I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams
You are here each day with me, at least that is how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are.....what' s taking us so long,
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind .

May God hold you in his hand until I can be with you,
I promise you, my darling , I 'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

-Author unknown

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Chrismas and Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all are enjoying time with family and friends! I know that some of you (like ourselves) are longing for that "missing" member of your family to be with you this year. What an exciting adventure we have to look forward to next year! :)

Blessings on you and your families today and the rest of 2006!

Lori, Jeremy, Tyler, Ryan, Meghan, Jacob (and Katie!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Merry Christmas

Here's another adoption song - about a little girl in China at C-mas and then the next year being with her family. I cried at this one too! (click on title above to hear a small portion)

It is from Third Day and is on their new Christmas CD called "Christmas Offerings".
"The title is "Merry Christmas"

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for mama's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
Where the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
So tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart
I wish you a Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white
And make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that Heaven's Angels come to carry you here

Christmas is the time we celebrate the Holy Child
And we celebrate His perfect gift of love
He came to Earth to give His life and prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And tell you from my heart
I wish you a Merry Christmas"

Feliz Navidad!
Lori :)

Everything to me

Ok all - I am sitting here wiping tears away from my eyes and trying not to sob too hard. I listend to KLOVE most everyday, and todaythey have Mark Shultz (Christian music artist) on. He startedtalking about how he was adopted at 2 weeks old and how thankful he is for his birth mom giving him life. Ok - so that almost made me cry - just thinking about that mom - choosing life (instead of abortion) and choosing adoption - and look what he has become and how many lives he has affected all over the world.
Well . . . then he got on the piano and sang the song "Everything to me" - which he wrote to say thanks to his birth mom. I will paste the lyrics below -though when he sang it today, he added another verse - similar to the second verse - but talking about him playing with his son and reading goodnight moon, etc. . . . . oh man. . . I just had to sit down at my kitchen table and just sob. I prayed for Wendy's(Katie's) mom right then and thanked God for her decision to give her life! As a mom myself - I know that the choice to give up your child has got to be one of the hardest! God bless these birth moms! and thank you Lord for leading us to our wonderful children!!Lori :)

Everything To Me(Mark Schultz / Cindy Morgan)

I must have felt your tears
When they took me from your arms
I'm sure I must have heard you say goodbye
Lonely and afraid had you made a big mistake
Could an ocean even hold the tears you cried

But you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And you made the only choice you could that night

You gave life to me
A brand new world to see
Like playing baseball in the yard with dad at night
Mom reading Goodnight Moon
And praying in my roomSo if you worry if your choice was right
You gave me up but you gave everything to me

And if I saw you on the street
Would you know that it was me
And would your eyes be blue or green like mine
Would we share a warm embrace
Would you know me in your heart
Or would you smile and let me walk on by
Knowing you had dreams for me
You wanted the best for me
And I hope that you'd be proud of who I am

You gave life to me
A chance to find my dreams
And a chance to fall in love
You should have seen her shining face
On our wedding day
Oh is this the dream you had in mind
When you gave me up
You gave everything to me

And when I see you there
Watching from heaven's gates
Into your arms
I'm gonna run
And when you look in my eyes
You can see my whole life
See who I was
And who I've become


© 2006 Crazy Romaine Music (Adm. by The Loving Company) / Word Music, LLC / Lola Max Music (ASCAP) (Adm. by Word Music, LLC)

*You can click on the title to hear a small portion of the song. It was much better - live and on the piano today!

ps - my friend Almarie is in Guatemala right now with a package for our little girl. She is hoping to go see her sometime next week and get some pics, etc. Yeah! Wish I could be there with her. One day. I sent down some PJ's, hairbows, and musical stuffed bunny, 4 books and a CD of me and Jeremy reading the books to her. 2 of the books were in English and Spanish and the other 2 I had Almarie help me translate them into Spanish. I read it both ways - though I am sure the houseparents and other native spanish speakers will get a good laugh at my Spanish pronunciations. :) I tried. :) I just wanted her to hear our voices. I was wanting to make a video too - but just ran out of time. Next time.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

I need my beauty rest!

Lucy didn't get to the orphanage till after 7:30pm - and Katie was already asleep. They woke the sweet sleeping beauty up for a few glamour shots. :) As you can see - it was challenging keeping her awake. She tried to smile for the camera!
The woman with the long dark hair is Lucy, our agency director. The other woman is Carmen, one of the houseparents. I am grateful for these pics - even if they are of a sleepy little girl. It just makes me want to go down and snuggle with her! What a sweetie!

Well - that's all the news for now. Please pray hard that the Court of Minors (I believe that's the right one) will issue Wendy's (Katie's) COA SOON!!!! LIKE - THIS WEEK! or maybe next! What a wonderful C-mas present that will be!

Blessings to you all!!

Lori :)

Monday, December 04, 2006


My director (Lucy) just came back from a week in Guatemala - visiting all the babies/kids that are in the process for adoption through KAS. She was able to go shopping and buy some gifts for the kids at Casa Bernabe (for C-mas I assume) but didn't get to Katie's (Wendy) house till 7:30pm. Katie/Wendy was sound asleep when she arrived. They did wake her up a little, but she was still pretty sleepy. Lucy said she will send some pics when she gets the chance, but I doubt there are any smiling ones.

As for where we are in the adoption . . . . we are still waiting. Evidentally, the Guatemalan court has yet to issue the COA (certificate of abandonment), so we are still waiting for that to be able to send down our POA (power of attorney) and officially start the adoption process.
PLEASE pray that the court gets that paper in the orphanage's hands soon! Jeremy and I still have peace that she is our daughter, but I will have much more peace knowing that we are "officially" going through the adoption process to bring her home. Know what I mean? :) Thanks for your prayers!

Despite the delays in Guatemala, God is still working here in regards to our finances/fundraising for the adoption expenses. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to those that just recently gave towards our adoption!! I know I've said it before, but I will say it again and again . . . I am truly humled (to tears many times) at the generosity (and obedience to the Lord) that so many of you have shown to us! Some of you have been practically strangers to us - but have generously given - and that blows me away even more! May God bless you all 100 fold (and more) for what you have done! Your giving has always been an answer to my prayers! We are within a couple hundred dollars of having the money needed to be able to accept this referral. So - that may be the reason God has allowed the delay in the COA, etc. He still needs time to provide for the money we have to pay. :)
On that note - in case you didn't know - if you use our Google links & search engine, it does add a little money to our account. So, anytime you need to "google" something - come to our site. That's an easy and cheap way for you to contribute to our fund. :) Thanks so much.

Blessings on you all this week! I will try to post some pictures when I get them in. Thanks for checking in on us!

Lori :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Life International

Many of you have asked about donating before the end of the year to receive a tax-deduction. We have recently signed up to work with Life International to allow tax-deductible donations to be given in support of our adoption. Life International is a trusted organization administering the funds on Katie’s behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received. They will be accepting donations for our adoption until January 31st, 2007 only. In addition, any funds raised over the amount we need (or after the goal date), will be prayerfully applied to other adoptions as grants or loans, and not to pay administrative costs. That is one of the main reasons we chose to work with Life International.

To receive a tax deduction for your donation:

1. Please make checks payable to : Life International. To go towards Katie’s expenses, you need to preference how the donation might be used by writing “Kathryn West Adoption” in the memo section of your check.
(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Life International which retains full discretion and control over its use.)
Please send before January 31st, 2007 (or by 12-31-06 for your 2006 tax purposes)

2. Mail Checks to:
Life International
Attn: Kathryn West Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

3. You may also donate online utilizing Paypal (a small percentage will be taken out by Paypal for fees - somewhere around 3-5%)

Currently, and after January 31st, we can still receive donations at our house (payable to Jeremy or Lori West) or online via Paypal (minus a small fee). These are not tax-deductible, but are still needed. Contact us if you have any questions.

*We will also be closing out our Entertainment book sales on December 9th! If you have not yet bought one of these wonderful books, or you need more as gifts for friends or family members - contact us soon. We still have around 35 books here, or they can be ordered online (small s&h charge may be applied).
They are $25 (retail $30) and you get a FREE $25 gift certificate to a local restaraunt (of your choice) once you register your book online. So - in essense - you get the book for free . . . and then you get to save even more when you use your coupons! I don't know why anyone would NOT want one! :) Unless, of course, you don't like saving money! :)

Blessings to you all! I will hopefully receive some more info on Katie this week. Our agency director went to Guatemala this past week, so we are waiting anxiously to hear back from her and see some new pictures. :) As of last week, we still had not received all her info, nor did the orphanage have her COA (certificate of abandonment) in hand yet. I am hoping that they got that before or while Lucy was down there. That should be able to tell us more about how long this case might take. We'll see. Keep praying! It's in God' mighty hands now!!

