Saturday, March 29, 2014

Celebrating Eva

We finally got around to planning and giving Eva the celebration she deserved for her milestone "Big Girl" birthday. Eva turned 5 years old in December. December is such a busy month, that we usually push Eva's celebration into January. This year it was March! We do not typically make a big, dramatized spectacle of our children's birthdays, rather a nice gathering of friends and family at home. Although, when each child hits their official "Big Kid" birthday (in our house that is five years old) we allow a more grand celebration. Eva chose to have her party at Glory gymnastics. They had such fun running, jumping, and tumbling around!

She is such a blessing with her charming wit (she gets it from her father), beautiful curls and loving nature! We are so thankful God chose us to shepherd this little lady!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Answers to your questions...

You know...we have found that with the announcement of the blessing of a new baby to our family, each time we get more and more of the same questions! So, I thought it might be appropriate to answer some of the most popular ones for the masses...just for kicks! And, YES, people actually do ask this stuff!

1. We do, indeed, know what technically causes this. We choose to see children as a blessing and not a curse.

2. Yes we do like sports, although we are not intending to build a specific ball team. And, yes, we do know that we already have enough children to form some sporting teams.

3. WE ARE STILL ADOPTING! Nothing about where God is leading us has changed.

4. Yes, we know that that will give us a total of 8 children at that point.

5. No, we are not trying to be like Jon and Kate plus Eight or the Duggars...19 Kids and Counting.

6. Yes, we do realize that eventually we will have to up-size our vehicle. No, it probably will not be a school bus.

7. No, we are not Catholic, Mormon or Jewish. We are Protestant.

8. No, we do not have the patience of Job. His walk was uncomparatively more difficult than ours.

9. Yes, we do, indeed, love children. 

10. No, we are neither Super Man/Dad nor Super Woman/Mom. We know, as with every family, certain hardships come. It is not always easy, but we choose to make necessary sacrifices in order to alleviate the ones that we can. There also comes great joys and triumphs. We celebrate those. We have great faith in our God who never fails us. In trying to conform to the image of Christ, He makes room for each new believer in His kingdom. We will make room for any children He sends.

11. No we are not crazy, insane, or gluttons for punishment. We view our children as the blessings that they are. We are all called to different walks in life. We do not pass judgement that your walk looks different than ours. In the body of Christ, we cannot all be eyes, we cannot all be hands, or we cannot all be feet. We know without doubt that God has set this path before us and He will continue to provide for our every need.That may be considered radical. If so, I'm down with that.

12. And finally, we do PLAN to welcome with open arms, any blessing that God chooses to bestow upon us. However, we do not frequently pull out our planners and pencil in these kinds of events. We trust that God's timing is far better than ours. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. (Isa. 55:8-9)

We are delighted and encouraged by all of the well wishes and congratulatory comments we have received from family, friends and loved ones. It keeps our spirits lifted, even when those around us choose to persecute what we believe. It is not as easy as it looks sometimes, but we know without doubt, it is worth it.

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable--if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise--dwell on these things." Phil. 4:8

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So Blessed

 My heart is so full of love!
 But, God is making room for more!
Completely humbled that He chose me for this! 

Our newest addition is due this summer!!

Children are a blessing from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Can You Help?

So today I have had a moment to stop and focus on our adoption adventure...where we are, and where we still have to go, and what we need. Where we are currently is in the waiting phase of our adoption. This is the portion that has no time limits, no guarantees and some days no light at the end of the tunnel. This is the part where we fall off of the radar with most of you. This is the phase where we are forgotten by many of you. Forgotten until the referral of our children come. Forgotten until we announce that we have accepted these children. But, we still need you! I think maybe we need you most right now. Waiting is grueling. Checking Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, email and unofficial waiting lists weekly, sometimes daily, hoping to see movement of children. Knowing that movement of any kind affects you, inching you closer. When someone receives a referral, that means we are that much closer to welcoming our own. We rejoice with them. Their` bittersweet wait is over. The light at the end of the tunnel has come. Sometimes there is a wave of movement that brings hope and excitement. Then there are the lulls; the long, long lulls between referrals where we all begin to lose hope just a little. I try to think what it must be like on the end where the children are. They see children moved out of the orphanage in groups, to the transition home. They know their wait is over. The others know as well. But, the waiting for countless others continues. My heart is crushed thinking of their sadness. In the meantime...the seemingly, never-ending meantime, we try to keep busy. We try to go about our daily responsibilities, but things are not the same anymore There is a constant, yet subtle preoccupation with thoughts of Ethiopia, paperwork, the government, the children, the conditions, the culture, the everything.

Right now we need. We need YOU!! We need you in droves.

