Our Family

Our Family

Monday, November 2, 2015

Family Life is the Best Life....

Its so easy to get swept up in the busyness of life that you forget to stop and just take everything in. Tonight as my not so little family sat around our dinner table eating tacos, I just sat back and looked at all of my kids. Each has their own personality and yet all share a common bond. They are growing and changing so much and are really such amazing little people. They are world changers. They are going to make a difference. They ARE making a difference. My kids make me want to be a better person and work harder. I love seeing the world through their eyes. Tonight I loved laughing with them and sharing just sweet moments with them. I sure feel blessed to be entrusted with them. I don't deserve such goodness.

We had such a fun summer and beginning of fall! The 3 boys have enjoyed playing soccer and we have enjoyed watching them. Carrson scored 18 goals last weekend. Granted, there are only 3 kids on his team and one sweet little boy sits in the grass most of the time, but he's still our superstar. Kelcie is playing Varsity soccer for the high school but her season doesn't start until spring. She has enjoyed working for a local teen magazine and is so talented. She is starting to drive and I can't believe my tiny baby girl is this old. She went to two homecoming dances and looked absolutely breathtaking. Mayah is enjoying learning and playing with Mrs. Sharon everyday. She's such a God send to us and loves Mayah so much. We are blessed.

I started teaching again this fall. I have some great students and I really enjoy being back in the classroom. 8th graders are so funny. You just never know! We absolutely love our church and our town. It feels like home to us and we love living life here.

So adoption updates... If you have been around this circus for very long you know that it has been one crazy roller coaster. We finally made it to the very end... Visa... kids coming home.... and you guessed it.... Haiti required something else. When the adoption laws changed in Haiti, we were grandfathered in under the old law. When US immigration started going through our file to issue the visa, they asked for clarification and with all of that our family along with hundreds of others are having to add the word "plenary" to our paperwork. Thousands of children have been adopted from Haiti without this word on their paperwork, but we have learned that when Haiti says jump, we jump. London and Sam are worth every single bit of it. Our attorney is really great and is working so hard to get it all done. We do not have a timeframe yet but what we have learned over the last 4 years is that if Haiti gives you a timeline, ignore it completely. One of my dearest friends, Jordan, sent me a bracelet last week. It says "Faith in God includes Faith in His Timing". No truer words have ever been spoken. I am sad that the kids aren't home yet but I am at complete peace that they are coming home and all of this heartache from waiting will be a distant memory. I so look forward to the day that all 7 of my kids are under the same roof!

God is so awesome and our adoption plus plane tickets are 100% funded. I can't believe I can even type that. The amount that we have had to pay throughout all of this is mind boggling and I can't even believe myself that its paid for. The only expense we have right now is the kids monthly care fees at $600 per month. We are planning one more auction that will take place in a couple of weeks so be on the lookout. Those are always so much fun! We also have a gofundme account set up if you are interested in helping out with their care fees. https://www.gofundme.com/5x45wk We are blessed that they are in such a wonderful place filled with love. You can check out the work that this organization does at www.haitipoverty.org
They are amazing!

I will leave you with some pictures of my beautiful tribe. So blessed to be their mama.
Much love to you all!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015 really IS the year of the Haitian Baby!!!!

Since 2012 we have said "This is the year of the Haitian baby" meaning that this would be the year we would bring London and Sam home from Haiti. Some of those years it was speaking out of PURE FAITH, but now, 2015, we can say with assurance that this IS the year of the Haitian baby!!! We know that ANYTHING can happen in Haiti but our file has been submitted to the US Embassy in Haiti for final review. There is absolutely nothing else that we have to do except sit back, wait, and pray for the final approval and issue of the visas. Our agency estimates 8 weeks but is hoping to shave a week or two off of that. When you have waited as long as we have, this doesn't seem hard at all! When we get to FaceTime with the kids they always ask "when are you coming?" It is so exciting to know that we won't have to leave them there again. That when we go back, they will come back with us!!! SURREAL!!!
We have had so many people sacrificially give to us on this journey. We are so thankful. It is so amazing that God uses His people to fund what He favors. We have estimated that by the time we travel we will have spent almost $60,000 on this adoption. Trust me, we did not have that kind of money but God did. We are down to owing $2000 to our agency, $1800 care fees for London and Sam (estimated at $600 per month) and flights (two roundtrip and two oneway) and Kelcie and Greyson will be doing some fundraising for their flights because they REALLY want to go with us. Let me say that we are exhausted from the fundraising. It is our least favorite thing to do! But God is faithful and we are almost there. 

Our #adoption shirts were a HUGE success!! We sold around 160 shirts and so many people that ordered one, reordered because of the quality of the shirt! We had people ask if we could get more colors and so we decided to go for it and see what God does!!!  We are doing preorders on these shirts. You can order through the link to the Right and just let us know in the comments what size and color you would like! We are adding youth sizes this time as well!!! We will have sizes youth small through adult 3XL. Please add $2 for 2XL and 3XL, and we can ship the shirts for $5. Please share  through your social media because we have learned that is the key to success!!! We cannot thank you enough! We love you all and can't wait to introduce London and Sam to all of you!! They are going to steal your hearts just like they have ours!!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Greatest Man to Ever Live.....

