Avoid the Stink Within

Almost every time one of the brothers need assistance in the bathroom, Lorelai cries outside of the door like she’s been locked out at the gates of Heaven. Today when all was finished, I invited her in to let her see what really happens. As she leaned over the potty, her eyes widened like she’d seen a ghost and she turned tail and ran out of the bathroom yelling, “Ewww! Coco! Coco! Ewwwwww!”

It made us all laugh for a moment, but then as I sat on the couch thinking about it, I began to feel like I have had similar learning situations in my life.

Why couldn’t that strong-willed little diva just have trusted that I shut her out because it was not a place she belonged? I wasn’t keeping secrets and throwing parties, I was avoiding her the stink! And since she’s not yet two, avoiding the possibility of her getting her hands nasty. But still, she would cry and bang the door and throw fits to be somewhere she absolutely did not belong.

But haven’t I, haven’t even Tim and I together, done that in seasons of life?

Guilty.

We think we know what’s on the other side of the door. We think it’s what we need right then.

And what’s on the other side of the door may not even be dangerous or bad. Maybe what’s on the other side of the door is where we are destined to be {as in Lorelai’s case, when she gets old enough to potty-train}, but we aren’t trusting that now is not the time. Instead of waiting on the Lord to open the door, we throw a fit at the foot of it.

And let me just say this, too. You can make almost anything happen. You can push and bang and smash and medicate and sweet-talk and credit-card your way into what you really want, right? A lot of times we can find way to get around or break through the door {like how Lorelai figured out she could go through the guest bedroom and get into the bathroom through the en suite door}, only to get a good whiff of the stink within.

Why do we do that?

I don’t know the answer to that for everyone, but for today I’m reminding myself that God only asked us to knock {Matthew 7:7}. He didn’t ask us to bust through the door or find another way in. If we knock {and heck, I’m not opposed to tapping sweetly a couple of times just to make sure, right?} and the door doesn’t open, maybe it’s God’s way of saying hold on a minute. Not right now. What’s in here isn’t for you. Or you can come in later, but now is not the right time. And maybe when we sense that answer, instead of wasting time pitching a fit at the foot of the door, we stand back and look at the great things we have right now and figure out a way to make those count.

Each of us have a different journey with different doors. Let us stop trying to get in each other’s doors and the doors that don’t belong to us. Let us wait upon the Lord and walk through the spaces He has perfectly laid straight for us within His will.

Let us do ourselves a favor and avoid the stink within.

With love, Malorie

We Are DONE! But Not Even Close.

I don’t even know how to begin. What words do you use to describe such a momentous event? An event that will be written in your family history book as the day the Lord provided? I guess you just say it, right? Just say it fast and get it out into the open, so here goes…

.DONE!

Insane, right?! Our adoption is completely paid for and we aren’t even an official Waiting Family yet! Praise Jesus!

For Christmas, one of my beautiful cousins, Heather, made a bunch of magnets with all the different names that the Lord is called and referred to in the Bible. She brought them and allowed family members to pick out one to keep that means something to them. I chose Jehovah Jireh, The Lord will Provide. Jehovah Jireh

This magnet has been on our family calendar for the past eight months as a reminder that the Lord does provide and will provide for our every need. We may not get everything we want, but we will certainly get all that we need. Just as I said in a previous post, we have felt the presence and provision of the Lord through every step of this process, and have had such a peace about the fact that He was going to lift the burden of the financial end of adoption from us. However, I never expected Him to do it so speedily. I never expected Him to do it so easily. And I never would have expected the provision to come from the places it did.

When will we, in all our prideful humanity, stop underestimating the power of God?!

So here is what the Lord has done for us this weekend:

Last week, we got an email from a customer that had purchased a growth chart from us at the beginning of the year when I had first started making them. We never met them. They were friends of sisters of friends {or something confusing like that} and even the delivery of the growth chart to them consisted of many hands passing off to other hands. In their email, they said that they had read our latest blog on fundraising and wanted to meet us via FaceTime to talk more about our adoption. We were able to make that happen this weekend and during our conversation they said these words,

“Well, when we read your blog, we both just really felt like the Lord was telling us that we needed to tell you, ‘You’re done.’ You don’t have to make another growth chart. You are done with fundraising. The Lord is paying off your adoption.”

I fell apart. I mean, I think I kind of held it together in front of them, but inside, I fell apart. I’m even tearing up as I write this. We emailed them later that night after we calculated how much we would have left to raise after all of the orders from growth charts and canvases we currently have go through, and we sent them the amount. A check in that amount is currently on it’s way to us in the mail.

This couple made it very clear to us that they felt compelled to do this because the Lord told them to do so. They wanted us to know that it was God who provided this money to us, not them, and they were simply the middle man in the exchange of funds. Wow. What an amazing example of obedience and stepping out in faith. I pray that God blesses this couple beyond measure for saying YES to His plan to use them in our story of adoption. May their barns be filled to overflowing and their vats brim over with new wine! Proverbs 3:10 

So what do we do now that we’re done? Well, we certainly don’t stop!

As far as our fundraising plans go, we still have the photo session raffle, the Stella & Dot jewelry party, and an online Jamberry party coming up that we committed to before we knew that our adoption was fully funded. I have talked to these wonderful ladies and they have decided to move forward as planned, only instead of taking all proceeds, we will only be taking a portion. The proceeds made off of these events will go into our adoption fund as a reserve for any extra costs that may arise down the road. Once again, those could be things like out-of-state fees, renewal of fingerprints or home visits {if we don’t get chosen before they expire}, or potential medical bills of the birthmother. If we do not need those funds, all of the extra funds we raise will go to another family’s adoption! We do not plan on pocketing anything the Lord has provided for the sake of folly or our own personal benefit. Our plan is to pay it forward to another family that is walking our same road.

ALSO! We have decided to maintain my business of growth charts, canvases, {and if I get my way} apparel. I know it is bold to tell you so in such beginning stages, but perhaps you could be praying along side us as we seek the Lord’s will for what is to come. We are currently building a website where we will be able to take orders, ship items, and keep contact with customers. A large percentage of what we make will additionally be given away to families for their adoption costs. God has blessed us immensely in our fundraising, and we feel that He is now asking us to help others in theirs, as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have given to us; given of your time, money, prayers, and encouraging words. We are thankful for each gift that has been given. No matter how small or how large, each has taken us one step further down the road to bringing home our baby. We are left just standing in breathless awe of the God that has made straight our paths {Proverbs 3:6} and kept our feet from slipping and our anxious doubts at bay {Psalm 94:18-19}.

