Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Home for Christmas

Last Christmas was our first Christmas in our new home. I finally had a fireplace with a mantle to decorate....which was my favorite part. It had been a slow, frustrating, and emotionally hard year and I was glad to see it come to an end. But since this was our first Christmas in the home we would eventually bring our son home to, I wanted him to be represented somehow in our family at Christmas. So this is what our mantle looked like with all of our stockings hanging above the fireplace.

I hung this cross made out of a map of Colombia in my son's place. It had been given to me by my amazing friends about a year earlier. It was a perfect representation of him...

Stockings are always the final piece we hang up and when we were done, I sat in the rocking chair and started crying a few quiet tears. My oldest, AB, crawled into my lap and asked me what was wrong. I told her I was sad because Silas wasn't home and that it would be a long time before he came home. We'd just received some news from our agency that it would be at least another year before we got a referral. My sweet girl, who loves her some Jesus, said "No, mommy...he'll be home for Christmas next  year. I just know it." I smiled and asked her how she "just knew"...she said, "Because God told me in my heart." And she didn't doubt it one bit. 

At that moment I decided to believe beyond all the odds and most current information that she was right. And every time this past year when I began to doubt if we would really be matched with Silas, after months and months of waiting for a response to our letter of intent, the Lord would be so sweet to remind me of that moment. And I would believe again - against the odds of the "timeline" - that he would be home before Christmas. 

This year...there's a green and red stocking representing the sweet little boy that our family loves dearly. The one who is still becoming a brother and a son. I cried again after all the kids hung their stockings, but this time I explained they were happy tears, because our family was whole.

Four kids decorated the tree...

Four kids gather around their daddy each night to unwrap a little more of the greatest gift...

Four kids are making Christmas memories together each day during this holly, jolly, and Holy time of year.

Praise Jesus for his goodness, His love, His birth...His perfect plan to make our family whole.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

To His Birth Mother...

To the precious woman who chose life for my son,

I don't know you. I know your name. A little bit of your history. But we will likely never meet face to face. Honestly, in some ways I'm okay with that....but at the same time it breaks my heart. I have times where I'm so mad at you and I want to scream "Why?! How could you?!" And then I'm reminded of the brokenness of this world and I'm grieved because you were trapped in it. And that's when I want to take you in my arms and say "I love you....not of my own ability....but with Jesus' love for you. And, yes, precious lady...He does love you. Even now." I love you for giving life to my son. You could've chosen a dark alley in Colombia and ended it all there. But you didn't, you chose life and in choosing life you chose love for him...and now I have the son my husband and I have prayed gut-wrenching prayers for....the brother my children have dreamed of.

There's things I want you to know, should miracles happen and you stumble across this post and somehow just "know" that you're looking into the eyes of the baby boy you gave birth to.

I want you to know that....

....he's adventurous. He loves to climb and he makes his mama's heart nervous.

....he loves to build and he's so intense when playing with blocks. He can sit and do this for hours.

....he was loved here, in one of the best orphanages Colombia had to offer.

....he's so precious when he sleeps and I could watch him all night. He's a good sleeper and, just like me, likes his sleep :-)

....the joy that filled my heart that first morning I woke up and saw him sleeping in his bed next to mine - it's the same joy I felt the first morning with all of my children...they are all the same in my heart.

....he's the cutest and newest Tennessee VOLS fan

...his first Popsicle was pineapple-kiwi - but he didn't eat it all because the cold was a little too much for his mouth

...he loves hamburgers, and he's gonna fit right in at home in America

...his favorite animals at the zoo are the iguanas - and he couldn't take his eyes off of them on his first trip there

...even when he has his moments - we just scoop him right up and love him through them. And we always will.

....he has two big sisters and a big brother who simply adore him.

...he has a father who loves him and wants to lead him and that our baby boy already wants to be just like his daddy

....and he has a mommy who promises to never let go.

And I want you to know that he will know the most important thing about you...that you chose life for him. And in choosing life, you gave us one of the most precious gifts we could've ever hoped gave us all love.

I don't know what your life is like now....if you think about him, wish you had done things differently, carry guilt or remorse - or maybe you're living a full and happy life now. I will never know. But I love you and my deepest prayer for you will always be that sometime, somewhere along the way - someone has shared the unconditional, redeeming love of Christ with you. Because if you know that love, then precious lady, we will meet in heaven. And I will hug you and thank you and our families will forever worship our Jesus together. 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Becoming Silas Coleman, In Pictures

Here's what the in country process looked like from the time we got him, to the moment he was finally forever, Silas Wade Coleman....

The moment I have waited, hoped, and longed for....the first forever hug to my son

And then Jacob's first forever hug for his son

The exit and initial car ride from the orphanage was tough - only Jacob's lap, a sucker, and a water cup could stop the tears

The first few days held few smiles for him...he was scared, timid, and very unsure

We had "first morning together" snuggles

Five days after getting him and we're headed to tell the attorneys we want to proceed to court to make this official!

We took a trip to the top of Cali after our meeting with the attorneys

We took him to say goodbye to his friends and caretakers at his orphanage. There are so man good things I will say about this sweet and beautiful woman in a separate post.

