one of our biggest supporters on this journey.

God has really worked in Avery's heart the past year. She has a huge heart for others! And loves God with all that she is. About 3 months ago she prayed alone in her room for God to live in her heart and be her Savior. Brad and I were so proud (even though this had nothing to do with us and all with God). Early in May she came to us asking to be baptized. We were shocked! Not because she doesn't love Jesus, but because she is so young. But we meet with the Children's Pastor at Fellowship and he said despite her young age, she was ready.

So this morning we are proud to announce that our sweet daughter Avery Reese was baptized into Christ's family!!!

She had a wonderful turnout of family, friends, and teachers supporting her.

Papa & Mimi

Mrs. Neff & Mrs. Hart 
(Avery's kindergarten teachers)


(photo bomb courtesy of Hudson)

(Avery's best friend)

Jack & Cooper Jordan

(Avery's classmate)

Brad speaking about Avery and her decision to accept Christ

Washed Clean!!!

So proud of these two!

Mrs. Williams
(Avery's Pre-K teacher)

All of the people that showed up have been a wonderful influence on Avery's life and helped her to this wonderful place. Thank you all for loving on our sweet girl, for showing her God's love daily and for supporting her today.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Adoption Update

When I first began this blog about 5 years ago, I wanted a catchy name for our blog. I wanted something meaningful and a name that represented our family. So I decided upon a play on our last name and a word that defines our lives....Love. So that is how I came up with "Love for Miles" our blog name. But the other day I was thinking about our adoption and how God is taking us on this incredible journey around the world in order to complete our family; miles and miles away from Arkansas and from our comfort zone. And that got me thinking about our blog name and that we are literally "Love for Miles". God has such a funny sense of humor and insight into our future!

We have recently received some great news on the adoption! We have been approved by Homeland Security to bring a Chinese daughter into the country! We were initially told this would be a 3-6 month process. Just like everything else on this journey so far, things have happened much quicker. It took maybe 2 months! This is one more item to check off our Dossier to China checklist.

Our other exciting news.....we have been approved for a $3000 matching grant from our church Fellowship Bible Church as well as LifeSong for Orphans! So what does this mean? It means we are asking you, our friends and family to help us reach our goal. They will match donations made on our behalf up to $3000 for a total of $6000 towards our adoption costs. Our goal to raise this money is June 30th. So we are asking you to pray for us as we continue to work to bring our daughter home and pray that we can raise this money.  We are also asking you to please consider making a tax deductible donation to help us meet this matching grant and cover the remaining $25,000 adoption expenses to bring our daughter home.

I have added a PayPal button to our blog just for donation purposes. Thank you for joining us and your continued support on our journey!


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Adoption Thoughts

Brad and I are still pushing on with the adoption paperwork for our Dossier. As we are completing our adoption classes, we are learning a lot about the Chinese culture as well as what to expect once we meet our daughter and bring her home. The more we push forward, the more real our journey becomes. There are many days when I'm frightened about the road ahead and what the future holds for us. Adding a new child to your family is scary and exciting any way you go about it, but I believe international adoption brings different challenges. She will be accustomed to hearing Mandarin nursery rhymes rather than English ones, she will be accustomed to seeing Chinese eyes looking back at her rather than mine, she will be accustomed to Chinese cuisine rather than macaroni and cheese. As silly as it may seem, these are just a few of the things that frighten me.

But....God is my God and he is her God! I know that we have His unending love in common and that alone is enough to bring us together as a family. As frightened as I am at times, I know that God put us on this journey for a reason. So faith will keep me going, despite my (silly) fears.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easter and Spring Time

We are really enjoying the warmer, sunnier weather spring has brought. The kids have had a couple of issues with allergies, but overall we have enjoyed the wonderful spring weather. The weekend of Easter was so much fun at our house.

This year was the first time went attended our church's Good Friday service. It was so moving! I was brought to tears listening and remembering the details of the greatest sacrifice of love and it was all for me. Jesus is so good! It really set the tone of this great weekend celebrating Jesus.

Avery Reese wanted to try soccer this year. Our church offers the Upward Soccer program which focuses on the techniques and general rules of the game, but also focuses on God. This will be Avery's first team sport; we are all excited to learn about soccer. So her first game was the Saturday of Easter weekend. She did great!! She was not afraid to get in there with the boys and get rough. And to top it off she scored a goal! She loved every minute of the game; we are so proud of her.

Look at Avery taking the ball away from those boys!

After her soccer game, a friend of ours decided to host a Easter egg hunt at her neighborhood park for her kids, us and another friend. It was simple and so much fun.

These are our adorable egg hunters ready to score big candy!

Hudson's basket is bigger than him.

I love their innocence.

Easter morning was such a joy! The kids had fun discovering the treasures in their Easter baskets. The Easter bunny always brings my kids new swimsuits. This year Avery received a Frozen phone case and Hudson got a Ninja Turtle watch and of course they received a few sweet treats. 

Avery's basket

Hudson's basket

Her checks are rosy and wind burned from her soccer game

He loves his watch!

We hosted a small Easter lunch at our house. Brad's mom and brother came. We had a wonderful time with family enjoying Jesus' resurrection!

Hudson was hungry and wasn't really in the mood to pose for more photos.