I will say it again. I will shout it all my days. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” Psalm 126:3

With love, Malorie

Tim’s 30th Birthday Trip Day 2

[Note to self: Don’t specify a date of when your next blog post will be going up, unless it is already written. Bypass specificity by using terms such as soon, later, or presently.]

Hi! It wasn’t until late-ish Tuesday night that I realized I hadn’t made good on my promise to post about day two of our most recent Disney trip on Wednesday. I was holding out for a vlog session with the Birthday Boy, but I am now glad I wasn’t holding my breath lest I be dead! So here I am, very later-ish on Tuesday night, tapping away on a keyboard. Give me lots of grace on this one, folks. I tend to get even more wordy and brave late at night. Us creative people always teeter on the brink of genius and insanity at such hours.

Picking up where we put down, Tim and I woke up quite early on the second {and last!} day of our trip. Magic Kingdom opened at 9:00 and we wanted to be there for rope drop {see Speak the Lingo + The Slink’n Slide from Making the Most of Magic Kingdom with Young Kids for more}. We were up and at ’em by 7:00. We, once again, checked our bag with the concierge since we would be leaving for the airport later that afternoon, and headed down to the BoardWalk Bakery for breakfast. Tim got an iced coffee and I got a hot coffee and Mickey-shaped chocolate chip muffin…because I mean, DISNEY WORLD!IMG_3857 IMG_3860 IMG_4002_2 We sat out on the BoardWalk overlooking the lake and Beach and Yacht Club to enjoy our caffeine for a moment. The day was overcast, which was nice, but the threat of rain made us a little nervous. My breakfast was tasty, but Tim’s coffee was terrible. It was some pre-mixed iced coffee junk and was way too sweet for us coffee snobs. After tossing that glycemic nightmare in the garbage, I was forced to share my warm addiction as we headed toward the bus stop to hitch a ride to Magic Kingdom. IMG_3865

Here I will pause for a second to talk about our feelings towards the BoardWalk, considering this was our first experience staying there. Would we stay there again? Absolutely. The proximity to Epcot was too spectacular to say otherwise. The room was meh…we didn’t even take pictures of it, so that should say something. The tile was dated, the counters were laminate; it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything to brag about either. We have seen pictures of a recently updated two bedroom there, however, and it was gorgeous. If our studio had looked like that, we would have had a photoshoot in the room; hair and makeup and prom dresses, you name it. Fingers crossed that it’s in the plans to update all of the rooms like that soon.

The grounds and lobby of the resort were very nice and, of course, the BoardWalk itself is amazing. Our one hang-up is that it just isn’t convenient. Granted, we are admittedly spoiled in the convenience department, staying mostly at Bay Lake Tower and the Wilderness Lodge. Both are smaller, more compact DVC areas with covered walkways to both transportation and quick service restaurants. The BoardWalk is another story. I know that they are wanting to maintain the charm and feel of Atlantic City, but when you want to get a drink for your RapidFill mug, you have to walk all the way down to the BoardWalk Bakery, which isn’t even on one of the convenient corners of the lobby courtyard. The bakery is in the opposite direction of bus transportation and it is a mostly uncovered walk, so if it’s raining you better have your poncho! The resort is pretty spread out, so it’s a fair amount of walking, but this is neither here nor there to most. Once again, we are just spoiled.

The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Or is it having the desire to want to recover? Because if that’s the case, then there’s no hope for us…

Overall, on a scale of 1-10, we’d give it a We’d-Rather-Stay-At-Bay-Lake-Or-Wilderness-Lodge-But-Its-A-GREAT-Option-If-Your-Trip-Is-Going-To-Include-A-Lot-Of-Time-In-Epcot. No wonder the rooms are impossible to get during the Food & Wine and Flower & Garden!

Moving on, we arrived at Magic Kingdom with about thirty minutes to spare. We slowly wiggled our way up to the right-hand gate and ignored the Slink’n Slide since our kids weren’t with us. As gates opened, we stayed in step with Cast Members set to take us to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. IMG_4020_2 IMG_3868 IMG_3869 IMG_3870 IMG_3872We quietly mocked those pushing and shoving like the Armageddon was quickly approaching, and made it towards the front of the line and quickly got seated on the back-end of the train. The last few cars are the best on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! It’s almost a completely difference experience than the first few cars. Once we passed the cackling, haggard Evil Queen with her poisoned apple, we exited and moved on to other Fantasyland attractions. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: Even during the busy times, if you get there at park open, you can get so much done! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Anna and Elsa, and Space Mountain pull all of the crowds away, enabling you to do so much with very little wait time for the good first hour to even two hours, sometimes! IMG_3873 IMG_3874 IMG_4005

We headed to Frontierland after Fantasyland, giving ride-alongs and chatting occasionally with other Disney Periscopers {sidenote: every time someone from Brazil would join in with a, “Hi from Brazil!” Tim and I would both fight the urge to chant, “Brah-zil! Brah-zil! Brah-zil!” They love to do that in Disney, for some reason.} After a plunge down Splash Mountain, we decided a mid-morning snack would be nice. And what makes for a better mid-morning snack than french fries? I know! You can’t think of anything, right?! And also, FYI, Periscoping sucks up a lot of battery life!IMG_3876 IMG_3877

Next we spent some time in Tomorrowland {“Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow”} and, like Anna, for the first time in forever, Tim beat me on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. My gun must have been broken or something. Or he was asking all my tips and prime targets as we were going…

Bitter party of one? Oh yeah, that’s me.

On the way out of Magic Kingdom, Tim grabbed a legit iced coffee and I blew a kiss to my castle-away-home on our way down Main Street. IMG_3878We hopped the monorail and transferred at the Transportation Center for a ride back to Epcot. We had lunch reservations at Via Napoli that we didn’t want to miss!IMG_3882

The first thing we did in Epcot was hop in the single-rider line for Test Track. Right as we were about to get through seatbelt check, we were stopped because of incliment weather. Luckily, they sent both of our cars through before the bottom let out. We waited out the hard rains in Mouse Gear, and once it let up a bit we tread water over into World Showcase and wasted time in Mexico. IMG_4018_2 IMG_3887

We had the best time in Mexico! We rode the Three Caballeros and then as we were getting off, a mariachi band started to play in front of San Angel Inn. We watched them for a moment, and just as we were about to step away to head towards Italy, the front-man called Tim out of the crowd. He acknowledged his birthday button and asked if they could sing him a traditional Mexican birthday celebration song, followed by Happy Birthday. Of course, Tim jumped at the chance! We were both all smiles, and Tim did not skip the chance for a mariachi Birthday selfie!
IMG_3888Once that bit of Disney magic fizzled out, we tromped our way through accumulating puddles to Italy. We were hoping the rain would have let up by now, but instead, it was only letting us down. We made it to Via Napoli almost without event, as long as you don’t include the moment where Tim almost slipped and busted his butt outside of the restaurant! So scary.

