Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I600A Approved!!!!!!!!!!!

Today we received our I600A approval in the mail - our advanced approval by the US government to adopt a child overseas!

God continues to bless our journey!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Prayers for Sunny Weather Saturday

First, I have to take a moment to say THANK YOU to our family and friends. We have had so many "Spring Clean" items out of their house and donated to our yard sale that there is a path through my dining room only. I have also still been getting calls daily with new donations. We are so humbled by the love and support that everyone has shown to us. We pray that God will richly bless each family that has so richly blessed us with their love and support!

I aslo want to say THANK YOU to all our prayer warriors. We know that the peace we have had throughout this process is largely due to the prayers and petitions being sent up by so many prayer warriors. Even when the waiting gets a bit tough we are reminded of how many of you are praying for us and we are just overwhelmed that we know so many people that are so caring.

To all of our prayer warriors we are asking you to step in the gap for us! We have been planning a fundraising yardsale for about a month now for this Saturday, May 1st. Well, as of this afternoon there is a 40%-60% chance of rain that day, depending on what station you watch! We do not have a garage, so this is largely dependent on dry weather! One of the meteorologists said on tonight's news that "We're still five days out from the weekend, so we could see the rain predictions have some movement in the timeline."

I was thinking - "Yes, time for God to just push that rain off until Saturday!" So the deal is that we have to put the add in the newspaper Wednesday, so we will have to make the decision then whether to go for it or if the % of chance of rain increases to just postpone until May 15th. Either way, we know that God has a plan for when and how this should happen, so if your will just pray that the weather will align with His will for this weekend and we will patiently follow in preparing or waiting.

Thank you again dear friends! We can't wait to introduce you to our dear girl who you all have such a large part in her life already!

Have a happy Teusday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

No News...Extremely Blessed!

Well, my mailbox stalking has been completely without result this week! I have resisted the urge to send an email off to the USCIS office as well...very tough, since I have this urge to remind them it has been three weeks and no news, but I figure it would be good to wait just one more week :)
Tomorrow marks four months of waiting for a referral for our Annalee. The time has passed so quickly and we have been able to prepare in so many ways.
Last night at church my dear adoption friends surprised me with a gift in a "baby" was so sweet I could have cried on the spot. Since they know how much I love to read and prepare for our lives as adoptive parents, they gave me a great book! You will have to stay tuned for a future book review!
Monday we were blessed with a huge donation to our yardsale. Our friends Stephanie and Darrell were so generous in their "Spring Cleaning" items. The highlight was getting to have dinner with Stephanie "just the girls" to chat and share about our lives in general lately. I am so thankful that God continues to bless our lives with Christian friends!
Supporting a Good Cause:
Tonight I came across a blog in which an adoptive family is raising money through a very nifty craft themed hairbows. If you have adopted from Ethiopia or Korea or know someone who has or will be, then head over to their site & check them out...just adorable!
If you live in Hopkinsville, KY and will be looking for some entertainment tomorrow evening (04/23/2010), then stop by the youth building at Hillcrest Baptist Church at 7:00pm for a free concert and guest speaker, Kelly Putty from Ordinary Hero They will be taking up a love offering to raise money for the Wilson family, currently adopting from Ethiopia.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I promised a picture post, so here we go!
Below are pictures of the knitted hats that we have complete and ready to keep some people warm this winter!  Enjoy!
Infant Hats ($10):

Small Hats ($12):

Medium Hats ($14):

Large Hats ($16):

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Upcoming Week

PRAISE: This Saturday our church and community held a benefit day for our Minister of Music, who just had a liver transplant. This morning they announce they had collected around $30,000, yes, you read that correctly - $30,000.00! Our church has a saying "God is Good - All the Time and All the Time - God is Good!" Praise the Lord for people that are so willing to step up and care for one of His blessed ministers!
This week will be my week to stalk the mailbox! In the adoption world, stalking the mailbox is a frequently enjoyed past-time for families with long awaited news expected soon. For our family - Tuesday marks three weeks since USCIS told us our I600A approval or a request for more information would arrive in about "3 weeks". Approval gives us advanced approval to adopt an orphan from oversees and is supposed to speed the paperwork process to bring our girl home once we have been matched with a referral!
Also, this week begins the first of two weeks of intense YARD SALE preparations! Pending the weather outlook our adoption fundraising sale will be held May 1st. We have had some wonderful families donate items to our sale and I have been cleaning out like nobody's business! In addition to a vast array of furniture, toys, collectable dishes, clothes, etc, we will have our knitted hats available, and our oldest will have a refreshment stand with bottled water, homemade cookies, and featuring fresh "Just Love" coffee, which you can taste, then go home and order a package on-line for your every morning pleasure!
On Friday, April 23rd at 7:00pm in the Youth Building of Hillcrest Baptist Church there will be a free benefit concert for Heath and Paige Wilson (Adopting from Ethiopia). A love offering will be taken to raise funds for their adoption. A friend of theirs will be highlighting songs from here new CD for sale and Kelly Putty with the organization Ordinary Hero will be there to share her adoption story. If you live near Hopkinsville, KY and don't have plans that night I would encourage you to drop by!
Friday, April 23rd will also mark four months since we were added to the list to wait for a referral for our little girl...not that I am counting or anything :) God has so richly blessed our family in so many ways, I am humbled and it just overwhelms me to consider that He would choose our family for such a special gift and to experience the awesome journey of adoption. I pray I always remember the lessons He has brought us and the love we have experienced!
Prayers for the week:
  • Our I600A will arrive in the mail this week!
  • Great weather for May 1st
  • A huge attendance and offering for Heath & Paige Wilson
  • A great sell out event at our Yard Sale
  • Oh, and a referral would be great too!
As soon as I charge my camera I will post some pictures of the great Knitted Hats that have busily been in production at our house. For all of you that commented on how nice they were and wonder why I never use the term "I or me" when discussing them...well, I cannot take credit for the wonderful hats...another adult in our house, who totally is okay with me taking the credit is the actual knitter. I of course am happily working on the more practical "pot scrubbers"! :) How great God matches the "free spirits" and the "nerds" in marital bliss!
Anyway...we have already sold three, completed two for additional orders, so I will post a full preview of those that will be available May 1st with prices, in case anyone is interested! They are really warm and would be great early Christmas gift purchases!
Stay tuned, later in the week I have news of a fabulous giveaway! Of course I need to charge my camera for pictures of the loot! Get your recipe boxes out and find some "original" and/or "family" gems (recipes)! They might just earn you some great'll want to share this with your friends!
Thanks for stopping by and have a very blessed week!

