Thursday, April 28, 2011

'No news' is 'good news'....??

Well...I thought my blog life would explode once we started this process....but I've really got nothing to report to you!  We're so close to scheduling our first homestudy visit (there was an issue with our county clearances...apparently the county never got our paperwork...all taken care of now!).  Hopefully our visit will be early next week - and our social worker says we should be done by the end of May!  In the meantime...we're working like crazy to get this dossier compiled.  It feels like we have not even made a dent...but we'll get it done, one form at a time.  We also are up against a bit of a timetable in Carter's country - there are rumors that it will 'close' for 3 months in the summer to switch some things around.  Ideally, we'd like to be fully submitted before this happens.  Seems totally impossible - but we know that our God is so big.  Don't believe it?  Check out this bloggin' mama - her blog fundraiser raised over $13,000!!!  HE is so good - and never ceases to amaze me! 

Speaking of blog fundraisers...ours is coming soon ( is!) and we have two young ladies who are willing to do something pretty crazy to help raise the money....more on this later :)

Since we've started this process, we've had lots of questions come our way.  I'm sure you have a question that you just HAVE to ask :)  Well - ask away!  (I know...I'm totally copying Adeye over at No Greater Joy Mom...!)  Leave your question as a comment on this blog, and I'll answer later this week. kind - no sassy stinker comments...thanks!!

One Thing I Know For Sure: If you're still reading along...I thank you :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Newborn Babies & Such...

I snuggled up an 8 day old baby last week.  I loved.every.minute.  Her itty bitty everything just melted my heart.  What a dolly. 

And it made me realize everything we have already missed.

Who was there with Carter when he was 8 days old?  Who ooohed and ahhhed over his sweet little fingers?  Who melted over his tiny little baby noises?  Who smelled his sweet newborn head and thought "yeah...nothing like a newborn baby head...."?    Who did he spew his first taste of baby food at?  Who did he give out his first smile to?  Who did he first raise his arms to, to say "up!"? 

Not me. 

And I'm feelin' it.

One Thing I Know For Sure: I'd give anything to be up all night with colicky baby Carter.....

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I'm not sure who...but somebody has been donating to our fund...

you know who you are...

...Carter thanks you!!

And so do we :)

Be blessed, friend!


For the rest of you...
...keep checking back in the next few weeks for our little blog fundraiser... teasers!  You'll just have to wait and see!

(*Have something you'd like to donate...
....that a mommy might like?...
Email me at.... gibsons 1 5 @ sbcglobal (dot) net .....*)

One Thing I Know For Sure:  I want every item from this fundraiser....lots of pretty stuff!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daddy's Thoughts....

Wow! My Blog debut!  I feel at such a loss of words (I know, surprising for those of you that know me on a personal levelJ)

I guess I should start by introducing myself.  I am Jake, the husband of Ashley and the “soon to be dad” of our boy Carter Benjamin.  I am so excited about becoming a first time dad.  Never in my wildest or even craziest dreams did I think I would be a dad for the first time through adoption, let alone an international adoption, and even still to a 3 or 4 year old and even further a boy blessed with Down Syndrome.

So I guess I need to explain a bit why this seems so crazy.  I am a planner.  Six months ago my plan did not include adoption.  It did not include far away countries, and most certainly, undoubtedly did not include Down Syndrome.  Six months ago my plan did not even include children.  Period.  I knew I would be a dad at some point.  Just not right now, I had a lot important things to do, (fishing, hunting, vacationing, working, fishing, truck buying, did I mention fishing?) or so I thought.  Then Ashley got the idea that we should start having kids.  I thought, okay.  Maybe it is time.  Then a few weeks went by and she brought up this outrageous idea of adoption.  After picking my jaw up off the floor, I adamantly stomped politely said no, not now.  I knew that deep down in my heart we would adopt at some point in our life because of its important impact on Ashley’s life, but definitely not before having our own kids.  Ashley went further into her idea that maybe we should consider praying about a child from Reece’s Rainbow.  Again, I responded, no.  That was that.  After a few tears on Ash’s part and a final Hail Mary attempt at some discussion about the issue, there was no more to talk about - my mind was made up.