Thanks again to all who have helped, supported, encouraged, prayed and donated financially to us! We could not have done any of this without all of you! And we are encouraged to know that we have warriors and supporters to get us through the rest of the journey! I pray it is an easy one - but am preparing for it to be difficult.

God bless!

Lori & Jeremy :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Some new info!

Happy Thanksgiving (tomorrow)!!!
Hope you all don't gorge yourselves on that yummy turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (mine's the best!), pumpkin pie (the best - again!), and other fixins! Enjoy your families and friends and be thankful for all God has blessed you with this year!

I am thankful that I heard from Donie (the orphanage director) today! :) That just made my day! Evidentally they are still waiting on the certificate for the abandonment - but hopefully that will come soon. Katie (Wendy) has been at the orphanage since last summer (end of July - around the time got started stirring my heart towards adoption again!) after a previous adoption process was canceled (a relinquishment) because the mother disappeared and the court couldn't do DNA testing. I don't know if this will hinder things in the process or speed it up. I guess time will tell. There's alot of uncertainty going into this and it continues to be "steps of faith" all along the way. The enemy would want to use fear (and other things) to keep us from pursuing this adoption - but we feel so strongly that this is our daughter - that we are willing to depend on God to bring her home!

I keep thinking about the picture God had given me awhile ago about floating down the river. We could do nothing but float and let the current take us downstream. We came upon a narrowing between 2 large flat rockbeds. It didn't look like we would fit (no one thought we would) - but we DID (just barely). Then, at the edge of the rocks was a waterfall that we went down - scary yet exciting - and then a calm pool at the bottom where we floated over to the edge and got out. In a prayer time at our Mei Ming meeting a couple months ago, a man in our group said "I see a waterfall. You are going to get to the waterfall with a calm body of water at the bottom" . . . .hmmm . . . .where have I heard that before? :) Not 100% sure what the "waterfall" is - but I know we are going in the right direction! Downstream! Along with this, many other confirmations, and of course - my friend's picture she drew - I have alot to "fall back on" if I ever start to doubt that we are doing the right thing! God is so cool how He orchestrates things! :) Of course - I don't always see it very clearly when I'm going through it.

We ask for your prayers as we continue to move forward.
Please pray for Lucy, our agency director, this next week (Nov 26th - 31st) as she travels down to Guatemala to get some more info on our case and others.
Pray for a speedy and miraculous process for Katie (Wendy)!
Pray for strength and patience on our part during the waiting game ahead of us. It's all out of our hands - and that's hard for me. :) I like to be in control. :)
Pray for the remaining finances to come in (I know they will). We should hopefully hear from Life International soon about being able to accept tax-deductible donations (and possibly a matching grant). Hopefully before the end of the year for those of you that were wanting to donate and get a deduction.

God bless you all today! Be Thankful! God is Good! He bestows blessings on His children! If you don't think you've received any latetly - open your eyes . . . there are probably little blessings you have overlooked! Be thankful in all situations and circumstances! God is always there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lori :)

ps - For those that haven't seen it - here's a picture of Wendy from the Casa Bernabe website.
She's actually smiling! :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prophetic picture of Wendy?

Check this out! My friend Bree gave us a card a month or two ago - sometime late Sept or early Oct (sorry - can't remember). She drew a picture of a little girl. She recently told me - "I just drew it, I kind of felt like it was more than just drawing it, but I didn't know if that was me just me being hopeful and excited. Anyway, my point being was that I drew that wisp of hair from her bangs, which I don't think I usually would've done, then the pig tails but that could've been any little girl....just thought it was interesting, I prayed that God would have me draw the right picture. I didn't know if that would mean just a sweet little girl or your future daughter. . ."

Check out Wendy's pic that was on the orphanage website -

We wondered if this is what our little girl would look like. Well, after seeing the picture of Wendy - check this out . . .

For those that haven't seen the other pics of Wendy - I'll try to post them here too. For some reason it is letting me upload pictures today. :)

September 2005

September 2005

September 2005March 2006

October 2006

Hopefully in the future I can get more "happy" pics from this shy girl. :)

Have a great day!

Lori :)

ps - Thanks Bree for the beautiful card!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Kathryn (Katie) Wendy Elizabeth

Well folks . . . I spoke with Lucy (my adoption agency director) and our referral of Wendy IS a "real" referral!! Why is that so exciting to me??? Read all our previous posts and you will find out! :) Lucy was shocked that she was able to get ahold of the orphanage last week (on the first phone call) and was doubly shocked that they were in fact offering little Wendy to us to adopt so soon(as she just became available recently). It's all God!! That's all I can say! I am praying that the rest of the process is also a "shock" to Lucy and everyone - as far as the speed of it, how smoothly things go, etc. Now - I'm not being stupid or blind, as I'm sure there will be bumps along the way - but I can still pray for the impossible!! :)
We are still waiting on all the "details" about Wendy (who I think we have finally decided to call Katie - short for Kathryn). The orphanage director, Donie, has bee quite busy (I can only imagine!! I thought caring for 4 kids was busy - imagine 150+!!). I am praying that I hear from her (or Lucy) very soooooon! Otherwise this week will drag on . . . .slowly! :) Once we get all the info, then I think we will be able to "officially" accept the referral (sending our Power of Attorney down there and paying half of our lawyer and agency fees). Yeah! That will be a great day!! :)
On the positive note . . . we did find out that the lawyer fees will only be $10,000 instead of the ridiculous $20,000 that some of the other lawyers charge. Hallelujah! Praise God! We get the girl of our dreams AND we end up paying less for the fees! Of course - I may end up spending that other 10k on travel if the case takes a long time. :) We'll see.
We have some friends who are going down to Guatemala around Christmas, and they have offered to go visit Katie (Wendy) for us. Man do I want to just go with them!! We'll see. I don't think it's a realistic financial opportunity for us right now. Instead we will be heading to Missouri for Christmas to spend time with Jeremy's family. Two loooooooong days (there AND back) in the car with 4 kids! Yuck! To fly it would cost us over $2000. :( Oh well. One day.

Here are some pics of Katie that a friend of mine was able to send me. She does some missions work at Casa Bernabe twice a year. I am sooooo thankful for these pics. She said she even has a little video she will send me! Yeah!

Lori :)
ps - For some reason I can't get the pics to post - so I will have to try again later. I'll try to post them on our other website too -

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Guatemalan Adoption process

I know that in one of my posts I may have listed the basic process for adopting from Guatemala. I found a better site that lists all the steps for relinquishments as well as abandonments. You can check it out at It may help some of you that are confused (like me). :)

Still no news from the orphanage. Maybe tomorrow. :) I hope.

Lori :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our Last Referral??

Well folks . . . . I hope it is . . . our last referral (at least for this adoption! hee, hee. Jeremy says "Hunh? Do we have another one?"). Here's the story . . .

We got a referral of a little girl on Friday around noon!! Yeah!!! I had asked God all this last month if I could PLEASE know who my daughter was before our fundraiser yard sale last Saturday (so I could show people who we were really adopting!) . . . . even Friday morning I said - "OK God - you only have today. I know you can do it!". And He did (I hope)! But what a cool story it is!! :)

I don't know if you knew or remembered me talking about an orphanage called Casa Bernabe (House of Barnabas - or House of Comfort)? We had applied to it back in the spring when we were with A Helping Hand as they thought they would be able to find a little girl there for us. I had gone online and couldn't pull up the pics of the kids for some reason, but found a PDF file that listed some of the kids that needed sponsorship. One name stood out from the rest - Wendy Elizabeth - B-day: 4-20-2004. It probably stood out because she was 2, and her name is very American sounding - PLUS - Elizabeth is mine and Meghan's middle names (OR - it could be that God was drawing my heart to her). Anyways - about a month later the pics finally came up. I fell in love with this one little girl in the pics - and found out her name was . . . . Wendy Elizabeth. I printed her picture and even took it to MOPS to show some friends the "kind of kids" that the orphanage had and told them I would LOVE to adopt a little girl just like this! :) Wendy was never listed as available for adoption and I never even heard back from Casa Bernabe. We (along with AHH) gave up on getting a child from CB. As most of you know - in July we switched to another agency all together - Kentucky Adoption Services.