Even in arriving super early for our reservation, we were seated somewhat quickly. We love Via Napoli. This was our fourth time dining there and we were looking forward to splitting a pizza to wait out the rains. IMG_3893

This is my Minnie Mouse Bachelorette Pensive Pizza picture for all you fellow trash TV consumers. Imagine a voiceover of me saying something like, “I feel like the luckiest girl alive, but this journey is so much harder than I ever expected. I am truly here to find the perfect slice of pizza and I have confidence that my future dinner is in this room.” IMG_3895

Now the picture above is basically the epitome of our experience. Empty plates. And not in the good way. Once again, we have never experienced this type of service at Via Napoli. We have always had the best wait staff here; so friendly, helpful, and conversational. Remember how I said in my last post that we had even had a waiter share with us the inauthentic menu items they provide?

Well, this time we had Anna Kendrick serving us {and that is meant as no disrespect. I should have gotten a picture of her, she seriously looked just like Anna Kendrick, only she possessed that thick Italian accent common to the pavilion}. She was sweet as can be, but something went wrong in communications with hot-mouthed ‘ol Vesuvio over there, and we waited forever for our pizza. Things got awkward and she acknowledged the wait and apologized and said our pizza should be coming right out. It did. It was wrong. It was sent back and then we waited even longer than the first time for the second one! If it hadn’t of been raining, we might have been upset, but surprisingly we were pretty serene. Finally, it came and Anna {no that wasn’t really her name, I’m just calling her that} informed us that our whole meal was comped because of the inconvenience!

Well okay then!

We braved a little more time {and Tim a second chocolate croissant from France} before heading back to the resort to pick up our bag and head to the airport. The rain never did let up all the way, even as we boarded the Magical Express for the second time in twenty-four hours. IMG_3897IMG_3898

These were our sad faces, not only because we were leaving, but because that ride back to the airport made both of us so motion sick! Bleh!

Unfortunately, our plane was delayed by a whopping two and a half hours! Tim was pretty stressed out, seeing as how he had to be at work the next morning at 6:30am! We made it home though, safe and sound, knowing that in just a few short hours it would be back to reality as his iPhone alarm woke him and three little toddler alarms woke me.

It seriously took us two good nights of sleep to catch up on what was lost during his birthday celebrations, but it was so worth it. Spending time with the man that makes me incandescently happy at the Happiest Place on Earth is a beautiful thing. I am truly grateful that we get to live such a wonderful life.

“I wish I had a million dollars. HOT DOG!”

With love, Malorie

P.S. See. That random It’s A Wonderful Life quote at the end is the perfect example of my late night brain wanderings. You’re welcome. Maybe, “George Bailey, I’ll love you ’til the day I die!” would have been more appropriate…I’ll let you decide.

Trip Report: Tim’s 30th Birthday in Disney Day 1

Today is Tim’s 30th Birthday! Woo hoo! Happy Birthday, babe!

In stark contradiction to what the world tells us to feel about reaching the 30 mark, and despite my “old man” teasing of my husband, I am super excited that we are reaching our 30’s. We have done a LOT during our 20’s and they feel complete. I feel excitedly ready to find out what the next decade will hold for us. Maybe it’s because we were married so young, and started our family so young, but I feel like our age hasn’t necessarily matched our maturity in years past, and maybe now that we are starting our 30’s we will finally be viewed as grown ups {whatever those are}.

Today’s celebrations of Tim’s big 3-0 status will be minimal since he has this thing called a job and I am officially homeschooling and all of that super fun stuff. However, as many of you know from following our social media outlets, we celebrated a bit early and a couple of weekends ago we took a lovely adults-only trip to Disney!

So. Much. Exhausting. Fun. Here’s what went down:

Friday 3:30am, we awoke from a restless night’s sleep on my mother’s couch and loveseat. We had spent the night there since we were leaving the children in her charge while we were gone. A wash of the face, a brush of the teeth {notice I didn’t say hair}, and a change into clothes rendered us ready for a quick drive and almost equally as quick flight to Disney World. Tim had found a stellar deal for $49 tickets to Orlando, which spurred on the idea for a last minute birthday bash. Since we are annual pass holders, it was a big “DUH!” as to whether or not we should go.

If you have the chance to go to Disney, you go. “DUH!”IMG_4021_2

Our flight landed at 7:30am. We caught the Magical Express {Disney’s complimentary transportation to those who are staying on Disney property} and arrived at the Boardwalk Inn by 8:40ish. Although we are DVC Members, we paid cash for this room because all of this year’s points are currently tied up and Tim found {yet another} amazing deal. We were able to book a studio at the Boardwalk for only about $80 more than a night at the Allstar Resorts. {Is it possible to say “DUH!” too many times in a post? Okay, good.} Since the Boardwalk is just a short walk away from Epcot, it was Tim’s 30th birthday we were celebrating, and Epcot just happens to be his favorite park, you guessed it, it was a big fat “DUH!” that we booked our one-night stay there.IMG_3962_2

We were happily greeted at the door when we walked up by a woman saying, “Are you Mr. and Mrs. Elrod?” {How do they do that? This Disney Magic stuff is no joke.} She escorted us to the front desk where they checked us in, took our luggage, and we literally walked straight out of the lobby and walked into the back entrance of Epcot by 9:04. Epcot opened at 9:00am.IMG_3983_2 IMG_3982_2 IMG_3981

The first thing we did was take a stroll hand-in-hand to France where we shared a chocolate croissant. Magnifique! [kisses fingertips]IMG_3968_2IMG_3759

Tim, being the fantastically thorough Disney-planner that he is, had already booked us fastpasses for Soarin’ starting at 9:30, so we headed towards The Land. We knocked out Soarin’ and Living with the Land, then passed up our fastpasses for Journey into Imagination in exchange for a ride on Spaceship Earth. {Can I just say how much I love Spaceship Earth? I always forget this ride in the talks of “What’s Your Favorite Disney World Attraction?”, but man. I am just such a history nerd. I get all the feels every time Judi Dench says into my sound-wired headrest, “After 30,000 years of time travel, here we are, a truly global community, poised to shape the future of this, our Spaceship Earth.” Watch out, Elrod kids. Homeschool is about to go Disney.}IMG_3764

Tim’s face in our future lives had me belly-laughing!