He took his first plane ride when we returned to Bogota for a few days

We saw the timid little face begin to smile really, real smiles

And they got bigger and came more often

We had a doctor's appointment to update vaccines and have a TB skin test so he could proceed with his passport and Visa when the time came. It was a tough day for him.

This was our first Skype after I came home. He kept giving me kisses through the phone.

And this is is the very moment it became official and forever. This is the moment he was no longer an orphan, no longer simply in "our custody" this moment - he legally became a son. He will forever bear the name Silas Coleman. He is the same as Anna Beth, Lynnsie, and Creek. His father is saying, "I am yours and you are forever mine."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Welcome back....maybe?

Three weeks ago today we loaded up in our driver's car, took a ride across Cali, turned down a gravel driveway, went through a gate, and walked into the orphanage where my son was spending his last few minutes in the only home he'd ever known.

What a whirlwind these past weeks have been.

When we left our house in the wee hours of the morning to head to Colombia, my heart hurt so bad. I missed my 3 kids at home before we even reached the end of our street. When it was decided last week that I needed to be the one to return home, instead of staying with Silas to complete the adoption, I had a mix of emotions.

Yes, I wanted to come home. Yes, I was sick. Yes, I was ready to see my kids at home. Yes, I wanted a big glass of cold milk (just being honest, yall). And yes, I felt guilty for feeling all of these things.

When I got in the car outside of our adoption hotel at 5 am - in the rain - and drove towards the airport....I missed Silas before I got to the end of the street.

What a joyous feeling that was. You see, it didn't always feel natural or "motherly" with him. Some days I felt like a babysitter. Some days I felt like a social work intern observing an at-risk child. It didn't always feel natural or normal.

Oh yes....there was love. There was fierce mama bear love. But i was choosing to feel didn't come natural every single morning. 

I'm sure our hotel driver thought I was a hot mess bc I was smiling, crying, and laughing/crying bc I was sad, missed my husband and son already, and so very happy that I was experiencing the same feelings of "missing my son" as I felt when I'd left my other 3 children two and a half weeks earlier.

Bonding had occurred. Attachments were made. We are gonna make at this mother/son thing. Yes, we sure are.

So right now, I feel incomplete. Everyone keeps saying "Welcome back! Aren't you glad to be home?" 

Yes. And no. Because being home is good, but I'm still without one of my children and my husband. And so we're just praying each day for progress and counting down to when we're all 6 together.

Earlier this week, the minor defender at court signed off on her part of our case - giving her consent for us to adopt Silas. Now, we just wait for the judge's signature! Once she signs, Jacob will go sign our part and then it's back to Bogota for just a few days to get Silas' passport and visa and then they come HOME!! Our rep thinks that the adoption will be final by the end of the, TOMORROW. if that happens, Jacob and Silas will be home next weekend. 

Please help us pray for this timeline. 

And when th adoption is finally final...I can finally share pictures of his sweet face 😀

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Change of Plans

Sometimes the thing that you've planned for doesn't work out like you'd hoped. When we first began making travel plans after requesting to adopt Silas, our plan was for both of us to travel down to Colombia and stay for the initial two week bonding period. This is what is required by Colombia. After our initial bonding period, Jacob was going to return home to our kids in the States and I was going to stay with Silas in Colombia and wait for the final adoption decree and finish everything up.

But things happen and plans change.

I've spent the better part of this week feeling bad. I spent an entire day in bed after going almost 18 hours without keeping anything I ate or drank down. This is not good on a regular day, but add in a newly adopted toddler and being 8,500 above sea level and things can get bad. Thankfully, our wonderful adoption hotel staff and our sweet representative here in Colombia were on top of things and got me what I needed. I was better for a whole day. 

On that day, we had a Skype session with our social work team back home at Lifeline. We knew that one of us had to go home to the kids and it was decided that it would be best if I did. Silas is bonding very well - but he's mostly attached to Jacob at this point. Yes, bonding is going well between the two of us....but it's going better between the two of them. And that's okay. I know our time will come. So the plan was made for me to spend a few more days here and fly home the early part of next week.

And then I woke up this morning feet dizzy, numb in my hands and face, unable to take a deep breath, and like I was going to pass out. This lasted until about 11 am. Super fun times. Jacob looked at me and said, "I want you on the quickest flight we can get you on. You need to go on home."

So it kinda sucks and I really feel guilty for leaving. I've waited years to get my son and now I have to leave. It should only be another 2 weeks before he and Jacob come home, so it's not forever. But still...

So I'm flying out of Bogota Saturday morning and should be home in time for supper with my kiddos at home. I'm looking forward to a few extra days with them and I do believe I need some one on one time with them to prepare them a little more for Silas and some specifics about him. I couldn't leave until Saturday bc of some paperwork we have to get tomorrow giving Jacob permission to leave Colombia with Silas, without me. And flights out late tomorrow afternoon interfered with an appointment we have for Silas.

The LORD is still doing such very good things here....the bond between Jacob and Silas is beautiful. It is becoming father/son completely. Silas prefers Jacob to rock him and put him to bed, they laugh, wrestle and giggle a lot. 

