Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ethiopia Photoshoot

The other day, Will and I decided to try on Israel's Ethiopian outfit that we got him in country. I'm glad we did because it fits him! I went ahead and put on my Ethiopian outfit (Will bought it on trip two- read here) for a few pictures. I'm usually the one behind the camera, so I'm proud of my hubby for snapping these! (And for my sis who used her fancy editing systems!).

We hope that Israel's whole life, he will have constant reminders of his Ethiopian heritage.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shout Out: Moorhouse Family

I am Shelly and my husband is Jeremy.  We are expecting our first child through international adoption from Bulgaria.  Our future son or daughter will be between 0 and 7 years old when we bring him or her home to be a part of our forever family.  Currently, we are working on completing our Dossier paperwork.  Although it is a true blessing, adoption is a long and expensive process. 

bulgaria map.jpg

We're so thankful to Rebekah for allowing us to post about a few opportunities we are offering to help raise funds for our adoption.  These fundraisers could even help you out as you contemplate your Christmas shopping this year.

1.  Topography Prints:  Our good friend, Kristen, has designed some beautiful and unique prints that she is selling at her online Etsy shop.  These prints feature popular Bible verses and song lyrics.  $5 from every print sold will be donated to support our adoption.  We invite you to check out her store.  These prints would look great framed in any home or office, and I can imagine there is someone on your shopping list who would love one!  Kristen also will take special requests if you don't see your favorite verse represented.   www.etsy.com/shop/insweetviolets

2.  Just Love Coffee:  We are also selling Just Love Coffee products this Fall.  For that coffee lover on your shopping list, Just Love Coffee would be the perfect gift.  In our coffee store, you will find many different varieties from all over the world!  JLC is a certified fair trade company, meaning that all of their workers in developing countries are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions.  The JCF coffees are also organic!  We receive approximately $5 for every bag of coffee sold to help support our adoption. 

3.  T-shirts:  We started selling Adoption Bug T-shirts this summer, but we will be continuing our sale until our home study is complete.  Our t-shirt store has 6 different styles to choose from, and there are many sizes and colors to choose from.  They are so soft and comfy!  We receive about 33% profit from each shirt sold from our online store.  If you haven't already purchased a shirt, we invite you to check out our store!  You might see a tee for someone on your shopping list!  www.adoptionbug.com/moorhouseadoption

We hope that this season you will consider shopping with a purpose.  Wouldn't it be cool to buy some of your Christmas gifts knowing that at the same time you are also helping a family adopt?!

Finally, there is one more BIG thing you can do to help us make these fundraisers a giant success: help us spread the word!  We ask you to consider sharing this post on your Facebook page or including a link on your own blog.   Here is a link to our blog as well: http://www.moorhousesonmission.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much for your support and prayers.  We hope you have a safe and blessed holiday season!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HH Newbie

Last year, on November 22, Hannah's Hope welcomed this sweet baby:

I'm so thankful for the love and care that the incredible Hannah's Hope staff gave our boy. And I wish I could just squeeze those chubby baby legs and kiss those tiny baby lips in that picture! I guess I'll go snuggle the big boy version right now... we still haven't caught up on that lost time ;).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Church Nursery

For the past month, we have started to attend nursery during church. Originally I had planned to bring Israel to the nursery when he could walk, so that he wouldn't have to be held by any workers. But after many discussions with our pediatrician and therapists, we were encouraged to go ahead and begin so that Israel can have some social interaction and maybe learn from his peers.

Honestly, this has been a hard transition for me. I have stayed with Israel all three times we've gone (we missed one Sunday because we went to the other site of our multi-site church). I really like his teachers, and it is nice to see my friends' kiddos who are in the class with him. However, it is hard to see where Israel stands developmentally and not compare. I've had a few emotional moments in that classroom.

I think this is a good step for us, even though it is hard. I don't know when I ever would have been "ready" afterall. I think part of me figured I would just put him in nursery when the next baby needed to be strapped in the Ergo for church, haha (we're not expecting).