I would flip through the RR website from time to time while sitting at my desk, asking God to reveal if there was something he wanted me to know or do.  Nothing.  I don’t like to see my wife in anguish, so I tried, I really did, but nothing.  No feeling one way or the other.  I thought that is was “nice” what other families were doing but, nope, not this guy.  Again, the fishing thing. 

But then it happened.  One day I am doing my usual morning routine at the office: check email, read the online news paper, read the Birschbach’s blog, chat with some of my youth group kids, and quickly check out faces at RR.  Then, BAM.  It hit me.  I fell in love.  I had seen this face before, but it was different this time.  He was mine.  I can’t explain why one day “nothing” but the next - an overjoyed outpouring of fatherly emotion. THAT’S MY BOY! ANTONIO!  I finally realized that my life is not about me.  It is all about bringing glory to God - and bringing this boy home would be just that.  Not something “nice” or “commendable” but a sacrifice to care for this boy as my own, as Christ called us to do.

Fast forward to today, we are anxiously patiently waiting and walking through the process to bring our boy home.  I know that God works in mysterious ways, he did when he showed me my boy.  Months earlier Ashley had fallen in love with that same boy, a God thing!

I know there are folks out there that may have a resistant husband or family to the idea of adoption or even special needs adoption, but a bit of advice.....pray.  One of the most encouraging things to me was the fact that Ashley prayed and prayed, but never once pushed the issue with me.  She valued my thoughts but knew that if her desires were of God’s design, then I would come around at some point.  She trusted, trusted that God would reveal himself to me a very real way.  He did, and I am grateful.

One thing I know for sure: I can’t wait to teach my boy how to fish! 

- Jake

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kids....they're great!!

We got the sweetest gift from the sweetest girl at church yesterday. 
She walked up to me -
with a huge smile on her face -
like she had been waiting all week for this moment -
and said...

"Here - this is for Carter!!"


What a total blessing!!!

And what a beautiful lesson in giving.  Is that how I give to God - with a big smile? 
 Like I've been waiting all week to give back to Him?

Another lesson?  Every dollar counts.

No, every penny counts.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  $8.08 is a lot of money for a little girl...we are so blessed....

Friday, April 15, 2011


This blog has been in the process of being written for over a week's been a bit busy around here!  Between new toilets, clogged drains, making room for Carter things (which equals several trips to Goodwill...), and everyday life - I've finally been able to sit down and finish this post!!  Phew!  Here goes...

There have been so many people praying for Carter long before we even knew about him.  It's been so amazing to read the response from other Reece's Rainbow mommies who have prayed for our boy.  I feel like Carter is just as much their boy as he is, ours...they have loved him through the hardest parts of his little life.  Were they there to hug him and kiss him?  No - but I'm so confident that their prayers blanketed him each night at bedtime, and kissed his cheeks each morning.  For this, we are so incredibly grateful

A few days ago, I received a comment on one of my blog posts.  It's from one of those special mommies who has loved Carter all along. each link (in order please!) to read the full story.  Don't worry - the first post will make sense once you read the second one. 

Post #1

Post #2

Post #3

Amazing, isn't it?  Look how big our God is.  What a beautiful story he is weaving.  Only Him. 

One Thing I Know For Sure: My heart is so full....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

8 Years Ago Today.....

Eight years. 

Time goes so quickly, doesn't it?  A lot has happend in 8 years.  A lot. 

Life really started for us 8 years ago today.  It was our senior asked if we could 'date'...and I said yes!  So glad I finally (after 4 years) came around :)

Since then, life has been pretty eventful.....

I graduated from high school...

I got a job (which I still have today!)....

I got married to the coolest, funniest, most supportive, Godly man ever...

We bought a house...

We remodeled the house...

We 'grew' our family by adding a cat...

We learned lessons (some the hard way) about ministering in our church, and serving people....

We 'grew' our family adding a dog...(not just any dog, but Moses!)...

We remodeled the house some more....

We got rid of the cat....(hallelujah...can't say that we miss him, either...)...

You graduated from college...(woo!  I knew you could do it!!)...

We learned more lessons about serving people (some of these lessons don't come easy...!)....

Eight years.  And who would have ever thought....this.......

Not me either, babe.  Not me, either. 