It's truly amazing how far he has come in the two weeks since we got him. And yet, it still feels like we've always had him. We found out this afternoon that the judge has our case on her desk!! We're praying that all signatures will be received around this time next week. Then it will take a other 3 or so days in Bogota to get his passport and visa for permission to come into the United States. We do lose a couple of days because of the weekend and a holiday next week. 

So please pray with us that this timeline sticks. I'm beyond ready for all 6 of us to be on the same continent, in the same country, the same house....forever. Or until all the kids turn 18 :)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hanging In There

We're hanging in there down here in Colombia. These past few days have had ups and downs but the downs haven't been as far down as earlier in the week.

Thursday was a busy day as we went to the orphanage to allow him to say goodbye to his friends and have a celebration with them. After that, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the airport for our flight back to Bogota. 

Silas did great on his first flight! He enjoyed looking out the window and seeing all of the clouds. He fell asleep for the last twenty minutes or so of the flight, so were thankful he at least got a little power nap.

Our new hotel here in Bogota is an adoption hotel and several Colombian adoptive families that I've connected with the past couple of years recommended it to us. We are in a good neighborhood and can walk to a nice park, grocery store, and mall....which has a Juan Valdez coffee shop 😀

The kids back home really miss us...and it makes it harder to be here on the hard days, to be honest. But I know they're okay and we will all be together soon. I've never heard of anyone who was permanently stuck in country forever because of an adoption, so...

We ended up in Court 9 and our rep in Cali said that is a good court to be in and the judge is very fair and pro-adoption. Our main rep in Bogota feels like it should only take 2-3 weeks for everything to finish up in court, but there are no guarantees. If her timeline is correct, then we could be home by Thanksgiving.

Please keep praying with us. I miss my kids at home so much that it makes my stomach hurt...which makes it hard to eat.

Silas is doing well...were all still figuring this whole thing out, but we're seeing some good signs of bonding, I believe. I hope to talk with our post adoption counselor on Monday or Tuesday and get her take on things, as well.

We feel your prayers each day and the messages and Facebook posts and texts are wonderful. I can't always respond but please know that I get them and they are always good for my heart. Monday is a holiday here in Colombia, so it will be Tuesday at the earliest before we have any kind of update.

Hope everyone has a fun Halloween!,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



That's the single word I can use to describe the heart condition of these sweet kiddos, like my son, when they come to us. Because that's what trauma breaks them.

I've read about, studied, and tried to prepare for this broken state...but nothing prepares you for it in full and then you suddenly find yourself laying on a cold tile floor next to your son who won't let you near him. Who fights you if you try. Because his heart has been so broken and no one has ever tried to repair it. 

So you lay there next to him, holding on to your husband as you fight away the enemy who whispers, "Just take him back and go home."

And you plead for strength and all you can do is whisper, " him. Help us."

And after several hours he finally turns to you and you gently slide the water and cookie over to him and he glances up....and he realizes you're still there. You didn't leave, you stayed by his side. So he takes what you've offered and scoots a little bit closer to you...and a little closer....and a little closer until he lets you pick him up and hold onto him for dear life. For his dear life and his dear heart and you beg Jesus again to please help him.

Because your precious child has a never known forever, unconditional love and all the months and years of paperwork trying to prove yourself as a parent to so many people....yeah, it totally prepared you for this moment when you're trying to prove yourself as a parents to the only one who matters in this whole broken and trauma filled process.

And you ask your friends to join in this fight for his heart and they do. Oh they show up big time and prayers are felt and walls are crumbled. You let out the raw emotion and your anger and you use words your mama taught you not to use, but for some reason you just need to use them to describe your true emotion. And the very ones you can be this emotionally raw with - they're standing in the gap for you and they're praying the prayers you cannot begin to form in your heavy and weary heart.

And you keep whispering, " him. Help us." 

And then you watch as your son starts to get a glimpse of what this whole "being a son" thing can really be...and you see that familiar look when a child walks with his daddy, holding his hand, and looks up at him and smiles. 

And you put him to bed and praise the Father for the good things He has done in this tiny hotel room in the past 48 hours....because 48 hours ago, if you were weren't so sure.

And then you wake up again....and you pray, " him. Help us." You do this every day and commit to keep doing it every day for as long as it takes.

Because the Lord is doing good things. And we keep our hope in Him.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Sweet Son

I'm sitting down to write and I don't even know what to son is sleeping 3 feet from me and even though it's his first night with us, it feels like he's always been here.

We started the day kind of slow, enjoying a wonderful breakfast at our hotel and drinking coffee on the front porch. We were working on a list of questions to ask at the orphanage in regards to his routine, likes and dislikes, etc. and I looked up and watched a father and his newly adopted son building blocks and playing together in such a natural way. I couldn't help but think that very soon, I would watch Jacob sit in the floor and play with our son in the same manner. 

Our guide arrived at 9:30 to take us to the orphanage which was about an hour away. We drove through the entire city of Cali to get there. We saw the nice areas and the poverty-stricken areas...the type of area where most of the kids at the orphanage come from. Maybe I'll talk about it more later, maybe not....I haven't decided and wouldn't know exactly what to say a out what we saw and how it broke my heart.

