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

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dossier forms

Hello gang! I can't believe another week has flown by! Too fast! Summer will be over before I know it and I'm no where near ready for school to start (especially since I will be kind of homeschooling Tyler - my almost 11 year old. He will be attending Oak Tree Academy 2 days a week and home with me 3. We'll see how it goes.). Anyways -
I did finally get ahold of "someone" at the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office last friday - and she was able to fix and send out a new form for the one that had the wrong date. She didn't know what to do about the missing one - so she said Tabitha would have to call me back. I didn't hear anything from her, so on Tuesday I called, and Tabitha sent out an authentication paper Fedex. I've got all my authentications now! Yeah! . . . . However . . . .
Today I was talking with my notary about having to resign some revised forms, and when I was looking over the old forms and authentications, I noticed that 4 of the authentications were missing the words "Notary Public" where it states who the official signiture is from. So . . . . back on the phone to Tabitha. She corrected them and is FedEx'ing them today. :) Man - 3 days in one week I've gotten to see the FedEx truck at my house! How exciting. :) hee, hee. Anyways, Tabitha has been really nice and unfortunately for her - we were not the only ones who have had problems. Tabitha just came on staff in the spring and has done a superb job of catching up on alot of the backlog, but in July they hired a temp/intern to help her (Tabitha said she was only about a week behind instead of 4 months like before). . . but it looks like the temp/intern may have done more damage than help. Poor thing. I'm just glad we were able to get all of it straightened out over the phone!

So - here's our other news . . . . Some of you know that Jeremy has a vehicle that doesn't fit our whole family (only 5 people), and so when my car is getting repaired - we can't go anywhere all together. We have been praying about getting a bigger van/vehicle - but have never felt a peace about the timing or the money. I kept telling him to hang on a little longer. :) His car has over 170k miles on it - but it's not a horrible car. I've been in worse (ie - the first car I ever rode in with Jeremy - his rust-colored, and rusted, diesel Chevy Chevette!!! Ask about it sometime!). anyways - last sunday we were having lunch at my mom's and when J went to get in his car, and the brakes went all the way to the floor! Scary thing is - my dad had just driven the car up to the store! PTL he didn't get hurt! Jeremy was upset about having to put more money into a car we wanted to get rid of anyways, and he started to complain to God "if You want me to have a bigger van, then YOU have to pay for it!". OK - so it wasn't very polite or reverant - but God heard it. We went to a party at a friends, and they had just purchased a new van (nice! Envy!). They asked us if we knew anyone who needed their old van? Hunh? They were going to give it away? Hunh?! Actually . . . . . . we do! :)
So - we are getting a bigger vehicle! :) It actually has more miles on it than J's car and needed a little bit of repair work - but we agreed to pay for the repairs (cheaper than buying a newer van, that's for sure!) and I think this van will (hopefully) get us a little further along till we can get a newer (less milage) vehicle . . . . after we pay for this adoption! PTL! God is good! He hears - even when we are angry and frustrated . . . He still cares and loves to surprise us!

Well, I've just been reminded that I am missing out on Fun Family Friday here at the West house - so I need to get off the computer. Thanks for taking the time to check on us, and keep us in your prayers. Also - a BIG THANKS goes to our friends for giving us your van (you know who you are) and for Tabitha and all she's done to help us with our authentications (don't know if she will ever read this though)!
God bless you all today! He's in control . . . . and that's a good thing! :)
-Lori :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Snap Shirt

Hey guys! If you have a blog (or other site) you've got to check out this cool site! You can type in your url and it will scan your site for the most commonly used words and make a word clump for you. You can then order it printed on a shirt, mug or other stuff. It's interesting to see the words you use the most often as well. You can change out some words if you don't like the ones on there - even change the font and color. Here's a sample (in chocolate brown/Helvitica)I took of our site today.
-Lori :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mei Ming Adoption Ministry

Most of you who read my blog already know about the adoption ministry at our church. For those who don't - it is called Mei Ming (which means "no name" and Mei is a common name given to the orphaned chinese girls). Click on the link to check out their new website or go to You will find testimonies of several families that have or are in the process of adopting, as well as our meeting schedule and more.
-Lori :)


I still have not heard back from the Sec. of the Commonwealth - after 3 messages left and several more phone calls over the last 2 days. I keep getting a recording to leave a voice message. I'll try again tomorrow. Though, now it may be a moot point. . . . .here's why . . .

