Saturday, January 30, 2010


How many of you have been told or believe that things happen in threes...good news, babies, deaths, etc.?
Well, in the past ten days we received baby news from three people....each one a miracle from God and each one came in His perfect timing!
Last Thursday we received the first call. It was a tough day. We had been sent a file on a second child to review and this child had very major needs that would require many surgeries. Confused, torn on what to do, emotionally drained, and completely frustrated with the process - my phone rings. My sister tried to call me the night before, but I dodged the call and didn't answer. I was emotional with the decision we had to make and didn't want to talk to anyone!
I should have taken the might have cheered me up...because we learned we are going to be Aunt and Uncle again!!!! This makes # 11 for my sister & brother-in-law and a total of 17 nieces & nephews and 1 great niece for us...WOW! God has truly blessed our families with little ones!
The second bit of news came this week when we received a message from our friends. They have been trying to have a baby for quite some time and were even considering adoption. Well, it looks like they will be having their second baby in September! God has truly answered the prayers of many for this family.
The third story is of a family that we have never met, but have been praying for...our families share a common bond. This family has four boys and are in the process of adopting a daughter from Korea. When I joined the Holt forum this family was #1 on the referral waiting list....they had been waiting 18 months for their referral.
The mother requested prayer a week prior for her father who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. He was only 58 years old. Two days later he passed away. I think everyone that has followed this family's journey was broken hearted for them. They were waiting for so long and now this wonder just how much a person will be asked to take, however, God tells us His grace is sufficient.
On January 27th just two days before the two year mark from when they submitted their application and just days after her father passed away...this sweet mama received her referral call! I have never seen so many congrats on the forum. So many people had been waiting and praying this little girl into this family and God's timing was remarkable! The post to her announcement read - "My Daddy sent me my angel from heaven! Referral!!!!"
Children are the greatest gift and miracle that we can tangibly experience in this life. I have wandered with the grief and agony we have experienced in choosing whether or not to accept the past two referrals of how anyone can just seemingly casually choose to end a life before it has the chance to thrive and grow? How can you hear of the timing of God's blessings and the beauty of birth and adoption and not believe in God or in His salvation?
Adoption has blessed us in so many ways and one is in making God's love so apparent, so real, and so relevant in our lives. He allowed us to experience His love in the pregnancy and birth of our sons and now He is allowing us to live His love and His example through this adoption.
We are humbled and blessed that He chose us for this path...for this wonderful journey. Please continue to pray for us as we are praying daily for the two little girl's in Korea, whose files we reviewed, to find their perfect families. We are also praying that our sweet Annalee is safe and  loved knowing that God will bring her to our family in His perfect time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Down Time...Reflection...Renewal...

This week I hoped for time for quite contemplation. Down time from the world around us, from hard decisions, from emotional tears, and just to re-evaluate & recharge. God has blessed with just such a week.
We have received no news. We have not made any big decisions. We have had plenty of time for reflection and to recharge.
I have found a song and Scripture to share that reflects my hearts desire:
Romans 8:24-26 (New International Version)
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Heartbeat by Remedy Drive
This is a draught...been living without the one thing life requires
What a mess, passionless, somewhere I lost the fire
Oh my my...where has it gone
Can anybody turn this beat back on
My heart is fast asleep
Dreaming it could bleed
For something that´s real
My desperate appeal
God I’m getting tired of the way I feel
When I would rather be alive
I want to wake up
I want to restart
Put the drumbeat back in my heart 
I need to be revived
Bring me back to life
Coming on slow head to toe...the pulse is back again
It’s grace in my veins - replacing the pain
Bringing me back from the dead
Oh my my now I can see
You heard me cry emergency
Screaming out for help
You saved me from myself
The fires returned I’m letting it burn
There’s nothing better in the whole wide world
It feels so good to be alive
These are the words I have needed. At this time, a time of waiting I need to be revived. I need the Spirit to interceed for me and for those I love with words I cannot express. Our family is waiting for a precious gift of a daughter, but our lives cannot be put on hold. We must live each day, seeking renewal, seeking grace, seeking the face of God for hope, for direction, and for peace.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dutch Mill Bulbs

GOAL:                330 packets

Total Sold:             43 packets

Dutch Mill Bulbs has provided us with a wonderful fundraiser for our adoption.


