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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Saving money for "sister"

Ok - I just have to share this with you! I was chuckling so hard (but trying not to show it to Meg so I wouldn't make her mad).
After gymnastics on Wednesday, I gave Meghan a dollar to buy a snack for her and Jacob to share. She chose Skittles for 75 cents. She wanted to keep the quarter - to "save so I can get my sister". I had her give me back the quarter and I ended up giving it to Jacob to buy an Airhead candy (he didn't want Skittles . . . ). She about tackled me and Jacob to get the quarter, yelling at the top of her lungs "NOOOOOO . . . don't spend the quarter mom!!! We need it for getting my sister!!! NOOOOO! Mom!! Don't spend it!!!". Of course - everyone who was there (luckily it was only a couple ladies and their little kids left) just looked and stared. I smiled and said "she is very excited to be adopting a sister". :) . . . . . . what I really wanted to say to Meghan was "If you are so concerned about saving money - then let's return your Skittles that you spent 3 quarters on." . . . I was tempted. :)
Poor Meg - she asks me frequently: How much paperwork have I finished? How much more do I have to do? Why haven't I finished it yet? Will her sister be here by her birthday (May 5th)? When will she come? When can she get bunk beds for her and her sister? . . . . and on and on! :)
How cool is it that God would answer the desires of this little girl's heart!?! Tyler has always wanted another sister as well. When I was pregnant with Jacob he was hoping it would be a girl so we could name her Kaitlyn or Kathryn - his "favorite" names. He still tells me he hopes her name is Kathryn (or that we can call her that). :) I like the name too, but we'll see. If she is older (5 years old or so), then we will probably keep whatever name her mom gave her. If she's young - we may change her first name. I just don't know yet. I'm still praying about that one.
Well - thanks for checking in on us! Have a great day!
Lori :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We begin our Home study!

Yeah! Next wednesday, May 3rd, we will officially begin our homestudy with Carol Galvin - a wonderful social worker that was recommended to us. I know she's wonderful - because she's put up with all my questions and confusions before even being able to start our homestudy! Plus - many other people have highly praised her! :)
We are still plugging away at all the paperwork and notarizations. It's amazing to me - how many hoops we have to jump through to prove we are good parents and can adopt this child. It will be worth it in the end! I would do many times more paperwork even!! (and I know I will throughout her life!). This week we will be starting on our 3-4 page autobiographies for the homestudy. Should be interesting. . . . hope my memory doesn't fail me when writing it! :) hee, hee. Or - maybe that would be a good thing. :) Who knows!
Thank you for supporting us in this adoption. If any of you feel led to share your support of us through prayer or finances (or knowledge & expertise in this process) - please check the links under "How can I support the Wests?". Thanks so much guys! God bless you all
-Lori :)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Family Pics

Here's our current gang!

I may try to add some more photos later. For now - gotta go get the kids in bed!

- Lori :)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Guatemala info

Want to know more about Guatemala?

Guatemala (land of trees) is a beautiful country, with two mountain ranges (the Sierra Madres and the Cuchumatares), the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It is the largest of the Central American countries and has a growing tourist business. It is the seat of the remarkable Mayan civilization and boasts many cultures and ethnicities, primarily Amerindian, Caucasian, Spanish and African American. It is referred to the "land of eternal spring" for it's moderate temperates.

But Guatemala is not without its' problems. A country roughly the size of Tennessee , the population numbers over 14 millions. 75% of the population is below the poverty line. The average number of children per woman of childbearing age in Guatemala is 4.5. Many of these women are not able to support their children due to poverty. Many have them out of wedlock, which is culturally unacceptable there. As a result, there are literally thousands of children who are available for adoption there. Last year, Guatemala released almost as many children for adoption as China , a much larger country. There tends to be more boys than girls available for adoption there.

Guatemala has made the adoption process a very reliable and informative one for families. Children are very well cared for, oftentimes from birth, in foster homes. They receive excellent medical care and are well nurtured by their foster families, thereby helping to prevent bonding problems later in life. Most of these children are available for adoption at a very young age, one month.