I had Jeremy fax all the copies of our documents to our new agency to be reviewed for accuracy before sending to the Guatemala consulate for their authentication/certification (whatever it's called). I had done this with AHH and they had said everything looked fine, though I had questioned them about a few things that didn't seem right to me. I was trusting the "experts" though. Anyways - my new agency prides itself on being picky during the dossier prep part (isn't that what we are paying them for anyways??) so that we would not get kicked out of PGN in Guatemala (Procuraduria General de la Nacion . . . .it's like the Attorney General's office) to have to redo our forms then. KAS has only had 4 clients ever get kicked out of PGN - one was something they wouldn't have expected and the other 3 were things they should have caught. Some people get kicked out of PGN several times and alot of people just expect to get kicked out at least once. Anyways - I am glad that KAS has 3 different people looking over all our forms to check for mistakes. I'd rather fix it now than later! So - as you can guess . . . we have to redo a few forms, get them notarized and authenticated again. That's ok. It was disheartening at first, as some of the issues were the same ones I had raised before, but some of the things were not. So . . . back on a small paperchase again! Hopefully this will be it for dossier paperwork! :)
-Lori :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

For those of you that may be new to our blog, my wonderful and very talented mom - Beth Fox (or Elizabeth) has recently started doing beautiful colored pencil drawings as a hobby but also as an artist. You can click on the title (or the picture in the sidebar) to take you to her new website (still in progress) and see some samples of what she has already done (of my beautiful kids and nephew of course). She also has a revised price list that includes pictures done of just the head and shoulders.

I know that many of you have expressed an interest in having her do a portrait for you (taken -from some of your own photos - or any professional ones you have even), but I wouldn't wait till it's almost Christmas to decide to get it done! She will definitely have more time to devote to art before the school season begins (she is a part time teacher and Math tutor as well) - so contact her to get your portrait started before eveyone else does! Don't worry if the picture you have doesn't have the best background, etc. - she will want a few pics anyways to get a feel for the person's personality, looks, etc.

She has graciously agreed to donate a small portion of her profits that come as a referral from me to our adoption expenses - so make sure you tell her you saw her work on my blog, or was referred by me! Thanks so much!

Lori :)

ps - I got our dossier back . . . . but guess what . . . . . the Sec of the Commonwealth messed up! I sent off 17 documents to be authenticated, and they only sent back 16 authentications (don't worry - they did send back all 17 documents), and one of the authentications had the wrong date on it (of when the notary sign it). I tried contacting them 5 times today and left 2 messages. Didn't hear back from them. I pray I can get this resolved quickly. . . . . . Just another adventure!!!! :)

On it's way!!!

I just checked the USPS tracking site - our dossier documents are on their way here!!! Should be here today! Yeah! PTL! One step closer!
Lori :)

Not yet

Well folks . . . Nancy was not our daughter. God has interesting plans - doesn't He? There's always a surprise around the corner!

The director of KAS did not feel a peace about Nancy being our daughter, and, honestly, I would have been surprised if she had (I feel a peace about her decision). Jeremy and the kids really liked Nancy and felt like she could be "the one", but I never really "bonded" to her as much as they did. I didn't know if it was because she wasn't "the one" or because I was guarding my heart until I knew she was ours, or what. I had a sense that maybe God would use Nancy to lead us to our daughter. If Jeremy had not felt a peace about her, then we would not have switched over to KAS, and it wasn't until we switched that God gave peace to the director that Nancy was not ours. See what I mean? God can be pretty sneaky - can't He?! :) I'm glad that He knows what He's doing! I'm trusting Him 100% - in all areas! I'm still in the dark about how we are going to come up with the rest of the money needed to adopt - but again - the surprises God has will only give Him glory!!!! He's in control!

