Friday, January 25, 2013

We have adopted domestically!

Adoption is something I always wanted to do. I have always had a heart for anyone or anything needing a home. I warned my hubby before we married that I wanted to adopt a special needs child later in life, after our own kids. He was OK with that. Little did he know, I met our future daughter just days after we were married. She was 2yrs old and went to school at the  special needs preschool where I worked. She had some environmental delays due to some drug exposure while in the womb.She had been in foster care since 9 months old and the judge was near to taking away parental rights. I called my husband and said, "Baby, there is this little girl you have to meet. She is up for adoption!" He said he would at least meet her but wasn't sure about the rest.

He came by one day during work. I had my class out to recess so he was waiting in the lobby for me. A therapist came by with LaMiracle, and, not even knowing who he was, she gave him a big hug. He was sold right away.

I called the local DSS agency and asked how to go about starting the process. I figured that we could go through the classes and the paperwork. If we didn't qualify, at least we would know what to expect for out future adoptions. I knew God would let us have her if it was His will. We started the process of a *high risk* foster to adopt. LaMiracle was not yet officially up for adoption because her parents still had rights. This was October 2006.

We went through all the paperwork and meetings but failed our fire inspection. We were renting at the time and the bedroom windows were not up to code. We contacted a realtor right away and began looking for an affordable house.

Through this entire process, I think we doubted we would get approved. We were young. Only married 3 months! Several people doubted we were making a good decision. We were so excited to get LaMiracle, but several people were worried we were taking on more than we could handle. I just knew that God would only let it happen if it was His will. Also, we had decided to go ahead and try to have a baby of our own since LaMiracle was already 2. We didn't want her to feel super alone. We found out we were pregnant in February 2007. The baby was due in October. We were counting on getting LaMiracle after the court date in June, so we hoped it would all work out perfectly.

When we finally found a house we liked and could afford, we moved forward with the purchase. However, the house was in a different county so the adoption had to be transferred. This meant that several bits of the adoption paperwork had to be redone. We were not too worried, but this pushed things back a couple of months, and I was due at the end of October.

October came and we got our approval. We were so excited and nervous at the same time. Our JJ ended up coming two weeks early on October 15th. We were happy new parents with a super fussy baby. Our case worker thought that maybe we should wait a few months for LaMiracle to move in. We insisted we would be fine and praise God we were. LaMiracle moved in on November 5, 2007. The court wanted us to foster for 6 months just in case we changed our mind with the new baby and all. That was fine, but I knew I wasn't quitting. My mom taught me better than that.

We were in love immediately. We had a lot of adjusting to do and so did LaMiracle. God had His hand in it though, and she was a trooper. To this day, I forget that we haven't had her since birth. She fit into our family so perfectly. We have so many good memories and look forward to the ones we will continue to make! Miracle, as we call her, loves her brother JJ.  They are best friends. She gets a lot of, "Why is your momma white?", questions, but they never slow her down.She just says, "I'm adopted", like...duh! She does have questions and I am always telling her the adoption story. When she asks why she's adopted...I just tell the truth: Your real momma loved you but couldn't take care of you. I wanted a little girl, and God saw fit to give me a Miracle!

Her first visit. She was 3yrs old! Grammy was up from Michigan to help us, and Miracle brought her favorite Halloween pumpkin!

June 2, 2008-Adoption Day- I had a horrible case of strep throat and spent the night before in the ER. It was still one of the best moments of my life!
Happy 8th Birthday!

Look at her now! Growing way to fast and loved so very, very much!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our new journey is about to begin!!

Hello Friends!

It has been a long time since a good update. I'm seriously slacking on the blogger train! I have been super busy and slightly distracted with helping my kids make some good memories during the last few days of summer break!

Tomorrow is a big day for us. I start professional development for my new teaching position!! God is so good. We finally got that miracle I have been in constant prayer for! God is so good! My kids are excited but anxious. Miracle is not ready to start school, and JJ is not too sure about heading back to Mrs. Dana's house while I work. He loves it there and has tons of fun....but he has gotten used to being with mommy. I'm super excited about the prospect of summers off though...and that will be what keeps us going throughout the school year!