I knew that KAS worked with an orphanage - but I never knew which one. I found out that another client did some missions work at C.B. and had seen a picture recently of her with one of the kids. That made me want to go and check out the C.B. website last week - just to see who was available for adoption. Wendy wasn't listed as adoptable, so I checked to see if her picture was even still on the website. It was! :) What a cutie!

WELLL . . . On Friday - Lucy, the director of my agency, called to say that she had called C.B. (the agency they work with!!!) and was telling the director all about "this family" (us) that felt led to adopt an orphan girl (versus a recent relinquishment). When she told her our name, the director said - "I know them." Hunh? Lucy couldn't understand how she would know us or have our info (she didn't know we had applied last spring). She was then shocked to find out that the director had been praying over our info recently and whether to place a certain little girl with us . . . . . . yep! . . . you guessed it . . . . .Wendy Elizabeth! :) How cool is that?!

So - the director of C.B. called me on Friday, but didn't really have any more info for us as she didn't have Wendy's file in front of her at the time. She was going to get it on Sunday and give me a call/contact me early this week (but haven't heard from her yet). She did say that they thought that Wendy was going to originally be placed with a Guatemalan family, but that didn't work out, and that she just recently became available to be adopted.

There are pros and cons to adopting from the orphanage - one good thing is - it may actually be a bit cheaper. Haven't confirmed that yet though, but that would be a blessing.
The bad thing is - it could take a lot longer . . . 7 months to 3 years (vs 4-7 months for a relinquishment)! There can be some hang-ups with an abandoned child because the parents are not around to sign her away. The courts can sometimes get really picky and may want to double decree that she's abandoned (long story to explain) - and that can take 18months or more (ie -looking for any possible long-lost relative anywhere in the world who might want her, etc!). We are praying (and would like you to pray as well) that her paperwork gets in the right hands!! That she will be able to go through the process in a quick and timely manner - and not have it dragged out so long. Plus, there's the chance that Guatemalan adoptions to the U.S. might shut down next year sometime, so we really want to see her case move fast just in case.

So - will you please pray with us as we are hoping to be able to accept this referral this time! :) I don't even know all her info - but J and I have such a peace about her (and all the "coincidences")! Pray that things move quickly and without problems. Pray also for the lawyer who will be handling the case. We may be using a lawyer that is newer to adoptions - but is a sharp Christian man. We are also praying about whether God would want us to change her name at all. I like Kathryn (but call her Katie probably), but the kids like Kaitlyn or Wendy Woo! :) I don't know about that last one! :) (It's a character on the Disney channel - or so I've been told). Though, Meggy-Poo and Wendy-Woo kind of go together! :) hee, hee.

To see little Wendy (and all the beautiful children at Casa Bernabe) - you can go to their website at Click on "Angelitos" in the top left - scroll the numbers over and click on #17. That's Wendy! I'll post other pics after we get some more info. Maybe God will lead you to even sponsor one of the kids there! Who knows! :) You don't have to adopt the kids to support orphans!

Thanks for all your prayers! Keep praying . . . the battle is just beginning (believe it or not)! I'll let you know when we actually sign a Power of Attorney for this little girl (and make our referral acceptance official!). I just couldn't keep in the news any longer!! :) I love this little girl!

God bless you all!

Lori :)

Yard Sale Results

OK now! This is the THIRD time I am trying to post this!! The first time (sunday) the site went down for maintenance 2 minutes before I logged on, then earlier today I spent awhile typing it all up and published it . . . but only the title showed up! Man! Bum deal! Anyways - here goes again . . .

The results are in . . . . the West Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale was . . . .


I do believe it was the first frost of the year even! It was 78 degrees last wed (and nice and warm today!), but on Saturday - it was barely able to reach 50 as a high! Despite the frigid temps - there was a decent turnout of addicted, die-hard garage sale shoppers!! We had a little space heater out there to warm up our calves now and then, and you would be surprised at how many people inquired as to if it was for sale! :) I did put an ad in the paper even though I knew our community was putting on in too - and mine ended up listed as the first one! :) I hope that helped draw some people. We probably would have sold more if the weather had been warmer, but I was quite impressed by the turnout we had! Most people seemed touched to learn what we were doing (and how much it cost), but we still had the few hard-core negotiators who still didn't want to give us anything near a fair price. :) Oh well. God bless them too! I was a bit bummed that I didn't take a picture of the massive amounts of stuff spreading across my lawn and driveway. :( You know how I am about my pictures and documenting everything! :) Oh well.

Before I go on - I need to thank everyone who helped us out with this sale!! I could NOT have survived without you!!!
Thank you Taits and my parents for rescuing me on friday and helping with last minute tagging, etc!
Thank you Ryan (our wonderful neighbor) & Jana for coming at the ungodly hour of 6:30am - and for those that wandered in thereafter - Meg, Juli, Sandi, Stephanie, Terri & Bo (and anyone else I forgot to mention) . . . . I felt so nauseous and faint about mid-day (probably due to stress, not eating well, freezing, etc) that I was so thankful to know the sale was in GREAT hands!
Thank you to eveyone who donated such wonderful junk . . . I mean - Treasures! Without it - there wouldn't have been much of a yard sale! Thank you so much! I do have to say though, that I am glad all that stuff is finally out of my house! My dust allergies were making me miserable for the last month!! And to let you know what happened to your leftover items we didn't sell - we chose a ministry in Chesapeake called Victory Home. It is run by a local church and ministers to men and women in crisis (due to addictions, abuse, etc). The 2 men who came out to pick up all the leftovers were amazed and blessed by your generosity! Your donations just became a double (if not triple or more) blessing!! Thank you so much and God bless you for your generosity!

As for the grand total . . . all that sold, donataions and a generous donation from my awesome MOPS Secret Sister (which was hand-delivered early in the a.m. by a young man) - all totalled around $1600!! Quite impressive considering how cold it was! PTL! God is good!! We are getting closer, little by little, to our goal!

I have alot more news to tell you - but for now I need to go help my kids with their homework (as they are not doing on their own for some reason????? Imagine that). Thanks for checking in with us! Please check in soon as I really do have some more exciting news to tell you! I've just run out of time right now! :)

Blessings today!
Lori :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yard Sale!

First of all - Thank you so much - all who have contributed to this sale and to our adoption already! We appreciate it more than you know! Even just the prayer support means a ton!! We always need it!

Just a reminder to everyone that we ARE still having our adoption fundraising Yard sale THIS Sat. Nov. 4th from 8am - 2pm.

We currently have 1 person coming to help on friday for last minute pricing/signs,etc and then coming bright and early on Sat to help with setup. She will have to leave by 9:30am. That leaves just me and J (and our 4 rugrats - hopefully behaving in the house) to man the garage sale. We would LOVE some company & help (to keep our minds off the cold weather I'm sure! Why does it have to get cold just on the weekends I plan things? Our camping trip was freezing as well! Oh well.).

If you can help out for a couple hours on Saturday - we would love the help! Set up will go alot faster with more people, and I would love some "talkers" or salespeople to help "run" the sale and talk with people about adoption. I will have Mei Ming and KAS flyers to pass out, and would really like to get the word out about adoption! So - if you are friendly and like talking . . . I need you! :) If you are not friendly - but great at setting up and organizing . . . I need you too! If you can change the weather on Sat to a warm, non-windy day . . . I REALLY need you! :)

As for what we have for sale:

ENTERTAINMENT BOOKS (I really need to get rid of the rest of these!!) - $25 each - but end up being FREE after you register your book and get your $25 restaraunt coupon!!

Kids & Adult clothes (quite a few larger men's pants - around sz 42)
Women's and kids shoes
Baby swing, door jumper, and playpens
2 changing tables
2 Microwaves
wooden Rocking horse
household/kitchen items
Cat/pet carrier, dog food dishes
games, toys, puzzles
videos - kids and adult
books - novels and instructional
CD's - few music, PC, etc.
Bread maker
Computer equipment
Back massager - that sits in a chair
Beach items - chairs, boogie boards, floaties, etc
Furniture - dresser/hutch, side table, daybed, chairs, (possibly a computer chair)
Queen size mattress and boxspring (if we can get it to our house)
Bikes - boy's and men's
Power wheels riding dumptruck
Linens (comforter, sheets, curtains, etc)
And more . . . . .

I will have info on our Mary Kay fundraiser as well, for those that are interested.

Please pass on this e-mail/info to those you know. Thanks so much!
If anyone has any last minute things you would love to get rid of - let us know! You can drop it off through friday evening (the sooner the better)!

Thanks everyone! God bless you guys!

