Long time no talk

Our beautiful new house in Timberwood Park

My fingers are rusty.  It was very strange to sign in to my blog this morning.  It has been entirely too long!  Seems most of my writing has been in my personal diary and I have completely neglected my blog 🙁
Life is crazy these days and God is working wonders.  Some days we pinch ourselves because life is moving at super speed!!  Many of my friends and loyal readers of my “journey” that is life have asked about the adoption, our house, etc so here is the 411 🙂

Adoption:  We were moving through the adoption process at record timing getting all of the paperwork, medical exams and all of the other fun that adoption entails done.
Speed bump…. we took my mom to a neurologist in February to have a more intensive exam done on her for her Alzheimer’s and a MRI.  The neurologist concluded that mom needed to make a move sooner rather than later.  Either with us, or into a more controlled environment (assisted living.)  Ahh!  Well, after many hours of discussion the hubs and I decided we could not possibly build our house soon enough to get her settled so we sadly sold our Spring Branch land back to the developers 🙁  We then decided that finding a house was our fastest option and the house hunting began…
Since we knew we were going to move soon we stopped the adoption process because there was no need to do the home study part twice and pay all the money to do it again in a new home.  We are hoping to start again in the next few months once we get settled.

Mom:  Mom seemed to be getting worse for a while, but then strangely started getting a bit better.  Remembering the day of the week, being more social and now she has decided she does not want to move in with us.  Super news because we close on the house next week!  (sarcasm)
At some point she will not have a choice on what makes her happy, I know that, but if she can still do most everything on her own my thoughts are to let her stay in the retirement community for a while longer.  I have been reading a ton of books on Alzheimer’s and care taking in general and I just wish there were some sort of guidelines on what to do, but there are not.  Basically I am just going to have to time it right, so she doesn’t hurt herself or burn down her apartment.  Lord help us.

Our new house:  Is amazing!  After a few months of trying to find the perfect place we were getting frustrated.  We couldn’t find anything with a mother in law suite that we loved and in the area of town that we wanted to be in.  The last month or so we just focused on anything and everything for sale in the neighborhood that we wanted:  Timberwood Park.  We were determined!  And we finally found it!  It doesn’t have a house for mom yet, but there is plenty of space to do it and it should only take a few months to build.  It is over an 1/2 an acre and the lot next door is for sale and both lots together are over an acre 🙂  We will probably purchase that lot somewhere down the line.  There are beautiful old oak trees on the property that I picture our kids swinging from.  It is HUGE with 5 bedrooms and a game room that comes with a pool table (Chris’s favorite part.)  The funny thing is that when everyone see’s the house they say how big it is for just the two of us!  My thoughts are…”If you build it, they (children) will come.”  We couldn’t be happier or more proud to finally be HOMEOWNERS!!  Closing is next week and we hope to be moved in at the beginning of August.

Even though life has been a bit crazy and un predictable these days we are grateful and Praise God for it all!  We are excited about moving on to another chapter in our life 🙂
I pray that all of you are well and have had a wonderful summer!

Blessings,
Tk

Travelin’ Tarah

I am honestly disappointed with myself that I did not have one post for the month of March!  One of the goals I had for 2012 was to have a post at least 4 times each month.
Booo…..
I do have a great excuse though!  After next week is over I will be able to say that I have traveled to Los Angeles, New York City, Charleston and San Francisco in 7 weeks!  I also attended a life changing 4 day women’s retreat with our church in New Braunfels.  Another three day weekend I had my favorite business training of the year in San Marcos,TX. This event has catapulted our organization and God is doing wonders in all of our lives!

Am I Crazy?… yes!  Blessed to have the opportunity to do this kind of travel?…A HUGE YES!!!