I will try to update often! I hope you all have had a wonderful summer!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

For my Wonderful Dad

When I was little, I thought fathers day was special because I loved my dad, but I had no idea of how much he did for me in my young mind. I just knew he was pretty cool. As I get older and have my own kids now, I can look back in awe at the kind of dad God saw fit to give me. Boy did I put him through the ringer. Being the wild child that I was, I think I pushed every possible button and yet my dad remained calm. He did serve out punishments but never what I deserved.

My dad was always pretty busy with work. I hope he realizes what he taught us by his unfailing example of hard work and commitment. He lives his faith. He worked 40+ hours a week and still made sure we were in church whenever the doors were open. He did not just preach doing whats right, but he lived it. My dad's voice is a part of my conscience. I can always here him saying, "Holly, I don't think that's a good idea." or some other bit of advice that helps me to stay on the right path. He also unknowingly helps me with disciplining my own children. I look to his examples quite often. I do what my dad did. It's just as easy as that.

It must have been really hard for him to see me going down dangerous paths, but he was always there to give me a hug when I failed.....and a good grounding of course:) He supports me from afar, and I feel it every day. I love him more than I could ever say.

Dad, please know that every good and right decision that I make is because of your hard work and love that you put into me as I grew up. Psychologists say that your environment can be blamed for more than half of the way that you turn out. I'm proud to say that. God gave me the absolute best environment to grow up in. I want that for my kids in every way. They love their papa, and they look up to you like I do. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for loving me no matter what. Thank you for just being you!

I wish I could give you a big hug tomorrow, but I can't. Just know I will be sending one your way in spirit!

Happy Fathers Day to the best, best, best Father in the entire world!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Itch to remodel

Did you ever get an itch to remodel but have absolutely no extra money to put towards new furniture? Recently, I found myself in this boat. I'm trying to kinda get my house ready for selling 'just in case' the need arises. In doing this, I am trying to update our bedroom furniture. We recently updated my daughters room with a beautiful full set that my husband got for free off of a job he did. We got an awesome offer from a friend to get her old bedroom set for our bedroom which is wonderful because I have wanted a matching set FOREVER! So two of our three rooms are covered. My sons room had some pretty old looking, pressed wood furniture that I sold on craigslist for super cheap. He has bunkbeds that are perfectly fine but he needed a nice looking dresser. hubby and I had an older dresser in our room that we were going to get rid of because of our new 'used' set that is coming in. I decided to give that old dresser a makeover for JJ's room. It settled my itch for remodling for awhile, and it turned out SUPER well.

This is a picture of the drawers after the hardware was removed and they were sanded. It was a beautiful red cherry color but it was all dinged up needed a face lift. (This was another free piece of furniture so I felt I could not go wrong with trying to fix it up!) So I started sanding. It took FOREVER but was well worth it now that I can see the finished result. I'm sorry I did not get a picture of the dresser before I primed it.

Here is the dresser after the 2nd coat of spray primer. Being a complete newbie to sanding and painting, I took the easy way with the spray primer. It worked really well and was super easy to put on. After several coats of primer, I started with the paint. I went back and forth between painting the dresser black and white. In the end, I chose black because I thought it was better for a boy! As you can see in this picture, the dresser has some really hard to sand decorative sides. They were a pain! I did not use spray paint for the black. I just used some regular black semi-gloss and a good old fashioned paint brush.

This is a not so great picture of the finished product. It looks absolutely brand spanking new! JJ loves it and it looks much better than his old stuff. The awesome thing was that I used the money that I earned by selling his old stuff to by the materials needed to sand and paint. The dresser is missing two of the knobs on one drawer, but its done aside from that! What do you think??

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Early Mothers Day to the BEST mother in the world!

This post is dedicated to my mom. There are always times in life when a person wishes for something other than what they have. I have wished for straight hair instead of curly. I have wished for longer legs instead of short. I have wished for a louder personality...where I am never afraid to be who I am. I have wished for better clothes, more money, more stuff, a bigger house, a job, a different car, a different yard for my children, and many, many other things. It always hard for a human to be content. One thing I can say I have NEVER wished for is another mother. I was, after all, given the best one of them all. It was not until I had children of my own that I realized the extent of my own mothers sacrifice for me. She went without things for herself for so many years in order to put me through a private school and a private college. My dad helped, of course, but it was her passion to make it all happen. She gave of herself so much more than I feel I give to my kids. I try. I really do. I just never feel like I could be a mother like my mother was to me. I know she went through hard times. She had a rough upbringing which caused her a lot of pain as an adult. I hardly ever knew this as a kid though. She just had an amazing way of carrying on. She showed me what a mother should be like. She showed me Christ through her actions. When I first started college 800+ miles away from home, she gave me her personal Bible to take with me. I have held that Bible near and dear to my heart. It reminds me of her. It's marked pages remind me of her true love for the Lord which has always been a marvelous example to me. I cannot ever imagine losing her. I hope I never have to.

