Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Introducing Our Daughter...

Today is our little girl's half-birthday. Kate is officially 3 and 1/2 years old. I can't tell you how difficult it is to watch the months pass by as she continues to grow up without us. As much as we wish we could be celebrating this milestone with our daughter (since we have missed all 3 of her actual birthdays), we did want to at least mark the day by sharing something special.



About a month after we were matched with our daughter, we received some additional photos of our beautiful little girl. This is a rare gift that we did not know we would be blessed with. Many families only get their referral photo when adopting internationally, but our sweet Kate is at a wonderful, well-staffed, Catholic orphanage, and they document the children's lives with both photos and reports. So we are blessed to have a few priceless photos of her from 20 days old, until now. It is hard to watch her grow up in these pictures, knowing that we have missed so much... but at the same time it is such a gift to be able to see how beautiful she was at each precious stage of her life!


So today, on her half-birthday, we would like to introduce you to our daughter...




[We still are not allowed to publicly share photos of our daughter, so this is a password protected video. If you are a family member or friend, you are welcome to contact us for the password. We ask that those with the password please do not post this link on social media, or share the password with strangers. Thank you for understanding!]

The song you'll hear while watching is one that is very near and dear to our hearts. We have thought of "Mine to Love" by Dave Barnes as "Kate's Song" since we first heard it live at one of his concerts several years ago. To be able to see her photos set to this song after so many years of waiting is a very special thing. We hope you enjoy the song, and the photos of our beautiful little girl! Please continue to pray for a miracle of August travel dates. We are so anxious to hold her in our arms!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The In-Between

A few months ago, God started whispering to my heart that we would be traveling to get our daughter in August. Not one to keep good news to myself - I started by sharing it with my husband, and then my brother and sister-in-law. Then after we got matched, I shared it with the world via my blog (and literally every person who has asked about our adoption in person!)

Well - now I've gone and done it. I heard a word from God... a word that will require a crazy miracle... and then I spoke it out loud (like a crazy person). Now here I am in the in-between. I've got my word... but I don't have a miracle yet. And let me tell you... the in-between is a very uncomfortable place to be.

You start out in this place in full FAITH - while the voice of God still feels almost as if it were audible. You do faith-full things... like buy clothes, plan baby showers, and start working on a room. You might even turn down a job or two for the Fall (because you are convinced you'll be traveling in August of course!)

And then time passes... and 5 Adoption Board Meetings happen without your approval. And you start to doubt. And you start to wonder. And you start to feel the fear set in.... "What if this doesn't happen?! What if I was wrong? What will people think if we don't travel in August? What if they think I'm crazy?"



Sometimes I forget that you have to FIGHT to be FAITH-FULL. It's an active thing, this "taking every thought captive" sort of life. I let myself feel guilty and ashamed for those fleeting doubts recently, until I re-read an old journal entry I wrote several years ago (just after we started our adoption) about Phil 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In that journal entry, I wrote about how guard is a verb. It's something that happens actively - not passively. This leads me to believe that doubt is a pretty normal thing (just part of a broken world I think)... and usually, it manifests as logic (because operating in faith has always seemed foolish to the world!) but God uses His peace to actively guard our hearts. Which means He is always at work - always on the job! We just have to be willing to listen.

I have seen God show up on hard days in this "in-between" lately, with specific truths to guard my heart. At just the right time, the right verse will pop up into my mind or show up on social media. On just the right day, God will give me a song that will encourage me.

But even with the encouraging verses and songs, it's easy to think I should fill this time doing things that will help bring Kate home. Somedays I wonder if I should be fasting... or fervently, tearfully praying (all day every day). I wonder if this will somehow be my fault (did I pray enough?!) if we don't get travel dates in August. But then I think about how I didn't ask God for August... I felt like He told me August on His own. So why would I beg Him to do something He's already said He would do? After all, Hosea 6:6 says God desires mercy (relationship) not sacrifice. And do I really think that I can control whether or not Kate comes home? (Do I really think I have that much power?) Or do I need to trust that God is in control - not me?

This realization helped me see that a lot of this "in-between" time is best spent learning to trust Him more. If I know God loves me, then why can't I trust Him?