During this short amount of time I have also attended two baby showers and four of our other friends have had babies! To the Marion’s.. I apologize with all of my heart that I haven’t met your beautiful triplets yet, our precious little Lauren Miller… I can’t wait to meet little Tucker, and Beautiful Erica Casas.. Carter is absolutely perfect! I hope each one of you know what important women you are to me and I can’t wait to meet your bundle of joys!!!! Audra and Jeff.. glad I did get to meet sweet Alivia and change that dirty diaper for you 🙂 I will continue to pray for wisdom, peace and sleep in each one of your lives 🙂

Quite a few people have also been asking me about the adoption process this past month. It is going… but slowly. Before I started doing all of the travel I was on a mission of getting things done as quickly as possible to keep the process at a fast pace. That quickly stopped with the massive amount of time being away from home and the news I got a few weeks ago via email. While I was in NYC there was a conference call for the Ethiopia program. I did put a reminder in my phone, but completely forgot 🙁  A few hours later I got an email that was an overview of the call. Not good news. The program is experiencing some slowdowns because of the African Embassy. This is something that no one can control. Our wait time has now increased to 2- 2/12 years for our son.  Needless to say, I was not in a super mood the rest of that day in New York and was extremely frustrated and upset. What does this mean for us? We haven’t even finished all of the paperwork to even get on that list for the 2- 2 1/2 year wait time!! My husband and I are unsure of what our next step will be as far as deciding if we want a child sooner than that, but we are still pursuing our adoption from Africa. It may take us 4 years, but we will not give up!!

And the MOST exciting news in the past two months is that we bought land this past weekend!! Yes, my husband and I officially own over an acre of Texas soil 🙂 GOD IS SO GOOD! We were considering some different options since my mom is getting worse by the month, but this was unexpected so soon! We came across a deal and couldn’t pass it up. Our land backs up to a 13 acre park that will have nature trails, children’s play set, basketball courts, etc. and we are a 2 minute drive from our neighborhoods private access to the Guadalupe River. WOW! I am still pinching myself. 🙂 No real timeline set as to when we will start building our home, but we are praying for 2013.

2012 is turning out to be one of the most amazing years of our marriage thus far and only fitting for our 5th year as husband and wife. 🙂  We haven’t gone without some struggles of course, but those struggles are preparing us for what God has in store for our lives in the future.  I am so very thankful to not only the Lord who makes ALL things possible, but also for our business. Living life on your own terms and doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, with enough resources to do it, is why I do what I do with USANA. Watching our team mates grow into successful leaders of not only their peers, but in their homes as well is so very precious.  Seeing peoples massive health transformations are just icing on the cake!  Now that Dr. Oz has officially partnered with our company, the future is getting brighter by the day. 🙂
The day that I signed up into the business of network marketing it didn’t have on the dotted line… “you will get more out of others success, than your own!!” What a Blessing!  I am so grateful that 6 years ago my husband didn’t listen to what everyone else thought about our industry and started building our legacy.

I pray this post finds all of my readers well, and I am going to attempt to do more posts with pictures on each one of my trips. LA is actually already written, but I never posted it 🙂
Have a very Blessed week,
Tk

Harder than expected…

I have thought about writing a post this past week (or at least post my pictures from my trip to LA), but can’t seem to get my thoughts together. I have been writing more and more in my personal journal. I am brutally honest on this blog, but some things just need to be voiced to myself.  Writing seems to keep my head straight. Things with my mom are getting confusing and we are having to think about the future more than ever before. And the adoption is at a standstill… it really is harder than I expected.

As the days and weeks go by in this process of adopting our son I am quickly learning that not a lot of people adopt from other countries because frankly…it is HARD!!!  Adoption itself is such a challenging and stressfull adventure and I now have a new found respect for ANYONE who has ever adopted and you really should too. In the USA or elsewhere the paperwork, time, patience and love for a child who is unknown is such a beautiful and honorable thing to glorify Him.