The foreign country fee for Guatemala is usually around $19,000. While this is a higher fee than is offered by most countries, these costs are offset by a very short travel time, usually around three days, and the proximity of the country, which lowers airfares considerably. In the end, Guatemala is comparable in cost to other countries such as China , Russia and Korea .

"The Maya civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence in 1821. During the second half of the 20th century, it experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, as well as a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996, the government signed a peace agreement formally ending the conflict, which had left more than 100,000 people dead and had created some 1 million refugees."

-Lori :)

Update and prayer requests

So here’s the latest update:
1. A co-worker of J's donated $1000 (out of the blue) towards our adoption! Way to go God! What a blessing! (Thanks guys! You know who you are!) (only $20,000 + more to go!)
2. Our home study agency says that we can start our home study now (we'll have to wait till J gets back and our social worker gets back from some conferences - so probably the first week of May)
3. We've had our fun physicals! :) Yee-hah!
4. We've gotten a lot of paperwork done, but still have probably 20% more to do, then send it all to the Sec. of the State and then the Guatemala Consulates for authentications.
5. We have our fingerprinting appointment with Homeland Security on May 11th.
6. Hopefully Mark Johnson (from A Helping Hand) is still currently looking for our daughter at one of those 2 Christian orphanages (see previous post).
7. We still need: Bunk beds (for Meg and her new sister), a new, bigger van for J (we can't fit into his current vehicle), a bigger kitchen table that will seat 7, and a variety of other odds and ends for our daughter (clothes, etc. Waiting till we know how old she is, etc.).

Prayer requests:
- For the safety of our daughter in Guatemala
- For peace in my heart as we go through this process
- For Divine guidance in our lives and the lives of those helping us with this process (i.e. – our social worker, adoption agency, family advocate, etc)
- For Finances – the total adoption process is going to be around $26-29,000, plus the above mentioned items we will need. Pray for wisdom on how to finance it (ie - support letter, grants, loans, God's miraculous provision, etc). I know that He will provide somehow as this was His plan - I just want wisdom (so I don't get ahead of Him and His timing and blessings).
- For the safe and speedy delivery of all our documents we have to fill out and send, and for the paperwork process to be without problems, delays, etc. Pray for Divine intervention in the whole process.
- For the bonding of this little girl with our family - her heart and ours!

I think that's it for now. We covet your prayers and support.
Lori & Jeremy :)

A Helping Hand

Here is a previous e-mail that I thought I would include to catch you up on what's happening.
-Lori :)

Monday, April 10th, 2006
Hello all!
Just wanted to give you an update
I spoke with Mark Johnson - Director of Operations at A Helping Hand (our adoption agency) today. He was able to go to Guatemala at the end of March and visit a couple orphanages and make contact with a wonderful new Christian attorney. :) The 2 orphanages are Prince of Peace and Barnabas. I believe these are the websites for them - & Check them out! They seem like wonderful Christian ministries! And the children are well cared for, loved, and taught about Christ! What more could I ask for?! :)

So - Mark is now "officially" on the hunt for our daughter! :) He may find her before we even finish our Dossier & Home study. :) Wouldn't that be awesome! Please keep him in your prayers as he is looking for her. Keep our new daughter and our family in your prayers as well. Thank you guys soooo much! :)

Well - gotta go feed the hungry crew here! Just thought I'd let you in on my excitement! :)

Lori :)

*side note - we decided to go with A Helping Hand (AHH) because of a vision God had given me a week after J's dream.
I was feeling anxious about the adoption process and how to proceed. This is the vision He showed me as I asked Him "What do I do? Where do I go? Who do we use for the adoption? What next? " etc!

