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

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tragedy in Adopting

I have to share this with you all. I am sitting here snuggling with my little Guatemalan girl - crying and trying to explain this all to her - all the while, grateful that I have the chance to snuggle with her!
My good friend Kelly (who I met through my adoption agency . . . we both have similar families and adopted about the same time) posted some info on her blog about a friend's adoption from Guatemala - of little Josi. She was just about to come home (after over a year waiting) - but was just found murdered in a home invasion (along with the foster family). :( Kelly has posted the info and a link to help raise money to help cover the remaining costs THEY STILL HAVE TO PAY in their adoption ($13,000) - that will never be completed. :(

Thanks for praying for them! I can't even imagine their grief! I just read the book "The Shack" and that has helped somewhat to put a different perspective on all of this. You want to just go into the "why's" and the "if only's" and the "what if's" . . . what if they had gotten through PGN or other parts of their adoption sooner, what if they had gone down to foster her themselves, what if . . . .why . . . why . . . why?? They literally were only a couple weeks from picking her up. They had just gotten her new birth certificate in GT and were just waiting for their pink slip saying they could come down to get her and her visa!! What a sad c-mas it will be at their house. :(

Here's my friend Kelly's blog

Here is the Azhderian family's blog
(there a video on here about Josi . . . grab your tissues first!)

Here's where you can donate through ChipIn

Please pass on this info to those you know who can pray for them or bless them financially with the rest of their adoption costs.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Forever Family Day

OK . . . so it's almost 3 months PAST our Forever Family Day and I am finally getting around to posting the pictures from our day on the sand dunes! The kids LOVED it (as you will see)! They were not too sure that playing in a bunch of sand all day would be fun . . . . but when we left, they were asking if we could go back again the next day! :) Maybe it will become a tradition! :)

Here's a slide-show of the pictures. There are some videos too (of the kids running, sliding, jumping, swimming, etc - down the hill!). Click on the picture below to see the video. You can also see the slide-show on the right above the other slide-shows.


Lori :)

Forever Family Day

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

1 year ago today!

At this time, last year, we were tired but excited! We had been up since 3am - to get on a plane (Jeremy, myself and Meghan) to go finally pick up our daughter Wendy!! I can't believe a year has gone by! I can still remember the excitement in seeing our beautiful daughter again - being brought to us by her house dad Antonio, and the sweet, but slightly unsure look on her face when she saw us. It was as if she kind of remembered us, but wasn't sure who we really were. She easily came to Jeremy when passed into his arms, and let me take pictures of her and all of us together. She was a bit sleepy as it was almost nap time, and we had interrupted her lunch - so I'm sure that played into things. We let her go finish lunch, and then joined her to let Meghan play with her a bit before nap time. Despite the language barrier, they hit it off right away! By that evening they were chasing each other and laughing constantly! We were so glad we had brought Meghan along. She really did help Wendy transition into our family and feel comfortable and welcomed. Wendy had done well with us when we had visited last April, but she was very quiet. With Meghan around, we got to hear more of her awesome giggles and sweet Spanish speaking voice!

So - here we are - a year later and Wendy hardly remembers any of her Spanish! Yikes! I asked her the other day what "bed" was in Spanish. She said "ummm . . . . . bedito?" :) LOL! I just died laughing. I then asked her what "food" was in Spanish. "umm . . . . Foodeeo?" :) I love that girl! I am a bit sad she has lost so much of her Spanish. Maybe one day we'll teach her again. I think her older siblings know more Spanish than she does now! :) She was just so hungry to learn English when she came home. She would walk around every day, all day long, asking "Que es eso?" (What is this?) I would tell her the English word and she would repeat it. Very rarely did we ever have to tell her twice what something was. She is a fast learner!