When we arrived at the orphanage there was a lot of construction going on. They are adding a whole new section so they can house more children. On one hand, this is good - Silas' orphanage is very good and the children there are well taken care of.  But on the other hand....they need to make room for more orphans. MORE orphans... I'll just leave that right there.

We met with his social worker, medical doctor, and psychologist for about an hour and they went over his medical and family history, as well as his daily routine and favorite activities. He's a good eater, he likes to help, and he's very active. They told us that he loves animals and we've already seen evidence of that today. A favorite new toy of his is an animal board book that Anna Beth picked out for him. It's the best and most realistic "touch and feel" book I've ever seen. We plan to take him to the zoo tomorrow to see some real animals and have a family outing.

It was time for the moment I have prayed and wept and begged God for these past 2 1/2 years. Prior to our arrival, we had sent him a photo album with several close ups of Jacob and I together, U.S. And the kids, the kids themselves, and then each of us holding an 8x10 picture of Silas. When he walked into the room, he had the photo album tucked under his arm. He looked up, saw us, and recognition filled his face....he reached for his photo album and immediately turned to our pictures. Praise you, Jesus, for the great things You have done!!

The next five minutes were a whirlwind of emotions and then we left. Can you imagine being 2 years old, seeing some people in real life after seeing their picture, and then being whisked away by them? Try to imagine how that would feel - and that can tell you how it was for Silas. We gave him a sucker (praise Jesus for dum-dum suckers!) and a sippy cup of water which settled him momentarily until he fell asleep on the way back to the hotel.

One thing that breaks my heart is that, as a two year old, he can completely feed himself...incredible use of a fork and control over a large cup. Now before you start saying how great and how "advanced" he has nothing to do with that. It ha everything to do with the fact that he was 1 of over 100 children in an orphanage and he had no choice but to learn to feed himself if he wanted to eat. It is what it is. That's the reality for these precious children. He can also give himself a shower, complete with washing his hair. At TWO. YEARS. OLD.

However, at lunch - right after we got back - he did let me feed him....which is really good for bonding!! After lunch he needed a nap....we all he snuggled up in my lap and Jacob sat beside us and he slept for about 45 minutes. The rest of the afternoon was spent with him warming up to us and even giving us a few smiles and giggles. And those giggles are the sweetest sound...they completely drown out ever tear and scream of frustration that I've let out over the past 2 1/2 years of this process.

We sent the kiddos back home a picture of him and we will skype with them this weekend. They're still doing great and are very excited that we got their brother a day early. Side note: AB had her follow up appointment for her arm today and it is healing very well! She goes back in 2 weeks and may get a temporary cast at that point!

Dinner was more of the same and he let us feed him again. We spent a lot of time in the floor this afternoon and evening playing with play doh and pushing a car back and forth. We laid him down in his bed after his shower and he immediately started to cry, so we picked him right up and rocked him to sleep again.

Overall, it was a great first day - but who knows what tomorrow will bring. This morning I read from Psalm 52 (following a prayer through the Psalms outlined by our worship pastor) and I read this verse..."For what you have done I will praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name for your name is good." adoption agency, court judge, or even me and Jacob did the good things that happened today. None of it. Do you hear me? I praise for only my Heavenly Father for what ONLY He has done. And I will continue to hope in His name for all of my days. I invite you to do the same...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Colombia - The First Days

So it's kind of been a whirlwind since we arrived in Colombia Tuesday at 1.

It was hard to leave the kids Tuesday morning. We left our house at 3 am, so we kissed their little heads while they slept. We had said our tearful goodbyes the night before. They were so conflicted....they want their brother home something fierce - but they didn't want mommy and daddy to have to leave. They are doing great so far with Jacob's parents.

We had great flights the whole way down - and those barf bags they put in the seat backs in front of you on the plane? Sadly I can attest to the fact that they hold up pretty well. Other than that - it was a great day trip down!

Our precious social worker - let's also call her my good friend - Beth, has been in Colombia on business for the past week and a half which worked out perfectly for us to be able to meet up and have dinner that first night! We sat with her and Soraya, our in country representative, and went over some final in-country things and then Jacob and I headed back upstairs for a nap before going to dinner with Beth, Ana and Miguel and their boys, and Juan David and his friend Alejandra. Ana, Miguel, and Juan David are part of Lifeline's incredible unAdopted ministry here in Bogota and are also part of Bida Bogota, a local church that we will attend during our stay in Bogota. Have you ever worshipped alongside brothers and sisters in Christ, in separate languages? Oh my friends....a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like when people from every tongue and nation will be together praising Him. I canNOT wait to stand beside my beautiful Colombian friends and worship our Jesus!