We will be taking orders now through February 28th to have the bulbs shipped by March 15th in Kentucky or April 1st in Ohio.
If you do not live local to Hopkinsville, KY you can still participate. We can have the bulbs shipped directly to you at no charge if you (friends & family) can place an order of 25 items.
I also have about 20 order forms available if anyone would like to volunteer to help us with this fundraiser by taking orders with payment from your friends, family, and co-workers and are willing to deliver them once they arrive!
 330 Items Sold equals $1,000 for our Adoption!
You can order and pay in person, via mail or via email/paypal on this site:

E. Ragsdale
Mission for Annalee
P O Box 1283
Hopkinsville, KY 40221
Please provide your name, address, phone number, item, and the quantity of each item.
Planting Guide:

Thank You for Your Support - Enjoy Your Spring Gardening!

Monday, January 18, 2010


As you know this past week was highly emotional for us and although we know God is in control and leading us down this made me pause and question, "Am I really strong enough for this?"
As the week progressed, so did our spirits.  "Sunshine" is still constantly in our thoughts and we pray for her many times a day to be matched with her forever family. We are at peace and know that God place us in our paths to be her prayer warriors! Finally, by the end of the week I gained the resolve to plunge ahead.
Saturday we received a wonderful email from our friends that are fostering to adopt. This email was full of encouragement and spoke of all of the miracles God has performed throughout their process. Such a nice boost.
Saturday morning I attended a Ladies prayer and praise service at church. It was such a sweet time of prayer, sharing, and worship. A blog/email friend of mine came and we got to meet in person for the first time. It is amazing how God allowed our paths to cross and I am so excited for her & her hubby as they begin their journey!
Sunday morning it was my turn to teach our first grade Sunday School class. The lesson was titled "Jesus performs His first miracle." The Bible point was "Jesus did miracles to show us He is God". The verse for the lesson was:
John 20:31  "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
As I taught this lesson, nothing really jumped out at is just the story of Jesus turning the water into wine, one I've heard many times throughout my life.
Sunday afternoon my hubby and I were discussing our daughter, our week, fincances, travel and all of the many things that go along with adoption. It is very hard at times to wait on God; we want to take control, make things happen. I told my husband that afternoon that I think God could give us our daughter in a few months, plop our entire adoption fee in our lap, wrap up every detail, but if He did, then would we lose sight of the miracle and not depend on Him?
Sunday Night as I laid down to sleep, the lesson came to my mind...Jesus did miracles to show us He is God. I thought about this process, how it has brought my husband and I closer than we were He has provided every expense we have needed, when we have needed within pennies of what we He has now placed us as prayer warriors over this baby we have made lifetime friends through this He has crossed our paths with so many examples of His miracle of adoption.
What I fell asleep knowing is that God is not performing a miracle for us, but in us! He is showing us that He is God in one of the most miraculous ways. Even in the womb He is forming a wonderful little girl for our family, that He will reveal to us, then bring to us in His time. All the while He is providing our needs a little at a time, ensuring we continue to place our faith and trust in Him for provision and strength. Each time causing us to ask, why would we doubt such an amazing God? He is the God of miracles...
Prayers Please:
  • January 20th as the our friends go to court, the parental rights of their foster daughter are to be terminated that day, so that they can proceed with their adoption.
  • Amy, Amy, and Chrisie as they are in the begining of their adoption process...for unity and wisdom as they make their many adoption decisions.
  • For "Sunshine" to be matched with her forever family.
  • For our sweet Annalee...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Korean American Day!!!

As if this week hasn't already been an emotional whirlwind, found out yesterday that due to a change in policy, that we will not be able to use the escort service for Annalee to come home. So, I will be traveling to Korea to pick her up and meet the family or workers that have cared for her. Now it is imperative that I get a good camera before I go! I want to take pictures and document as much of her culture as I can while there! You have to be in country for at least three business days; providing enough time for site seeing and documenting some important things about Korea for her.
We decided that for now the plan is that I travel (maybe with a friend or family member) and Nate will stay home with the boys. Our youngest has a hard time traveling even the 3 hours we go to visit family, so we think it is best for the boys to stay home. My husband is such a giving man to request that I go and meet our sweet Annalee!
For our Blog Post Title: Today is Korean American Day!!! A time to appreciate the Korean Americans in our lives!