Content with skipping rides we’ve ridden so many times, we took an hour or so to just brows World Showcase. We debated lunch in many countries, but decided to stop and eat in China at Lotus Blossom Cafe. We split the orange chicken and drank tap water, because we’re so thrifty like that.IMG_3783IMG_3980_2 At this time, the Florida heat and humidity was starting to bear down so we decided to head back to the Boardwalk to find our room and take a dip in the scary clown pool {Y’all. They don’t even put a picture of this pool on the Disney website because it’s so scary ugly. Google it.} Thanks to a fellow Periscoper, we were easily talked into a stop at Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club on the way back.IMG_3791IMG_3795

Now we come to the part where I have one of my few Disney complaints: For the most part, we Elrods are Disney optimists. We are certainly opinionated, but we like to look for the best in a company that is dear to our hearts and in which obviously have a lot of literal stock. But the woman who escorted us to the front desk and the gentleman that checked us in when we first arrived were wonderful. The guy that checked our bag, not so much. He acted like it was such a chore, and we have never encountered this before. Usually our concierge guys at Wilderness Lodge and Bay Lake Tower are super accommodating and friendly. Tim almost always over-tips them because they are so personable. Well, when we went back to see if our room was ready, the quiet girl at the desk, immediately got a snippy older woman to come and assist her, who informed us as, if we had been complaining, that, “Check-in is NOT until 4:00, so there is nothing I can do.”

[And all the DIsney-goers go, “Gasp!”]

Seriously guys, we have never run into this type of customer service in Disney before. Sometimes I wonder if Disney makes their employees take mandatory “happy pills” before work because they are usually so chipper. {However, having previously been a Cast Member, I know this isn’t so.} But this woman was so rude, right off the bat. We were both pretty offended. We asked for our one suitcase from the concierge desk and he, once again, begrudgingly got us the bag that he had to tote nowhere, and we slipped off to the public bathroom to change into our swim suits. As if we weren’t already a little put-off, as soon as we sat down by the pool, it began to downpour. We grabbed our bag and hustled it back up the huge porch located on the backside of the lobby to take haven from the rain, since we had to room in which to retreat. Another family that shared our situation followed.

If we had had our children with us, this could have been a potential nightmare, but surprisingly, sitting there on the porch overlooking the lake between the Boardwalk and Beach and Yacht Club, it was so relaxing. We charged our phones, chatted, people-watched, Tim took a nap, I read it a book; it was an introvert’s Disney Dream and I loved it.

After about an hour, the woman of the party that shared in our roomless delight, came barging out of the side door to where her family sat nearby. Y’all. Disney makes for the best people-watching. She was wearing a white maxi skirt and dark tank with a big, floppy, black hat, and big gestures of outrage to match. {Now, this is meant to be read aloud in your best Jersey accent. C’mon, just play along. It was so entertaining, I wish I could act it out for you.} “I can’t believe it!” she said loudly, and all heads on the porch turned to look. “Our room is ready! Our room has been ready! I didn’t get a text!”

At this Tim jumped up and went inside to check the status of our own room. I was left to witness the rest.

“She’s givin’ me some story about an emergency fire drill and it messed up the system, but I ain’t buyin’ it! Not for what I’m payin’ here a night!! Sittin’ out here like we’re some kinda homeless people! [wild arms flying around her head] Getcha stuff, lets go! [Mostly to herself as she crossed in front of me to gesture to her other grown son sitting on the other side of the porch] Not for what I’m payin’ here a night!!”

[insert all the laughing-to-tears emoji faces]

Not to burst your bubble, but our room still wasn’t ready. Tim finagled his way into a different room with a less desirable location and we headed that way to change for dinner. Dinner plans included steak and the famously cheesy potato soup at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion, so we were pretty anxious to get there. We gave ourselves forty minutes to walk from our room to the restaurant, which ended up being about twenty minutes too much. We dawdled around the UK and Canada, got pictures made by a Photopass Photographer, watched Canadian burly-men {and woman} throw axes at a block of wood, that sort of thing. Once our reservation time rolled around, we went in and got seated immediately at Le Cellier.IMG_3798 IMG_3805

We ordered the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and the Le Cellier Poutine {french fries with canadian cheddar, black truffle, and red wine reduction on top!} for appetizers, then split the filet mignon that came on top of a wild mushroom risotto with heirloom tomatoes in a truffle-butter sauce. So delicious. All of it. So delicious. It was so nice just sitting there, chatting about work, kids, adoption, Disney, dreaming about our future; I love my man and spending time with him one-on-one is just the best. Also, I should mention that we had a fantastic waiter. He was gracious, informative, prompt, and friendly. When dining in World Showcase, I always try to make it a point to ask about the waiter’s home county. The staff in the pavilions in World Showcase are here on work visas from the country they’re working in, so it’s always interesting hearing stories about their home and their take on America. {Just so you know, on authority from a lovely waiter at Via Napoli, pepperoni and grated parmesan are completely American ways to eat pizza, so I make a point not to order that while dining in Italy. “We onlee haz zat here because, you know, zee Americans like eet.”}IMG_3813 IMG_3814 IMG_3815

After we ate, Tim decided he wanted to go to Magic Kingdom. This was such a shocker because Illuminations is his favorite nighttime firework display and I just knew he was going to want to see it sans kids. Nope. We headed over to Magic Kingdom for some Starbucks, a ride on the People Mover, Haunted Mansion, Dumbo…whatever had a short wait, honestly. About halfway through our tour of Fantasyland, I decided I needed a LeFou’s brew, so we stopped to charge our phones in Gaston’s Tavern. Upon ordering, the guy at the register noticed Tim’s Birthday button and gave him the LeFou’s brew and a cinnamon roll on the house! Whaaa? Happy Birthday to me {because Tim could care less about either}!IMG_3830IMG_3990 IMG_3823

Once the sun started setting, we monorailed {yes, I just used monorail as a verb} over to the Contemporary and then walked to Bay Lake Tower for drinks and an appetizer at the Top of the World Lounge. I had a white sangria and Tim went for a mule. We also ordered the Bay Lake Tower BLT Flatbread. At 10pm, Wishes started at Magic Kingdom and we watched from the Top of the World viewing area. It was magical, to say the least.IMG_3842 IMG_3845IMG_3996IMG_4027

After Wishes, we high-stepped it back to the monorail because Epcot had extra-magic hours that night and was open until 11pm. We made it there at about 10:40, so we were able to stroll one last time through Epcot and stopped for cronuts on the way back to the Boardwalk. We seriously ate all the food on this trip…but it was so worth the calories and subtle tummy-ache.IMG_4019

We fell into bed for a five hour snooze, ready to start the Disney madness all over again the next day. Be sure to stop back by Wednesday when I post about Day 2 of our trip!