Today is the first day of public school here (Ty started last week), and for the first time in a looong time, Wendy is home alone with just me. She's already asked me this morning when are we are going to pick up Jacob (he had half-day kindergarten last year). She is already missing the kids! I think it will be a bit of a shock for Wendy to be just with me for long periods of time, but it will be good. We can actually have playdates and DO things together! :) Yeah!! Mommy and daughter bonding time! :) She is very excited though to start preschool tomorrow! She has been begging to go to school since last October! :)

I think that instead of celebrating a "Gotcha Day" today, we will celebrate a "Forever Family Day" on Sept 7th - the day we brought her back home to the US and we ALL became a family forever!

I had wanted to compile a video of pictures and video snippets of Wendy for this 1 year anniversary . . . but August was sooo crazy around here that I haven't had time. Plus, I don't think I have the software on my computer anymore. Jeremy had to wipe my hard drive clean twice this year! I'm sure he could still reload it if I asked. We'll see. Right now - I've got a lot of organizing and catching up to do after a crazy month. I might just be able to get some of it done with the kids in school now! :) You can see some of our visit trip and pick up trip pictures to the right. There are other pics of Wendy throughout the blog as well. I have some video of when she was younger (around 1 year old), but I don't think I've uploaded that to the computer or this blog.

Blessings to you all!

Lori :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jeremy was prayed for on the 700 Club!

CBN (where Jeremy works) has a show called the 700 Club. It has a segment called "Bring it on" where people can send in questions for Pat (Robertson) to answer (on a wide variety of topics). Recently they started a new method of sending in questions - via web cam. Since Jeremy knows the producer of that segment, he was asked to to a couple web cam questions, in case they didn't have any on some days (I guess people either haven't caught on that they can do this, don't know how, or just don't want their faces on tv??). Jeremy didn't know they were going to use one of his questions last Thursday - but it was definitely in God's plans! You can see it HERE. Pat's response was a good one.

Gordon Robertson saw that question, and told his producers that he wanted J on the set after Friday's Spiritual Gifts seminar, to be able to pray for Jeremy! How awesome! I was so excited for Jeremy to get the prayer as I know he has been stressed out this past month or so, and could use a time of refreshing! I really hoped and prayed that Jeremy would go get that prayer (and not get too busy with all the technical stuff). I just didn't expect this to happen . . .

God did a mighty work this past Friday the 13th! Watch the 700 CLUB VIDEO to see what God had to say to my wonderful husband!!

The words of God for him are at 40:41 - 42:39 (Anne Thigpen), 43:56 - 45:04 (Jane Hamon), 46:20 - 48:53 (Duncan Smith from Toronto), and 57:59 - 58:39 (a woman from the audience). J was really touched by God through these words - especially Duncan's message!

May God bless you and minister to you through this 700 club segment!!

You can also view parts 2 and 3 of this series that they did. Part 2 is a night of soaking prayer online (this past Tuesday - and hopefully every Tuesday night from here on out!), and part 3 is about the Manifestation of the Holy Spirit.


Lori :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Heaven Bound!

What an awesome day today is!! The Angels are rejoicing in Heaven today and God had to use his pen (or quill . . . or magic marker . . . whatever he uses)! Why? Becuase our darling daughter Wendy told Jesus that she wanted Him to live in her heart and be the Lord of her life today! :) What a blessing! Now all my kids are Heaven Bound!! :)
Of course, this all came about while we were snuggling and praying and talking after a very looooong "4 minute" time-out that she didn't want to take for over an hour and a half. Instead, she wanted to scream (did you hear it?) and almost burst some blood vessels in her eyes in the process! :) OK - not really . . . but she was screaming mad that mommy would have the audacity to put her in a time-out for disobeying!! How dare Mommy do that?!! :) I know . . . I'm the "meanest mom in the world" . . . or so I've been told. :) But thankfully - after the punishment is finally done and we are snuggling and loving on each other - I'm usually the "best mom in the world" again and all is well in the West household . . . . for at least a minute. :)

I know that I haven't kept up with this blog. I'm sorry. I have started another blog, and I've just been trying to keep up with all the other momly duties that I have each day. :) But thank you for checking in on us!