As for our dossier - I thought it would arrive yesterday as the Sec. of the Commonwealth's office had told me they would process it and send it out on monday. As of last night - my Express tracking number said it had not been sent. Hmmmm . . . . may have to give them a call today. Hope nothing is wrong again. :)

Thank you for your prayers. Keep praying. Our daughter is out there somewhere. Pray that we find her soon, for her safety, and for a speedy process with the rest of the paperwork, etc. Oh yeah - and for the finances to come in (for us to have wisdom on where and how to get the money). Thanks guys! You all are awesome!
Lori :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

171H and our Dossier

Well - as most of you already know - we received our 171H in the mail on July 12th! Yeah! I did a little dance! Now we were just waiting on our dossier documents to return from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. It had been 8 days (only 6 working days) so I expected them any time. I waited till the 14th (friday) to call the Sec. of the C. to check on them (as my Express mail ticket said it hadn't been sent yet). When I did . . . . they could find no record of them anywhere. ????? How could they lose all 17 documents that I painstakingly took 2 months to gather?! I prayed and prayed over those documents during this whole process. The funny thing is - I had a strange (Godly) peace about the situation. They had the whole office looking for our documents on friday from 3pm till close and possibly on Saturday. I had all my friends and family praying. Worst case senario - we would have to redo them all. It's doable, but just a pain.

Well . . . at 9:55 am today I got a call from Tabitha at the Sec. of the C.'s office saying they had found our documents!!! Yeah! They would process them and get them in the mail today! PTL! Thank you for all your prayers guys! God is good!

God had shown me a picture last week when praying about whether we should switch to KAS and pursue Nancy.

Jeremy and I were coming off the cliffs that we had been rapelling (working with AHH) and were removing our gear. We then turned and started down a narrow dirt path through some tall (up past my knees) grass that was blowing in the wind. It would occasionally obscure the view of the path, but God said to keep walking - that the path was still there and to trust that there were not any rocks or anything to cause us to trip and stumble. The path was smooth. We walked a short way and came to a river where a canoe was waiting. We were to get in without paddles. The river would take us where we needed to go. It started out as a babblin slow brook (we were to enjoy the scenery then), but quickly turned into a fast-moving river. The river narrowed into a shallow gorge between 2 large flat-topped rocks. The canoe just fit in between the rocks! As we went through, we realized that we were heading down a steep waterfall! It was a bit scary, but exciting! We landed in a calm pool of water, floated to the shore and got out.

I felt like the problems with the Sec of the C. were just part of the grass blowing over the path (along with some other things I'll tell ya in a minute). There was nothing to fear - the path was still there. It was also our of our control, so no need to get upset or panic. We can't control the wind or the grass blowing in it. As for the other issues that are "obscuring the path" . . .

Since I last wrote - Jeremy and I decided to tell KAS that we wanted to move forward with Nancy and switch to KAS if that is what AHH would let us do. That took a few days to get an answer, but AHH is willing to let us go! Amazing! That is rare in today's adoption world!!! God is in control!! Again - this goes back to the pictures God's given me. We would have never found KAS (the river) had we not gone with AHH (down the cliff) as I didn't know about KAS when I originally did my agency research. See? God knows what he's doing! Anyways - when we told Lucy (the director of KAS) that we wanted Nancy - she said that the other family that had called about her a couple weeks before us (and had called when I was on the phone with Lucy the first time) has decided to put in an application to KAS just when we decided! I don't know if that meant they were wanting Nancy, or just wanting to work with KAS. We're still waiting to find out. Originally Lucy had said that if 2 families wanted this little girl that she would have to pray about where she should go. That was really encouraging (and rare in today's world - especially in adoption). Most agencies say that whoever is the "most paperwork ready" or who sends us the money first will get to accept the referral. I really liked Lucy and her values and willingness to see God's will be done above business and everything else. That can be challenging in toay's society! Anyways . . .
Last week was a strange week! We finally decided, then there's another couple wanting the same child. We wanted to switch to KAS, but wasn't hearing from AHH for most of the week regarding it. Lucy changed her mind and said that whoever got the money first to her could accept Nancy. This caused a little panic as their fees are broken into 2 main payments (unlike AHH's 4 payments) - so that meant we needed $11,000 right now and we only have $3000 in savings. I was going to use our 0% interest credit card through AHH, but KAS doesn't have the same online payment system and would charge a little more to use paypal (so they don't have to eat the paypal fees. I can understand. It adds up after awhile!). Anyways - Lucy changed her mind again and went back to praying about the situtaion. I had peace again. I want Nancy to be in the home she is meant to be in . . . whether that is ours or not. If she is not meant to be ours, then our daughter is still out there and I trust God to lead us to her. I also trust God to provide for the finances for this adoption. I don't know HOW He will do it, but I trust that He WILL do it! Thank you to those of you that have already helped out! You are a blessing!