Wednesday, we flew out to Cali - the city where Silas has lived in the orphanage. We are staying in the most charming place - Hotel Stein. A lot of adoptive families stay here and the staff is simply wonderful. All of our meals are included, there are many things we can walk to, and they will do our laundry. All we have to do while we are here is to be mommy and daddy and show Silas how precious and loved he is. And survive. I suspect there will be a few days of survival mode :)

We just found out that we actually get to meet and bring Silas home Thursday instead of Friday - at this moment we're just trying to take it all in. We are so thankful that the Lord reduced his number of days as an orphan by one more. He doesn't have to wait any longer. We get to love on him sooner. Praise Jesus!,

Here are some pics from the two days.
                                   See ya in a few weeks, America - going to get my baby!!!

                                  All I could think was "The heavens declare you are God..."

             This was the view outside our hotel room in Bogota. Bogota sits in a valley in the mountains 
             at 8,500 feet above sea level.

             This is Beth....she has fought for our family for 2 1/2 years. She's prayed with us and talked us through some of the deepest trenches of the adoption process. Lifeline is truly blessed to have her on staff and our family is beyond thankful for her. It was so very special for us to see her in Colombia on our adoption trip!

              This is Ana, Miguel, one of their two precious boys, Juan David (all on the right) and Beth, 
              me, Jacob, and Alejandra on the left. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Crepes and Waffles
              on Tuesday night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Counting Down

We are officially COUNTING DOWN to go get Silas!! After a whirlwind week last week, I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and give an update.

Our agency told us to prepare to travel around the first week of November...we really prayed that we would travel the week before that, but were prepared to wait that extra week.  But, God....

We got an email last Tuesday that our "meet Silas" date is October 23 and that we would need to be in Bogota on the 20....exactly TWO WEEKS! That afternoon was crazy as I finished up some paperwork that needed to go on to Colombia so we could get our official invite letter and book plane tickets. Once you're within that two week time frame, ticket prices go way up. We were able to get a pretty good deal on one-way tickets to Bogota. We did one way since we don't know our exact return date. Here are the schedule of events for the next several weeks...

Sunday, 10/18 - Jacob's parents arrive to stay with the kids while we're gone
Tuesday, 10/20 - Jacob and I leave fly out of New Orleans at 6 am and land in Bogota around 1 pm; meet and have dinner with our in country rep, Soraya, and our social worker, Beth (she's in country on business)
Wednesday, 10/21 - Fly to Cali, Colombia....the city/region where Silas currently lives
Thursday, 10/22 - Meet with all of his workers and caretakers at the orphanage
Friday, 10/23 - GET SILAS!!!!! Many of you have asked and, YES - we will leave with him that day.  We will be sort of like foster parents for him until our adoption decree is signed in court
Following 2 weeks - bonding the end of this time, we will sign papers taking full custody of him and our paperwork will be filed in court where we will be assigned a judge to grant the adoption.
Following 3-4 weeks - We will fly back to Bogota to wait for our court date. Jacob will get Silas and I settled in our adoption hotel in Bogota for a couple of days and then he will return to the states to take care of Anna Beth, Lynnsie, and Creek. When we get our court date, Silas and I (accompanied by Soraya) will fly back to Cali to sign the papers for a quick day trip.
Final week in Colombia - medical and visa appointments to get permission to leave the country and come HOME!

So if you're following that, we will be in Colombia for a total of 5-7 weeks. Jacob will be there for the first two and Silas and I will be there an addition 3-4 by ourselves. This was a hard and somewhat scary (for me) decision to make - but the truth is, Silas and I will be just fine. We have an incredible team through Lifeline who are in Bogota and will be available for anything and will be an amazing support. I've also connected with several other Colombian adoptive moms will be in Bogota at the same time and playdates will occur.

Pray hardest for Silas - his world is about to be turned upside down.  Because he is deaf and has zero language, there is no way for the orphanage staff to prepare his little heart for what is taking place. Through his eyes and mind, two strange white people who look, smell, and sound funny are about to take away from the only thing he has ever known. The first many days will be horrible for's just the reality. Adoption is hard and comes from tragic and broken situations....and more tragedy and trauma have to occur before the heart can begin to heal and understand love and family and safety. So please pray so hard for him.

Pray for our kiddos we're leaving behind for a short time - Anna Beth recently fell out of her favorite tree and broke her arm, Lynnsie's world is shaken with good things (but still shaken), and Creek is about to lose his "baby of the family/only boy/room to myself" status.

Big changes are coming our way and although the final outcome will be good - the goodness of that final outcome is many months away.

And now here's a super fun update...

We are FULLY FUNDED!!!!! Yes, you read that right...with less than 2 weeks left to travel to Colombia - the Lord fully funded our adoption through some final donations, a matching grant, and our Facebook auction! We had people ask us this past weekend if we needed more money and we were able to say, "No - God has fully provided!" We never doubted, but it is still so humbling to see all that He has done through the hearts of family, friends, and strangers.