Wendy is doing awesome (except for the occasional 4 year old fit like most kids)! She amazes me! I knew she was smart - but she still amazes me! The other day she was watching daddy mow the lawn and asked him "Why are you doing that?"
"Doing what? Mowing the lawn? Why do you think I'm doing it?" he asked her.
"To make mommy happy?" she replied. !!!! :)
You betcha!! Because otherwise I don't know that he would do it . . . or at least not as often! :) What a smart cookie she is!

Also, when asking her what we should get daddy for his birthday - she went on to list quite a few things that are Jeremy's favorites - a new Star Wars movie, a Star Wars shirt, a new van, a new chair, etc!! I was sooo surprised at how specific her answers were! She definitely knows what her daddy likes! :) This girl doesn't miss ANYTHING!! :)

So - as you can see from this post . . . Wendy has turned 4. I will have to post some pics and fill you in on her recent b-day later. I just realized that my other daughter's bus will be arriving in 5 minutes and I still have a wet towel on my head from taking a shower (late in the day - I know! But I did get some exercise today!!). And then it's off to pick up another child (my 10 year old) from school! :) So . . . . for now just rejoice with us that Wendy is part of God's kingdom and sealed for eternity as a Princess of the King!!

Lori :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm all done here!

"I'm all done here!" Have you ever felt that way? If you said no - then either you are lying or you haven't lived long enough! :) Hee,hee. Evidentally my 3 year old HAS lived long enough. :)

We were just going about our normal routine - the kids running around torturing each other . . . ok, ok - not really - at least not today. They were playing . . . . .and occasionally getting on each other's nerves. :) I was folding my 5-7 loads of laundry that I trudge through twice a week, when Wendy walked over near me and said "OK. I'm all done here!"
"What? Done with what?" I asked.
"I'm all done HERE. I go to Guatemala . . . . . .to my home." she casually replied.
"Oh. I see." I said calmly, and then teasingly asked, "Why? Don't you like it here? Don't you like Mommy and Daddy and Ryan and the other kids?"
"Without hesitation or even looking up, she matter of factly said, "Yes. . . . I like you. . . . but I go to Guatemala . . . to my home".

We started to talk about how I bet she misses it there, but that this is her new home . . .that was her old home. She has yet to agree with me on that issue. Usually she says "No. . . . is YOU home. My home . . . Guatemala". Just before the phone rang and cut our conversation short, I said "Well, when I was 3 I lived in a different home too".
"WHAT?!" she cutely, quickly and loudly responded. :)
"Yes. But now I live here . . . .with you. Aren't you glad?"
I never did get to hear her response or finish the conversation as raced to get the phone (I should have just let voice mail get it).

So - I can tell that we will be having more conversations about her "home" as she gets older. She still is very happy here and LOVES her siblings (and us . . . .most of the time). I think she is just missing all that she really remembers till she came here. I don't know whether showing her video footage of her home would help or hurt at this point. I'll have to feel that one out. We do look at photos, but not the video footage we took yet. We'll see.

So - like my daughter said . . . .

I'm all done here!

Time for dinner! . . . . .Pizza night! :)

Lori :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2 years ago today!

2 years ago today I was getting ready in the morning, talking with my husband about the dream he had just had that had woke him up sobbing. It was the divine intervention that I had just prayed for the night before - "God if this desire (to adopt a 3-5 year old little girl from Guatemala) is from you . . . then you have to speak to my husband about it!" (he knew NOTHING about it at the time)

So, in essence - 2 years ago today we found out we were "pregnant" with a toddler girl (2-3 years old) - with long dark, curly hair! My heart was bursting to find her! I wanted to bring her home the very next day! Little did I know it wouldn't happen for another 18 months.

We are so thankful to Lucy (our agency director) and KAS (Kentucky Adoption Services) for being the wonderful "detective" agency that they were in helping us find our truly "orphaned" toddler girl! God knew where she was and knew who would be able to help us find her and bring her home!