I was taken out of the river, by God, that I had been floating down (another vision from a year ago in which I had to "let go" and trust God to take me to where He wanted me to be.) and was led into the woods. I asked God "Do I need to close my eyes or can I open them (it was if He was leading me to a "surprise"). He said "No - keep them open. I don't want you to stumble and trip". So we trapsed through the woods - over the underbrush, logs, etc, my hand in His (A Helping Hand!). We came within about 100 yards of the clearing, and I could see the sunlight shining in the clearing. I let go of God's hand and started to run ahead, but God grabbed my hand again, pulled me back and told me to rest here.
"Why God? I can see the clearing right there. Why "rest" now?"
"I need to go prepare some things first." So he left.
What He showed me was that if I had ran into the clearing, I would have fallen off a deep, sharp cliff that was at the edge of the clearing. He was going to have to navigate us along the edge of the clearing to an open area at the edge of the cliff. It was there that He was setting up rapelling gear - ropes & harness, etc.
I think I will stay put. :) I know nothing about rapelling down cliffs (or adoption) and I decided to trust the "expert" in this adventure!

About a month later I was still struggling to decide which of the many wonderful adoption agencies to use. I had crossed of A Helping Hand early on as they told me they only do infant adoptions from Guatemala. However, about a half a dozen people had recommended them to me, and JoAnna Hunt decided to contact Tony Brewer (the head of AHH) and see if he could help us. To make a long story short - he agreed. I was still hesitant and wondering if this was the way God wanted us to go. Jeremy wasn't comfortable with the thought of using an agency that had not done toddler/preschool age adoptions from GUA before. But after praying one night with both of our parents, God showed Jeremy that going with AHH was like descending that cliff. We would have to completely trust God to guide us in the process! And believe or not - J had a tremendous peace and change of heart about AHH and told me to apply!

So that's the story! :)

The Dream

I thought I would post the story of how we came to be on this journey. Jeremy describes it well in this story he wrote shortly after the dream he had. Enjoy!
- Lori :)
ps - grab some tissues if you haven't heard this story yet. :)

Feb 21st, 2006 5:19 AM
First off, a couple of notes about this story. Lori and I had been thinking about adoption ever since right after Tyler was born. I’ve had a heart for adoption and thought it was a great picture of what God did for us. Being accepted and adopted by God, giving us the same rights as Christ… that’s pretty amazing. At any rate, we talked about it for years, but after we had Jacob I felt that I no longer wanted to adopt. I had my 4 children and that was enough. I closed myself off to the thought of adoption. “Let someone else do that. I have my hands full as it is.” That was pretty much my thoughts for the last 3 years. During the last year though, several couples that we knew have adopted children from China. Lori had been interested in the adoption ministry at church but I told her not to think about it and don’t waste her time going to any meetings. Still, she had a heart for adopting and through various circumstances, felt drawn to Guatemala. She spent a bit of time looking into Guatemalan adoptions and was getting really excited about the idea, but knew that I was against it. She finally decided to stop looking into it because it was making her crazy and she didn’t want to spend her time investigating something that wasn’t going to happen. So, she told the Lord that if this desire was really from Him, that He would have to speak to me [Jeremy] about it. Well, she prayed that to God on Monday, Feb 20th. She never mentioned anything to me about it and I never knew she had a heart for Guatemala [for a
2-5 year old, long-black haired girl] or had done all of that research.
I never dream. Well, I guess I do dream I just rarely remember my dreams. I usually close my eyes, fall right to sleep, then immediately wake up when my alarm goes off in the morning. I also am rarely emotional, except when Forrest Gump runs out of his leg braces as a kid, but that’s a different matter all together. Lastly, God has never spoken to me in a dream that I know of. In fact, I think it’s kind of kooky to make major life decisions based on a dream. Lori has crazy dreams almost every night and if we made life decisions based on her dreams, well…. Let’s just say our lives would be fantastically bizarre. All that being said, I had a dream the morning after Lori prayed that God would speak to me.
I dreamt that my family and another family that I didn’t recognize were camping. We were sitting around the campfire and this little girl walked in to our site. She was about 3 to 5 years of age. We quickly concluded that she was an orphan and did not have a mother or father [not just "lost"] . We didn’t know what to do with her, so a decision was made to place this little girl into the back of a station wagon and place large rocks on her to cover her up. I remember being filled with anger and I’m not sure why. We closed the door to the station wagon and walked away. After several minutes, I was talking to the other man in my dream and told him that what we were doing was wrong. He said that I should do whatever I wanted, but he didn’t want any part of it anymore. I went back to the car and opened the door. I took all of the rocks off of this girl and when the last one was removed, she opened her eyes and smiled this huge smile at me. She said, “I knew you would come back for me! I knew that you really did love me!” At this point, I was overcome with love for this little girl. I was so ashamed that I had not wanted her around before. I picked her up and held her and I started to weep. I kept telling her that I loved her and that she could come live with our family. I told her how she could be Meghan’s sister and that we would take care of her now. She then starting saying something about D-Day and Omaha Beach and how her new Daddy rescued her. I’m not sure if that meant something significant was going to happen on June 6th, but I clearly remember her saying something about it. I was crying pretty hard now and actually woke up sobbing in bed. I couldn’t stop crying for several minutes. I finally got up and went to the rest room to compose myself.
I had woken Lori up at this point and when I got back in bed she asked me what happened. I recounted the dream to her and finally she asked me what the girl looked like. I said she was about 2 to 5 years of age, had long black hair, and had olive colored skin. I knew that she was not Chinese or Asian, but for some reason kept thinking that she was either South American, or Mayan in decent. Lori told me later on the she had been looking into adoption from Guatemala and had prayed that God would reveal His will to me. He radically changed my thoughts about adoption and I can honestly say that the dream I had was from Him. I’m now extremely excited about adopting, and I have total peace about it. I know that this is something God is orchestrating, so I know that somewhere out there, we have a little girl that will become our daughter soon. That’s pretty weird. We are just praying that we will not move ahead of God’s timing in our excitement to find our daughter. God will show us the way- I have no doubt about that.