With love, Malorie

Adoption Fundraising Update!

As crazy as it is, it is already August. We have been in official adoption mode for eight months now.

Eight months ago, we decided to send in the initial application.

Eight months ago, we were brainstorming how in the world we were going to be able afford growing our family in this way.

Eight months ago, we gave it to the Lord and said, “If this is where you’re leading, we are trusting you to provide the way.”

And He has. He really, really has.

As of today, we only have $3,777 left to raise in our minimum fee of $22,500!

Photo on 8-8-15 at 2.17 PM #2People have been so generous to our family over the past eight months, giving beyond what we would have ever expected or imagined. Not that we haven’t been busting it, either. I’ve made close to one hundred growth charts, and sold close to twenty hand-drawn canvases. Every time my neck was killing me from looking down for so long, or my nails were stained brown at church on Sunday because I had torn through two latex gloves the day before, staining growth charts, I would smile and think, “It is all going to be worth it when I am holding that baby. And this baby is going to know how much we worked for them because we love them and want them.”

So here’s the point: Despite my immeasurable gratitude, I’m ready to be there. I’m ready to be done with fundraising because Tim and I have big plans for my growth chart and art sales down the road {more exciting news to come!}, and I’m not going to lie, if we could begin our journey as a Waiting Family {which should start around August 21st} as a fully funded family, knowing that anytime we are chosen by a birthmother, we will be ready to hand over our finalization fee stress free, that would be…beyond any word I could choose to give it.

Amazing.

Incredible.

Absolutely and unexpectedly astonishing!

So here’s my action plan: I’d love for you to participate in any way to feel compelled or comfortable with.

  1. Spread the word! Share our YouCaring site. We only have $3,777 left to raise!
  2. Get crazy in the crafting department! Want to order a growth chart? Have something pinned on Pinterest that you’d love to have made into a canvas? Email me! Let’s get it done! {malorie.elrod@gmail.com}IMG_2325IMG_3908
  3. Throw a party! A jewelry party, that is. I’ve gathered together some emails and addresses, so you may have an invite coming your way. But if not, our generous friend Holly is throwing a Stella & Dot party and all jewelry sales will go towards our adoption fund. So get to shopping ladies!
  4. Take some pictures! Enter a photo session raffle today and you could WIN a photoshoot with Snap Savvy Photography! One entry is $5 and five entries is $20. This is a $350 value you could be winning, people! Contact Paige at (770) 833-6174 to purchase your entry. And again, all proceeds go to our adoption! Do we have the best friends, or what?
  5. Go to Disney! Seriously! If you book a Disney vacation with Julie Lindeman, she will give a portion of her earnings to our adoption. And booking through her is no extra cost to you! Just email her at juliedoestravel@gmail.com. Once again, our friends rock!

We are so excited, and so honored to have been able to witness God’s provision in such a tangible and timely way. We wish we could return ten-fold what so many have already given to us. Maybe someday we will be able to do that.

Until then, let’s get to work! Only $3,777 left to raise! 

With love, Malorie

Waiting to Wait and ALL of the Details

We’re so excited. And we just can’t hide it!

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We had our home visit {the final step we needed to complete in our home study!} yesterday, and after our social worker left, we were flipping tables and dancing around like the Pointer Sisters!

We’re about to lose control and we think we like it!

We’ve had so many people wanting to know more about the adoption process, the specific costs, and the actual steps of a home study, so I thought I’d take some time to go into more detail on that. Like I’ve said in the past, we’re using Bethany Christian Services, so some steps may look a little different based on agency and what type of adoption you’re doing. We’re adopting a domestic infant, which is a fancy way of saying a baby from the U.S., and most likely, Georgia.

Bethany requires you to first come to a free, no obligation orientation where they rattle off information about the services they provide and answer any questions you may have on any type of adoption. Tim and I attended this meeting in April or May of last year. When we left, they gave us an application that we could send in when were ready to start the process. We talked about it, prayed about it, and right after Christmas and Lorelai’s first birthday, we decided to go ahead and send in the initial application. It required pretty basic information, some references, and a statement of faith, since it is a Christian organization. It cost $50 to apply.

After that went through, we filled out our formal application. More references, background checks, and a few more detailed questions was really all that was required. This form had to be sent in with a $500 check.

Upon receiving the formal application, we were matched with our social worker {or we may have been matched before that, but we got to meet and know her for the first time shortly thereafter} and she informed us about our adoption classes. It is required by the state that you have so many “educational” hours before adopting, so we went every Monday night for three weeks to the Bethany offices in Atlanta to learn more about our specific adoption process, talk through the adoption triad {birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees} and how each party is affected, and we even got to hear from a panel of birth moms and adoptive parents. It was so powerful. Each week we left more excited and at peace with the way we were expanding our family.

At the classes, they provided us with a folder full of everything we would need to complete for our home study. More forms on our home, our insurance, instructions on how to get FBI and GBI fingerprints made, a self-study of questions about our pasts and families, our marriage and current children. We also had to have physicals done for our whole family, get CPR certified, get a record of any 911 calls we’ve made in the past five years, make copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, drivers licenses, water bills, you name it, they have it. Sounds like a lot but really….well yeah, it’s a lot. And we were lucky because we got to skip things like animal vaccination records and divorce certificates!

We had all of these things finished up about a month ago, but we had still yet to complete our joint interview, our individual interviews {which had to be done at the Bethany offices} and then, finally, our home visit. It seemed like for weeks, as Tim and I prayed together at night, we would pray, “Please, Lord, help us to get the rest of our home study completed and let everything fall into place.” But it still felt like nothing was happening and we were just running like Fred Flintstone, feet moving, but we weren’t actually getting anywhere.