So for now, we're attending nursery together, then I take him with me to the second worship service. I end up putting him in the Ergo, where he falls asleep for a good bit (inevitably waking up before the service is over) and I do my best to participate in the worship. I'm thankful that people have been so gracious to me and no one has complained about his noises. (Sidenote: read a great blog about being a mom and going to church, read that here).

I'm also standing by my decision to keep Israel close. Although he's been home six months, I don't feel like now is the time to separate from him during his time at nursery. I know he would become upset (because the other day I was out of sight and he had a major breakdown!) and I don't want him to have to process his emotions without me yet. I want to be there for him when he's upset- after all that is what the whole cocooning and attachment process is about. It isn't a 3 month thing, its a lifetime commitment and right now my commitment to my son means that I'm sticking close to him. He's just a baby, and I have one shot to do this right.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family Mini-Vacation

Recently we took a mini vacation to the Georgia mountains. My aunt and uncle own an adorable trailer on a campground and they are so generous to let others use it (background: my grandparents owned it throughout my childhood, I spent many summer weeks there!).

We went up on a Thursday afternoon and came back on Saturday, so it was brief but perfect. We spent most of the time reading on the porch and listening to the creek, but we also took a little trip into Helen and Cleveland. We spent the majority of the weekend with a cup of coffee in hand and pjs on: which is just the way I like it.

Cabbage Patch Hospital



I'm so thankful that we were able to get away, unplug, and enjoy each other. I love our little family unit and I'm so in love with my husband and precious baby. God is so good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shout Out: Kautzi Family Update

The Kautzi family has an exciting update! Check it out: 
"Hello again!  Thanks to Will and Rebekah for featuring us again - we have some exciting changes in the works that we wanted to share with everyone!  We began our adoption paperwork for our Ethiopian adoption in June of 2011.  After more than a year pursuing our Ethiopian adoption, we found our circumstances changing as the wait for Ethiopia continued to get longer.  When we began our paperwork, the wait was 7-10 months.  By the time our paperwork was done the wait was 2 years, and then a month ago, our agency informed us that we should expect to wait FOUR years for a referral!  As our circumstances changed, we also felt our hearts opening to new things.    After much research and prayer, we have decided to begin the process of adopting a child with special needs from China concurrently with our Ethiopian adoption!  Our hope is to bring home our sweet Chinese baby as we continue to wait for our Ethiopian small one.  

Because of the nature of special needs adoptions, (ie, no wait for a referral) we will need to raise the funds needed to complete our adoption - around $30,000 - very quickly.  If I'm honest, we're a bit overwhelmed by this, but we know from experience that we serve a God who has a habit of making a way where there is no way!  Here's how you can help:

We currently have several fundraisers going on.  The first is a raffle to give away an American Girl Doll!  You can purchase a virtual raffle ticket through a PayPal button on our blog.  For $10, you get one ticket, for $25 you get three tickets!  Once the payment has been received, we will email you your virtual raffle ticket.  The raffle is open for the month of November ONLY.  Using Random.org, we will choose the winner on December 1st - perfect timing for Christmas!  If you win, we will contact you and you may choose which American Girl Doll you would like and we will have her shipped directly to your house!  For more information, please check out our blog!

The other fundraisers are on-going fundraisers.  We have t-shirts in several designs that were donated to us by friends who used to own a t-shirt business.  The tees are $15 each or 2 for $20.  They are printed on American Apparel tees so they are super soft and comfy. :)  We also have a puzzle for which you can sponsor a piece for $10 each.  We'll write your name on the back and send you a thank you with a photo of your sponsored piece.

Thanks for visiting our blog and considering being a part of how God makes a way for our sweet Chinese baby to come home!

Kelsey, Eric and Lila Kautzi"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thirteen Months Old!

Dear Israel,

Today you are thirteen months old!