[added by Lori]

I think this dream is full of symbolism. Here are a few observations:

* Covering her up because he didn't know what to do with her = His "plate was full" - so now what? But by NOT choosing to adopt . . . we are trying to cover her up, put her aside, etc, and this would, in essence, be sentencing her to death (possibly spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, etc).

* Taking the rocks off and "rescuing" her = Obviously it means adopting her! :)

* D-Day/Omaha Beach = At first I thought this may be the day we "rescued" her, or maybe it will be our referral date. Not sure. The date this year will be 6-6-6 . . . hmm . . . I don't like that number! :)

However, here are some interesting facts about D-Day/Omaha Beach:
(Taken from

- It was part of Operation Overlord - the largest seaborne invasion in history. Omaha Beach was the bloodiest landing beach during that Operation. Troops were expecting an easy fight, but soon realized that the Germans had switched divisions a few days earlier. "Within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, the leading company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action." It became a "struggle for survival and rescue". The fight for Normandy lasted until midnight on July 24/25 (the start of Operation Cobra) or August 25 (the advance to Northern France). *Hmm . . . does this mean the "fight" to "rescue" our daughter will be over around then?! :) *Just to let you know - the adoption process did end around this time frame . . . in 2007! We got out of PGN on July 25th (can you believe it?!!), and then (should have) gotten our pink slip around August 21st or 22nd! I say "should have" because the lawyer messed up. You can read that post as well.*

- Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe despite having little field experience (and therefore there was some controversy over this). [This is like our decision to go with A Helping Hand (see that post) - little experience with 0lder kid adoption - but chose to go with them anyways - per God's leading].

- There was controversy that Overlord would not succeed, and Eisenhower even wrote a speech, in advance, to take "full responsibility for catastrophic failure", if that happened. However, it was never used. D-Day became an invasion that turned the tide (changed the future) for the Allies in the fight against the Germans. *By rescuing our daughter, we are changing HER future!

I'm sure there are many more symbolisms - but it's late and I need to get some sleep. If you have any other insights - let us know! We'd love to hear what you think!
-Lori :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

The first post!

Well, I figure I should start to post on this here blog thingy. Things are well underway in our quest to find our new daughter. It seems strange to think that there is a girl out there living in another country that will be my daughter some day. I'm still trying to process everything.... what does she look like, will she like us, will we attach to each other? Right now the big question is.... HOW WILL WE PAY FOR THIS? It's amazing to me that you have to spend close to a year's salary just to be able to give someone a safe home to live in and to have a set of loving parents. Well, I'm not going to worry about it. God told us to do this, so I'm certain He will provide the money. - Dad