After a few failed attempts to schedule dates and times, we finally made it to our joint interview. It went really well. It was casual and laid back. We just sat in our social worker’s office and talked about how we met, our marriage, our kids, our “why” behind our desire to adopt. It went so well. I think all three of us could feel the excitement in the room, and our social worker scheduled our individual interviews and home visit right then and there; back to back, the following Monday and Tuesday. On the way home we couldn’t believe how we felt for a month that nothing was happening and the process was dragging out, but that all of a sudden we were almost done!

Our individual interviews went fantastically. We had to answer more questions about ourselves, our childhood, our families, our marriage…then yesterday, we had our home visit. I cleaned, but not obsessively. I had heard from several people, including our worker, that they are not looking for a spotless home. They are mostly just checking for working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, checking firearms, etc. After giving her the grand tour, we sat down at the kitchen table and talked about what we were looking for in a child and what we are open to {multiples? special needs? race? gender? age?}. I’ll leave you guessing as to what we told her. *insert winking emoji*

As she was leaving, we handed over our home study fee of $7,500. She backed out of the driveway, we waved her off, came into the house, and had this rising excitement swelling in our chests of, “We are done!” The ball is officially in their court and all we have to do is wait.

It takes about 45 days to get everything cleared from the home study and to become a waiting family. Once we become a waiting family, birth mom’s will be able to choose us as the legal guardians of their child. They will do so by looking through photo books and online profiles of available families. 6

So here we are. We are just waiting to wait! And we can’t wait.

Although some parts of this process has been frustrating or inconvenient, all of it has been rewarding and exciting. And we know that when we are looking into the face of our sweet little baby, it will all be worth it.

The Lord has been so good to provide financially for our adoption every step of the way so far. We already knew we were surrounded by generous friends and family, but the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. Once we get our baby, we will have to give the agency the finalization fee of $14,500. It sounds daunting. But you know what? We have almost $8,000 still in our adoption account right now! That means we only have a little over $6,000 left to raise! If we are able to raise that in the next month or so, it could mean that when we get chosen by a birth-mother, that we will have nothing finacially to worry about. We can run to our baby with open arms and zero hesitation about how we are going to be able to afford to bring him or her home to their Forever Family. When I think about it, I just want to cry. I am so thankful. So, so thankful. And humbled and excited and thankful. Have I said that I’m thankful yet?

Here is the link to our You Caring site. Feel free to share it or pass it along. But mostly, we value your continued prayers.

After our worker left our house yesterday, Tim and I looked at each other and noted how good our kids were while she was here! They were sweet, and a little shy, but they were sociable, too. Jack showed her some of his artwork unprompted and fought with Cole just enough to show we are a real family, but not enough to embarrass us completely. I said to Tim, “People really must have been praying for us!” and we giggled about it for a few minutes together. God has provided for us in every single area of this adoption, and we have no doubt that he will continue to do so.

Thank you to those that have followed along with us these past 7 months. Thank you for for the prayers and positive vibes, the donations, growth charts purchases, and encouraging words. It means so much. We can’t wait to tell this baby how much they were wanted, loved, and provided for, long before they were ever known.

With love, Malorie

Spring Mini Photo Session FUNdraiser!

Hey, hey, hey! Are you loving this spring weather as much as I am? Does it make you want to get outside? Soak up some sunshine? Maybe even take some new pictures of you and/or your family to update those old picture frames you’re dusting during spring cleaning? There’s no better time than now! 11075195_10152618314511503_7710408276284325965_o

Our sweet and talented friend, Paige, from Snap Savvy Photography has offered to do a whole day of spring mini photo sessions and all of the proceeds will go towards our adoption! So generous! We still have about $10,000-$12,000 yet to raise, and you can help us get there while getting some great new pictures out of the deal!

What’s better than that?! 

Call or text Paige at 770-833-6174 today to save your spot and get more details, because they are going to fill up fast! Here is a look at some of her other work. Did I mention how talented she is?PicMonkey Collage

{Those pups! I can’t handle the cuteness!}

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Man-oh-man the weather is gorgeous today. It just lifts my spirits and motivates my soul.

And I could use some motivation right now. We are still down to the nitty-gritty of our home study and I’m finding it’s really easy to get discouraged these days. I feel like it’s never going to end. I am so ready to be a “waiting family”, but all of these appointments that have to be scheduled and completed are bogging us down. It’s really hard to juggle going to get physicals and take CPR classes and schedule interviews with three kids to find sitters for, or worse, to take with you?! {gasp!} No. Sitters will have to be found.

But enough of the whining all ready. I’m just learning {slowly and stubbornly} to take it one day at a time. God already knows which baby will come into our family and His timing is perfect. I really need to stop trying to control the timeline of the adoption and trust that only God is in control.

Happy Good Friday, everyone! It’s a very good Friday, indeed.

With love, Malorie

Adoption Update: Jesus and the Eye of the Tiger

The adoption home study finish line is creeping ever closer. I feel like I’m back at the eleventh mile of my Princess Half. So close, but still more work to be done.

Yes. All of this home study stuff definitely feels like running a half marathon. The beginning is exciting, the end is a bit painful, but finishing will feel like a Rocky-at-the-top-fist-pumping kind of moment.

Eye of the tiger, baby. Eye of the tiger.

We’ve finished all of our general “fill this out” paperwork and made all of the copies we need. Now we just have to get our physicals, finger printing, certifications, and do our book reports. {Yes, teacher, I said book reports.} And do our home visit. And our individual interviews. Okay, I seriously thought we were getting close until I just wrote all of that out. Push me back to about mile eight of my Princess Half. I must have stopped for a potty break. The good thing about this half marathon is that there aren’t balloon ladies breathing down my neck.

Eye of the tiger, baby. Eye of the tiger.

In adoption good news, however, our home study has been completely paid for! Praise the LORD! God has just shown us so much favor in this process and has continually reminded us that this is what he has called us to do and we can trust that HE is going to provide for it every step of the way. To turn in our formal application, we had to pay $500. This was before we officially started our fundraising, and I was just making and selling some growth charts to friends by word-of-mouth. Although we were definitely going to be able to swing the $500, handing over a big chunk of money is always a little nerve-racking…especially for something that is non-refundable, non-transferable, even if your application isn’t accepted. However, God laid it on some of our friends’ hearts to give generously for their growth chart, and they surprised us with a $1,000 check! God not only provided for our formal application fee, but also that preliminary application fee we had already paid of $50, with $450 left over to go towards our home study!