This month you finally met your great-grandparents, Grandma and Granddad Cagle. We took several quick trips this month: to Opelika twice, to Montgomery for a wedding, and to North Georgia for family vacation! You even visited the Auburn University campus two times during our trips! It was a lot of traveling and being out of your routine, but you handled it really well and you have continued to be the best baby ever!

You had a lot of doctor visits this month and it was hard on all of us! One new result is that you have glasses now! The moment we put them on your head, you lit up and just started clapping and smiling. It was so precious to see you finally have sight! You are farsighted and your glasses are absolutely adorable on you. You don't try to take them off unless they are twisted or have fallen down a bit (like when you're in the car seat or high chair). The other day you were wearing a plaid shirt and someone said you look just like your daddy now! I agree :).

We're still doing physical therapy, but we decided to cut back to one time per week at the office, and still having 2 times per month with the in-home PT. With your new eyesight, we have noticed that you are playing more with your toys and are even reaching out to get them when they are out of reach. You're also gaining a lot of strength in your muscles, and you are able to stand longer and will push up on your arms more. We started to go to nursery at church and you are enjoying your new friends! Mommy stays with you during nursery, and then you sleep in the Ergo during the service.

You are SO silly. You make the best faces and you love to laugh. Sometimes you will look in the mirror and just giggle. You also think it is hilarious when we drop something on purpose, or when your dad pretends to get hurt. You kick your legs SO much when you're in your high chair, and almost every meal you kick off your shoes because you do it so hard. When you're trying to get attention, you will dip your head low, peer over your glasses and stick out your tongue. It is hilarious. When you know someone has finally seen it, you will grin big and then continue to do it over again.

You have said "mama" and "dada" for a little while, but your really only say Mama when you're trying to get out of the crib or you're upset. You very consistently repeat "dada" back to your dad. You're also making a lot of other noises and sometimes I think you're really trying to communicate! You've never been a quiet kid, but I think you have become even more noisy lately. You're always making sounds.

Sleeping has continued to go well. There have been nights that you have slept for almost 12 hours! You have had some weird napping schedules lately, but this past week you slept for about 2 hours in the afternoon almost every day! I felt like I needed to keep checking on you to make sure you were ok, because you usually nap 35-45 minutes! We might be ready to lose the morning nap soon. We tried it one day and you took a really good afternoon nap. I will say, I miss you so much when you take your long naps! Although it is amazing what I can get done in 2 hours. When you're in the crib and you're not asleep yet (like naptimes when you haven't fallen asleep, or in the morning when we haven't gotten you out of bed), you will kick the mattress to make it shake, and you do it so hard that if we are downstairs the ceiling shakes! You have continued to use your new self-soothing skills to put yourself back to sleep at night and during your afternoon nap.

You are growing so much! You're still skinny but that is not for lack of eating! You will eat pretty much anything, but you still make faces if it is something new. You will hold food in your mouth when you don't know what it is and we have to convince you to swallow. You are drinking whole milk now and get three bottles a day. You drink water for snack time and at meals (no juice yet). We upgraded your car seat from the infant carrier to the bigger seat, and you're still facing backwards. We went to the fire department for them to install it, and you were such a ham for all of the firefighters.

This month we had a call with our AGCI post adoption coordinator, and she affirmed us with where we were regarding attachment. She said you were showing positive signs because you constantly check in with us, especially if there are new people around. Although you are an extrovert, you prefer to be in our arms and get upset if a stranger holds you. You make great eye contact and you are a great snuggler! You have now been with us six months! We are so thankful.

We are absolutely in love with you baby boy. We are so proud of you.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crazy Cocoon Giveaway Winner & Discount Code!

Thanks to those of you who entered the giveaway for a new design makeover from the Crazy Cocoon!

 The winner is......................