I love you mom. Thank you for being all that you are to me! Happy Mothers Day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In whom shall I place my trust?

Sometimes, I wish I could just start things over. Go back to my junior year of high school and make better choices and choose different directions. Sadly, then I probably wouldn't have my wonderful husband or my beautiful two children. That just wouldn't work. I may enjoy getting to do it over but then I would regret having given up my wonderful family.

Sometimes I think I should go back to just a few years back...before I became a stay at home mom. Maybe I should have just given into the pressures and went against my beliefs. Things would surely be different today. That is for sure. Sadly, then I would have to live with knowing that I had done less than my best. That won't work either.

Sometimes, I regret ever moving to SC. We left family and got into severe debt by going out on our own. That really would not have worked though. I would not have met my beautiful LaMiracle. She is such a perfect fit into our small but perfect life. I cannot imagine having not met her. She is now a permanent part of my heart. Staying in MI would definitely not have worked.

Aren't these horrid thoughts anyway? That's just me. I am a horrible, sinful person and that why we are going through these struggles in the first place. The world is sinful, and we all have to face those consequences in some ways. Some less than others.

The good thing is that I have God on my side. I can pray those thoughts away. I can read my bible and know that God is good. I have no idea why He allows families to go through struggles, why He allows children to die, why He has allowed cancer to run rampant, why He leads us in ways that I cannot understand. I do, however, know that God allows all of these things for a very perfect reason. After all, He is perfect. I also understand that every trial makes us stronger and draws us closer to Him if we trust Him. I choose to trust Him.

In reality, I wouldn't take any of it back. I wouldn't, couldn't change even one thing about where we are today. God's plans are not my plans. He has given me, my whole family really, so much. We have our health, and we are together. This roller coaster of life is completely scary and mind boggling, but He gave me the BEST people to enjoy the ride with! They even let me scream once in awhile when I'm scared out of my mind....or just plain cranky.

Thank you Lord for my family. Thank you for all that You have given us. I'm so sorry for every being ungrateful.

"As for me and my house, We will serve the Lord" Joshua 24:16

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

We had a WONDERFUL Easter! My kids had spring break the week before and my parents came all the way from Michigan to enjoy the fun week! We don't see them enough so every chance to see them is  made as fun as possible! We spent a lot of time just visiting. I love that I have a close family. It does my heart good to see all the cousins playing together and the adults visiting and laughing!

The kids colored 7 dozen eggs....WOW! It sounds like a lot but everybody had to take some home so we needed tons! Everybody had fun trying to be artistic for a few hours!
Earlier in the week, my parents van that they drove down started to have some issues. My dad had already put a large amount of money into fixing it up and was really upset to have another major part go out while they were close to 900mi away from home! After getting it into a mechanic down here and after much prayer, they decided that they would buy a new car. They had been planning to do so in the fall it all worked out OK! My mom was beyond happy to get her dream car! She raised five kids and almost always bought used....this is her first new car!!

On Sunday, we all got up and got ready for church. I, of course, had to snap a few family pictures. My kids have gotten so big! They both looked great in their new outfits!

After church, we headed to my sister Christy's house for a huge dinner and an Easter egg hunt! This is a picture of my wonderful family minus one brother in law. He had to work:(

I love, love these people. God has been so good to me in giving me this family! We had so much fun together and made lots of memories! Here are a few more of the family pictures...

The Splan Clan

All because two people fell in love!

After our big, wonderfully tasty dinner, the kids geared up for our big Easter egg hunt. They all got a ton of candy! The kids really enjoyed it!

Nana and Papa love to spoil the grand kids. They gave each kid a little bunny that could be stuffed with candy. It was pre-stuffed by Nana of course...with nothing but sugar:) The kids loved it!  Thank you Nana and Papa!

All in all, it was a great week! We were all sad to see it come to an end! In all of our celebrating, we all took the time to remember the wonder of the day. He is risen! Our wonderful Savior! Praise the Lord for His wonderful gift to us!

I hope you all had a pleasant Easter too!