I was talking to my husband about it all recently - in light of how we want Kate to love and trust us. I told him...
"If I took Kate to school one morning, and told her that we would get ice cream after, then I would want her to trust that I would do what I said (because she knows I love her). I would hope that she would spend the day excited about the treat waiting for her after school... never doubting it would happen. I would *not* however, want her to worry, or stress, or be fearful that I wouldn't actually take her for ice cream.  
I also wouldn't want her to call me 15 times that day and beg me by phone to take her for ice cream (when I already said I would). And I wouldn't want her to skip recess or lunch to write down all the chores she was willing to do in return for the ice cream. I would want her to enjoy her day.... rest, play, and be happy, knowing the treat I promised was waiting on her. "
I am trying to figure out how to fulfill this myself. If I want Kate to trust me someday... then I'm quite sure God wants me to trust Him. And most of all, I think He wants me to trust His love for me (and it's not the kind of love that requires fasting or tears or begging or bargaining or days filled with worry. He doesn't require sacrifice like that, and he doesn't delight in seeing us fearful or tearful.)

And so... in this in-between time I am working on that. I am fighting to take every thought captive... watching as God gives me the truth I need to actively guard my heart... and working hard to trust Him more. I have never felt this much peace about a word from God before (despite what logic says!)... so I am fighting to stay in a place of FAITH... to actively HOPE... to focus on things unseen (Heb 11:1). It is not an easy place to be - it is actually quite scary to think "what if I'm wrong" with so many people watching our story unfold. But you know what? I'd rather be wrong than be faithless. 

One of my favorite quotes in college was from Oswald Chambers. "Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes." And my old boss used to say, "We believe in doing things that will fail if God doesn't show up."

So here I am. Completely helpless unless God shows up. Trusting. Hoping. Believing (or trying to at least) - and learning more about a God who loves me (and my daughter) more than I can comprehend.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Worth It

A few months ago I was having what I call a "really hard adoption day" when God popped this song into my head. It's an older song - one that I haven't heard of thought of in years. So when it came to mind, I pulled it up to listen to it. (And I'm so glad I did!)


As it began to play, I was immediately overwhelmed with God's presence. I picked up my computer, walked into my daughter's room, closed the door and began to worship through tears as the words washed over me...

I don't understand your ways 
Oh, but I will give you my song 
I'll give you all of my praise. 
You hold on to all my pain 
and with it you are pulling me closer 
and pulling me into your ways. 

Now around every corner 
and up every mountain 
I'm not looking for crowns 
or water from fountains. 
I'm desperately seeking, frantic believing 
that the sight of your face 
is all that I'm needing. 

I will say to you... 
It's gonna be worth it, 
It's gonna be worth it,  
It's gonna be worth it all, 
I believe this. 
It's gonna be worth it, 
It's gonna be worth it,  
It's gonna be worth it all. 


God spoke so clearly to me that day through this song. He reminded me that all of this waiting... hoping... aching is going to be WORTH IT - because our daughter is worth it! She is worth every hard day... every bit of work... every moment of waiting. One day when she is in our arms, we will know for a fact that she was worth it all! (And now, having seen her sweet face, I can already tell you that is true!) He reminded me that someday, when she is safe and loved - here in our arms and in our home.... someday when she knows how much Jesus loves her and that He has a plan for her life... all this will be worth it!

But then... God took it a step further.

God reminded me of who I was when I started this process - and of how far I have come in the past 4+ years. He reminded me how much I have grown... how much my faith has grown. (And how that growth will make me a better mother to our sweet Kate when she is home!) He reminded me how much I have learned about Him... how I have seen His character in new ways... how real and true His faithfulness has become to me through this journey. And God spoke very clearly that this is why it our journey is ultimately worth it.


I do not believe for one second that God is making us wait for our daughter because He wants to teach me something. I do not believe that a loving God keeps mommies and daddies away from their babies... or leaves babies waiting for families in an orphanage. That kind of injustice comes at the hands of men - not from God. My God is a loving Father who sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)... who gives good gifts to His children! (Matt. 7:11 & James 1:17) But I do believe that He is a redeeming God - one who does not waste anything. And I believe that He will take the brokenness and injustice that exists in the adoption world (because my goodness - it should not take so very long to become a family!) and He will use it for our goodness and His glory. And so, I know He has been using this wait (and every painful moment in it) to bring me into even closer relationship with Him.