Also, my bff Leigh hooked my readers up with a great discount! Until next Sunday, 11/28, use phrase "YESTOADOPTION" in your email to Leigh about getting a blog design, and you will receive a 15% discount! Check out the Facebook page "The Crazy Cocoon" for more updates!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Quick Trip to Nana & Papa's

A few weeks ago I made a last-minute trip to Opelika (two hours south) because Israel needed to meet his great-grandparents! We were there just around 24 hours as they were passing through town.

We enjoyed a good visit with my grandparents and they were thoroughly smitten with their newest grandson! Israel showed off his many tricks for them, and he even let them get in some good snuggles.

After they got on the road, my mom, Israel, my brother, and I spent the afternoon picking pecans in the backyard! Israel was mainly just excited to be outside!

Three full bags!

We headed home the next day, feeling refreshed and thankful to live so close to family!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Israel's Baby Dedication

On Sunday, October 7th, since our family was in town anyway for Israel's birthday party, we had Israel's baby dedication at our church.


Our church does "baby dedication" where the parents commit to the church that we will do our best to raise Israel in a way that teaches him about Christ and salvation, and the church vows to support us in our ministry to our son. This tradition also says that we acknowledge that Israel is a gift and we thus give the Lord the glory and right to do what He wills in Israel's life. (Just because we did this, however, does not mean that Israel will definitely become a Christian- that is something the Lord must do in Israel's life. We just promise to teach Israel about the Lord and we pray that God will draw Israel to Himself.)

I've already written about how Israel's birth family has been heavy on my heart on the weeks surrounding his birth. The whole time we were getting ready to have Israel dedicated to the Lord, I couldn't help but think about his birth family and what an honor it is to dedicate Israel back to God. I felt like Hannah in 1 Samuel when she prays desperately for a child, and before she even gets pregnant, she acknowledges that if she ever does, that the child would be God's. That is how we feel about our son Israel. In fact, that is why we named him Israel! Naming our son Israel was our promise that we are committed to him, and we are going to be faithful to him just as God is faithful with us. I thought about Israel's name and his heritage so much as we led up to the dedication "ceremony."

Every night we pray that Israel will love the Lord and know God for himself. We trust God's faithfulness and pray that God will continue to be glorified through Israel's life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blog Design GIVEAWAY!

If you've come over to my blog since I posted about my recent update, you've seen the amazing work my bff Leigh did on our new design. She has been busy doing design updates for others and I'm so proud of her and her new business, the Crazy Cocoon!

One amazing part of her new business is that she is going to dedicate 15% of her profits to another adoptive family. For the next three months that family is our close friends Les & Prudence! (Les and Prudence go to our church, and are adopting older siblings from Ukraine).

Leigh's blog design is very affordable and is customizable to your needs. Check out the list of services on her website!

But here's the exciting news! One lucky reader is going to get a blog makeover for FREE! Here's how:

Mandatory Entry:
"Like" the Crazy Cocoon on Facebook (if you don't have Facebook, comment that you don't).

Additional Entries:
Tweet About the Giveaway - 1 Entry
Facebook about the Giveaway - 1 Entry
Blog About the Giveaway - 5 Entries!

Comment here about what you did. Winner will be drawn later this Sunday, November 11! Don't miss out on a FREE blog makeover!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Home Six Months!

Six months ago we landed in the Atlanta airport with our son. We were so nervous and excited! Our crash course in parenting at the Riviera Hotel in Addis Ababa was nothing compared to "real life" but we were thankful that we already knew a few things about our son.