Avery and her Mama (and KC)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February......What?!?! (Christmas 2014 and Adoption Update)

So....apparently its already mid-February and I haven't posted about Christmas yet. How did the time get away from me?  I will say that December was super busy and crazy at our house other than the Christmas parties, shopping, and family gatherings. We were able to spend time with all three sets of grandparents and we still managed to be home Christmas morning. (Success in my book!)

These two kids make me so happy! (Aren't they just adorable?)

Avery is a girly-girl like me and loves jewelry, so one of her favorite gifts this Christmas was a monogrammed necklace from her Mama

I have lost count of how many big trucks Hudson has and somehow our family members seem to find ones he doesn't even own yet

A tradition at our house is not only leaving Santa milk and cookies, but making sure the reindeer also receive a treat. Here are the kids sprinkling the yard with reindeer food left by our elf, Charlie.

Christmas morning was such a magical one this year. Both Avery and Hudson were so excited and very grateful for each gift. ( I hope they never outgrow the coordinating pj phase).

The Ninja Turtle action figure was all Brad and I must admit I was skeptical, but the look on this boy's face says it all!

Avery was so excited to receive an old iPhone to use for music and selfies!

Aside from all the glories of Christmas, we were also in the midst of completing our home study during the month of December. Initially, we were told the home study process could take from 3-6 months time. So after many months of gathering important documents, filling out extensive applications we sent in our home study dossier right before Thanksgiving. I expected us to wait awhile before we were given the thumbs up to begin the process; I mean it took me several months to complete all the paperwork, surely it would take the agency awhile to sort through it all.....right? Nope!

We received a call about a week later stating we had a social worker and to call her to schedule our first meeting. So I thought, okay no big deal. I believe I called her on a Friday afternoon and we had our first home study visit scheduled for the following week.  She would come to our house for a couple of hours to interview us as well as inspect our home. I was surprisingly calm and not overly OCD about the cleanliness and tidiness of our house; so instinctively Brad thought something was wrong with me.  We immediately loved our social worker as she was very relatable and sweet (not sure what I expected). Our first visit was easy and completed!

The very next week we met for our second meeting, which again was easy and smooth. Our third and final meeting would include Avery and Hudson, which made me nervous. We scheduled it the first week of Christmas break when everyone would be home. The kids were sweet and on their best behavior (God is good)! So other than a couple of minor things our home study was finished in 3 weeks!! WHAT?!?!  So naturally, I assumed that with the Christmas holiday in 3 days it would be awhile before we heard anything from the agency. We put it on the back burner and enjoyed Christmas with our families.

Unexpectedly, I received an email on December 31, 2014 stating that our home study was not only complete but approved! WHAT?!?! And this email was being sent from our international agency, not our local one. What a wonderful gift to end the year! We have been so blessed thus far on this journey, we know that God has been with us each step. So now we are completing more paperwork for our Chinese dossier, finishing parenting classes and awaiting USCIS approval. We have also begun to think about fundraising and how we are going to bring our daughter home.

So I guess that's why its February and I'm just now blogging about Christmas.....

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Avery Reese turns 6....WHAT!?!?

I still can't believe my baby girl (who I just brought home from the hospital the other day) is 6! She is my favorite 6 year old; she is loving, serious, playful, sassy, and kind. Her love for Christ is so awesome. Just the other day my parents asked her what her favorite present was; do you know what she said? Christ dying on the cross for her! Is she 6 or 26?

She really wanted a Frozen ice skating birthday party.....but she doesn't know how to ice skate; so we opted for a gymnastics party. She had so much fun celebrating with her friends. One thing about this little girl is she loves her friends!

What a fun group of girls!

Happy Birthday Avery Reese, we love you!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Our Thanksgiving tradition is to alternate whose family we spend Thanksgiving with. Both families are unique in their traditions and I love these experiences and the memories with my kids and Brad. So this year was our turn to visit my family in Rogers. It is always fun to see my parents, my sisters, and my nieces and nephew. (I also try to sneak in some girl time with my best friends).

For the past several years, I have participated in the NWA Turkey Trot 5k.....alone, since I am the only runner in the family. Well, I changed things this year! I recruited my husband, my youngest sister and her husband. We had a blast and burned some calories for that extra piece of pie.

2014 Turkey Trotters

Thanksgiving is my mom's favorite holiday! It is one of the reasons I love to visit her during this season. She enjoys cooking the (entire) meal and hosting family and friends. It is such a happy time to be back home.

My mom, my sister youngest sister Katie and her husband Nate

Both of my kids adore mashed potatoes (not sure where they get that)

Unlike our neighborhood, my parents live in an established area with big trees and my kids thought it was so much fun to play in the leaves. I just love this picture; it captures pure joy and their innocence. 

Our elf "Charlie" always shows up the weekend after Thanksgiving, so this year we had to smuggle him to my parents for a special arrival. Hudson just loves trains (wooden trains, electric trains, train books and especially the Polar Express movie). Branson puts on a production just like the Polar Express movie so we knew we just had to take the kids. So that morning Charlie brought the kids Christmas pjs and train tickets! They were ecstatic!

Meeting the conductor

Surprise visit from Santa. Hudson sat on Grandpa's lap almost the entire ride.

It was such a neat adventure!

What a wonderful weekend with family and friends (and train rides).