Lori & Jeremy West :) - any questions, let us know.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mary Kay Fundraiser

One of Jeremy's co-workers has generously offered to give up her Mary Kay profits till Nov. 15th to help us fundraise!! Please check out the info below. If you have never tried Mary Kay products, I urge you to try. I have been using them for over 11 years and LOVE them! (BTW - the acne treatment gel does miracles overnight on those stubborn and annoying zits!!) The products are wonderful and last a looooonngg time! :) Check it out!
Please pass on this info to anyone you know. If you only need and order a little, that's ok - it can go a long way if everyone orders a little! Thanks so much! Oh yeah - and if you order, you will be entered into a drawing for some free stuff! :) Yeah!

Thanks again!
Lori :)

Dear Friends,

Please join me in an exciting opportunity to help the West family raise the funds needed for the expensive process of adopting a child from Guatemala. I am a Mary Kay™ Independent Beauty Consultant in the Virginia Beach/Tidewater area. I am donating the profit of sales through this fund-raising endeavor to the West family’s adoption fund. You can treat yourself, shop for Christmas gifts and help them at the same time! The West family will receive 40% of every purchase you make with me between now and November 15th.

To help just go to my website: Be sure to check out all our new products and seasonal gift items. They’re awesome! I can even gift wrap or package gifts and take care of shipping them for you!

When you check out please register as a new customer if you’ve never shopped with me before or simply log-in if you’re a returning customer. *Use the “comments” feature to note that your purchase is for the West family adoption fundraiser.* (If you already have a consultant but want to help with the fundraiser—let me know. I can work something out with you and your consultant so you can help the West family adoption. )

As a THANK YOU I will give you:
Complimentary Extreme Makeover (skincare, micro-derm abrasion, color) in person or virtually.
2007 Coupon book with monthly discounts for the entire year— including major savings on skin care products that will keep you beautiful all year long!
Register your name in a drawing for a free Timewise Anti-aging Day/Night solution (a $60 value).

Share this fundraising opportunity for the West family with a few friends through a no hassle on-line skin care class and receive extra coupons and gifts.

Donna Russell
Phone: 757.227.5655

Ana Julia has found her family!

Nope - not with us! :) My friends have prayed over her for a couple weeks, and God has answered all their requests for confirmations! One of the coolest confirmations came right after my friend had prayed.

They had received a call last year on Sept 10th in the middle of the night from someone in China (twice I believe). It was so strange that they prayed about it and felt that that date held significance - maybe their little Chinese daughter's b-day?! They have scoured the special needs lists for any little girl with a Sept 10th b-day. They never found one. Well, just this past week, after praying, they got a call from Lucy at KAS and she had more info on Ana Julia. Her b-day was . . . . . . Sept 10th!!! Can you believe it? Also, God had told them that their next little girl's name would mean "grace" . . . which is what Ana means! :) Isn't God cool?! Had they received their Chinese referral before now - they wouldn't have thought twice about this little girl, I'm sure, and if WE had accepted a referral sooner, we would not have heard about Ana Julia at all!! God sure works in mysterious but perfect ways!! He has opened door after door for our friends - but they have one last hurdle to cross- getting the blessing from their current agency. Please pray that their agency will not have a problem with them pursuing this adoption while they continue to wait for their chinese daughter. Also pray for Ana Julia as she is severely chronically malnourished (18 pounds at 2 years old!). The ES orphanage caregivers also do not like AJ much as she is mixed racially with curly black hair and they think she is the ugliest child there. :( She's FAR from ugly!! Very cute - but sad and timid looking. Pray for her protection and that God will send someone who can love on her and protect her! I know God is watching over her - but someone in the flesh can do wonders for a child! Pray that her case is able to move at a quick pace withought problems! And pray for the finances to afford this second adoption. 1 income - 2 adoptions!! Thanks so much!

So, as for us - we are still waiting. Pray for Lucy as she is down El Salvador (and Guatemala I think) this past weekend (?and into this week). Pray for her safety and for divine appointments.
Pray for our daughter - whoever and where ever she is! I know God's timing is perfect! I just want her to be safe until we can go get her!

Pray for our finances still. We are having our garage sale on Nov. 4th (pray for warm weather!!) - and we still need donations and volunteers (and shoppers). A co-worker from J's work has also agreed to host a Mary Kay fundraiser for us (till Nov. 15th only). I will list the details in a separate post for you! Consider helping us out - or pass on the fundraising info to those you know! The more the word gets out, the better!

Blessings to you all! We are so appreciative for everyone who has supported us (in every way) during this exciting adventure!

Lori :)

ps - for those that have been praying for Tyler (our oldest son) - he went up for prayer at church at the beginning of October, and we had launched an all-out prayer attack on the enemy (who has been causing many of Ty's problems). I can honestly say - I am seeing a different kid!! I don't recognize this much more mature, kind, and more stable 11 year old - but I like it! :) He has been playing sooooo nicely with his siblings (esp. 4 year old Jacob, who he couldn't stand before because "he gets into my stuff") and his anxiety attacks have lessened tremendously! He's had almost 2 solid good weeks at school!!! Yeah! PTL! I even debated on whether to start him on the medicine - but decided to go ahead as it is a low dose and it might help some as he is learning to use the new coping skills we are teaching him (and while we are praying!). Praise God for the miracles he's doing and the ones to come!! Keep on praying for God to complete the healing and transformation in Tyler! In church they prayed that he would have the strength of Sampson and full of compassion!! I'll claim that! :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another referral - El Salvador?

Yes - I now firmly believe that God is just trying to keep me entertained! What will he think up for next week? I'd be happy if it had something to do with winning alot of money! :) hee, hee. Or maybe a tropical vacation?! As for this week's adventures . . . . .

On monday, I got an interesting email from my agency director asking if we would be interested in looking at and considering a little 2 year old girl from El Salvador. Her name is (get this) Ana Julia. :) It would require a new dossier, a longer stay in country (Hey - I'm ready for a vacation!), and some added time, but cheaper costs. It would take 9 -15 months from the time our dossier got down there till we could bring her home. Hmmmm . . . . this definitely wasn't on my radar! Nor did it seem to go along with the picture God had given me of floating down a river. When you float - there's no work involved there (unless you are going down rapids and you're trying not to hit the rocks!!). My first reaction was "I don't think so". We had to pray about it. My director said she would send the info and pics that day - but I never got any. I didn't know if she just forgot or what. I didn't want to ask, as I really wanted to hear the Lord on this little girl before seeing her pic and getting attached (that seems to be easy for me to do!).
J and I prayed and talked about it, and I just wasn't sure. I was open to whatever God might have for us - even if it meant switching countries (esp. with all the craziness in Guatemala last week and the FALSE rumor of a possible shut down on Oct 1st). I decided that I would lean on J for the confirmation on this one. My heart is too empathetic to the plight of so many orphans.
J didn't get a peace about it. Not that he really got a check against it - but just had more peace about staying with Guatemala. I kind of felt the same (I think?). Anyways -
I knew a friend of mine had talked about El Salvador and possibly looking into adopting from there - so maybe I could tell her about it all. Maybe that was why we got this info. Instead, I was talking to another friend, and the minute I mentioned E.S. she just lit up with ohh's and ahh's (before I even told her about the little girl). They are in the process of waiting for a referral for a little girl from China, but lately God has been tugging on their heart towards El Salvador (for a sister for thier Chinese daughter-to-be). I gave her the little info I knew and told her I didn't think we were going to pursue it.
The next day she called me back and said she couldn't get this little girl off her mind - and her hubby was really interested too! :) I gave them our agency info and she was able to get ahold of them today. :) Maybe God was using us to bring this girl to her family (I'm starting to feel like an adoption agency myself - finding lost mom's - referring children to others . . . . . when will I find MY daughter? hmmmm .. . . ).
Well - I finally got to see pics of little Ana Julia tonight. She is a cutie - sad and timid looking, but definitely cute. I am praying that God will show my friends if this is to be their daughter. How cool would that be! :)

On top of that adventure - we are starting to see some progress with Tyler this week. On tuesday he had an "A" day (according to him)! PTL!! Wed was a rough day at home with me. He did well on thursday till 1pm. That seems to be his hard time - after 1pm, till 4pm. If you think of it - please pray for him during that time. God is doing some good things in him and I am so proud of how he has taken on the challenge of changing some things in his life! I actually saw quite a bit of a responsible 11 year old today! :) He was very fun to be around. :) We are seeing the nurse practitioner on monday to talk about a possible med for the anxiety and attnetion problems. We'll see.