And someday... when I get to heaven and see His face, I will know that ultimately THAT is what has made this wait worth it all.

So friend... whatever it is that you're waiting on... whatever it is that you're going through... you can trust that He is there for you, right by your side, drawing you near to Him in the waiting. And however hard your season is right now, please know that He will not waste one moment of it. If you let Him, He will change your heart in incredible ways, and show you more of Himself and His love than you've ever known. Someday, I promise, if you open your heart - you will see that this season was worth it, dear one. Hang in there, and lean in to what God is teaching you. It's gonna be worth it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What's Next?

Now that we have finally been matched with our daughter (which we are thanking God for every day!) the #1 question we are getting is... "so, when do you get her?" Our quick response is, "We're praying for August!" Unfortunately, the complete answer isn't that simple. So I thought I'd write a blog explaining what is next in this process.

For months now, I've been feeling like we would travel in August. Even before we got matched, I told Rusty that I had this feeling that God was up to something big. I told him (and my brother and sister-in-love) a few weeks before we were matched, "I think we're going to get matched soon, and I think she's coming home quickly!" August has been very much on my heart.

I've felt this so tangibly, that we even turned down a photography job for the first week of September, because I am convinced we'll be in Thailand then. I have never felt so sure of anything - which is interesting, because I haven't had a clue about any of the timing thus far in our adoption! But saying out loud, "We are traveling in August" feels just as real to me as saying, "the sky is blue." The crazy thing is... nothing about this is logical.

Our agency has been telling us since we started this process 4 years ago that the time it takes to travel after matching is typically 6-12 months (or longer). The bigger, more popular agency is saying 10-15 months right now. I have never heard of anyone getting travel dates faster than 8 months. And yet here I am - praying and believing for a 4 month window. I know it seems insane... but I just can't shake it. I have such peace about this! And I know that my God is BIGGER than any timeline, and that He has the ultimate authority over every list of approvals. So we are praying and believing and preparing for August!

So... what's next? 



Article 16 (First Approval)

The next thing we are waiting on is our Article 16. This is a document, approved by the Thai Adoption Board, that says that we are allowed to adopt our daughter. One thing that is different with most Thai adoptions, is that the government agency presiding over adoptions (the Thai Adoption Board) doesn't see the adoptive parents' file, or the child's adoption file, until after matching. (I know it seems backwards, but it is just their process - and we trust that our orphanage director has all our paperwork in order!) So once they review our file and our daughter's file, they will approve our Article 16 (also called an adoption decree or "first approval").

This can take a long time. I know families that have been waiting for 9 months already. The reason it takes so long, is because the Thai Adoption Board only meets 2 days a month - typically the first and third Wednesday of each month. One of those meetings is happening right now - as I type this! So we have asked all our friends and family to pray through the night tonight that this will be our meeting! Again - we know it will take a miracle for this to happen so quickly for us, but we believe that God is at work in this. We recently found out that our Orphanage Director will be at this meeting in person, so we are hopeful that will give us some favor!

USCIS I-800

Our next step is filing some forms (and fees) with the US Immigration office. We have already filed our I-800A - which was the approval for us to adopt a Thai girl, ages 0-3. But once we have our Article 16 and Kate's file, we will need the US Immigration office to approve us to adopt this specific child.

DS-260

Once we have our Article 16 and I-800, we can file the DS-260 with the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. This is (from what I understand) a form asking them to issue our daughter a visa to come into the US while we are in Thailand taking custody of her.

Thai Adoption Board Dates

Once we have our Article 16, Immigration approval, and Embassy approval - then we can schedule our travel dates and a date to appear before the Thai Adoption Board in person (the same people who approve our Article 16). This will be an interview after we take custody of Kate, and our final approval before leaving Thailand with her!

Post Placement Visits, Finalization in Alabama, and Finalization at the Thai Consulate

We are hoping to stay in-country with our daughter for 4-6 weeks after the Board Meeting to allow her time to adjust and attach. But once we are home, we're still not done! Many countries allow international adoptions to be final once the child is home on American soil - but not Thailand. (Honestly, while this is a lot more work for us, I do believe it is done out of love and concern for their Thai children! They want to be sure it is a healthy placement before things are finalized.) And so, we will be required to do 3 post placement visits with a social worker, more paperwork, finalization in a court in Alabama, more paperwork again, and finally a trip to the Thai Consulate in either Washington DC or Chicago to completely finalize our adoption in the eyes of the Thai government.