Nine more days!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our Adoption: The Next Steps

So many of you asked us "What happens next?!" since we shared our joyous news of being matched with Silas.  This is not a short answer, so I'm going to greatly summarize it with a list. You're welcome :)

- Right now, we're waiting for our government to give us immigration permission specifically for Silas...we're hoping to receive this by the end of the week or early next week at the latest.
- Once we receive immigration approval, we will receive our "Come get Silas!" date from the orphanage...also called Encuentro. This should happen approximately 3-4 weeks after approval, we're still looking at the tail end of October or very beginning of November.
- During these 3-4 weeks, we apply for visas for ourselves and for Silas through the Colombian consulate here in the US and Colombia.
- We pack and prepare our kiddos hearts and our hearts to go to Colombia!!!
- The first 10-14 days in Colombia will be our integration/bonding period.  We will take physical custody of Silas within a day or so of arriving and he will never leave our arms again.
- After the initial bonding period, Jacob will return home to the kids and work and Silas and I will relocate to Bogota, Colombia to wait for our court date (approx. 3 -4 weeks after the bonding time is over)
- Once our court date arrives, Silas and I will return to his region and appear before a judge who sign our adoption decree and he becomes a legal and forever Coleman!
- We mad dash to several appointments over the next few days getting visa medical exams and all paperwork lined up to leave the country.
- Our estimated in-country time is 5-7 weeks...I don't even want to talk about it right now. Please just pray with us that it goes super fast.

So we still have lots to do and prepare for before this is all over and we are home forever as a family of 6...but that day will come and all of this will fade away and it will all be so very worth it!

Keep praying with us!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

SOLD - To the Highest Bidder

We're finally at the point where we can do our VERY LAST FUNDRAISER!! I said earlier last week, when I was telling you about the best phone call ever, that we still have about $3,500 remaining to raise before traveling in about 6-7 weeks to go get Silas and BRING HIM HOME!! (Sorry for all of the "all caps" but, y'all, I'm just so excited to be at this point :) )

Our very last fundraiser is going to be a Facebook Auction....these are so fun and I've participated in several both as a donor and as a bidder - and winner! Here's how it works.... 

Are you someone who...
loves to be crafty?
has their own home or online business like Etsy?
runs a business in town?
would like to purchase an item or gift card and donate it to the auction?

If so, and you would like to participate, we would LOVE a donation from your crafty-self or business or whatever donation you'd like to create for auction!

And we would love it if you know anyone who would like to donate to the auction - please share this information with them :) And, of course, when we start to advertise the auction in another week or so...share, share, SHARE on Facebook.  This could be a great way to get a head start on your Christmas shopping :)
I'll create a Facebook Page - be sure to "Like" and "Follow" to get all of the updates, pre-auction previews, and - of course - to participate or share our auction page!
We already have some great donations lined up...pillowcase and smock dresses, Woodhouse Gift card, amazing wreaths, giant inflatable rentals....just to name a few! well either arrange for pick-up or mail it item to the winning bidder!

The auction will start Monday, Oct 5 at 8 am and will end on Wednesday, Oct 7 @ 8 pm. A picture of each item up for bid will placed in an album on the event page, with info as to who donated - linking back to any business pages - as well as a starting bid amount. Bids will be placed in the comments section and all bids must increase by a minimum of $1. I'll use the "Facebook time" on each comment to determine when the winning bid was given. The winner will have 24 hours to respond or the next highest bidder will be awarded.
If you would like to donate or would like more information on donating, then just shoot me a message on Facebook or email me at  We have about 20 donations so hope is to have at least 30. All money raised in this auction with go towards the final expenses for our adoption. If we happen to exceed our remaining funding needs, anything extra raised will go towards comprehensive medical testing at the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham once we return from Colombia...more on that later.

Thanks so much for continuing to read and follow along on our journey - he's almost home, y'all!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Can We Really Do This?

There have been numerous times throughout our adoption process tht I've just had to stop and ask myself, "Are we sure this is the right path? Is this my plan, our plan, or God's plan? And can we really do this....can we really survive this ridiculous process and move forward as a family of 6 in the end?"

That's just how my brain works - I have to think and analyze and analyze again. There are times that all of that analyzing leads to anxiety and worry and there are times when it just leads to more concrete thoughts and assurance. I love when God uses my children for assurance during times that all of that analyzing is heading towards anxiety and fear.

When we arrived in Tennessee on Saturday night, after getting the best phone call ever, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I sent my kids to church with my parents the next morning and just decided to have some quiet, alone time with Jesus at my parents piano....bc that's where I do my best stress relieving and reenergizing. 

It was about 12:15 and I was in parents kitchen getting lunch ready, waiting for everyone to get back from church. At this point, I hadn't had a chance to talk to my parents bc the kids were around and my brain was just all mushy from overload the day before, but after my quiet, piano music filled morning with Jesus, I had worked out a plan to let my parents in on our news and potential decision. As I stood there over the stove, I thought, "Can we really do this? Can we really expect our children to learn sign language so they can communicate and have a relationship with the brother they've prayed so hard for? What if they just don't want to???"

Within seconds of having those thoughts, which are legitimate concerns when you're adopting a deaf child, my mom walked through the door and said, "Mist, I can't wait for you to hear what the girls got to see at church this morning!"

Right behind her were Anna Beth and Lynnsie - excitedly telling me about the "girls that were singing with their hands and it's so cool and it's called sign language and Gram said you used to do sign language when you were younger so can you please teach us, mommy?!"