The next provision came one night at our adoption classes. Our adoption worker came to us when we arrived and said, “We had someone call this week and pay $1,400 towards your home study fee, so I just wanted to let you know that is sitting in your Bethany account as a home study credit.” Jaws dropped. Our home study fee is $7,500 and now we had $1,850 of that paid for, PLUS some from my growth chart sales and some generous donors on our YouCaring site!

Then, we had some friends ask us to double date with them one night at dinner. We love this couple, so we didn’t think twice about it and worked out a sitter for a night out for dinner and Starbucks. As soon as we sat down at our table, they went into a story about how the Lord had blessed them financially recently and they wanted to tithe off of what they were given. After praying separately about how that should look, they came back together and realized the Lord had given them the same answer: to give it to our adoption. Cue tears as they slide a check for $9,000 across the table to us. I was flabbergasted and so humbled. Thank you just didn’t seem like an appropriate enough response, but we just didn’t have the words in our vocabulary to express our gratitude. God, through their donation, had just fully provided for our home study, with $3,000-$4,000 left over to pay our finalization fees which is $14,500 {or more, if we have to cover the birth mother’s hospital bills, or our baby has extra medical bills due to complications}. I mean, is God good, or what?!

Yes, we have a lot more money to be raised and paid before all of this is said and done, and although it can be daunting to think about in a big, general since, we also have a peace that overcomes us in knowing that God has already proven himself trustworthy. He has provided for each step of the way before we even got there. We haven’t had to knock on several doors to know which one is right, He has left the right ones wide open so that all we have to do is get all of our paperwork done and ducks in a row and walk right on through to the next place he has called us.

There has been a passage that has been in the back of my mind the past couple of weeks. It is John 15 where Jesus is talking to the disciples about the vine and the branches. In summary, Jesus is explaining our relationship to God through the imagery of God being a gardener, Jesus being a vine, and us being branches on the vine. If we stay connected to Jesus, we will be strong, living, fruit-bearing branches, getting all we need from the vine. But apart from the vine, we will wither, fall to the ground, be picked up and thrown in to the fire with all of the other dead branches. Then in verses 7 and 8, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I deal with a little bit of guilt that, in general, things always go so well for us as a family. Yes, we have had our share of sorrows, of pain, of financial, physical, and emotional turmoil, but it seems that the Lord always bring us through to the other side stronger, wiser, and more confident in the love and power that comes with knowing the name of Jesus. John 15:8 removes a lot of that guilt for me, because the fruit that comes from our lives is intentional and expected. In verse 16, Jesus even says that he appointed us and chose us to bear fruit. All for the Father’s glory.

Thanks be to God for all of the good that is in our lives, because every good thing comes from Him! {James 1:17} We just pray that as people around us see the blessings in our lives, they see a great big, generous God behind them, that wants to offer the same to all who call upon His name and are willing to live their lives connected to the vine. We are more than conquerers! {Romans 8:37} We can do all things! {Philippians 4:13}

Jesus and the eye of the tiger, baby. Jesus and the eye of the tiger.

With love, Malorie

My Princess Half Marathon: Top Ten Tips for First-Timers

I did it! I ran Disney! Four days later, my muscles are less sore, my left IT band is giving me zero problems, and my PDD {Post Disney Depression} is slowly ebbing away. rundisney

Running the Princess Half Marathon was a blast! It was something on my bucket list, and now that I’ve checked it off, I think I want to add more runDisney races to it. Let me remind you that prior to my signing up for this race, I would have never considered myself a “runner”. However, throughout the training, I actually found myself enjoying to run! Even though my training was foiled a good bit by my pesky IT band, I made it to the finish line and could not have felt more proud. In hindsight, I learned a lot during my first Disney half marathon that even the best of training could not have prepared me for, and I wanted to share that knowledge with you. So, here are my Top Ten Tips for First-Timers:

10. Sign up quickly! Really. Be waiting at your computer five minutes before registration begins. These races fill up quickly. I had to run my first ever Princess Half Marathon alone because girls that were wanting to run with me couldn’t get spots just five or six hours later! I hear that the races in Disneyland fill up even faster than that, due to lower capacity, s make up your mind whether you want to do it before the registration date and be ready when registration opens. rundisney4

9. Dress up. It’s your first time, you need to dress up. Make it fun! Make it cute! Pinterest-board the heck out of those running costumes and whether you make one or order one, be sure to run in it before your race so you know what areas will tend to chaff and whether it’s actually going to be comfortable enough to wear for 13.1 miles.

8. Train for a 12-13 minute mile. In Disney races, you have to keep a 16 minute per mile pace. They have pacers at the back of the crowd on bikes with flags and walking with balloons. If you fall behind, you could be picked up by a bus at any time. You do not pass Go, you do not collect $200, you do. not. finish. the. race. Training for a 12-13 minute pace will give you a little wiggle room for standing in line for a character meet’n greet, porta potty, or, in my case, to get through the castle. {Ugh! Anna and Elsa were standing above the entrance and runners were under them, taking pictures, so you literally couldn’t get through to continue on the course. It probably took me a good two to three minutes to walk from the back of the castle through to the front. Talk about a pace-killer. Frozen fail.} Jeff Galloway has great advice for first-time runners and has a whole run/walk/run interval chart of whatever pace you want to keep.

7. Hydrate the day before. Whatever you usually drink during a day, drink more. I drank water, water, and more water the day before my race. In doing this, I got my body good and hydrated and ran to the bathroom a billion times the day before my race, not the morning of. The morning of, I just drank about 6-8oz before starting my race.