--------------

So that's it! That's the (basic) run-down of what the rest of our process looks like. We still have a lot of paperwork, prayers, preparation - and unfortunately, waiting - do to. But we are confident that God has His hand on this process, and that our daughter will be in our arms soon!

Thank you to each and every one of you who are standing in FAITH with us and praying Kate home!

"Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for,  the evidence of things not seen."
 - Hebrews 11:1 -

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Care Package for Kate

We had no idea that we would get the opportunity to send a care package to our daughter. I've heard of other families sending care packages to their children, but our agency never mentioned it to us. Even after matching, the only thing we were told that we could send was a "Welcome Album" of family photos (which we are still working on putting together). But a few days after we announced that we were matched, I was contacted by a fellow adoptive mom who was about to leave for Thailand.

Caitlin and I had connected before, because she volunteered 10 years ago at our daughter's orphanage (and wrote to tell me that the children there get really great care, which was a comfort!) This time she was writing to say that she and her husband were leaving for Thailand in about a week to adopt their little boy (so exciting!) and that they had a visit planned to our daughter's orphanage. She asked if I would like for her to take some gifts for our daughter - would I ever!?!

We quickly called our agency to get their okay, and their stance was to send what we wanted (keeping it small enough to fit in a shoebox) and that the orphanage staff would have the final say. Caitlin and her husband live in Oregon, so we knew we had to work quickly to get the package to them in time for their flight!

We set out to buy a few special things for our daughter. I knew almost instantly what I wanted - but it proved to be a little more challenging than I expected (on short notice). I went looking for a simple, pink cotton dress in a 3T, and it took NINE stores before I found one (I may or may not have cried in frustration in store #6 when everything cute was either a 2T or a 4T!) Luckily, after several trips all over town we finally found everything we wanted to send!

We ended up with a pink and purple ruffled dress, two packages of hairbows for her pigtails, some stickers, two small My Little Ponies, and a little Princess Belle figurine (obviously we know which princess I hope is her favorite!)



We also bought this sweet book, "Under the Same Moon" - which is about loved ones who are separated but loving each other from afar. I cried in the aisle at Khol's when I read it the first time! Rusty and I were able to take turns each reading a page at a time to her, so she'll be familiar with our voices. We also taped a photo of us onto the front and back covers, so she can see our faces each time she reads it.


My favorite addition though, was this little bunny! If you know me, then you know how much I love bunnies. (It's actually my husband's nickname for me). The very first thing we ever bought our daughter was a little handmade bunny in Thailand. So I really wanted to send her a stuffed bunny... but I also really wanted it to have a recording that would play our voices when she hugged it! I couldn't find anything ready-made that would work (Build-A-Bears were much too big) but the sweet girl at Build-A-Bear was very helpful! She sold us a voice box (and gave us a little heart too!) and shared some advice for cutting open and re-sewing a different stuffed animal.


I was lucky enough to find this sweet, soft bunny at Target, who had a music box inside. He came open easily once I found his back seam, and already had a little pocket inside for the voice box. I did a little bit of surgery on him to add the voice box, the sweet little heart from Build-A-Bear (that we covered in kisses and prayers), and some extra stuffing to make him softer.


We recorded ourselves saying "I love you" in Thai with her Thai nickname (Namfon), and "Mommy Loves You" and "Daddy Loves You" in English. Then my chiropractor had the great idea to add a few drops of lavender oil to the bunny (and all the other items we sent). We're hoping it will be soothing to our daughter, and that when we wear the same scent (the day we meet her) it might be something familiar that will help with her attachment.


All her gifts fit into this sweet little polka-dot bag. I included a note explaining everything, and telling them that the stickers and hairbows were for her to share with her friends (since her referral said she loves to share with the other children!) Then we were able to overnight it to Caitlin in Oregon (thanks to a sweet friend who covered the UPS expense! God bless you Kristin!)