So - as we stand right now - our application is in at KAS, AHH is working on sending our paperwork to KAS (and getting a release form for us to sign), we are researching into funding/financing options (I haven't even been able to apply for grants yet because we haven't known what agency we are officially going to be working with), and we are waiting to hear from Lucy in regards to Nancy. Thanks for all your prayers this weekend and throughout this whole process. God is in control!! We continue to covet your prayers and support!

Well - it's off to swim at a friend's today and then run around to doctor's appointments and grocery shopping, so I better go. Plus I'm sure I've worn your eyes out with my long posts! I need to write more frequently so make the posts shorter. . . . . like that would really happen! :) I tend to be wordy!
Have a great day!
Lori :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Switching Agencies

I'm not sure if we are switching agencies yet (we will if we accept the referral), but I just wanted to forewarn those of you who may have considered contributing to our adoption via the A Helping Hand website. Hold off till now, or you can always use Paypal or send us a check directly. Thank you to those who have been so generous and obedient in following God' leading in your life to help us out! God bless you many times over!

We finally talked with the other agency about Nancy, and will be doing some praying tonight and for a few days probably. We need to make a decision soon. God knows. He'll show us! If we do decide to adopt her, we will have to update our homestudy (already!?! I just sent it out on monday to be authenticated!!!) as we had originally said we wanted a 2-5 year old girl. Also - with switching agencies, we would have to update it anyways. . . . .just more paperwork (and money - I'm sure). Oh joy. I guess you are never reaaaallly done with paperwork . . . .are you?

God bless you all! Keep us in your prayers (as well as our daughter)!
- Lori :)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Another referral?

Hello all!
Well - I'm frustrated - I just accidentally erased all that I had just wrote in this post and now have to start over. aaaaagggghhh. So - here goes . . . . . .

I know it's been awhile since I posted anything. We just got back from a wonderful 2 week vacation to Florida - going to Sea World, The Kennedy Space Center, the Edison House in Ft. Myers, and a week in Sanibel Island (a great place for shelling!!). It was so nice to be on vacation - but it's never fun to get back to the work of daily life. . . . . .And thank you Lord for providing the money to go at the last minute!!! PTL!

