Mar 31, 2012


It's been a long, long, week, but I believe Zander's first package is just about ready for us to send to him. Sewing & cooking are not amongst my talents, so I thank the Lord that He has blessed me with very talented friends who sew and a wonderful husband that's a wonderful cook.

I found fabric I loved that won't be too hot or too cold, hand his name stitched on, and tonight she sewed it together. I was told he loves to play with cars & trucks. I actually did a bit of hand sewing too, so my touch is on there also.

We have a bit of things still yet to purchase, but the main item, his photo book & blanket are ready to go. Have a blessed weekend!

Mar 26, 2012

Let Them Be - Let Them Be

Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
- Deuteronomy 12:28

For those who have children in their lives and mainly those who have multiple children, whether biological, step-children, adopted, grandchildren, or being their main caregiver during their waking hours, YOU are a major source of example for these little souls God has entrusted to you.

Did you know or realize, WE will be the ones held most accountable for their learning. It is our responsibility to teach them about God, self-worth, and mainly, about loving one another and God.

No matter what age we are, we bring things into their lives. Young parents are more energetic outdoors, middle-aged parents may have less energy, but they have (hopefully) more patience and wisdom, elderly parents may not have the energy either, but they (hopefully too), have the availability, the compassion and patience that only comes from years of learning and parenting. You will NEVER be the same parent to each of your children. Each of them are different, so will be your parenting. Especially if you are blessed enough raise different generations as "VERY" young parents, then "MEDIUM"-aged parents and finally "MATURE" parents. I hope you see the irony I'm getting to here. : )

Just when you think you have it all ironed out, I's dotted and T's crossed, ready, willing and able, God tests you even further. He sends your way a "what if", "did you ever imagine", "will you obey", "can you see My blessing for you?"

God prepares our hearts for all levels of life and will ask very difficult tasks of us. Some we give a roaring "NO" answer to, fighting tooth and nail, kicking and screaming, begging for discernment of "why" we must even contemplate His request" To this He keeps gently saying "Yes, YES, you are prepared, I am with you, I will not abandon you. What I ask of you is My will, not yours, but you will be blessed by following My way." 

We are following His command for us, we are opening our hearts and homes for an even bigger blessing to come. Are we prepared? He tells us, Yes. Are we obeying, Yes. Are we blessed, Most Definitely.

Surrendering doesn't mean weakness, Surrendering mean you are among the most blessed.

Mar 19, 2012

Happy Zander Pictures!

Me Me Me!
How Big is Zander???

Playing Peek-A-Boo!

I Am So Big!

Mar 18, 2012

Meetcha Days

We didn't think we'd get to see any pictures for quite a while, but Lori, the amazing woman, sent us these pictures of Zander. Lori is the beautiful brunette in the pictures trying to smother from-momma-to-Zander kisses. He didn't look like he was cooperating. But I love the looks he gave her.



Who Are You????
Momma-to-Zander Kisses via Lori!!

Here's pictures of Lori and her beautiful little butterfly, Mia when they met.
Momma Mia, I mean Momma & Mia!!!!

Nolan, Lori & Mia

In Awe of God - Undescribable...but I'll try

He's Got the Whole world in His Hands

A smaller world it is becoming.

Psalm 46:10 (Amplified Bible)
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

These last 2 days I have been a witness to God's awesome orchestration in our lives. I have been humbled beyond my imagination, weeping in amazement and thankfulness and still to take it all in.

Nine months ago we met Lori Printy. She wowed us with her never-ending energy, spoke about adoption with the assuredness of a seasoned veteran, and became a very good friend over the next 2 weeks. Lori & her husband Dart were in the process of adopting their 3rd little girl, Mia from China (they already had 1 little girl from China, and 1 from Kazakhstan). Through praying, listening to Lori & Shannon, working in the orphanages and being with my family, we decided to pursue adoption from China.