Caitlin and her husband and son will be visiting the orphanage on June 6th (the night of June 5th to us here in America). Now we are hoping and praying that the staff will allow her to give our daughter our gifts, and to take photos and videos of Kate to send to us! We only have a few posed pictures, and to see some candid shots (or video of Kate) would be such a treat! We also sent a video to Caitlin of the two of us introducing ourselves to our daughter in Thai and English... telling her we love her so much, and that we can't wait to hold her in our arms. We are also praying they allow Caitlin to show the video of us to Kate! We are hopeful that these gifts will help Kate get to know our voices and faces, and be more comfortable with us when we finally meet her.

We're so grateful that Caitlin offered to do this for us. As you pray for her visit to the orphanage to go well, would you also pray a blessing over her family's adoption? Her son is just adorable, but he is still adjusting to this big transition and has just started bonding with his mommy and daddy. Last night they shared that he is sick and had to go to the doctor in Thailand to be treated for pneumonia. I know they would appreciate your prayers for healing and bonding during this time!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kate's TV Debut

A few weeks ago I posted to Facebook looking for an adoption support group of some sort. We had just started the 5th year of our adoption journey, and as we continued our lengthy wait I was looking for a more established support system. Several friends suggested we try a group at the Church of Brookhills, and so, on April 10th we decided to visit. 

It was a small turnout that night, and we were blessed with enough time to really share our adoption story with the 3 couples that were there. As I recounted the difficulties and delays again, and felt all the emotions that come with the waiting one more time – something incredible happened.

I had a vision. (Some of you may think that’s crazy, but hear me out.) God gave me a flash in my mind – a memory actually – and an explanation of what He wanted to tell me through it – all in an instant.

He reminded me of a moment on our trip to Switzerland this Fall (a 5 day long layover we took on our way to Africa for work). There was an evening there when we were taking photos of a historic church, and began to hear the most beautiful music. We instantly stopped what we were doing and followed the sound – around the church… down the alley… down the block… across the street… and finally into an open air building on the corner where two exceptionally talented men were playing a violin and drum.

These two musicians were amazing. There was a small crowd gathered already, but the longer they played, the more it grew. I was captivated by their music. We listened for the longest time… even taking video clips to share with friends around the world. What a gift! An unexpected concert! It’s a fond memory.

As I thought about it all, God spoke very clearly. He said...

“Ericka… if those musicians had only played one song, you wouldn’t have had time to find them. Few people would have heard them. Very few people would have been able to enjoy the beauty of their music. But because they played song after song, there was time for a crowd to gather. Many people enjoyed their show – even people around the world who saw your video!  
This is true too for your adoption. I’m taking my time to gather a crowd to watch a show that will bring me glory.

WOW.  What do you say to that? I told Rusty about it immediately, and shared it a few weeks later with my brother and sister-in-law. I told them, “I think God’s up to something big”.

Well friends… let me tell you what happened when we announced the wonderful news that we were MATCHED!


We had more than 1,000 people respond to the news (988 on my initial Facebook post alone!) on social media and my blog. Almost 2,000 people have read that blog post. We've gotten some of the sweetest calls and texts over the last few weeks, as well as congratulations in person! We’ve gotten gifts through the mail for Kate from dear friends in Kansas, North Carolina, and Georgia (and have been told there are others on the way). We've gotten messages from friends (and strangers) all over the world - from Botswana to Swaziland, South Africa, Thailand, India, Ukraine, Canada, China, and Hong Kong (just to name a few!) It is humbling to see how many people have been praying for us and our daughter, and following our story over the past 4+ years! 

Just seeing that response alone was enough for me to believe that He is “gathering a crowd”… but then something else happened that blew me away. The day we announced our news, we were contacted by a friend of mine who is a producer at a local TV station. I opened her message to read, “We want to do a story on you!”


And so, within a few days, the Fox 6 car was at our house, and a sweet reporter named Lydia was interviewing us. And before we knew it, our adoption story was being shared live on Fox 6 WBRC, and on the Fox 6 blog (with a link to our blog!) And then it was picked up by their sister station in Montgomery, WSFA!

“I’m gathering a crowd to watch a show that will bring Me glory…”


I guess sometimes God is really literal. I never guessed the “show” would actually be on TV! Of course we think it's neat that our little girl's arrival in our lives was considered "news" here in Birmingham - because it certainly is BIG news to us! This is just one more way we can show her how special she is someday. 

We couldn't embed the clip from the website, but Rusty was able to use his camera and video it on our TV. You can watch his video of the clip above, or click through here to watch it on the Fox 6 site and to read the article.