This past week our hearts have been held by the prayers so many of you have sent up on our behalf. We also have been blessed by our church family and friends...a Sunday School class handed me an envelope Sunday morning with a cash donation for our adoption, a couple in our church also provided a cash donation, we received our first JustLoveCoffee check, we have had another cake order, someone provided child care for free, and a friend loaned us an adoption book and gave me a beautiful pin picture frame for our little girl.
God's love and strength is permeating this adoption and we are so humbled by all of you who daily pray for us, encourage us, and are just there when we need you...from the bottom of our hearts...Thank You!
Prayers Please:
This blog has been such a blessing in connecting me with other families who are adopting or considering the adoption journey. I am calling on all my friends that are praying for our adoption to also pray for Amy, Amy, and Christie as their families seek God's will and move further down the path to their children!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tears of Peace; Tears for Sunshine

First I must thank all of you who have been praying for us. I truly believe the promises we find in God's Word and His promises have been what have carried us for the past week:
Philippians 4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
A week ago we received notice that there were new photo-listed children to review, and of course I had to go look at them. Immediately I was drawn to a baby girl and when I showed Nate he was also taken by her sweet face. Not knowing what the process involved at the time, we requested her file for review.
There was mention of alcohol intake throughout the pregnancy, which was concerning, however; she was also thought to have a disease that could be very major. Our hearts were in a fierce struggle as we knew that this little girl needs a loving family, but also being terrified of the research we were learning about this disease.
We finally were able to discuss the medical records with several experts, including a specialist with expertise in her suspected condition. She was able to answer and confirm some of the fears we had with this condition. Prayerfully, we continued to seek God's will, and after finally deciding not to proceed and to wait for a referral based on our medical checklist, we finally began to feel a peace in our hearts.
Psalm 29:11

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace."
When we requested this baby's file, we had no idea how heart-wrenching it would be to make a decision. We are mourning the loss of a child now, that was never ours to begin with. We are praying and burdened that her forever family will be matched with her very soon. I know it will take a bit of time for our hearts to heal, but also am comforted in knowing that God has a plan for us and we just have to be patient and wait for His timing.
We ask that you continue to pray for this little girl we will call "Sunshine" I am praying that very soon her photo will indicate "I have a family". We know that the prayers of many avails much.
Thank you for being such great friends and prayer warriors. You have blessed our lives beyond measure...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who is Annalee? and Other Questions Answered