Here's a little list of things we've seen God do in the last six months:
  • Israel was a bobble head and now has excellent head control!
  • He couldn't sit up and would only be happy on his back- now he sits up!
  • He hated tummy time, it was a victory to do it for 5 minutes, and most of the time his head was on the floor; now he will look around and even enjoys it!
  • Israel had never had any baby food and was on soy formula. He transitioned to baby food and now table food; he went from "low lactose" formula to whole milk! 
  • Sometimes he now holds his bottle, and he drinks out of his sippy cup!
  • He used to gag over new foods, now he will eat things easily.
  • Israel would have gone to ANYONE in those first days. Now he really only happy as long as mom & dad are in sight, and he doesn't like it when strangers touch him. 
  • He was up in the middle of the night for HOURS at a time, and would scream and cry because he was upset. He continued to wake up several times a night for months, and now he practically sleeps through the night! 
  • The first month he ONLY napped in the Ergo carrier; now he still takes the occasional Ergo nap but he also naps in his crib!
  • He wouldn't put any pressure on his feet; now he stands with assistance!
  • He wouldn't grab, hold, or touch toys. Now he will reach for toys, bang on toys, and grip them! He even started to bang toys together!
  • He had a huge bald spot on the back of his very flat head; now his head is rounding out more and he only has one tiny bald patch. 
  • He sat in a carseat for the first time; now he has upgraded to a "big boy" carseat because he outgrew the infant carrier!
  • He's gained almost 5 pounds, and grown 4 inches. 
  • He has met all of his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (which is a BIG crew!). 
  • He has been through many tests (CT scan, lumbar puncture, visions and hearing screenings, numerous blood, urine, and stool samples). We're thankful for accessible health care!
  • He has been in physical therapy for 3 months.
  • He now has three teeth!

  • He has become increasingly louder and spunkier; his little personality continues to bloom and we definitely have an extrovert on our hands!

Israel- first night at home

Home six months!

We're so thankful for an amazing six months with our son. He has been a complete blessing to us we are thankful for all of the little miracles God has done in Israel's life. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bullet Point Catch-Up

I'm a bit behind on blogging- there's a lot of posts in my head but not on my computer, arg! So here are some updates; because the reality is there is not enough time to give everything a proper post. :)

  • New Blog Design! If you're reading this on a google reader type of thing, please come over to my actual blog and see the AMAZING new design by my bff Leigh! She has a new blog design business and she is crazy talented (and inexpensive! and it supports adoptions!). So check out her blog design site here
  •  Rooted in Love! My home party was so fun! Laura is such a precious friend and I'm so excited about her new ministry. It was fun having an afternoon with my girl friends, sharing some yummy sweets and checking out the amazing products.
    Rooted in Love Party with Laura
  •  Stuff People Say to Transracial Families. Please check out this HILARIOUS video. I laughed because I have heard SO many of these things. 
  • New Game. So, my MIL gave us an inflatable Bozo, and I'm afraid to admit that Israel has not been the one enjoying it. Will and I have made a game out of it by hiding it and trying o scare each other. Favorite spots: in the shower, closet, waiting for you when you get out of the shower, in the car when you look in the rear view mirror, etc. It never gets old. 
  • Our friends are adopting! Our close friends (and coworker of Will) just announced that they are adopting from Ethiopia! We are SO thrilled to have another adoptive family in our community. They have a super cute blog you should check out. They are really saving their pennies so they can apply by Christmas. If you feel led, please consider supporting them so they can begin their process!   
  • Great Wedding Weekend! Our friends from college were married recently. We had a wonderful time at the wedding and I even got to take a mini-trip into Auburn to introduce Israel to his future stomping grounds ;). I think he loved it.  

  •  We ran a 5k! Remember this post? Well, I'm glad to say that I finished the "couch to five k" program and ran a race! During normal runs, I pushed Israel in a Bob jogging stroller. On the day of the race, Will pushed him and it was amazing the difference! I ran under my goal time and didn't get passed ONCE! Woo hoo!
  • First Football Game! We took Israel to the JSU college football game. Israel met the mascot, Cocky, and Israel loved the band! He was so happy the whole time!

  • Physical therapy update: We just cut back a little on our physical therapy, and we only have a few weeks left at the office that we go to (we will still have in-home PT twice per month). We've seen a lot of improvements! We've also had a lot of doctor visits yesterday, which is no fun for anyone.  We've also received a few more tools to use at home, so we stay busy trying to keep up with everything we need to do.
Thanks for reading! Life is busy, and God is faithful!
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