Sunday, February 28, 2010

Check out Mark's Beautiful Photography Work

A Photo today of our sweet,sweet Ashley. This was taken by Mark Short. Please give him business for photography if you live in our area--he and his wife, April and their adorable two sons are expecting a new sibling from Ethiopia -- any day now!!!!! Mark has a photography business called, seven lights photography. He and April provided a wonderful photo shoot day for our family--must have been a challenge with our bunch!!--and we received SO many wonderful shots. I have addresses to their blog and business below--check it out and provide them support --you'll love his work!!

Blessings today!

Mark captured our littles personalities for sure!!

Princess Ava with an Attitude and Silly Bruiky

Whatcha thinkin' about, Anderson? and a photo of his tender side that melts our hearts...

Naughty? ....Nice?...When you are could get either at ANY time!!!
We adore our Jackie-- Jack!!!

He cracked a smile out of our 13 year old Graham ;)

And some of his best work included images that we are not able to show of our newest family members--but know he takes a wonderful family photo!!

Thank you for your GREAT work, Mark!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transitioning Support

Photos from the earlier days of our Fellowship Group (Ester and Ava playing here) and some of Sallee's first Poppy Dips! :)

The other day I ached for a weary mom who cried as she asked, "why didn't anyone ever TELL us"...she was referring to the post adoption seasons and what they can bring to a family. Amidst the nesting and the adorable photos, there is a reality for some--especially those of us bringing home multiple children, toddlers, some older children that is not brought up very often. I have wondered over this. In many adoption circles there is little said about the challenges that adoption brings. I think this may be because people are afraid of scaring off potential adoptive families. NO WAY!!:) Have you ever SEEN the glow and determination of the adoptive heart? Much like two lovebirds in love,it is UNSTOPPABLE!! And rightly so--cause it is a consuming love straight from the heart of God. We are even told that before our bridegroom, Christ's return, that God will turn the "hearts of the fathers to the children." And our hearts just swell as we see this prophecy coming to be among so many precious hearts that we see and know in His family.
Love truly, as the Bible says is stronger than death!! I do not believe good information will divert people from adoption, in fact it may just strengthen mercy's call and may make it FAR more effective. Below this post, I have copied two announcements from our local area that are opportunities to get prepared for the realities of adoption. The Bethany training is supposed to be rich with information.

One of the sweetest parts of being adoptive parents is our encouragement of prospective and post-adoptive families. The bonds that are created in the adoptive community are precious.When we adopted Bruik and Ava almost 3 years ago--we were the pilot family for AWAA for Ethiopia. AKA, the guinea pig family :). This was a GREAT privilege and joy and the adoption process was smooth --just wonderful.

--As we transitioned, we knew a handful of other families who were adoptive families--They were GOLD to us as we walked into typical transition issues, not -so -typical bringing home Hep.A from Africa and transitioning with 5 VERY sick children,dealing with what to do about the "twining" of two of our youngest children and the issues this created,asking about sleep issues, night terrors,eating behaviors,even the questions of how to "do" parenting a large, adoptive family--all amidst the TRUE miracle and joy of becoming a new family. Ally, Beth, Rachel Ward, and Amanda L.--God placed you in our path!--we needed you!! Two years later, we would meet our precious adoptive fellowship group and I think in one of the first meetings with perspective parents and a couple of experienced families I just cried--hard. I was such a drippy mess that night. I WAS that weary mom!! I was RIGHT in the midst of some harder issues and had been for two years. And I was embarrassed to be the "experienced" one in the room and to just sit in a puddle of tears. Honestly, I was embarrassed and really should not have been at all... It was difficult that night to hear of the romantic, true story of the WHY of adoption from new families and yet to be walking in the a "laying it all down" season--just as precious but very hard. Thank you, Sallee,Rachel, and Tracy, and Sonja for loving me well when all I could do was cry!