When we made the decision last month to adopt I assumed that it would all be a seamless process and we would fly through it faster than anyone before us, and do it with ease. Not the case. We were so excited about the decision, the announcement to our friends and family, the “public” announcement and then reality hit me with a ton of bricks. My post “Direction” from a few weeks ago documents my some of my frustration. Once we got the Home Study paperwork… (and don’t you worry, its a COMPLETELY different than our dossier that we send to Africa)… I freaked.
Wednesday after a swift kick in the butt from one of my girlfriends, I started diving into everything that needs to be done. We have a 10 hour online class to complete, 6 books EACH to read, Copies of our insurance, Drivers Licences, Social Security cards, marriage license, rental agreement for our house, life insurance policy, employment verification, 1040 from last year, physicals for both of us and MANY more things to do and sign. Then a social worker comes to our house for 4 visits and writes a 20 page paper on us. Not including the $2,500 we have to pay.  Wow, do we really have to do all of this to be parents?
 Part of my heart still aches that we weren’t able to have our own biological child yet and get pregnant and have those exciting parts of life that comes with expecting a child. Our journey of becoming parents is now much more challenging. I am confident that the Lord has put this in our hearts for a reason, and I pray He continues to give me strength and tenacity to keep doing the steps needed to bring our son home from Aftrica.

I have also found that even though last month I felt the emptiness of not having our own child had been filled by adopting, it has not. My heart still sinks when I get on facebook and find out yet another friend has gotten pregnant ( I need to stop getting on there), I still want to cry at baby showers and frankly I just long to be pregnant. Sometimes the pain and frustration wells up inside of me so deep that I just want to scream. Why not me!!??

The women’s church retreat that I signed up for is only two weeks away and I know I need it more than ever. I need continuious reminding that I can’t do anything in life alone and the only way to fill my aching heart completely is with Jesus.

Direction

Sometimes I slow down enough to really soak up where I am at this point in my life and get totally and utterly overwhelmed.  I know this is a normal occurrence of any woman this day and age, but I got to a point today where I just wanted to run… far away, from it all.

Mom is not doing any better and it seems the medication is doing absolutely no good.  I am still getting the 6x/day phone calls regarding the same thing.  And now calls almost daily of her crying over something that is not an issue.  It is so heart wrenching to see your mother so powerless and not in control of her mind.  Now my husband and I are going to really have to talk about what the future looks like for us.  Does it involve my mom living with us in another house where we have  a MIL suite?  Or do we start to research facilities that can care for her?  Seriously… when did I become a grown up and how do I go backwards?  Her follow up doctor appointment is tomorrow and I am praying he can help us because I know we both need it.  I am also going to push for the PET scan of her brain.  The intensity of her memory loss so quickly is really making me wonder.

We did get great adoption news on Friday as we were assigned our Family Coordinator.  She will be by our side the entire adoption process and now the “paper chase” of the adoption officially begins.  Sadly, I am now totally overwhelmed by it all.
Friday when I got the welcome email from the FC with all of the attachments on information of the documents needed, money totals, etc I started crying.  I wish I had the words to even explain how intense this process is about to be.  Then today, we were contacted by the state in which we do our home study process (totally different thing) with and we have a lot of the same paperwork to do for them, the in home visits and quite a bit of money to them as well.  Lord help me.
Then I found the “unofficial” waiting list with our agency and even if we got our home study and dossier done and mailed in tomorrow with $10,000 (not possible) we would be 77th in line.  Sadness.  I have read quite a few blogs in the past few weeks of families going through this process, but until you are in the middle of everything, you have no idea how it actually feels.  All of this, just to be parents of some sweet orphan boy in Africa.  Today I even asked Chris if he really wanted to go through with this, because I am just so overwhelmed.

I will be asking the Lord for direction and strength this week.  I know He has us on this path for a reason, but it is going to be one very hard journey.

“Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”  Isaiah 40:28,29 NIV

Also, I ask all of my friends/family that keep up with my musings on here to stay tuned on a fundraiser we will hopefully be launching in the next week or so.  Our plan is to get the paperwork and large amount of money in as soon as we can, so we can get on that very long list to wait, as soon as possible.  He will provide.