You guys....I can't even make this stuff up. I was frozen in place with tear filled eyes and I just smiled....a. big, knowing, and understanding smile....and I said, "I would love to teach you."

By the end of the week they knew most of their ABC's in sign language and soon after, we learned of our favorite ASL resource for children, Signing Time. This resource is amazing and was created by a mom who had a daughter who was born deaf. Over the last 8 months, we've checked out videos from the library and watched the episodes available on Netflix. It's been amazing to watch the kids pick it up so quickly! 

The experience my girls had watching the youth girls "sing with their hands" was an answered prayer in so many ways...

1) It immediately answered the questions of my heart - yes, we could teach our children sign language so they can communicate and have a relationship with their brother

2) It introduced our family to one of the most beautiful songs with lyrics that are full of truth...the song is by Lauren Daigle and it's called How Can It Be?

3) It allowed us to introduce sign language to our children and begin to teach them, without risking their hearts to attaching to a little boy that we had no guarantees from the orphanage that they would allow us to adopt. 

We are so thankful for all of the ways that God has assured us these past few years and especially these last 8 months, but this one - by far - is my very, very most favorite :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Best Phone Call Ever!!

First of all....let me just say that God is good. On the hardest and longest and most frustrating days, He is still and always good. Nothing changes that. He does incredible things in His perfect timing - whether we like it, agree with it, or understand it. He is God and He is good.
Our adoption in 2015 didn't start out very well when we found out in January that for the past entire year, we'd been on the wrong waiting list in Colombia. There were many unknowns - how long would it take to fix this? will we be put at the end of the correct list or put where we should be after waiting an entire year? what is our real number on the waiting list? At first, I was discouraged and down right ticked.  But slowly, I remembered it's His timing and the waiting list number just doesn't really matter...#1 or son would be my son when the Lord knew it was the right time to bring us all together. So that was the end of that.  However, we never found out what our new waiting list number was, because...
On February 14, 2015 at 8:30 in the morning I got a phone call, and then a text when I missed the call, from our social worker, Beth. She "casually" asked me in the text to give her a call - she just had a quick question for me.  But it was Saturday morning and that meant something big.  I called her and she said she asked me how open we were to a child with hearing loss. I told her we were open to a child who had minor hearing loss all the way up to complete deafness. That's when she told me she had the file of an almost 2 year old little boy, with profound deafness - did I want to see it? I told her sure - send it to me and when Jacob woke up, we'd talk about it.
The thing was - I was in the middle of packing me and the kids to go to Anna Beth's Upward game, then hit the road to Tennessee for a week because it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans and this is just what we do. And when we do that, we get trapped....I mean iced my parents house bc the Ice Storm of the century always comes through when we're there for Mardi Gras. You're welcome, teachers and school kids of West Tennessee :) And Jacob was still asleep because, as a police officer, he works pretty much non-stop during Mardi Gras. At this point he'd been asleep about an hour and a half. I decided to wait until 10 - letting him sleep until the very last minute before the kids and I had to leave.
I woke up him and when he was just barely conscious, I said "Beth called." He was fully awake at that point! I gave him the quick rundown and showed him little man's picture - and that's when I saw it.  The new daddy look. As scared and unsure as my heart was after what we'd experienced not a year before...I knew that God was leading us to this sweet boy. I sent his info, in Spanish, to my friend who lives in Colombia and speaks Spanish and she called to give me a summary of his history and needs. Everything was clear cut and after a lot of prayer, Jacob and I decided to submit a Letter of Intent to his orphanage.
And that's when things got excruciatingly hard on our hearts. But we continued to trust and the Lord continued to show us that this was the boy we were supposed to pursue, to love, and to desire to parent.  For the sake of time, here's a quick timeline of the past 8 months:
Feb. 15 - LOI submitted
March 30 - Dossier finally mailed for transfer from ICBF to orphanage
April 14 - Happy birthday, little man!!!
April 23 - Dossier finally arrives at orphanage (because Colombia mail....)
May 7 - Orphanage loves us, but wants us to redo some things in our dossier 
May 21 - Orphanage finally tells us what they want us to fix (because Colombia....)
May 21 - June 4 - we mad dash every filling out forms, notarizing, and mailing off for apostille in Tennessee & DC
June 24 - everything's mailed back to social worker in Alabama, who immediately sends it on to Colombia
July 9 - we leave for a much needed weekend trip to see our very good friends, the Woods, in Georgia
July 10 - social worker calls and tells us orphanage received our updates, but now wants us to update our FBI clearances, physicals, and proof of employment letters (also notarizing and having apostilled)
July 15 - get started on all of these updates
July 21 - everything's in the mail, straight to Colombia
July 29 - everything arrives back to the orphanage after going through translations by our in country rep
July 29 - 30 - they meet every Thursday, at some point, so we could hear any time Thursday or Friday on their decision...we hear nothing
August 6 - 7 - we hear nothing
August 13 - 14 - we hear nothing
August 20 - 21 - we hear nothing
August 22 - Jacob leaves for 3 weeks of national guard training; we had decided that if we weren't matched by the time he left, we would have to withdraw our LOI, but when that week came, neither of us felt a peace about that...we decided to wait until he got back and if there was no news at that point, we would withdraw. We had the support of our social workers on this decision, as well.
August 28 - my phone rings at 6 pm...."Beth @ Lifeline" on the caller ID
"Hey, Misti!! This is the best phone call ever because it's official!! They just called us to tell us you're so perfect to be his family and they love you and they officially matched you today!"
You guys....I was standing in my friend, Mary's, front yard while she and her husband were inside fixing dinner for the kids and I and another friend and her family.  I couldn't speak. My heart was about to explode. Every time I opened my mouth I just started crying even more. Big, giant, happy tears. All of the frustration...all of the fear of having to walk away...all of the grief and pain we felt every single day - especially Thursday and Friday - for the past 8 months completely vanished. Because he was now our son. Forever.
Thankfully, I was able to get through to Jacob immediately and tell him, but we decided to wait and tell the kids together when he got for TWO WEEKS I had to keep this secret! We told a few close friends and our families, of course, because I surely would have exploded if not :)
So what happens now? 
Our immigration paperwork arrives in DC today and that should take about 3 - 4 weeks, then we will travel about 3 - 4 weeks after hopefully we will travel the end of October/early November. Jacob and I will both go for the initial bonding time of 7 - 10 days and then he will return to work. Our kids are in school and we've decided it's best for them to stay in their normal routine since life is going to be kind of upside down for a little bit. I'll stay another 2 - 4 weeks after Jacob leaves finalizing everything. I'll write more on that process later.
Our family continues to learn sign language.  Since our son is profoundly deaf, American Sign Language will be his way of communicating.  We've been learning several signs through the incredible children's video series, Signing Times, but our kids didn't really know why we were doing it - they thought it was just for fun.  And I'll be writing an incredible God-story blog on that in the next few days, too.  But now Jacob and I will be doing a 25 DVD ASL curriculum called Learn and Master ASL...I'm 3 lessons in and it's amazing!
We apply for the very last grant that we qualify for and do our very last fundraiser...a Facebook Adoption Auction! I'll be sharing more information on that later, but a quick summary - we're asking for donations from anyone who is crafty, has a business in your town, Etsy store, work from home business, or would like to donate a gift card or item and we will auction them off through Facebook and the highest bidder will win! We still have about $3,500 left to raise or be awarded in grants and we are still trusting God as He has provided everything we need so far.
We finish up all training, apply for visas, book our flights and hotels, and wait for the day when I can hold my son, Silas John Coleman, forever!! 
If the timeline works out as quickly as it can, Silas and I should be home by Thanksgiving!!
Please, please, please join us in prayer for Silas - that his heart would be prepared for all of the change that is coming his way in the next several weeks, that everything now will move quickly and smoothly, for our kids as they prepare to be without us for a few weeks and welcome home their little brother, for Jacob's mom who will be coming to stay with our kids while we're gone, and for Jacob and I - as we prepare for the incredible honor and blessing it is to be called mommy and daddy by this sweet, precious little boy. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Taco Dinner Fundraiser