Now the families from that little fellowship group night--the Johnsons, the Mihnovich's, the Putty's,and many more are ALL a rock not only in our lives but in HUNDREDS of other family's lives!! Now our adoptive fellowship group has swelled to TENS of precious Ethioipian children and their families. These parents have SUCH resource at their fingertips--much more than we ever had--they have EACH OTHER. If you are one of these families, never be afraid to ask if something in your experience is normal or if other people may be experiencing the same "weird" thing in their adoptive experience. Never be afraid to reach out--even if you can only manage an email--to ask for some relief or some support--adoption can bring us to strange lands that we do not have a map for--now with our eight, I daily am humbled. It is like this type of parenting has no "blueprint"--it requires continued courage--it definitely keeps us dependant on prayer and other brothers and sisters around us.

And I must say, there may not be an END to issues--don't we each and all have them anyway? ;) But our family is so enjoying the great peace that God promised to our family as we flew to Ethiopia and I read in Isaiah,..."and great will be your children's peace..." I want any family who may be fearing the transition period that it is just a valley to be walked THROUGH with our precious shepherd--not a destination. In Psalm 23 it speaks of the Valley of the shadow of death--it is only a SHADOW --in our trials we will "fear no evil" for "you are with me" and it is here that we REALLY learn that our shepherd is RIGHT next to us with His rod of protection and His staff of comfort that He uses to draw us closer to Him. Even in these times there is a "table before me". Provision set before us--our Shepherd beside us, and His precious,incredible flock (who I love so much!) all around us.

If you are considering adoption please do not overlook the wonderful resources that are out there for having an informed perspective to go along with your burning heart. If it turns out to not be needed by your family--you surely will use it to encourage another family at some point.

And one more thing, precious family considering adoption...Rest as you Nest. Your world IS about to change. Even more importantly than preparing your mind for this experience is preparing your state of heart before the Lord. Build up your fellowship with Him as much as possible NOW--you are about to go on quite a journey together and He is your best travel guide, counselor, helper, and companion. He made the children you are adopting and is the only one with the "manual"!! :) I have observed this aspect of our lives--the most important one-- can easily get lost in the busyness of nesting--the preadoptive stage certainly demands alot but you really need to know that the stage to come will bring ten times more intensity and you will need to draw upon those streams of living water that bubble up from within you. The Joy of the Lord truly is our literal strength. Like the story of Mary and Martha--make it your AMBITION to carve out quiet at Jesus's feet--He declared this better than the "many things" Martha was about.

Here are those links...

Bethany Christian Services Post-Adoption Seminar - Tues. 2/23 6pm-8pm
After your child comes home, you may face unexpected challenges; these could include night terrors, poor sleep cycles, attachment difficulties, hoarding, issues around food/formula, and more. Anticipating these challenges and having access to information is the best preparation possible. Join us on Tuesday, February 23rd to learn about support and resources which are available to your family after your child is home. This is open to families in the adoption process or who have already adopted, as well as those wanting to learn how they can support families in their community who have adopted domestically and internationally. Child care will be provided with RSVP only. Please RSVP to
or 615.242.0909 to save your seat for the seminar and childcare. They will be serving dinner and appreciate knowing how many to expect

Orphan Alliance Conference - Saturday 2/27 12:30-2:30pm
Please join the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance for a FREE informational meeting on Saturday, February 27 from 12:30 - 2:30 pm at Brentwood Baptist Church. There will be an update on Haiti, adoption, mission/aid trips, and other ways for you to answer the call to serve the orphan locally and worldwide and where you can learn and ask questions about next steps. Childcare will not be offered but children are certainly welcome. PLEASE Register by sending an email with number of adults and children who will be attending to so we can plan materials accordingly. Brentwood Baptist Church is located at 7777 Concord Road in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Directions can be found at

Friday, February 12, 2010


Now THIS is a way to spend an evening!! These college kids truly "get it"!!

Made in Love,
by the One who IS Love,
so that our Lives of Love,
will draw others to know,
The ONE who is Love,
Has made them for Himself.
That they,
That we,
Made for Love.

Happy Valentine's Day!!
Love, Gillian