Today we celebrate 91 years with my amazing papa. Unfortunately he spent his birthday getting a heart cath done. But the greatest gift of all was hearing the doctor say "There is absolutely nothing wrong with his heart. He has the heart of a 50 year old" Thats some amazing birthday news.
Pop is a WW2 Hero. He was shot 3 times and one of those was in the back of the head. Its a miracle he is alive. All my life I heard stories of the war that still haunted his sleep. He talked about dragging a hurt soldier through a valley with enemy fire shooting at him. How he never wanted to set foot on a ship again because he had to "ride that thing from Hawaii to Okinawa".

I love this man more than life itself. He and my nan practically raised my brother and I. We walked to their house everyday after school. And if it was raining I knew my pop would be waiting outside the school with an umbrella. We spent just about every spring break camping and fishing with them. Spending the days swimming and fishing and the evenings playing rummy and laughing. They made sure we had whatever needed or wanted. When Nan got sick my pop went to the nursing home every single day to feed her lunch. He adored her. Sure they had their ups and downs, who doesn't? But they loved each other deeply. They couldn't have children of their own so they took in 5 of their nieces and nephews and raised them as their own. One of them being my mom who they brought home from the hospital. When they loved you, they loved you deep.

I was somewhat of a surprise for my parents. Not exactly planned, but God had a plan. And part of that plan unveiled when I was around 3 months old. Easter Sunday and it was my baby dedication. On that day my papa made the decision to serve the Lord and he never turned back.  One of my favorite memories is when I was in the first grade. We had a tornado warning and all of us were lined in the hallway in the typical position with our head between our knees. I was 6 years old and scared to death and I heard a voice calling my name down the hall. When I looked up my papa was there to rescue me. He grabbed my hand and took me home. My protector. My hero.

Its hard to see him frail and sometimes confused. Its devastating to imagine the day that he passes from this earth to Heaven. But I can say that he gave me the best years of his life. He has loved me unconditionally and I have returned that love. Everyone needs someone like this in their life. Someone that you know will always be there for you no matter what. I'm a better person for having him in my life. I wish that I could just freeze time and that he wouldn't get another minute older and that his health would sustain him, but I know when that day comes he has a great reward awaiting him and I am convinced that my Nan is going to meet him at the gate and be ready to take him fishing!! What a reunion that will be.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guess Who Has a New Last Name?

I am so excited to introduce you to Samuel Christian Ward and London Elizabeth-Joy Ward!!!

I know that they have been Ward's in our heart for 3 years now but its pretty exciting to know that they are "legally" Ward's now!! We have seen some great movement in our adoption these past few months and KNOW that GOD has done it. After 2.5 years of NO MOVE whatsoever, this has just been a miracle!

Its so exciting that we can start getting their room together and knowing that they will be in it!! The next trip we make to Haiti we will get to bring them back with us and its hard for me to even wrap my brain around that!! We've decided to design a T-shirt that, with your support, we will be able to sell and raise the money we need to get them on a plane! Our great friends from Generations Church, Travis and Mel Dummond, graciously donated shirts for us so we are making 100% profit on them! That is such a huge blessing to us! The shirt design that we came up with not only directly supports London and Sam but will help raise awareness for adoption. There are over 147 million orphans worldwide, over 1 million of them reside in Haiti alone and over 150,000 eligible for adoption in the United States. As Christians, we are all called to do something! (James 1:27)

The Price of the shirts is $20 and we can ship them to you for $2. You have all done so much for us during this process and we will make sure that London and Sam know that you all played such a huge part in getting them home! We would greatly appreciate if you could help us share about these shirts! Please help us get the word out on social media by directing people to our blog or sending us a message!! We have a big goal and know with God's help that we will meet it! You can order by clicking the link on the sidebar of the blog or just sending me an email or message on facebook!!
Cant wait for you all to see our Christmas card this year!!! :)


Friday, March 6, 2015

Transitions and Updates!!

"There's No Place Like Home" is a pretty funny thing for me to say to anyone that knows me. You see, I am terrified of the movie The Wizard of Oz. Yes I know its a classic and yes I know I'm 38 years old and yes I know that flying monkeys are not real... Nonetheless, I don't watch the movie. At all. My kids find it hilarious actually. So imagine my reaction when God called us to move to Kansas. Really. Like yellow brick road Kansas. My only experience of Kansas was traveling to towns where there really wasn't anything. And while I love rural America and envision myself with a farm, pretty much any type of miniature livestock animal I can think of and those super cool chickens that look like fraggles, I really need to be close to "town". But what is so amazing about God's calling is that He places you where you need to be and you absolutely LOVE it. That's how I feel about Kansas. So the whole "there's no place like home" I totally get now!

In December, Kelly had the honor of becoming the lead pastor at Generations Church! Its amazing and we love it so much. Everyone has been so welcoming our our brood and after just a couple of months it truly feels like home. I have never adjusted so quickly to a new place. Those of you that know me, realize how much of a feet this is! :) Its such a good feeling to know that we are rooted and planted and this is our forever home. We have a great house and the kids are loving school! In January, we got the news from Haiti that we had been waiting over two years to hear. Our file had finally been released from IBESR and approved to move forward. We were able to travel there and visit London and Sam and file some very important papers that will help in getting them home soon. We just have a couple of more steps to go and will be able to go to Haiti and actually bring them back with us! We are so excited and London and Sam are excited too!! They have gotten so big and are so smart. We had a great time with them.

So there is a bit of an update on this crew. Thanks so much for your support and prayers in this very long journey. Even though its been one of the hardest things I have every gone through I am so thankful that God has allowed us to walk this road. We have seen His hand every step of the way and when London and Sam step off that plane in the great USA we can say "God did this" and He gets all the glory for that!!!