Well - it's late, and I need some sleep. We had to cancel our garage sale for tomorrow due to a lovely Nor'Easter that came through town. I'm kind of relieved as this week has been exhausting in many other ways. Always an adventure here at the West household! :)

So - what kind of adventures did you have this week? Keep us up to date on what God has you doing! Thanks so much for your prayers and support! Keep it coming! Continue on with my previous requests. They are still needed! Also - we have been applying for grants and will be trying to sign up next week for a program to accept tax-deductible donations. It's alot of forms to fill out! But on the praise side - we've had a few people just hand J a check (or cash) at work to support our adoption! God bless you guys for doing that!!

Blessings this week!
Lori :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Hello all! Hope you are having a great day today! Just know that God is beside you everywhere - all day long! :) PTL for that! He's always there to help and comfort! I, for one, have turned to Him many times this last week! I have felt an increase in attacks on our family as we have determined to pray harder for many things and are getting closer to God. You know you are on the right path when the enemy starts taking aim! :) The sad news (for the enemy) is that I am not backing down!!! AND - I have many warriors on my side as well!! Thank you all who are walking in this battle with us - daily and weekly! I need you! Thanks!

So - here are my prayer requests (battle plans!):

Tyler - We want to see breakthrough and transformation in his life this year! He has battled anxiety, depression, attention/focusing problems, over-emotional reactions to things, and possible Asperger's Syndrome (some days I doubt that diagnosis, and others it seems to be in full force). It has been affecting him at school, and they are tempted to not let him come back (it's a small christian school that doesn't have the resources for "special needs" - including Ty's anxiety attacks, I guess.)
We want to see healing, deliverance and a "re-training" of many bad habits. I KNOW that God is going to - and I know that He is helping us! I also KNOW that the outcome will be good - but the process is just challenging (imagine having to retrain the hair on your head to grow/fall a different direction?! God is putting on some hair gel to help us out - but we still have to comb it every day in the direction we want it to go!). Ty did go up for prayer today at church (he wanted to!), and I know that God is working in him! Keep praying with us and for us (esp for patience and discipline to go the distance). And pray that he will be able to still attend his school!! :)

Juliana - Keep praying for her situation. It's still not resolved. I found out more info this week, but can't really share it online. Just pray that she will be fully "released"! We want to see her get out of the court system down there and to be brought home to the US. Keep praying!

The mom of 2 girls - that you've been praying for . . . the lawyer did not follow through with the DNA approval! :( There are other (crazy) issues going on there too. Please continue to pray for the release of her girls! Pray for her - that God will carry her through this "fire"! I know He can and will - but it's still hard to go through. Please lift her and her family up in prayer! Thanks so much!!

Those are my main concerns right now! Thank you to all who are willing to pray with us! We will see miracles happen!!

God bless you all! Please let us know if we can be praying for you too!

Lori :)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Edited versions & latest news

Well folks -
I have edited the 2 entries ("a weird turn of events", and " . . .part 2"). If you hadn't read them before, that's ok as you just won't know what you missed (a good reason to be checking my blog more often - hunh?! :) hee, hee.). If you have read them before - just keep it all in prayer. Thanks. I'm trying to be considerate of other's personal lives, but still letting you guys know about my personal adoption journey - and that included our last referral. Anyways - I'm movin on! I wonder what God will think up next to entertain me. I'd be ok if things were a bit quiet for awhile. I might even get some cleaning done around the house! :) hee, hee. . . . . well, maybe not! :)

So - what is new with you all? Drop me a line sometime. I'm thrilled that you guys are reading my blog and interested in our adventures - but I would love to hear yours as well! :)

As for the latest on the Adoption front:

A big THANK YOU to all who have helped us out so far financially (esp. the recent donation to our paypal acct . . . you know who you are!!)! You all are a blessing and I pray that God will bless you back a 100 fold!!

We are still selling the Entertainment books till the beginning of December. The coupons in them are good till Nov. 2007 - and many of them have a "Repeat savings" feature which allows you to print more of the same coupon online (like the Portsmouth Children's Museum! My kids love that place.)! And don't forget - when you register your book online, you will be able to print out a $25 gift certificate for one of many (over 150) restaraunts in our area (maybe more wherever you live) - so it's like getting the book for free! :) You don't have to live in the Hampton Roads area to buy one. They have many books for all over the country! Try it out and help out our adoption!

We are also looking into having a yard sale on Oct 7th at my mom's house (5208 Canoe Landing, VB) in Lake Christopher. We are looking for donations for the sale (and volunteers as my mom will actually be out of town that weekend!). If that day doesn't work out, we may have it on Nov 4th at our house. I'll let you know. If you want to volunteer to help, or have things to donate - let us know soon! We'd really appreciate it! We'll be selling the Entertainment books at the yard sale as well. So come by and get one! :)

We have applied for a couple grants, and are in the process of filling out a few more applications. Haven't heard anything yet, and I'm not sure if we will get any grants - but it never hurts to try. We may even try to set up an account to accept donations that offer a tax deduction for the donors. I just haven't gotten that far in my paperwork yet (with all the excitement/drama this last week).

Oh yeah - and we are starting to collect ink jet and laser toner cartridges to recycle as part of our fundraising efforts. If you have any old ones you'd like to donate, let us know. That's better than just throwing them in the trash! :)

Ok - I know that was alot about money -but that's just where we are at right now. . . . waiting for a referral, and praying & strategizing about how we will pay for the referral and adoption. :) Sorry if I bored ya!

Thanks for all your prayers. Continue on! The battle is not over, and I expect more bumps and jostles along the way! Our boat ride down the river may have some rapids along the way - and that's ok! I trust my Guide! Hope you do too!

Blessings on you and your family today!
Lori :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Missing info

Sorry guys - had to remove some info. Hope you understand. Still keep praying for our adoption and all that's been going on.
Lori :)
I'll let you know when I've posted the edited versions of "A weird turn of events" parts 1 & 2.

2/09/2011 - I added back in the info I had taken out - especially since it's been a few years - and Juliana is back in our life now (we are sponsoring her)! It will be interesting to see what God does in her life and with our lives connected again now! :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A weird turn of events - part 2

Hello my friends and family!
I just wanted to let you know to keep praying for the adoptive parents of little Juliana. It has been an emotional rollercoaster ride the past several days (for me as well). My heart just aches for them! I've cried several times over everything! Wish I could tell you more - but just keep praying it will all work out!

As for the other adoptive mom (who's 2 girls are still stuck in the Guatemala court system) - I just got word that the lawyer is finally going to file for DNA approval on this coming monday! :) Yeah!! Please pray that this really happens! Alot can go wrong throughout the whole process, but I know that God can move these mountains!!!! Please keep them in your prayers - come join the battle with me! She is really encouraged that God may be hearing our pleas!! Yeah!!

Thanks so much guys! You are affecting lives and generations forever!

Lori :)

2/09/2011 - I'm posting part of the original unedited post here.

Hello my friends and family!
I just wanted to let you know to keep praying for the adoptive parents of little Juliana. It has been a rollercoaster ride the past several days. One day it seems they are hopeful to get her back, the next day - telling me they hope I get Juliana if they can't, then back to thinking they may get her home. At least that's the gist I get from the mom's emails. My heart just aches for them! It's now looking like they will not bring her home and I just cried - for them and Juliana. I cannot imagine what they are going through. It's like losing a child.

There may be a chance that the adoption process could be "undone". We'll see. I hope so - for Juliana's sake. If it's not, she will be stuck in the court system forever and go to an orphanage. Not a good thing. If the adoption is "undone", I don't know if she would be referred to us again or not. It would all depend on what lawyer gets "custody" of her. She may go back to our lawyer, and in that case, we may see her again. Only God knows and it's all in His hands - thank goodness!

