Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I wanted to introduce both the girls separately because for the past year they have been "the girls."

Meet Annalise Blair Norman

Annalise is 2 and will be turning 3 on January 25.  We met Anna for the first time last year, on July 17, and she walked into our house with the strongest personality I had ever met.  She called me "Ma" immediately and wouldn't let anyone else get near me.  She is so outgoing and bubbly and was born a fighter.  However, it's been amazing to watch over the last year as she has also reverted into that baby role as well.  She loves to be rocked, cuddled, held, and hugged and would still drink out of a bottle and take a pacifier if possible.  And some days it just may be possible around here. :)  She started out her little life as a fighter and now relishes in the "baby" role.  She LOVES her big sister, has a bond with Grace that is unexplainable and looks at Trey as another parent figure a lot of times.  We joke, that when she walked in we knew we were in trouble!  The first weekend we had her, I knew somehow, someway she would always impact our life.  I had no idea at the time she had siblings but I committed to a life of at least praying for this sweet baby on July 17, 2013.

Meet Grace Abigail Norman
Grace is night and day different from her sister (except for her temper).  She is 1 1/2 and will be 2 on March 28.  She came to us at 9 1/2 mths old and was a tough cookie to crack.  Whereas Anna had a very outgoing personality, Grace was very reserved.  The night she was brought to us, she was scared and nervous and I remember seeing a look in her eyes, that 9 months old shouldn't have.  She had formed her early bond with birth mom and then aunt and didn't want too much to do with me.  She was happiest alone in her bed and would sit for hours on the floor playing alone.  She was fine if I held her, but fine if I didn't.  She lived for the weekends she spent with her aunt and cried when I got her back.  It was rough honestly.  At one point, it looked like she was going to go back with her aunt and Anna would stay with us, and I told J. O. I guess that's why God was guarding my heart with her.  To be honest, we simply hadn't bonded like people would think.  Then, one day I walked into daycare and she squealed and kicked and screamed and was thrilled to see me.  It was almost like that day it changed.  However on the flip side, she bonded with J. O. immediately.  She laid on him a lot and cried for him when I had her.  Even though, her and I are now VERY close, she is still a major daddy's girl!  Grace is still reserved and doesn't let too many people in.  She's hard to get a smile out of, and you have to win her affection and trust.  However, after you do, she is the sweetest and most precious little girl.  

We can't wait to see what big things God has in store for them!  We are so blessed God chose us to be their forever family!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Adoption Eve.....

Well, it's here.  Our Adoption Eve.  Our adoption is scheduled for tomorrow at 9:30 and we couldn't be more ready.  However, today, I have been amazed at the emotions I am feeling.  I am a ball of nerves and I can't figure out why!  It's kinda like that feeling when you are about to bring a baby home from the hospital and you can't remember if you have gotten it all done?  Only, my babies have been here since Dec 17th, 2013.  There isn't a crib to assemble, a carseat to check, baby bag to pack.  No, we are meeting at the courthouse and signing papers, taking pics, flooding Facebook and coming home.

But, I am nervous.  Don't misunderstand me.  I am not nervous about adopting our girls.  They have been our girls from the minute God decided to entrust them to us.  However, what I am anxious about is exactly what God tells us NOT to be anxious about.

I'm nervous about:

The hearing (what if it's canceled, moved or running too late and we can't make brunch....I like to eat).
The mixture of families that will be there because of sibling hearing.
The baby books I haven't purchased and the newborn pics I won't have to go in them once I do.
The rooms that are not decorated or completed and the guilt I have from that.
The feeling that I should have some super cute book on hand to read as the girls get older to help them understand how they came into our family?

You see the difference??

Our lives forever changed when every single detail was worked out for us to be able to adopt the girls.  There were so many roadblocks that we could've faced that never even surfaced.  I read other scenarios and wonder how ours turned out the way it did.

The truth is, God has it all.  Big, small, important, seemingly not-important.  He has this.  I may not have some fancy sign to take pictures with tomorrow at court, or some amazing baby book, or a room that looks like I have been preparing for this day for years (and I am not knocking you people who do...I'm just not there)....

But what I do have, is a God who has once again gone before me.  Tomorrow is not a surprise to Him and tomorrow our lives will forever change.  We will be coming home with our own personal version of twins and that is worth celebrating!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Less Fortunate.......Less Deserving?

I love this time of year.  I love the decorations, the traditions and I even love the craziness of having the kids home for 2 weeks.  I also love helping out with gift and toy drives for kids who need it!  We started picking an angel tree child when Trey was young and we would try to pick out a child close to his age so he could help us.  I loved doing that, but I didn't fully understand what I was doing.  For instance, I wanted the list to have things I thought they should want/need.  I totally understood buying shirts and pants and would have lots of sympathy for those lists that said underwear and coats.  I got that.  I could do that.

Then, we moved to Pulaski County, started fostering and our church began to do a gift drive alongside DCFS last year.  I was able to talk with the caseworker and understand their lists a little more.  For instance, some of these kids have no idea what a wish list is??  Even further they have no idea what to list.  They may put clothes or they may know that everyone in their class has an iPod, except them, so they put that.  They may put very basic, very generic items because the thought of a stranger actually buying them things they would want, well that's too much to consider.  What people don't realize is that the caseworker will sometimes add fun items for the child because the child would never do that.

Last year, we thought we might get both girls sometime in December but we weren't sure because they were looking for a different placement.  Then, 8 days before Christmas, they both moved in with us.  There wasn't a 9 month prep period to prepare for a new child around Christmas, but yet Christmas was going on.  Now, thankfully, I would've been able to buy presents for the girls to open at Christmas or my family and friends would've stepped in, but they didn't have to!  Churches around LR had done that for me.  When the girls were dropped off, their caseworker came loaded with gifts.  I could focus more on the terrified 9 month old and less on presents.

Now here is where I think we sometimes have a hard time....imagine my delight when all these boxes weren't filled with diapers and wipes.  Several boxes were filled with clothes (and for that I was grateful) but there were also dolls, and infant toys, and a huge Lalaloopsy doll house that made my jaw drop!!  Sometimes I think we look at these lists and we think...."seriously, this child had the audacity to ask for an iPod or Nintendo and they can't even afford clothes?"  It's in that moment we get all self righteous all the while buying an X-Box for our bio kids.  I am so thankful people took the time last year to buy a 9 month old and 1 year old baby dolls, huge ride on toys, doll house and other items Addison would've loved as well!!  It made it less awkward for them to open some fun items (along with necessities of course) while Trey and Addison were opening their fun items as well.  And the reality is, my girls wouldn't have known, but imagine a 12 year old in a foster home??

As someone on both sides of the gift list....buying and receiving.....just be sensitive.  Buy things they need but don't be a scrooge when it comes to those things every kid would love as well.  Sometimes we think less fortunate means less deserving and that's not true at all.  My girls deserved everything they got last year and then some.