We had our incredible Taco Dinner Fundraiser this past weekend and y'all...we are overwhelmed with how amazing it was.  There really aren't words to describe it, so I'll leave it to the pictures.

Love, love, love this family...the Singletary's...who planned and prepared this incredible day.

Only 1 Coleman kiddo missing...

Our friends even cleaned up our kitchen

In the middle of packing her family to move 2 states away in a few days, it was super special to have her stand next to me during this event.  She's been a major rock and source of sunshine in my life.

Photo credits to this gem!! Loved her last minute idea of taking pictures for us - too perfect!! 

Mr. Tim - the Taco Shell Master.  He was a "tiny" bit excited to use his new toy.

Mrs. Kelly, the Taco Whisperer - loved cooking and prepping with her...and appreciated her attempt at teaching me how to properly dice tomatoes (and the gentle way she suggested I bag them instead!)

Prep work started a few days earlier - so blessed to have friends give up their days off!

Especially loved spending "real life" time with this girl!!! 

In summary, this was the Church in action y'all.  All day long.  It was amazing and incredible and we loved every minute of it.  To see so many friends and church family giving so much time to planning and prepping, baking desserts, working that day by setting up, serving, watching kids, taking pictures (photo bombing pictures for a good laugh later on), ordering meals, donating, tearing down, and cleaning just does this family's heart a whole lot of good.  Someday our little man is gonna begin to process the first chapters of his life and while he's doing that, we'll be able to show him how, at the same time that he was alone and without family....we were all here...loving, waiting, and working for him.  I wish I could list every single person by name, but I'm far to afraid I would leave someone off.

And I'm sure you're curious as to how much we raised...well, again...mind blown. Overwhelmed.

I told God selling 200 dinner boxes was gonna be a long shot.  I'm sure He laughed out loud knowing we would sell between 325 - 350.

I thought it would be incredible if we made it anywhere near $2000.

And all the while, He was planning to provide $3,671.

All through our sweet friends and church family.

All for our little boy.

If you want to see all of the pictures from that day, click HERE