Thank you guys for supporting, praying for us, and encouraging us (keeping me going) along the way! You are a blessing!

For those who haven't read it before - you can read all about my husband's dream (and our journey) on this blog - "The Dream"

Lori :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

I know, I know . . . Where's the update on Wendy?!

The whole gang! - Christmas 2007
Duck, NC

Wow! Am I a procrastinator or what?? . . . . Actually - it's called "trying to keep my head from spinning off my neck while raising 5 kids"! :) Our schedule is way too crazy this year! I am currently looking into (and praying about) ways to de-stress our schedule next school year!

So - for those of you that have waited patiently for an update on Wendy . . . . here it is.

She's fine.

:) hee,hee. OK -I'll give you more! :)

She has been home with us 5 months as of yesterday!! I can't believe it! She still acts as if she's been here for years! She loves to be in charge and boss her siblings around - though that gets her into trouble when she tries to tell ME what to do! :) She definitely is a West and will definitely be a leader in whatever God has for her!

2 stories that just tickle me pink whenever I think of them . . .

Because Wendy didn't come home till she was 3 1/2 years old - we missed alot of her "firsts". That makes me sad - but at the same time - I am realizing that there are so many more "firsts" that may not fall in the traditional categories. Like the first time Wendy went to Walmart with me and rode in a shopping cart! You would have thought she was on a ride at Disney World! She giggled and giggled each time we went over a bump, and it was hilarious to watch her giggling with glee as her butt was being tickled by riding over the bumpy pavement in the parking lot! :)

Not too long after Wendy arrived home, we were all sitting at the dinner table enjoying our meal. We thought that Wendy understood quite a lot of English, but we soon realized that she was really reacting to our tone of voice and non-verbal communication even more than the words. Jeremy (my husband) was in a silly mood, and in a very excited and happy voice asked our 5 kids - "Who here wants a spanking?!" :) 4 of our kids just looked incredulously at my husband for asking such a "dumb" question - but Wendy, who always wants to be the first to do ANYTHING and wants to do EVERYTHING that everyone else does - shot her hand up excitedly and shouted "YO!" :) We just laughed and laughed. (and no - we did not give her a spanking.)

She continues to amaze me with the speed at which she has picked up English! Much faster than I am picking up Spanish - that's for sure! She has been asking for 3 months now "When do I go to school?" She wants to go to "her class" each day. I think she will enjoy preschool next year! She is such a social little girl!

Halloween was fun - watching her learn all about the crazy custom of going to houses to get candy! :) After each house she kept asking me "Now? mommy?" She wanted to eat her candy so bad! After the 4th house I let her have a piece. And then, of course, she had fun digging in once we were done! The next night she wanted to do it all over again. :)

We dedicated her to God in our church on December 16th, 2007 - and she was sooo cute - going to each sibling and giving them a hug as my husband was introducing our family up on stage. :) You would have thought we had planned it.

Christmas we went to a beach house in Duck, NC and when it was time to pack for the trip, Wendy started to cry. She said she didn't want to go on a trip. I wasn't sure why she was crying, but then I asked "Do you think we are not coming back?" . . . . . The tears came heavier! "yes" she sobbed. The last trip she had taken she had left Guatemala and came here. Bless her heart! So we talked about how we would come back as this was our house where we lived, then I showed her pictures online of the house we would be "visiting", and she understood. Then she was excited to pack up! :) A few weeks later we had to go take my husband to the airport and she thought we were going to Guatemala. She said she didn't want to go back to GT unless mommy and daddy went with her. Though she has been asking lately when can she "go back to her home"? I told her that was her "old home" and this was her "new home" - and she said "No - that is my home. This is your home." That surprised me as she calls her bed "mi cama" or "MY bed" and seems to have taken ownership in living here. I think her little 3 year old brain is trying to wrap around the idea of having an "old" home and a "new" home. She really is a happy girl and LOVES living here and playing with her siblings! She is still VERY adventurous, creative, imaginative, and totally goofy! :) You should have seen her jumping into the pool at the beach house! That girl has NO FEAR! :)

I will try to post a picture slide show at some point - so if it's not there now - check back later. For now - here is our goofy wonderful girl in a few shots!

