Monday, May 23, 2011

Up in the Air

As I'm typing, our friends, Jon and Ashley, are in the air to Ethiopia! They left this morning on the 13+ hour flight from Dulles, VA to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, so they're probably pretty close!! I'm sure as exhausted as they are, excitement is probably beginning to take over in the emotions department. I can only imagine what they're feeling, knowing they will meet their daughter very soon. The sweet little face they have only been able to look at in pictures will soon be just a kiss away. I have goosebumps as I think of it!

The amount of donations you collected for their trip was incredible! I couldn't believe the generosity that poured out during the week between my blog request and collection date! Thank you so much for your support toward this family (who are strangers to most of you) and your love shown to the many lives who will be touched because of your kindness. The day I dropped the donations off, Ashley was shocked to see the amount of goodies loaded in my car, from notebooks, to baby wipes, to shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toys, bottles, valuable medicines, baby lotion, clothing, scrubs for the nannies, formula, diapers, diapers, and more diapers! Oh, did I mentions diapers??  They were SO grateful for everything that was donated to their baby's first home. Thank-You!

Here's a snapshot of my COVERED dining room table (and this was taken before all the donations were in - WOW!)

Gifts for Hannah's Hope
I can't wait to hear all the details of their trip! I'm hoping that listening to all of their stories and seeing their pictures will help to hold me over until we reach this place in our journey - probably only wishful thinking, but here's to hoping! :)  As for right now, we 're still waiting, but that's okay. We believe that each day we wait, God is strengthening our reliance on him. He is continually building us as couple and as future parents, and we know that his strength is new every morning ~ what an amazing thing to believe.


Have a great trip, Jon and Ashley! We're praying for you, your sons at home, your sweet baby girl, a favorable court session, and the delivery of the all important MOWYA letter! Can't wait to talk when you get back!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Glitter Station Conversations

JT and I teach a 1st grade class for our church's "kidZ conneXion" every week.  We love the time we spend with our class, each child's personality and disposition is so unique that it makes every weekend different from the last. Yesterday, being Mother's Day, we decided to do a craft as a gift for the many mothers and/or grandmothers that we see weekly.  We brought in clay pots, along flowers to plant and let the kids' imaginations run wild as they decorated their pots.

In one corner of the room, I set up a "Glitter Station" - mainly because I wanted to confine the millions of shimmering glitter pieces to a smaller area to help with clean-up, but also because I like any one-on-one time I can spend talking to the kids.  Oftentimes, they seem intimidated to open up and "be themselves" with their peers standing right next to them.  Having one child at a time participate in my "Glitter Station" allowed for more personal conversations.

I was privileged to many secretive plans for Mother's Day gifts that would be given after church. I learned where different families were going to celebrate the day. I giggled right along with some of them as they joyously told me of ways they planned to help their moms around the house. But my favorite glitter station conversation came from a sweet, thoughtful little guy named Luke.

While we were working diligently on his flower pot, Luke looked at me and said,

"Mrs. Bell, I just wanted to tell you Happy Mother's Day."

He paused. Then went on to say,

"You know, since you don't have any kids to say it to you yet."

Oh Luke, your sweet, thoughtful words meant more to me than you will every realize. The thoughtfulness of those sweet, honest words will be a conversation I will carry in my heart for years to come. (Smile) And despite the somewhat messy clean-up, you can bet "Mrs. Bell" will be setting up glitter stations for years to come. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be a hard day to face if you're a woman yearning to be a mom but aren't yet; it can bring forth sadness, feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and forced smiles. As I wait to become a mother myself, I'm choosing to turn away from those negative thoughts and feelings and celebrate this day as a genuine day of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessing my mom was and still is to me.  Her life is a living example of the unconditional love of a mother for her children. She has shown me what it truly means to be a mom, and I'm celebrating that I am not too far from following in her footsteps.

Thank you mom, for your love, guidance, and friendship.
I love you.

To all the women waiting to become a mom yourself...waiting can be hard, but take heart in knowing that you are being carefully groomed to become the best mom you can be when you finally reach that day. Happy Mother's Day (whether days or years early) to all "waiting moms."