As you know - our wonderful social worker, Carol, had finished our homestudy the week before our vacation. She had worked hard to get it done and up to our homestudy agency (in northern VA) so that we could get our notarized copies before we left on vacation. That way I could send them to Immigration (for our 171H) and to the Sec of State and Guatemala Consulates along with our other dossier documents (that have been ready since mid May) and hopefully they would be authenticated and to AHH by the time we returned. We would also be a couple weeks closer to getting our 171H. That would have been nice. . . . . however . . . . our homestudy agency dropped the ball and didn't even try to open up our homestudy report till after I called them on Wed (14th) to make sure we would get them by friday. On thursday they called me and said they couldn't open the attachments but were going to send them to their other office and try there. They finally opened them and said that they needed to fix a few "errors", but could send them out that afternoon. THEN the homestudy agency director realized that she wanted to have Carol's signitures on the notarized copies before she sent them to me (that required her to send them to Carol, for Carol to send them back and for them to send it to me - which would be several days!). Carol said she has never had to sign them before and that it isn't a state requirement. aaagggghhh. The homestudy agency did agree to send off a copy to immgration for us while we were gone so that at least our 171 H could be in process. I trusted it would be done quicklky. . . . . . . wrong!
I expected our notarized homestudy reports in the mail when I returned so that I could send off our dossier stuff yesterday or today. Carol had said that she had signed the pages early the next week after we left and had sent them back immediately (over a week ago). I assumed that the homestudy agency then got them a week ago Wed and would have sent them out Thursday or Firday (a week ago) at the latest. NOPE - I called them yesterday asking where the reports were. They had just mailed them out to me and Immigration on THURSDAY (the day before)! Why the delay - they blamed it on the rain/storms that DC had - saying that they didn't recieve the copies from Carol till just a day or two before. ????? True or not?? I don't know. At least they are in the mail (I hope). So - I'm about 3 more weeks behind in "my schedule" . . . but probably right on time in God's schedule! Isn' t that how it always goes?! I'm ok with that. I just needed to vent some! Thanks. :)

As for the possible referral . . . a week ago (friday) we got a message from our AHH family advocate, Maria, saying that she wanted to talk about our "options" in our adoption. No one has been able to get ahold of Donnie Hernandez, the director at Casa Bernabe, for some time now. It's as if they have fallen off the face of the earth. Evidentally their e-mail and phone service is sketchy and hasn't been working right. I did speak with Nancy from Friends of Children Everywhere (the ministry that covers Casa Bernabe) - and she was supposed to talk with Donnie a couple weeks ago about getting my application and whether they had any little girls available for adoption. She told me Donnie's e-mail was working better and to try again - but I haven't had a response (neither has Maria, who has tried calling many times). So - since they can't get ahold of Casa Bernabe, and since Tony Brewer isn't "ready" to look at or work with other orphanages right now (the person who had looked for us at first, Mark, is no longer with AHH . . . . .great . . . ), they are not sure what to do with us. Super. Their lawyer still has the little 2 year old available, and will notify us if she gets any other relinquishements, but they also gave us the name and number for another agency that has a 6 year old at the present time. I had seen this little girl on awhile ago, but had not investigated her as #1 - she was listed with another agency, #2 - she is a month and a half older than Meghan, and #3 - she was a recent relinquishment. We were mainly looking in the 2-5 year range, focusing on 3-4 years old mainly, and thought we were being led to an already orphaned child (at an orphanage or foster care). BUT - I am totally open to whatever God has for us!! That's for sure. Well - what Maria told us was that if we decided that this little girl was our daughter (or any other girl that the other agency had available) - that they would basically transfer all our info over to the other agency. Basically . . . . AHH doesn't have anything for us, and may not have anything for us, isn't willing to look at other orphanages, but is willing to pass us off. . . . . . . . is that right? :) Ok - so maybe that's a bit harsh. I'm sure that they are doing what they can. I appreciate their help. I was just lead to believe that they could help us in the "orphan" or "orphanage" area. . . . that they were wanting to branch out in that direction more (to have an "older child" program within their Guatemalan program - at least that's what Mark had said). I am just praying against attacks and blocks from the enemy to thwart God's plan and that if this is God's plan (to be redirected to this other agency), that we will have total peace. God works in strange and miraculous ways - so I don't doubt that he could have some detours that I hadn't expected . . . in fact I usually excpect the unexpected to happen (I still plan for the expected though many times). He did tell me it would be like climbing down a sharp, jagged cliff with rapelling gear! So I can't expect an easy trip.

Well - you can check out the little girl by clicking on the Title. Please pray for her and us. If she is meant for our family - then great! If not - I pray that she finds a wonderful christian family of her own. God give us peace and wisdom!

God bless you all and thank you for checking in with our adoption process. We appreciate the support.

Oh - and another praise . . . . a long-time family friend sent us a $500 check towards our adoption just before we left for vacation! What a blessing! God bless her 100 fold!!!

Lori :)