1. We need you on your knees praying for God's hand in every tiny detail of the adoption process. I feel selfish asking for you to pray for merely ours. This is just ONE adoption. There are hundreds in our agency, thousands worldwide. Why can't there be millions? This crisis would be over if there were millions. Pray for millions...millions who will come to the forefront of this orphan crisis with battle armor to fight this thing head on...millions who would make room for the needy, the lonely, the oppressed, the abandoned. Pray that somehow, some way that the adoption process would be swift without compromising the safety of the children and the ethics behind the process.

2. We need your support. MANY of you have supported us already, to which we are so grateful!! Without you we could not do this and we would not be this far into this process. We thank you for your sacrifice for our children! If you have not yet taken the opportunity to support us, there are a few ways. We have t-shirts...OVER A HUNDRED t-shirts that need to move. Summer is coming! They are short sleeve! Here they are...


We have a slew of large and x-large sizes. We have a couple of smalls and Mediums left. I mean that literally. There are only two or three of each of those left. And, we have two 12 month sizes left. So even your little squish could have one! If you are interested in buying one, you can email Marcus or myself, or you can simply click the Paypal button on our blog's home page. You can pay through that method easily and instantly. Be sure to include a note that the payment is for a t-shirt, the size desired and your shipping address! If you are local, we will hand deliver.

3. We are also involved in, what began as a fundraising effort for our adoption, but has become so much more. Last year I bcame a local Noonday Collection Ambassador. Noonday is a company that seeks to lift the vulnerable out of poverty by creating economic opportunity for them...better put, a job! We buy hand-made accessories (jewelry, scarves, handbags etc) and sell them in the United States, questionably the world's biggest and best marketplace for goods. Our massive wealth here in the states generates billions, maybe even trillions of dollars per year. If we decided to be more conscious with our purchases, or even decided to use our purchasing power for good, poverty in our world would cease to exist. Men, women and babies would not starve to death, die from easily treatable diseases and families would not become broken. We could change the world! Noonday has changed the lives of thousands in the short 3 years it has been doing this missionary work. Be a part of it! By becoming a voice for these artisans and sharing their story, their opportunities grow. Host a trunk show in your home, church or office. Spread the word and create economic opportunity for the needy. It only takes a little time and makes an enormous impact. Get your best girls, in fact ALL of your girls, together for a couple of hours to pour over beautiful pieces of jewelry made in places like Uganda, India, Guatamala, Peru, Eithiopia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Haiti and Chile. Make a purchase, Host a show, Be a voice, Create change! If you are interested in making a purchase, please click the blog button on the right side of our blog home page or go to my website Browse the gorgeous accessories, make a purchase and choose my name as the ambassador of your choice during checkout. ALL of my commissions are being funneled into our adoption. Every little bit counts. If you are interested in hosting a show, please contact me through this blog, Facebook, or my email account! I would love to partner with you!


4. And finally, we still have some pieces of our puzzle remaining without names. If you would like to sponsor a puzzle piece for the children's room, when they finally come home, we would love for you to be a part of this journey in this special way. Again, you can pay through Paypal, or pay us personally. If you choose the Paypal option, leave a message letting us know that you have chosen the puzzle fundraiser!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Our church currently uses the AWANA program for the Wednesday night kids classes. AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. It consists of worship time, scripture memorization from their handbooks, game time and a bible lesson or devotion during large group time. Most nights there is a crazy theme or fun activity in which the kids get to participate. Our kids love AWANA! They always look forward to the AWANA Derby each spring. They get to make derby cars with their own creativity and style. This was Eva and Abe's first year to enter a car! Daddy worked hard on several occasions with the kids to help get their cars completed. There are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in the Design category and the Speed category. The big winner in the West household was Eva!! She won 2nd place in the Speed category and 1st place in the Design category. Although, the races were close and the cars were so creative. All of the children did a superb job!!

Our Design winners

Our Speed winners

Eva's Disco Dance Floor

Eli's Tie Dyed Machine

Abe's Original Paint Job

Mia's Polka Dot High Heel

They are already working on next year's ideas! Stay Tuned!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow Day

We have snow!!!! We also have a huge, thick blanket of ice underneath the glorious white stuff. This called for a SNOW DAY! Although, while the school system had most of the week off, we took one full day and lightened the load for the rest of the week. My Type-A personality is in less control these days and I am allowing myself to have a more relaxed attitude....about some stuff.  The kids stayed outside the majority of the day with the neighborhood friends, trickling in randomly to warn ice-cold fingers and toes. They worked up quite the appetite from snowball wars, snow angle making, and attempts at snowman building. The gang decided to break for lunch and some delicious snow cream!What a fun day! I even ventured out for some of the excitement. Then I got caught up on chores and blogging, you know...the important stuff. It was a wonderful day! Just what I needed this Monday to be.  

 some of the neighborhood gang

 ice coated playground
 our wintry home
 ice coated tree
 Inches of ice beneath a blanket of snow
Warming cold toes
Making a sweet treat