Over the last several months Lori has guided me when I have asked about certain hurdles we were going through (she is a "BTDT=been there done that") adoption veteran. She unknowingly gave me support and hope through struggles just reading her #1 blog

God orchestrated our friendship. God orchestrated our conversation. God orchestrates all.

Please note: the following isn't very accurate, I was very sleep deprived while going through the next conversations.

I was up Wednesday very late with a very sick granddaughter who would fall in and out of sleep. While she slept, I was on Facebook chatting with Lori. You see, I was so happy for her, she & her family were leaving in just a couple of days to finally meet her third little girl, Mia. She had been waiting so long, had gone through so much and moved heaven and earth to get her little girl moved to an extremely good orphanage so that she could get the therapy needed at such a crucial time she needed. God provided. This is one of His miracles, because this is almost never heard of.

A few days prior Shannon (our China trip leader whom I go to church with), said it would be so great if Lori could meet our little Zander when she was in China. This got my mind racing of course since I knew Zander was in Beijing and so was Lori's little girl, but she would only be in Beijing a very short time before they would travel to Mia's home orphanage. I didn't want to ask Lori even about the possibility until I received a Yes from Zander's foster home, which I can email.

After emailing Foster Mom, I learned Lori and she had met several years ago when Lori brought over donations, some to her home. Foster Mom said yes, gave me her email and said to have Lori email her.

While talking with Lori late that evening, I brought up the question, "would you be open, or have time, to go see our Zander?" You see, even though we have pictures, we still had dozens of questions about his health, about him, etc. that had not been answered by authorities yet. Lori said it would be tight, but she would do her best, no promises. I started crying then, just at the possibility that someone we knew would be able to hold our son and tell us about him. I prayed so hard.

Then Lori emailed and we were chatting again and she hadn't heard anything from Foster Mom and they were leaving the next day. Lori gave me the number she was using in China and I felt it just wasn't meant to be, it was out of my hands and I was content knowing we tried.

The baby was up again for an hour, then she slept on me and I dozed for a couple of hours. When I awoke and checked, there was a note from Lori. Foster Mom and she had connected, made arrangements and she would be visiting Zander on Saturday, the 17th. More weeping, more humbling, more prayers of thankfulness.

Lori left the next morning, I was so ecstatic for her family. You know that feeling you get when you're at the amusement park, in the longest line of your life, waiting for the newest, fastest, most exciting roller coaster EVER and a friend is way in front of you in line, but you get to watch them first, feeling their same nervousness, relating to the excitement, not knowing what to expect. Then you see them after they've come off with nothing but smiles of elation, and them saying, "it was so worth the wait". I'm feeling like the one still waiting in line, I'm watching her face, reading her story.

I can hardly explain the feeling of the next 24 hours. I felt this humble peacefulness that could only come from God. I re-read all the emails, FB comments, etc. and nothing short of a miracle from His hand could have orchestrated such planning and be able to make this work.

I checked FB every hour, knowing when their family should be landing, etc. I knew how tired and exhausted they'd be, but at the same time full of adrenaline in anticipation of meeting their Mia.

Finally, I saw the post they had arrived in Beijing and were getting everything settled. I didn't know their exact itinerary or the arrangements Foster Mom & Lori had made. I do know that Lori had to be exhausted though.

My Lord said to me, "Let Be and Be Still", so I did. Then today around noon I saw Lori's next posting (they are 12 hours ahead of our time). it simply stated:

"Can't stop looking at the little doll sleeping next to me...steadied slumbered breathing...becomes mother's lullaby. Contentment has arrived."

She was with her baby girl Mia and of course I was crying again, so happy for her. I closed FB and went about my day. Later I checked her status again to see if she had posted any of their pictures from Gotcha day. Then I happened to notice I had a message, quickly I clicked and there, in what seemed HUGE black letters said I had a private message from Lori. It was the most beautiful pm I have EVER received, it read:

"I met him. He is perfect, a bruiser! Tell Tim he's got a football player on his hands. He is in great hands-like extended family. Lots of pictures & video but will take time to get it to you."