Thank you for your prayers so far for Juliana and her adoptive parents here. They are grieving again, as you can well imagine, and would covet your prayers still. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Rest of the Process

Many of you have asked about when we would bring our daughter home (once we get and are able to accept a referral!). Here is the basic process after referral (apprx. 4-8 months of waiting!):

The Guatemala Adoption Process (and approximate timeframes)

External Relations Ministry
The case is registered with the courts and the documents are certified.
All documents are translated into Spanish for the courts
DNA Testing (30 days)
The US Embassy authorizes a DNA test for the biological mother and the child. The test is analyzed by a lab in the United States.
Family Court (6 weeks)
A social worker is assigned to interview the biological mother and the foster mother. The report is prepared and the case is approved to continue. DNA test approval. Irrevocable release by birth mother to Guat. atty.
Procuraduria General de la Nacion (PGN) (1-4 months, or more; varies)
The office of the Attorney General reviews the entire case to ensure that all the documents are in order. PGN then approves the adoption to be passed through the remaining procedures.
INS Medical Exam
The Immigration and Naturalization doctor will review the entire medical records to ensure that all vacations are current and that the baby is in good health.
Birth Certificate
A birth certificate will be issued with your last name on it for your child.
Passport (20 days)
A Guatemala passport will be issued for the child. You can get a US Passport issued once you return home.
Final Embassy Review (2 days)
The US Embassy reviews your file to ensure that all the paperwork is in order to process your travel visa. "Pink" interview - waiting to get "Pink" appointment slip to pick up child.
Pack your bags! :)

As you can see - our journey is only half way done (or maybe even just 1/3 of the way done). Thanks for the support along the way so far. Keep on praying! :)

Lori :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

New Best of the Wests website

Just wanted to let you know that I am starting to set up a new website (as a trial). It will allow me to add more pics and videos, etc. I will probably still blog on this site. We'll see. I did import my blog entries on the new site - but it's not as easy to navigate to the entry you want as this site is. Anyways - you can check it out at .


Lori :)

A weird turn of events

Here's the latest.
I got a call from Lucy (our agency director) on Thursday saying she finally had good news and bad news. The good news is . . . . she had some info. The bad news is . . . what the info was.

Evidentally, (to make a long story shorter) our lawyer was not responding to calls/emails as she had found out that Juliana had already been in the adoption process a year or two ago, and something happened that halted the process. Juliana was still stuck in the court system! So, Lucy was going to try and find out who this family was that had tried to adopt her before and see if they were still interested, and if not, if they would write a letter (or whatever they needed to do) to terminate the adoption so we could move forward with it possibly.

The whole story sounded vaguely familiar to me - and I thought I had read something like it before on my Guatemalan yahoo group, so I posted a message for any info on little Juliana on my group. I got a response right away (which was a miracle as this woman had stopped reading the yahoo group email's - but my title had caught her eye. Now that's God!).

I spent 2 hours and over 33 emails on friday to connect the dots between the woman who responded who knew the previous parents, the prev. agency handling the case, the parents who had tried to adopt her, Lucy, and of course - Jeremy (to keep him in the loop). In respecting the adoptive parents, I won't really go into the details. That side of the story is theirs to tell.

I can tell you (with permission) that the original woman who told me about the adoptive parents has also been through a 2 year ordeal and still has hardly progressed with her adoption of 2 beautiful girls (still possibly in Family court -since Feb. Can you imagine?! Bless her heart!). She has given up (mentally,emotionally, etc) and doubts she will ever bring home her 2 girls (3 & 6 years old). :( My heart breaks for these 2 women!

Will you guys please pray for these ladies and their adoptions? Pray for their girls to be released, for their Mommy's hearts to be at peace and filled with hope and trust in God, for these cases to progress forward, and for God to send His angels to do the spiritual warfare needed to get these girls to freedom!!

As sad as it seems that we (once again) did not get the child referred - I am at total peace. I thought earlier today that she may be our daughter and it would all work out - till I talked with Juliana's adoptive mom and found out all the info. I am glad we could be used to (hopefully) help this family. I would want someone to do the same for me!

So - we are back to waiting. :) I'm getting pretty good at it. :) Actually - we haven't really been "just" waiting for long. God knows I like to stay busy, and I think that's why He allowed me to be "able" to redo so many of our forms, etc. :) hee, hee. It gave me something to do. Just imagine if our dossier had been right the first time? I would have been waiting since June! (Not as long as some people - I know) Anyways - it's all in God's hands. Our daughter will come to us when she is supposed to. :) I know that for sure. I've got enough craziness around here to keep me busy till she does. :)

Lori :)

2/09/2011 - Ok I am going to add back in the parts that I had edited out before. It's been 4 years - so I think it's fine to tell her story - especially considering how Juliana is back in our life now!

Here is what I took out of this post. (I'll add things to the other post as well if I edited that one too).

This family actually got to choose Juliana's name the day she was born (the day they got their referral). That was March 2, 2004!!! They got all the way through all the courts in Guat, and all they were waiting on was the official new BC and their visa/travel appt. and the atty stopped the process for some reason (no one really knows). The lawyer didn't really disappear - but didn't continue to work on the case. The poor family hired Adoption Supervisors (probably to the tune of several thousands of dollars) and have been to Guatemala several times to try and get things finalized. No such luck. I think they had given up. I found out they actually live 2 hours from us and still have Juliana's room all ready (they were originally hoping to bring home a baby and were not sure about a toddler - so I thought there may still be a chance they could write a letter to terminate the process - but they are too far into it now to just do that). Anyways - Lucy contacted the other agency and hopefully things will get moving for this poor family. That is my prayer!

**Side note - I found out the adoptive parents are now divorced, and the mom has no intentions of trying to bring Juliana home (I think she still might have been able to as she most likely was grandfathered in before adoptions shut down - because of how far they were in their adoption. I could be wrong though.). So sad.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

September 15 is Independence Day in Guatemala, celebrating the independence of the countries of Central America from Spain! On September 15, 1821 Guatemala gained its Independence from Spain. This Independence Day is shared with all the other Central American countries except for Panama and Belize. Following this, Guatemala was briefly part of Mexico and then later became a part of the United Provinces of Central America. This confederation fell apart due to a war between the members that occurred from 1838 to 1840. At the end of the war Guatemala became an independent nation.

Here is how it is celebrated in Guatemala-adapted from!

Independence Day is not a tourism draw and is not celebrated much outside of the country (like Cinco de Mayo) but is a local Guatemalan celebration. Since it is a national holiday many Guatemalans take the opportunity to travel to the more traditional tourist areas to watch celebrations. On the day preceding Independence Day the national anthem is sung with gusto in schools. The Schools, and even the school buses, are decorated with patriotic motifs in celebration. Traditionally the army of Guatemala celebrates with a protocol act and air acrobatics, usually for the audience of the President. As the day comes to a close children and adults can be seen waving small plastic Guatemalan flags in the streets and the stores are decked out in Blue and White decorations.
While Guatemala is celebrating so are the other countries of Central America. Since they all achieved independence together they also have ways of celebrating together, though many celebrate on both the 14th and the 15th. A torch, which begins in Guatemala on the 14th, travels by relay race down the Pan American Highway to Costa Rica where it arrives on the 15th. Along the route people decorate homes and schools. Children dress up in their finest school uniforms and cheer along with the adults as the runners and the torch goes by. It is a great honor to be chosen to be a runner of the Independence Day torch. As runners cross between countries borders there are cultural ceremonies with dignitaries of all the Central American countries there to honor Independence Day.

So Happy Independance Day!

Lori :)
ps - I will have to tell you all about the craziness today concerning Juliana. Got to go put the kids to bed, so maybe tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Juliana Gabrielle . . . our daughter??

Hello friends and family! So - you want to know, hunh? :) Well - so do we! Here's what we do know:

We had to wait over the Labor Day weekend, but on Wednesday (Sept 6th), I got an e-mail from Lucy (our agency director) stating that she finally got some info on the little girl, but it was still in Spanish and didn't look like it had much medical info or any pictures. She wanted to know if we wanted to wait till she got everything or just to go ahead and send what she had (she was leaving for Haiti in the morning). I asked for what she had (of course!) and later told Tammy (Lucy's Guatemala adoption helper/advocate) to go ahead and send me the documents in Spanish (she had called at 5pm saying they hadn't received the translations yet). We have 2 neighbors that speak fluent Spanish (one is from Spain and the other from Mexico) - so I think we could get it translated! :) I actually could understand most of it, and had a couple friends (not even my neighbors) help with the rest.
In the letter, the lawyer said she would fax the medical info and email some pics the next morning (Thursday). Well - it's now monday and we still have not heard back from the lawyer. My agency tried contacting her again today. Hmmm . . . . . what's going on Lord? It is hard to feel like we have a "real" referral, as we don't have all the info. Even Lucy said the same thing. :) As you can imagine - I check my e-mail even more frequently throughout the day (is that even possible?!) just waiting for the pics and info! Though - I do still trust that it's all in God's timing as the past 2 weeks have been quite stressful for me with school starting and all the new schedules, etc. (teaching Ty at home MWF) - so, not having to figure out the finances to accept a referral yet, has been a blessing. God has a reason and has His ways! They are definitely NOT my ways!