6. Wear a race belt. We have some amazing friends that let us borrow theirs. It had a zipper pocket with a mesh pocket on front and a water bottle attachment. During the race, I saw some more elaborate and some less elaborate. Just get what works for you. I stocked mine with chapstick, tissues, a Luna bar {DO NOT eat the gels they give out at mile 9 unless you have had them before! Bring your own energy boost that your body knows!}, and a couple of ibuprofen that I popped around mile 12. I filled up the water bottle and kept my phone in the zipper pocket when I wasn’t taking pictures. rundisney2

5. Catch the race-day transportation early and get to the front of your corral! Or if you are driving {which I don’t recommend} get there early. The buses were running a bit behind on Tim’s race-day, so I made sure to be out at the bus stop way before I had to. Luckily, there was a bus waiting on me when I arrived. Unless you are just dying for a picture with the character meet’n greets in the warm-up area, go ahead and get to your corral when the bus drops you off. I had heard it was a lengthy walk to the corrals from the drop-off point, but was really was. It was a good 15-20 minute walk. I got there early and was right next to the mesh at the front of the corral. Being at the front of your corral gives you extra time in keeping that 16 minute pace, which is nice to have if you have a knee you’re not so sure about, like me. rundisney5

4. Think through the porta potty situation and stop at real bathrooms! When I say think through the porta potty situation, that mainly means, make sure your costume is porta potty friendly. Can you pull your skirt easily up or down? If you have a fluffy tutu like mine, I suggest removing it and setting it on the ground outside of the porta potty. After just a few uses, especially in those early morning, dark hours, there is really not a safe place to touch inside of those things. I took mine off and left it outside and it never got swiped. If you feel really uncomfortable about leaving it out of sight, ask someone around you to keep an eye on it. It will be fine. ALSO! Those tissues in your belt can come in handy for more than one reason, if you know what I mean. Thousands of nervous tummies use up a lot of toilet paper, and sometimes you can walk in to a soggy situation {if you’re catching my smelly drift}. Having something of your own to use as backup is a great idea. There were a couple times {inside of the parks and passing the transportation center} that we passed real bathrooms. Stalls and sinks with real soap have never looked so glorious. Snatch up those opportunities, if you’ve gotta go.

3. Utilize the medic tents and water stations. Throughout the race, there will be water and Powerade tables. Get something every time. I heard it was best to rotate between water and Powerade, so that’s what I did. Towards the end of the race, I would sometimes take both. Thanks to my previous day of hydrating, I actually never felt thirsty, but I knew that my body needed it, so I made sure to make good on every opportunity. There are several medic tents along the way, too. If you are feeling even a little soreness in your muscles, grab a pump of Biofreeze and slap it on. I bathed my knees in Biofreeze at every medic tent along the way. It didn’t take but a few seconds to jog by, get a pump {often they had someone holding the bottle pumping it into your hand for you}, and step to the side, slather it on, and get back to jogging. I credit the KT tape and Biofreeze for getting my bum knee through the race without further injury. They also hand out vaseline for any chaffing you’re having. Don’t be ashamed. I saw people with hands down pants, inside of bras, and rubbing nipples…Hey! No judgement here! Chaffing is no fun, so you take care of whatever you need to take care of. If your shoes are rubbing a sore on your feet or heels, or God forbid, you twist your ankle or blow out your knee, they’re there for that, too. 10994439_10153038531885630_7845772622560098285_n

2. Don’t expect a PR. Even if you have done half marathons in the past and feel good about your pacing, don’t expect to use a Disney race as a chance to set a new PR unless you’ve submitted previous race times and can get placed in the first few corrals. There were many times when I literally couldn’t run because the path was too blocked by walkers {not the dead kind} or slower-paced joggers. There were thousands of runners, and sometimes navigating around big walking groups could be tricky during my run intervals. That’s just the nature of a Disney race, and it is more about having fun than achieving a new personal best. I actually feel sad for those corral A runners that trucked on through without taking in Main Street or stopping to get a picture of six Disney princes all in one shot. RunDisney is just as much about making memories as it is meeting personal records.

1. START SLOW! I actually got to meet Jeff Galloway and this was the advice he gave me before my race. I took it to heart and thought I started slow, but if I could do it again, I’d start even slower. The way the Princess Half is set up, you start in the EPCOT parking lot, run through Magic Kingdom around the 5-6 mile mark, then back down the highway miles 7-12 to run your last mile inside of EPCOT. Because my training couldn’t progress like I would have wanted, due to my IT band, I wasn’t able to maintain my run 4 min/walk 1 min pace I wanted to keep. Although I ran at least some portion of most miles, I completely walked miles 9 and 10. Knowing now that I would need that walking time for my knee to rest, I would have walked through Magic Kingdom, taking in the sights and excitement of being there, and saved the energy and knee-power to truck through those desolate highway miles. Even if you don’t have a bum knee, I would suggest saving some energy to give to miles 7-12, because those are the least entertaining, and looking at the seemingly endless highway stretching before you can be a downer. Know your course. Anticipate the miles that are going to be tough for you and plan accordingly.

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Through bum knee, desolate highway miles, and crowded race courses, running the Disney Princess Half Marathon was one of the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done. I can now say, “I did it!” And you know what? I can’t wait to do it again. Who’s with me?!

With love, Malorie

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Adoption Update: Adoption Classes and Home Study

Wow.

We have been so humbled by all of the support, both financially and emotionally, we have been shown the past few weeks since going public with our decision to expand our family through adoption. We have sold forty growth charts, and have had several generous donations made on our fundraising site. We could not feel more honored and thankful for that. IMG_2256

This past Monday, we attended our last of three, three-hour adoption classes that is required as part of our home study process. During those classes we learned about each piece of the home study, about how to put together our profile books and how we will be chosen by a birth mother, the ins and outs of the legal process in terminating the rights of birth and legal parents, and the benefits of simi-open and open adoptions. We also heard from a panel of birth mothers and adoptive parents. During those three hours each week, our hearts were stretched and challenged and enriched by the knowledge and support we received from the workers at Bethany and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the agency we chose to work with and the people assigned to walk us through this journey. In addition, we met four other amazing couples that are also pursuing adoption. It was so wonderful meeting them and hearing their stories and voices behind adoption. We are excited about keeping in touch with them and watching their adoption stories unfold as ours does.

As for us, we have only put a small dent in the home study requirements. Hopefully in the next couple of weekends we will be able to chip away at a lot of the paperwork and set up the necessary appointments we will need. So much to do! In addition to completing the steps of the home study, we are also walking an awkward timeline based on funds. When we have our home visit, we will need to pay a whopping $7,450, which we obviously aren’t quite ready for. Amazingly, some generous friends of ours have already paid $1,450 of that directly to Bethany, so we will only owe $6,000! Praise the Lord! He has already provided for each step we’ve taken thus far, and we trust that He will continue to do that until the very end. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to those that have already given. Please continue to share our story as you feel led.

The past couple of weeks, Psalm 126:2-3 has been on my heart. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

We have felt the hand of God with us throughout each step of this journey, so we feel comfortable and confident that this is the Lord’s will for our family. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!

With love, Malorie

To order a growth chart, click the order form link above. To give, visit youcaring.com.

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