We shared so much in our interview that of course didn’t make the cut (they only have so much time, and it’s hard to share 4 years in only 2 minutes!) but I hope that our segment did bring God glory… and more than anything, I’m praying that somewhere out there, someone was watching who’s been wondering if they should adopt. I hope our story showed them that these children are worth the wait (because they certainly are!)

We’ve been blessed to see God’s hand, once again, so evidently in our adoption. I’m so grateful that He speaks to our hearts, and that He is faithful to fulfill His promises! I can't wait to see what's next in this "show" He is putting on! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It Takes a Village...

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I am quite sure that's true. But as we have walked through our (long, difficult) adoption journey I will also add that I believe it takes a village to bring a child HOME!

We have had a pretty amazing village from the beginning of our adoption. Our family and friends (all over the world!) have been so supportive - and we saw that in full force when we shared the news last week that we were matched! The response to our news has been incredible!

Our first family picture! 
I wish more than anything that I didn't have to blur out her sweet face!

But outside our family - I have to say that some of the most excited people were our precious neighbors. Friends - these people are our real village... our day in and day out "take care of each other" tribe. We all look after each other's babies, pets, and homes. We chat in our front yards almost every day after work, and celebrate with block parties and cookouts all year long. And these people are the ones who have prayed and asked about our adoption more times than I can count... the ones who have listened to our heartache on hard days... the ones who have said, "I can't wait until your daughter is home!" right when we needed to hear it. So when we texted them the news on Monday afternoon, they were THRILLED! We actually had a crowd outside our door at 5:00 just waiting to CELEBRATE!!!

This isn't even half of the sweet friends who showed up to celebrate with us! 
I wish I could've gotten a picture of them all! We are blessed! 

We took to the front yard for an impromptu party and toasted to our news with pink lemonade, sparkling cider, and pink champagne as more and more neighbors trickled in. Some brought us flowers, some brought gifts, and one was so excited that he jumped out of his car (with it still running) to see our daughter's picture! There was laughter, tears, and CHEERS! It was such a sweet time! We were overwhelmed with how much LOVE is waiting on our baby girl!!!


If you can't tell - that is one excited Daddy popping a bottle of pink champagne for our neighbors!


I have never owned anything with red and white polka dots in my life - but I picked up this shirt on a whim a few weeks ago. 
So glad I had it in the closet so I could "match" our little girl! 


Here are some pictures of some of the precious kids (and their mommas) on our street seeing Kate for the first time. We have 14 kids on our street (with 5 more on the way through adoption and pregnancy!) - so it is a really special place. These babies are so sweet - and we know they will love and welcome our daughter well!





This little one is Piper (our next door neighbor), and she's just a few months older than our Kate. We just adore her - she is so spunky and spirited! She makes our street so much fun! The second she saw Kate's photo she announced with grandeur, "I'M GONNA SHER EVWEYFING WIF HER!" (Melt. my. heart.)


And this is Evie & Lydia (whose mommy's name is actually Kate too!) Lydia will look at our daughter's photo again and again and say, "Kate, Kate, Kate!" and Evie can tell you that Miss Ericka's baby is in THAILAND! Evie is just a few months younger than Kate, and they share a love for accessories and dancing. I know they are going to be fast friends!


Margo (the oldest girl on our street - in the polka dot shorts in these photos) has been particularly interested in our adoption from the beginning. She has asked regularly when our daughter is coming home, and why they (our agency) won't hurry up?! She has checked in on all of our latest news and asked if we would please teach her some Thai (so Kate will understand her when she comes home). She has said the sweetest things to me on some of my hardest days... so I couldn't wait to tell her our wonderful news! She is going to have so much fun playing with Kate when she's home!



One of the things that stuck out in Kate's file - that they repeatedly noted - is that she prefers playing with other children, she plays well in a group, and she shares generously. I know that it's no mistake that God placed us (a family with only one child) on a street that is overflowing with the sweetest playmates for our daughter! He is such a God of detail.

All of Kate's gifts from her neighbor friends 
(and my parents, who showed up at the end of the front yard party!)

We are counting down the days until our sweet girl is home and playing out in the front yard with the other Crestwood babies. We are so thankful for "our village" - every day... but especially on this sweet day as they shared our JOY.