The other interesting thing that the Lord has done lately . . . is to keep making me cry! . . . or was that my hormones? Well, I can blame that on God too! :) No, seriously - last night at our monthly Mei Ming (adoption ministry) meeting - we were praying for the Chinese orphans and adoptions and I was totally overtaken! I saw a picture of a huge wave, like a Tsunami, sweep over the land in China and wash through an orphanage (or several) and over all the kids - submerging them. I just started to cry. I wanted to sob uncontrolably - but held it in. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't think it was a literal interpretation, but it still made me cry. Then I felt like God told me that this was a picture of His love for these children - the orphaned, and was I ready to experience it? . . . . I would love to say - yes I am - but when you do, it's too overwhelming. Your heart is full of love and heartache all at once - and the power of it overwhelms you like a Tsunami wave! I didn't like feeling out of control in it, but I do want more of His heart - it's just hard to handle.

Then today, somehow, in one of my many online adventures, I ended up at a website for US kids that needed adopting. I came across this little girl - Carolina. I could not stop crying for over an hour. I would slowly stop, but as soon as I thought about her, or any other orphan for that matter, I just started weeping uncontrollably. And of course my mind just went crazy trying to figure out why the spigots in my eyes wouldn't shut off! Was it just my "mother's heart" feeling for this child (I was crying as if she was my own child just diagnosed with end stage renal disease. I just wanted to take her home and love on her!)? Was it the shame I felt for wanting a "healthy" child? Was it the desire to help this little girl? Was it the feeling of sadness and frustration at the unfairness in life for these little ones? Was it God? Was it my hormones? Was it just stress??. . . . . What was going on? I had to lay down on my bed and weep before God and pray for this little girl, and others like her that I have seen recently online, who may never be adopted because of their "special needs" - but who desperately want and need a loving family of their own! I called and talked with (more like sobbed to) my mom and had her pray for me, and that seemed to finally slow the stream of tears to a trickle and eventually they stopped altogether (thankfully!). But I'm still not 100% sure of what the intense emotions were all about with this girl. I had almost started to cry when seeing a few other kids before - but nothing like this!

Anyways . . . . I'll stop telling you my "sob stories". :) hee, hee.

So - Back to our referral . . . Pray that we get the final info on little Juliana Gabrielle (that's her birth name) so that we can make a decision. She is 2 1/2 years old (born March 2nd) - which is right about the age I was thinking we would get. By the time we brought her home, she would be 3 probably - or almost 3. Meg plays well with the 3 year old down the street, and I think she would like being a "big sister" to a "little sister", instead of having a sister almost her age. We'll see.

Also - continued prayer for:
- Adoption Finances (haven't heard back from the grant application; am planning of having a garage sale this fall; we're still selling Ent. Books, and starting to collect ink and laser cartridges for recycling; plus there are some other possible fundraising ideas that we haven't approached or tried yet; and finally - looking into low interest loans or 0% credit cards . . . we'll see where God leads)
- Info to arrive soon!
- Coverage for our whole family! - we have felt very attacked lately (J's stress at work, me with my new, busy schedule of schooling and "taxi" mom, etc, etc, etc)
- Orphans around the world - to be released to families that will love and care for them!

Thanks so much you guys! We love and appreciate you - as always!!!!!

- Lori :)
ps - Hopefully our next news will be tears of JOY when we accept a referral! I hope so!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Dossier is Finished . . . I hope!

Sorry so long between posts - not much exciting happening. . . . .But - I think I can safely say that our dossier is officially finished! Our last form (the Home Study agency's license copy) was authenticated at the State and Consulate levels and was received in KY at KAS on Friday! Yeah! Now they can send it to Guatemala for translation into Spanish. :) I guess that is exciting!

About a week and a half ago, our agency director came back from her trip to Guatemala. I was anxious to hear if she had any good news for us. On that tuesday, she responded to an email of mine and said that she "may have a referral of a toddler girl" for us "soon". I was thinking - within a few days! But no phone call or email the rest of that week. This past monday, I emailed again. She said that she was quite frustrated as she had called Guatemala every day the last week and had not heard back from the attorney who had told her about the little girl. As of this friday, she still hadn't heard, despite her "pestering". Hmmm . . . . did the atty fall off the face of the earth? Is this delay a ploy of the enemy or the plan of God? We are praying that, if she is meant to be our daughter, God will release her to us soon. If she is not meant to be our daughter - then the delay is fine (and justified). Only God knows. I feel at peace about it, even though my "mother's heart" and curiosity are anxious to see who our daughter will be. I feel like I'm in my second trimester of pregnancy and I am waiting to get my ultrasound to see what I'm having! :) The day can't come quick enough! :) Once we get our referral though, it will still be 4-7 months till we bring her home. Having her home for Christmas is getting slimmer and slimmer. :(

I still check the site quite frequently looking at the little babies and kids that need to be adopted. I've fallen in love with quite a few of them. Several of them were at another agency that I had contemplated switching to when we switched to KAS, but I just didn't feel a peace about them when I talked with their staff a couple times. They weren't mean or anything - I just didn't get that inner peace like I did with KAS. . . . . Gotta follow the "Peace" - even if it means we have to wait a little longer. God knows our needs, wants, desires, etc. I trust Him 100%. Plus - we still need about $8000 to be able to accept a referral, and then we'll need another $11,000 towards the end of the adoption process. We are still in the process of trying to come up with the money. On that topic though - we have been blessed recently with 2 $500 checks to be applied towards our adoption! :) PTL! God is good! Oh yeah - and the blessing of the new van couldn't have come at a better time. We gave our old car to my parents, and just a little while later, my mom's car completely died!! They would have been scrambling to get a new car, but now they can at least take their time and still get around town. Thank you God!

Well guys - thanks again for all your prayers. Pray for the release of our daughter, and the finances needed to bring her home. Pray for wisdom as to how to bring in the finances (extra job, loans, grants, fundraisers, etc). Thanks so much for the encouragement!

Blessings today!
Lori :)

ps - We do have the Norfolk entertainment books in, so let me know if you need one. They are regularily $30 (or $32 online), but we are selling them for $25 (unless you want to give us $30 for it. :) hee, hee). You get a free $25 gift cert to a local restaraunt just for registering your book online! We've already used our certificate at Taverna in Va Beach for our Anniversary. Very yummy! So it's like getting a free book basically! You'll be glad you got one! Lots of great coupons!!!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Entertainment books are in!

The Norfolk/Hampton Roads Entertainment books are in! You can save alot of money on places you already may visit (ie - Bruster's, Fazoli's, McDonald's, Burger King, IHOP, Bennigan's, Kyoto Japanese, Children's Museum of VA, The VA Zoo, etc). Email or call us for your copy! They are only $25 through us (if you order online - you may be charged a $5 S&H fee - so get one directly from us to save you some money). You can order online through the link in the sidebar or click on this title. You can even order a book for someone in other cities - so pass this info on! Thanks.
We really appreciate it!
Lori :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Home study license update

Praise God! :) Not only did I receive the new copy of the HS license with a date by the notary's signiture, but it is a different license all together. Why is that good? Because I didn't even notice that the last one was a Maryland license and the new one is a Virginia license. We, obviously, live in Virginia and used the Virginia office - so that is the one I needed to begin with. Also, the MD license expired in Jan 07 (which could still be when our adoption is in process) and the VA one doesn't expire till March 09! PTL for His divine providence in allowing us to get the right form before we sent if off through all the authentications, etc. God is good!
Just wanted to let you know! The license is on it's way to Richmond for state authentication. Yeah!
Lori :)

Esther was adopted!

Hello all! Ok - before I explain the title, let me catch you up. Sorry I haven't updated sooner - but as usual, it's been another busy week!

Jacob surgery went beautifully! Thank you all for praying! I could tell he was bathed in prayer. He was not scared (he was actually excited to go smell the grape flavored mask in the OR) and recovered 4 times quicker than my other boys ever did from surgery! I barely had time to sit down in the recovery area before they told us we could go home! No nausea or vomiting, no excessive sleepiness, etc. For those that didn't know - Jake has had several styes in his lower eyelids this last year, and ended up with several Chalazions on the inside and outside of both lids. They were never going to go away (and people always asked what was wrong with his eyes because of the red spots, etc) - so they had to surgically remove them. It was a short surgery, but it did require general anesthesia. Anyways - his eyelids are looking much better! A little redness still, but on the mend, and definitely better than before! Oh yah - and today is his 4th b-day! Happy Birthday Jacob!!