"The Lord directs the steps of the Godly - He delights in every detail of their lives!  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand!"  Psalm 37:23-24

One Thing I Know For Sure:  In 8 years, our lives have changed a lot.  Life is about to change even more.  Glad to be walking it with you, babe. 

Boy From Baby House 10

Some of you had asked about the Dateline special on the boy from the Russian orphanage - (our local news station cut in to this program because of a major storm in the area....of course!!) But, I managed to find it online!  Here it is - each clip is 5 minutes...if you wait to the end of the first clip, it will lead you to the next one. 

*Side note - Carter is NOT from Russia, but his country has many similarities to Russia in the way things like this are handled. 

One Thing I Know For Sure:  Breaks my heart....

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Do you remember what you were doing when you were 5 years old?  Learning how to ride your bike...preparing for kindergarten...playing outside...eating cookies....??  All good stuff, right?  Five is a pretty fun age - you're still too young to care what others think, and you're just so in love with life. 

Meet Alice...

She's a doll, isn't she?  The pigtails, the chubby belly...adorable.  I fell in love with her last fall - along with Antonio (we know how his story goes!) and Dariya, who also has a family! 

But not Alice.

She's still waiting.

And she's 5 years old.

Do you know what that means for her future?'s bleak. 

If her mommy & daddy don't come for her soon, she will be transferred, along with many of the other 5 year olds listed on Reece's Rainbow. 

NO - we're not adopting Alice, too!  But Reece's Rainbow has a really incredible warrior program going on right now for all of their 5 year olds, in honor of Reece's Rainbow's 5 year anniversary.  What is a warrior?  A warrior is someone who will advocate for one of these 5 year olds, and raise $5,000 for their fund. 

Because $5,000 may mean a new life for Alice. 

I can't do it.  Not now - and it breaks my heart that out of the 3 children I've been crying out to God for, one is still without a family. 

Without a home. 

Without hope. 

So what about you?  Do you have the time, or the resources (*Having a blog is helpful...) to advocate for sweet Alice?  She needs you. 

If you can't advocate for her, can you pray that someone will?  Everyone can do that!  If you want to be Alice's warrior (she will be forever grateful...) please click and follow the instructions. 

One Thing I Know For Sure:  An institution is no place for a 5 year old...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

What A Woman...!

I'm talking about Betty, and she has a connection.  An intimate connection.  The only connection that really matters.  A connection with the Most High God.

Back in August, Betty says she was praying for our family.  The story goes that the Lord gave her a word about us.  And for 6 months, that's where the story ended.

Fast forward to late February.  Jake & I were tossing around the idea of adoption & we saw Carter's photo.  We had (as you all know by now) fallen in love - but weren't sure that this was the right timing.  I told Jake on a Sunday morning that I was asking the Lord to confirm to us, that day, whether or not we should proceed. 

After church, Jake was holding Elijah (the Birschbach's treasure - also with Down syndrome, from Eastern Europe).  Nothing abnormal about this picture - Jake is often found near Elijah :)  Well, Betty walked by - and I heard her mumble "Oh - now I get it.  Now I see.". Of course I knew immediately (after all - I was the one who asked for confirmation - BEGGED for confirmation!!). 

Nothing else was said about this until just this weekend.  After we announced our adoption to our church on Sunday, we told Betty what a huge role her little statement played in our decision (that, and the ridiculous attack we've been under....).  She told us that back in August - when the Lord spoke to her about us - she journaled it (this is why we journal, people!!) and she would email it to us. it is......!

"I found that entry in my journal today.  It is dated 8/27/10 at 1730.  I was praying for Pastor and both of you.  This is my journal entry:  Jake & Ashley  - Very special baby for you.  God's got a very special baby for you.  Do you want me to tell them Lord, send an email, or just pray Lord?
That's all I wrote.  I hope this helps.  Love, Betty"
Amazing...what really touches my heart about this is that God knew, and knows, long before we're willing or even able to step out in faith.  He knows, and He's preparing His people! 
Lord - thank you for the "Betty's" who intercede on our behalf - and thank you for loving us enough to give us a glimpse into how You work! 
One Thing I Know For Sure: Not coincidence - Godincidence!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Another (small) Step Closer!