A talented writer friend of ours jotted some sweet words of encouragement and heart/soul refreshment to women wanting to be moms, but who aren't yet.  Below is the excerpt from his blog: (

To the Women Who Want to Be Moms But Aren't Yet
Words for women who want to be moms but aren’t yet on Mother’s Day.

To the women who want to be moms but aren’t yet, stay fervent in your maternal desire.
To the women who want to be moms, but see other women becoming them instead of you, guard your heart from bitterness.
To the women who want to be moms, but keep getting that negative on the plastic rod, that rod does not define you.
To the women who want to be moms, but aren’t yet, labor for the next generation in whatever godly way you can.
To the women who want to be moms, but don’t know if God feels your pain, remember His Son was absent from Him as well.
To the women who want to be moms, but aren’t yet, you’re not less of a woman because of it.
To the women who want to be moms, keep a position of prayer.
To the women who want to be moms, but feel their lives are on hold, your life is happening right now.
To the women who want to be moms, but aren’t yet, God has unbelievable plans for you.
To the women who want to be moms, and are dreading Mother’s Day, I say when that child comes, whether through birth, adoption, mentoring, or another way, you will be ready. Praise the Lord.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sending Love to Ethiopia

In just about 2 weeks, our friends, Jon and Ashley, will be headed to Ethiopia to meet their precious little girl. I can't imagine how they're feeling as they prepare for their trip, but as they are packing, they are asking for your help.  The agency they are working with asks each adoptive family to consider taking donations for the orphange along with them on their trip.  Jon and Ashley both feel this is an extremely important thing to do, especially considering this orphange is helping to take care of their daughter until they're able to bring her home.  Many of the supplies needed to help care for the many, many babies, children, and teens that enter through "Hannah's Hope" orphange are items that cannot be easily found in Ethiopia and are incredibly expensive to ship over. Because of this, they are seeking help of family, friends, and friends of friends to help them fill their donation tubs.  They are hoping to travel over with 400 lbs of donations!!

They can't fill their tubs alone - so I'm asking you, on their behalf, to consider helping them.  Many of the items are inexpensive, everyday items that could be picked up the next time you go to the grocery store.  Below you will find the list of needed supplies. If you are interested in helping them by sending some love to Ethiopia by way of childcare supplies, please email me ( so I can coordinate a drop-off/pick-up time with you. I would like to have all donations by next friday (May 13th), as they are planning to have everything available to begin packing as soon as possible.

Only 1 week...I think we can do it...I'm pretty sure we can help them reach their goal.  It's such an easy way to share some love to those desperately in need of it. You're headed to the store anyway, right? Just pick up a couple things and send them my way!

Hannah’s Hope Donation List – Spring 2011

Baby Items
Bottles (Avent brand is the most commonly used)
Toys ages 6mo-14mo (engaging toys, no noise makers)
Diapers (especially size 2)
Plastic diaper covers with fabric lining
Rice cereals
Organic flaxseed oil
Soy Formula
Vitamin D infant drops
Sensitive baby wipes
Moisturizing baby wash, lotions, oils
Infant bouncy seats or Bumbos
Pull-ups (for the toddlers who are almost toilet trained)

Older Children Items
Moisturizing body soaps for older kids
Shampoos and conditioners designed for curly hair
Maximum strength Extra Virgin Olive Oil, shea butter
Moisturizing body lotion for dry skin
Sneakers or Crocs for older children
Clothing for boys and girls, ages 4-13 (no sleeveless shirts or shorts – they're very modest)

General Needs
Cotton balls
Men’s shirts, long or short sleeved
Scrubs (size medium)
Adult-sized slippers (no shoes in the house!)
Crocs (size 7-9, women)
Sunglasses, with UV (children, men, and women)
Braun thermometer covers
Oral anti-fungal medications

Don't forget to email me ( if you want to help out, and plan to have your supplies ready by next friday! Thanks so much! Can you imagine the faces of the nannies at the orphange when our friends arrive with their donations in hand? What a help and what a blessing to them!