Since we have started distributing our prayer cards for our adoption, we have received many well-meaning questions...number one on the list:
1. Who is Annalee?
Annalee is the name that we have chosen for our daughter. Her first name will be Annalee, her middle name will be her Korean name.
For any of you that have known us through the pregnancies and births of our sons, you know that girl names have always been hard for us. We have about five boy names chosen at a time, but it wasn't until the ultrasounds that we would come up with girl names. Ethan would have been Mikaela Faith, Isaiah we had discussed Emmalee Devonne - after both of our sisters. However, we knew we wanted to use her Korean name, so that was out.
Nate has always liked the name Hannah, which is a very pretty name, but I find it to be a very meek, submissive name, which I can't imagine a child of ours being. When looking for names I came across Annalee, which has the same meaning as Hannah - "Gracious, full of grace" and sounded similar to Emmalee. We both loved the name and there was no discussion, that was just the "right" name after over 10 years of discussions about a little girl!
When giving out our prayer cards a distant relative asked how we picked the name...we explained and she told us her mother, who went by Anne, was actually Annalee. So, now there is a family tie as well!
2. Do you already know who Annalee is? Do you have a picture?
We do not know if our daughter has been born. We know that she is in Korea, and now that we are praying she will be home by Christmas. She will be between 5 months old and 2 years old, with the average homecoming age between 10-14 months. We just know that she will be a beautiful little girl that will definitely add some personality to our already spirited family! Once we are an approved match with our little girl we will receive a photo, which we will share with you!
3. How will you find Annalee? How will you be matched with her?
When we began the process to adopt we completed a medical form which listed out a large array of medical conditions, some minor and some very major. The social workers have our file and as new baby girls become available for adoption they will check our file and the other waiting parents file to determine the best match. We are not matched in chronological order, but rather they try to match the child to the family that would be best for them. This matching process could take 10 weeks or 10 months.
We are part of the waiting child program, which means the child we have will have been at risk for health issues due to premature birth, genetics, or mother's habits during pregnancy or has been diagnosed with a medical condition. When a child needs to be placed they will begin calling with the best family for the match, if the family turns down the match, the referral, and the child is not matched through this method, then they will be listed on a photolisting for waiting children with Holt.
If during our waiting period for a referral, we identify a child on the photolisting we are interested in, then we can request that child's file for review. We would then research the child's background and medical history and have our doctor do the same and provide us with a medical recommendation. Several families can request the same child's file at once when on the photo listing. Once a family has decided to proceed with this child, then the other families reviewing the file, must also decide they will or will not proceed with the adoption.
Once the decision is made to proceed with a photolisted child, then the potential family(s) will be presented to a committee, which will determine if this family is best for this child. The committee meets weekly, so through this process a family could be matched fairly quickly after identification.
This has to be probably the most grueling and vulnerable part of the adoption process. To look at a file, to fall in love with the child listed, but then to try to remove emotion and logically determine if your family can meet the medical needs of this child, how the medical needs will impact the family, finances, are resources available? Much prayer and encouragement is needed for anyone going through this stage of the process.
4. When will Annalee come home?
After our daughter is matched to our family, there will be a flurry of activity! We will complete our paperwork to submit to the US Government for approval to adopt her, then the Korean government will have to approve the adoption and issue a Visa. All this time our daughter will be cared for by a Foster family, as is the case with most of the children, or will be residing in a care center with many wonderful workers. This part of the process takes about 3-5 months for our daughter to come home. I think for us this will be one of the hardest parts of the process...just waiting for our precious girl.
5. How can we support you during these parts of the process?
Please pray, pray, pray. We will not share publicly with everyone about being matched with our daughter until it is an approved match, as we could review several files before being matched. So at anytime we could be reviewing files and working with the medical providers reviewing the files. Please pray for wisdom and strength of heart for us...for clear and decisive information in the medical files for our medical team to review. Please pray for us to guard our hearts, as it can be very painful to choose a photolisted child and then the committee to decide another family may be a better match.
Most of all pray for Annalee as she is entering this world, being cared for and loved by others, that she may have a Christian family or workers caring for her that will sing to her and talk to her about Jesus and her family far away.
6. Why would you go on this journey that seems so difficult and very trying?
We know that our family was called by God to adopt a little girl at this time in our lives. We know Annalee is out there and if we are patient and wait for the right time, she will join our family. Any struggles that we have in waiting do not compare to the wait our child has had to be loved by her forever family...we have so much love in our hearts as do our sweet boys and we can't wait to share it with her! The path may be long, unknown, and trying at times for our sweet Annalee and our family, but we know in the end it will be worth it all to have her in our arms!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Books, Dreams, and a Promise

One of our favorite activities is reading books with our boys. There is nothing that compares to snuggling in a chair and have them attentively listen to every word. Funny voices, faces, and giggles add to the treasured time.
Part of what makes this hobby so special is the "favorite" book that each of our sons has chosen. Just as their personalities are as different as night and day at times, they are in the same breath so similar...the link in their favorite books is family, love, and commitment of the parent to the child. It holds a promise and stability that we want our children to share, to know that no matter what we love them, forever and always.
When Ethan was very little the book we always read together was "Are You My Mother" by Doctor Seuss. I would dramatically change my voice for each character, the cow, the machine, and the other animals...each time saying, "No I am a _____, I am not your mother", but the best part is the end of the story when the mama bird comes back to the nest and tells the baby bird, "Yes I am your mother"!
Isaiah picked a book when he was just a baby that is dedicated with love to all the missing children in the world and to the memory of Kelly Cook. I do not remember who gave him the book, but I thought, what an odd gift, a book written about missing children, but as we have read through the pages over a hundred times or more now, it has grown to a special place in my heart. Not just because just as "Are You My Mother" is a family book that has bonded me with my son, but because "I Promise I'll Find You" by Heather Patricia Ward lets my little one no that no matter what I would do anything to keep him safe.
Tonight before bed as we shared this story my heart swelled with thoughts of our Annalee and our journey to add her to our family...we wonder what book she will choose, the many times we as a family will share a book, a song, a hug...but for now we dream of her and pledge this to her...
"...If I had a little airplane I'd fly across the sky. I'd look and look and look for you as every day went by...If I had a little racecar, I'd race the whole world twice. I'd find you and I'd keep you, Oh, that would be so nice...If I had a little rocket ship, I'd shoot up to the moon, Oh that would be the fastest way, I'd have you really soon...If I had a little green balloon, I'd fly all through the air, I'd pick you up and bring you home, And you would know I care...And if I had no other way, I'd walk or crawl or run. I'd search to the very ends of the earth, For you my precious one..."