Today we went to get our birth certificates (we got 4 of each - just in case!) and marriage certificates.  We had a bit of a hastle with my birth certificate, probably because I was born in one county - but adopted in another.  It worked out fine - the woman helping us was so sweet.  She was asking us about what we were doing, and she seemed really excited for us.  I know, not every experience will be with lovey-dovey-warm-&-fuzzy government workers :)  So, I blog the good ones.

Also, if you click around on the tags to the right, you'll see I added info to "Adoption Timeline", "Abbreviations & Lingo", and "Meet the Fam".  Check 'em out.  The rest will be updated soon....because I'm still waiting on one of the two 'boys' to give me some interesting information about themselves for their own little page (I won't mention any names - but he has 4 legs, likes to eat grass, & is quite hairy....). 

And - if you're observant at all (or addicted to perfection, as I am) you'll notice the new header - like it?  I do too!

Be blessed today, sweet friends!!

One Thing I Know For Sure: It's time to stop blogging & make my man some dinner!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Treasure...!'s been a whirlwind of a weekend.  We had lots of big announcements about our journey - first to my extended family (crazy supportive!), then to our church family (mega supportive!) and then to some of Jake's family (super supportive!).  Everything went exactly as planned...all of Facebook is buzzin' with the news - cousins, aunts - everyone's saying "Carter Benjamin's comin' home!".  So ridiculously exciting.

Remember the day after your wedding?  Or your graduation?  Or the purchase of a house?  Yes, I'm talking about the letdown.  All the excitement - going nonstop all weekend - and now, crash.  Back to reality - actually - back to our 'new' and temporary reality of paperwork, signatures, government offices, and more paperwork.  Did I mention the tiling, groutwork, painting, and woodwork?  Ah, yes - that's right.  We are nearing the end of a home remodel.  Perfect timing, right?

Anyhow - back to the letdown.  In all my running around like a crazy woman stress, I almost forgot about Carter.  And then - I got an email - no, a treasure - from an awesome woman who has been loving on our little Carter before we even knew existed.  She's been to his orphanage - seen him!  Face to face!!  Her email had lots of great info - but it's all a blur, because all I read was this:

Look through the recent posts on my blog…there are baby pics if you don’t have them yet.  

What?  Baby pictures?  C'mon now, you know I'm a picture person!! 

So, without further he is - "Baby Carter".... (Nana...get your kleenex!!!!)

Baby Carter :)

Toddler Carter :)

AND - a new photo that was taken at the same time as the other one we have......

The top one is the one we've had all along, the bottom is new :) 
He's saying "oh, daddy - you're so funny!"

God is so good - He always knows just what I need, and is gracious enough to give it to me!  Blessed.

One Thing I Know For Sure:  Be still my heart....I'm in love....

It's Official, folks!

Hi All!  Well, it's finally (unofficially) official!!  If you've been a faithful blog follower of mine over the past few months (if you've not been a follower - let me just say, don't bother going back to look at my posts from the past few months. You will walk away feeling like you just lost 2 hours of your life.) you will notice that this blog looks quite different!  YES - you are in the right place...

Jake and I are starting a wonderful journey - to bring home our boy, Carter Benjamin!  He is currently in Eastern Europe in an orphanage.  He will be 3 years old in May - and we can't wait to have him home!  We know very little about him, other than the fact that he has 'designer genes' - and extra chromosome.  Those of you who paid attention in science (or would it be anatomy?  or health?  clearly, I was not one of those that paid attention....) you know that this means that our boy Carter has Down syndrome.  We hope to be traveling to get him in the fall.  That should answer most of your initial questions....  :)

The journey will not be easy - but we know that there are NO guarantees in life, especially the guarantee that everything will be easy peasy.  We're as prepared as we can possibly be - and we have the most amazing family to support us. 

Now, the tags to the right will be up and running this week sometime, so check back!  I'm a busy momma-to-be (looooove how that sounds.....)....and to be honest, I'm totally nesting!!  And on top of the nesting, there are mountains of paperwork.  So bear with me, bloggy friends! 

Thanks for joining this journey....can't wait to walk it alongside you!

One Thing I Know For Sure: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  We are SO excited!!!!!

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