This my dear friends is God's orchestration using a friendship from only 9 months prior, with a wonderful woman who will forever be in my heart for being the first one to hold our son. She knows the ache of getting even the tiniest bit of information you can about your child. She understands how important each little picture is. Lori also had me email her questions I would like answered about Zander if she got to meet him. I sent 20 questions and when she replied, she ended with,

"I will pray over him Francine and tell him his mamma loves him :)

Thank you God for placing Lori in our lives, for allowing our friendship to be kept alive through our journeys and for allowing me to tell of Your love and the miracles you do everyday through ordinary people.

We don't expect to hear anything until Lori and her family are settled, we have already been blessed beyond measure with our news. They are having a whirlwind and this time is so precious. Thank you Lori.

Blessings to all who has taken the time to read through my LONG LONG story. It's been bottled up inside and I can't seem to stop the flow of words coming out or the tears of joy from streaming.


Here's a picture of Lori & her family getting ready to travel. The next picture is of her other 2 little girls (they are staying with their grandparents in Florida while the family goes to get Mia). Then their is the photo of Mia.

The next photos I will post will be them as a family.

Mar 9, 2012

Funerals & Family

Today we buried Tim's last grandparent, his grandmother Doris. Having all my grandparents pass away before I turned 9, except a distant grandmother I never saw, I really never knew what it was like to have grandparents. Here's what I remember.
Arthur, Doris, Alex & Brandy Verbeke Easter (Tim's paternal grandparents)
Going over to my (maternal) grandmother's house every day after school and sitting with her while she cooked. I remember, from the eyes of a child, how very tall my grandfather was, but very quiet. My (paternal step) grandfather as a short Italian man with a full head of white hair & moustache and no teeth. We used to rub his moustache because it was so soft and he would pretend to bite our fingers. Our (paternal step) grandmother was tall with a large stature. She was always in an apron and cooking from the largest pots I'd every seen. They loved one another very much, but I remember when they'd argue, it was very intense and ALL in Italian with a lot of hand motions.
Gus, Alex, Brandy & Edna Rieger Christmas (Tim's maternal grandparents)

When I met Tim's family I felt he was so blessed because he still had 2 sets of grandparents still alive and thriving. The family got together for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and occasionally sporadic. It was huge chaotic fun. As our kids grew, the times together grew more and more sparse because we were going many different ways. I still embraced the times we went to see his grandparents though. He didn't really understand my fascination or need, but when you have been without and given the opportunity to have, take it and cherish what's given.
Richard, Brandy, Glenda & Alex Pretto Thanksgiving (My Mom & Dad)
At my age we have been to many funerals of close relatives, the most heartbreaking one being my mom's funeral. The loss of a loved one in a close knit family can have devastating affects, some for the good, some for the bad. One family was completely torn apart during the death of an uncle, my mom's funeral healed of the pain, but there is a lot more healing to come.
Art & Judy Verbeke (Christmas) Tim's Parents
Today's funeral felt like I was sitting back and watching from old movie slides, where all the drama was slow and happened in pieces. We were reunited with an old parish Priest we really loved long ago, we watched truths come out that had been held inside for decades, we saw relief from loved ones that their mom was out of pain.

But the one thing that brought tears to my eyes is when my mother-in-law, Judy and I were talking about our soon-to-be son Zander. You know the old jokes about in-laws being out-laws, etc. well this was definitely not this time. She was telling me how my father-in-law had just ordered "Chinese geese" for their pond and how he had just ordered 3 berry trees grown in China. All for our little Zander so that he could have heritage at their house. I cried, yes, because one of these wonderful parents came from the woman who we were celebrating in death. Thank you Doris for the most wonderful son a mother could have, because he and his wife gave me the best gift anyone could give, their son as my husband.