Lori :)

Our little Guatemalan Princess - Halloween 2007
This is how Wendy dressed up for Ryan's b-day party . . . in DECEMBER! :)

Ninja girl! :)
Wendy's 1st Christmas at home with us!

Wendy and Mommy (me) on Christmas day!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Return to Sender - Part 2 - and new BLOG!

I have started another blog! It's called Mothering Matters and More! - Matters concerning Mothers; The matters Mothers should be concerned about; What matters to Mothers, and - YES! - that Mothering MATTERS!!

I wanted to have a place to put the stories and information I come across, am passionate about, or things I feel that relate to mothering (and fathering). We'll see if my busy mothering myself allows me to keep up with it! :) (I get alot of great ideas . . . . just not enough time to accomplish, or even start, them all!)

You can read this post about the latest in the Candy Cane card saga there at

Lori :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy? New Year

I just had to pass this on. My heart just breaks thinking about the kids that will die while waiting for a Forever Family to care for them! I am thankful that Wendy is home and that it wasn't going to take 2 years to bring her home - but I'm sad for those that will be "in limbo" for quite awhile.

- Lori

December 31, 2007

Out with the Old, In With the ?

2007 has drawn to a close, and with it Guatemala’s system of notarial adoptions. Tens of thousands of children have found permanent, loving homes outside the borders of their country of birth, and equal numbers of families from all walks of life have been blessed with the joy of parenthood, thanks to that system. The notarial system also brought many claims of attorney and adoption agency incompetence, lies, and malfeasance, along with bureaucratic delays on the part of both US and Guatemalan government agencies.

Looking ahead into the new year, we are left with so many questions, and so many fears. How will the new system function? How will Guatemalan families unable to care for their children manage? Will the new system in fact function, or is the new law a way to eliminate adoptions quietly?

The initial signs are disquieting, to say the least. The new Adoptions Law was passed through heavy international pressure in December, with a very short implementation period and with many questions left open as to how the law would work in practice, how women in need could access adoption services, and what requirements adoptive parents would have to follow. Moreover, the Guatemalan media was filled with commentaries and official quotes stating that, under the new law, an adoption would take at least two years to complete and that the new law’s requirements would have the effect of drastically reducing the number of adoptions.
Notice that Guatemalan officials were not quoted as saying that the new law would reduce the need for adoptions. No, these officials appear to be concerned only with reducing the number of adoptions. Perhaps they honestly believe that the thousands of adoptions over the past several years reflect a corrupt, money-driven system that somehow paid thousands of women to get pregnant and sell their babies to the highest bidder. And perhaps some portion of their claims/concerns are true. Yet equally true are the stories that birth families have conveyed face to face to many adoptive families. Stories of dire poverty and secret pregnancies. Stories of illness and too many children to provide for.

Our worry must also be mixed with genuine outrage. UNICEF and various NGOs that purport to care about women and children might want to take a look at a recent study published in Science Magazine. The study shows the severe harm done to children through institutionalization and the benefits of foster care as a temporary measure for children waiting for forever families. Yet the law that they urged Guatemala to pass does away with foster care. Further proof (if we needed any) that, for UNICEF and organizations like Casa Alianza, the well-being of children is the least of their concerns.

The new Central Authority is not yet running, with only days until the new law takes effect. Where are the counselors who will be able to provide women with advice and assistance? Where are the children’s homes to care for children who cannot remain in their biological families? We as an adoption community are about to find out. More importantly, so are the children of Guatemala. Posted by Lee at December 31, 2007 05:58 PM