Here’s to a great week,
Tk

The beginning of our “Paper” Pregnancy

A few weeks ago we attended an adoption seminar that ended up fueling our desire to adopt a child into over drive. I remember one of the incredible mothers that spoke who called her adoption process a “paper pregnancy.”  Wow. I had never thought of it that way.
Granted, it may be a bit longer than 9 months until we hold his precious body in our arms for the first time, I won’t have all those pesky pregnancy symptoms and I can still have a glass of wine…  but just like any other new parents to be, we are now officially preparing for our son to come home. <3

Yesterday afternoon we got the official call that we have been accepted into the adoption agency! How exciting!  It really did have the same energy as finding out your pregnant!  Praise God!  A million things have been making my mind spin.  Names, nursery ideas, you name it…my noggin hasn’t slowed a bit  🙂
With this pregnancy we will also have a total shake down! It is strange to think that once we get our paperwork done and sent off that our whole lives will be recorded in a 20 page document that will be sent to Africa.   Weird. Yet, so wonderful at the same time.  Our trips to Africa will be an adventure for my husband and I, with the second trip bringing home our son 🙂
This adoption process is still very foreign to us, but I am determined to move as quickly as they will let me.   When we got the official email yesterday it took me an hour to sign, scan, email back 5 documents and send our first online payment.  Think I’m excited?

 I have already started to ask God to help me with patience because I am prepared (at least I think I am) for the waiting to be the hardest part.  Waiting for the paperwork to clear, waiting on the African Embassy to approve us… waiting to finally bring our son home. 
Of course finding the finances will also be interesting, but we know that the Lord will provide.  God funds what he favors 🙂  I have already started tossing around a few fundraising ideas these past few days. We have had such an amazing out pour of love and support for this adoption and many people have said they want to be part of bringing our little angel home!   Isn’t that amazing?!!  Thinking of a raffle, garage sale, t shirts…
Anyone have any great ideas??

This three year journey of becoming parents has taught me about faith and my relationship with Christ.  No matter how angry I have become at Him at what we have had to endure to make this dream of being parents a reality, He always seems to draw me closer.  I am learning that true faith in God comes in the hard times, the times where you want nothing more than to rebel and try it all on your own. 
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

We are so excited for this new journey and hope you will follow along as we experience the joy of adoption.  And maybe even inspire you or someone you know to do the same 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend friends,
Tk

God’s Plan

Last Thursday morning I felt in complete control of my life. I finally had an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for my mom and our next in vitro cycle was scheduled for next week. It’s amazing how The Lord has a way of changing things. 🙂

By Thursday afternoon I sadly realized that my mom had over dosed on her new meds and had taken all 6 doses (of two different new medications) in one day. Holy jeeze… Wasn’t expecting that one. Thankfully she will be ok, but I am now at the point of having to bring in a nurse each night, a machine to help with dosing or I go over every evening to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I am still not done with care for my mom just because we have a diagnosis. There is still lots of work to be done….(gotta love those learning moments)
Also, by Thursday night we were both in agreement of not starting our 2nd in vitro cycle next week!! Or going further with any more infertility treatments.  Sounds crazy I know, but God has put a new journey in our hearts.

Drumroll please…..

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY STARTED PAPERWORK TO ADOPT AN ORPHAN SON FROM ETHIOPIA !!!

I can’t explain the joy that both of us feel to make this decision! We went to an incredible adoption seminar Thursday night with America World Adoption (www.awaa.org), an international Christian adoption agency. We hadn’t even made it out of the building afterwards before we each knew that this was God’s plan for us :). It’s amazing how the part of my heart that was broken, yearning for our own biological child has already been filled with love as we are already praying for our new baby (who hasnt been born yet.)
This past weekend we have been letting our family and close friends know the great news and everyone is excited! Granted we have been asked hundreds of questions with the biggest one being…why Africa? I promise….I am committed to keeping every part of this exciting adventure of becoming parents via a “paper pregnancy” every step of the way on my blog :).  Hopefully my posts will convey why we feel so strongly about our decision to adopt Internationally.
Even with the mounds of paperwork, the long waiting (we are guessing it will take a year and a half until we actually bring him home) and the MASSIVE cost…we are elated! We also know that even though we will be making a better life for one of God’s beautiful children, he will be enriching our life in more ways than we can even imagine :). The thought of our two trips to Africa is also overwhelmingly exciting! The first trip we get to meet him and the second we will be bringing him home :).

As always, I thank all my readers for their thoughts, prayers and love! May you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Blessings,
Tk

At dinner Thursday night after we had officially made the decision to start the  adoption 🙂