As for the adoption - I got a call from KAS that our dossier looked great and was all done . . . . except for . . . . . . (????Hunh??? Something else?) . . . we were missing the notarized, authenticated (x2) copy of our home study agency's license. ???? We were never even told we needed it! Oh well. One of these days we will actually be DONE with this paperwork (I hope). So I called and left a message at our HS agency and didn't hear back from them. Left another message this past monday - and they finally called me back. They had mailed out the copy on friday, so I should recieve it soon. It actually did come in the mail on monday, and I was all ready to send it off to be authenticated when I realized that the notary didn't date her signiture. I wasn't sure if she had to or not - but I thought that was pretty standard. I called my agency, and they said it may be fine how it is, but they would rather just get it done right ("since you don't have a referral yet and we are not in a need to rush things" . . . why do they keep saying that to me? I would LOVE to have a referral and be in a rush! :) Oh well). So - I called the HS agency back and requested to get one with a date on it. She said she would do it that day and get it in the mail. I expeceted to receive it Wed or Thursday - but didn't. Hopefully today. So . . .. when that is all authenticated . . . THEN we will be PAPER READY! yeah!

Lucy, the director of KAS, is still in Guatemala and should be returning tomorrow. Please pray for her safe return. I, of course, am hoping that she has found our daughter with the help of her lawyer, but I'm not gonna hold my breath. I do have a sense of peace these past 2 months that it's all in God's timing and His big, capable hands. In my devotions today (reading from Cynthia Heald's book "A Woman's Journey to the Heart of God"), I read a wonderful statement about waiting. This definition, of the value of waiting, was written by A.B. Davidson - "To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect - to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but no to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly." That described how I feel exactly!! With each delay, I don't have that feeling of fret or panic, but peace. I long for, expect, look for and watch for the arrival of my daughter - but it has been filled with a strong peace! I can't explain it any other way. PTL that I know the author of that peace and can lean on Him during this process! There are so many adoptive parents who live in fear during the whole process. Anyways . . . . I'll keep you updated on whether we get a referral soon (or not).

As for Esther . . . . . .
I was praying this morning for my daughter. Because we are looking for a 2-5 year old, we have not decided on what to name her, as she may end up keeping her name (especially if she is older). I have liked the name Kathryn Grace (meaning "Pure, virginal" and "Grace of God"). My oldest son picked out Kaitlyn or Kathryn when I was pregnant with Jacob (and wanted to still call him that even after we found out it was a boy! I don't think so!). Anyways - I was asking God what name he would want for our daughter. Would we just keep her name, or is there another name for her? What will she be like? Etc. God brought Esther to my mind - not necessarily the name, but the person and the story. I've always liked the story of Esther (a beautiful young lady who gets chosen to be queen and helps to save her people!! What little girl wouldn't fantasize about being her?!) I flipped open the Bible to Esther and started reading. Besides the fact that Esther was a "virgin" (see Kathryn's meaning above), what jumped out immediately to me (that I had never noticed before at all!!!) was that Esther was adopted!!! (So - Tait's, you have the "Tarzan effect", but I have the "Esther effect"! :) hee, hee.)
Esther 2:7 - "Mordecai had a cousin named Hadasah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father or mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died." vs. 15 - "When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had ADOPTED . . . )". She also left her "people" to go live with the King (who was a totally different nationality), and God used that to help her save "her people"! What a beautiful story of God's Divine Grace! I feel like God was saying that our daughter would have an Esther spirit - beautiful, pure, good heart, smart, (of course all the things we all desire for our kids!!), and that the reason God is allowing her to join our family is not to leave her "people" behind, but to be able to have an impact on them in the future! She HAS to leave them to save them (spiritually, physically, etc - I don't know. all of the above?)! God's plans are perfect! Aren't they?! So . . . .as is God's usual style - my question wasn't really answered directly (Jesus always spoke in parables too!) - but what a picture and reassurance of God's love and plans He has for our daughter! It just tickles me pick and lifts my spirits!

The great news is - that God has awesome plans for each and every one of us! It may not be to save a whole nation, or to find the cure for cancer, but the impact your life has on even just one little child (or adult) - can have an everlasting consequence and can potentially touch millions of lives thereafter!! Just think if Billy Graham had never accepted the Lord as Savior! Even though he was raised in church, he had a time of wrestling with the issue of whether the Bible was the infallible word of God while he was at college. What if Henrietta Mears had not helped him with that issue? What if Forest Hope Christian camp had never been started (where Graham made the decision that the Bible was in fact God's infallible words and decided to follow God wholeheartedly)? Just one decision we make, one life we touch, can potentially reach into the millions because of our commitment to follow Christ and His will for our lives (even if it SEEMS that we are not doing anything"big" for God). So - keep on following God's calling on your life - whether it's to adopt, support adoption, be a stay at home mom, a working mom, etc. Just make sure you are doing what God wants you to do and you can't go wrong!!! :)

God bless you all today! Sorry this ended up being so long - but I had to share what was on my heart! Hope it didn't put you to sleep. :)
Thanks for your support and prayers!
Lori :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Paper ready? & Entertainment books

The Guatemalan Consulate in DC got our paperwork last thursday afternoon, authenticated it all, and sent it out on Friday evening! Faster than I expected! :) It arrived in KY at our agency on Monday morning. Yeah!(though my agency didn't tell me it had arrived when I spoke with them monday afternoon - maybe they hadn't opened their mail yet)! The director and assistant for the Guatemala program are reviewing all our documents again today to make sure they are all correct. I am soooooo glad they are sooooo picky! Like I said before, out of thousands of documents they have sent to Guatemala over the years, only 4 documents have been kicked out of PGN to be fixed!!! Only 4!!! That's a fantastic record!
We did get a big dossier packet in the mail from KAS on Monday and when reviewing it, I noticed that we didn't do a form (that AHH never required), and I also noticed that a few forms that we had authenticated at the state and consulate level - they didn't require them to be authenticated (for KAS). Oh well. Each agency does things differently. I wish they had told me that though before I sent them off to the consulate. That would have saved some money. Oh well. I typed up the Child's Rights Affidavit that we hadn't done and sent it off to KAS along with new G28 and I600 forms, etc. KAS will take care of the authentication of the Child Rights form for us. Thank goodness. :)
I also found out that our agency had quite a few baby girls become available this last month - which explained why the director told me to "let her know" if we changed our mind from a 2-5 year old and wanted a baby. :) It's unusual to have to "find" parents for these baby girls! Usually they go quickly (and hav e probably already been placed). It did make me stop and think for awhile. I'm so anxious to know who my daughter is - that I wonder sometimes . . . should we just take a baby? Are we really supposed to get a toddler? . . . you know - all sorts of things run through my mind. I just keep praying and following the "Peace". Right now - J and I still have peace about a toddler. Some of those babies are darn cute . . . . but I have been really enjoying being out of the "baby stage". No diapers, nap schedules, strollers, bottles, etc. I can actually sit and relax at the pool, while my kids play, for the first time in over 10 years! :)
Anyways - our daughter is out there somewhere, and I know the Lord will show us clearly who she is.

Pray for Lucy, the director of KAS as she goes down to Guatemala the middle of this month.
Pray for the lawyer that is looking for our daughter.
Pray for our daughter to be safe and to be found soon.
Pray for us - for paitence, peace, health, and for our finances (adoption and otherwise). (oh yeah - Jake's surgery is at 9:15 am tomorrow, Thursday. Pray it goes well)

Thanks for all your prayers! We appreciate it wholeheartedly!
-Lori :)

ps - Most of you have received an email from us (thru Entertainment), but for those that we don't have your email address . . .

We are selling the Entertainment discount books (for all areas of the country) to help raise funds for our adoption. The Norfolk area book is $25 and we recieve a percentage (based upon the number of books we sell - so obviously, the more we sell, the better). You can save a TON of money by using the coupons in the book (which includes many places you probably already spend money at)! We saved over $2000 on a hotel near Disney through our book 3 years ago. It was a 5 star place at 1 star price! The coupons are good till November 2007!
If you live near us and want to purchase them - let us know. We will be getting books in around the 21-15th of August. You can also order online (I think there is a $5 S&H charge??). Let your friends know too! Thanks so much! You'll love this book! We've been using them for over 10 years!

*If ordering online -
You can click on the title of this post or the link on the sidebar. Make sure it says you are supporting "The Best of the Wests" in the green section near the top of the Entertainment site.
Go to and type in our group number (or seller number) to give us credit for your order. Thanks.
Group # 883993
Seller # 321301