The Ragsdales

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Little Steps, Big Steps

The adoption journey is not a fast journey, it is not a carefree easy path, rather it is little steps into the unknown, sometimes hard, sometimes slow, but when you reach the top! When you behold your child for the first time, when you pack that suitcase, board that plane, hold your child in your arms for the first time, little steps or big steps no longer matter. Instead the trials, the wait, the steps along the way fade as you embrace your new life, grow to new levels of love, and push through the challenges of blooming into a family!

Over the past weeks there have been very tiny steps toward our adoption, each one kind of just blending into daily life, not really showing progress in the journey. Today, however, brought bigger steps on our journey!

Today we...

...completed our last online course to meet our Hague education requirements
...applied for passports for Mom & Eldest Son for their trip to meet Annalee
...received an unexpected check from coffee sales
...baked our 50th cake in our cake fundraising
...completed our 3rd knitted hat that has been ordered

To complete the day we enjoyed the rewards of our coupons and frugal shopping by using our four free movie tickets and taking the boys to see "How to Train your Dragon". It was a very family friendly movie and we had a great time just having some fun family time!

So, what happens now? W are waiting for our I600A approval to arrive in the mail...hopefully within the next week or week and a half. Our passports should arrive in four to six weeks and we get ready to complete our Infant First Aid and CPR training. After that we just wait for our referral.

April will be a very busy time for us as we are planning a fundraising yard sale the first Saturday in May. If you have any "stuff" you want to Spring Clean out of your house...let us know, if you are local, we would be happy to pick it up! We have been blessed by many donations of Winter Cleaning sessions and will spend time the next few weeks getting it all priced and ready to sell!

Please continue to pray for our sweet Annalee and the process. Also, Nate has an opportunity to work a second job for a while to earn money for our adoption, but we need prayers! He needs to take off from his regular job for a few days this month for training and then the times will not overlap. Pray that his boss will allow him this time for training and that their will be plenty of work during the few months that this job could be available!

Thank you always for your concern and prayers over our adoption and lives!

Have a blessed weekend!

The Ragsdales

Friday, April 2, 2010

Time for Reflection

Life as of late has been stressful, to say the least, my mind races from topic to topic...adoption, orthodontist, taxes, work, chiropractor, church, school, drs. visits, family, finances, our military, couponing, deadlines, etc.
Some days the thoughts swirl, schedules are followed or missed, and life marches along at a break-neck pace, and you pause to look up and it is April, the first three months of the year have passed, the snow has melted and is replaced by sunshine, tall grass, budding trees and daffodils. In the busyness of life it is easy to get lost, to fail to appreciate the moment, to stop and smell the roses along the way. You pause to reflect and realize that you rushed the days away in a hurry to accomplish something and have failed to grasp the moments of life that cannot be recaptured.
The past few weeks/months have been spent in our family carting our boys from medical, dental and chiropractor appointments multiple times a week, trying to achieve movement with our adoption training credits and paperwork - as we just want not to think about it in hopes something "big" will happen, and juggling our work and church schedules to meet our responsibilities. Life is good, don't get me wrong, but this week I have had a gnawing desire to pause, to breathe, to even just run to the store with hubby and let the rest of life fade away for a few minutes....
It is in these times of hecticness, things often come along our paths to slow us down, to cause a time of reflection. For us this week, our youngest has been ill with a rash and fever most of the week. This week work, adoption, school, church, schedules, deadlines have not been important, instead time with our boys, time to rest, time to just take a breather have taken priority.
Along with the time to reflect, came moments of fear, times of frustration, hours of sheer exhaustion. Our oldest had a big health scare when he was four and awoke one morning unable to walk...the next few days were pure torture as we went from doctor to doctor and had test after test, the last being a bone scan to test for cancer. In the end his bloodwork came back and it with elevated step levels and he was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever.
This week we had every reason to believe our youngest may have a case of Scarlet Fever. I must admit the week for me was dominated by fear. The negative throat culture could not persuade me, only today when his bloodwork came back normal could a sigh a breath of relief. Now we still don't know what we're dealing with, most likely a nasty virus, but my greatest fear has been laid to rest, we are not reliving the nightmare of five years ago.
In this time of fear, in this time of reflection God's Word has pushed forward in my thoughts...
"I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind"
"Be still and know that I am God"
"I will not leave thee nor forsake thee"
"Ask and it shall be given unto you"
I am so thankful for a God, who is faithful in His promises and has the perfect Word for us just when we need it. He provides rest, healing, hope, faith, and love. What more could we ever want or need?
This week have you taken the time to reflect? Are you living the journey or are you so focused on the destination, goal, deadline that you are rushing the precious moments away? What promise are you clinging to?
We pray that as you enjoy Good Friday and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this Easter, that you will take the time to reflect and appreciate the promise and hope we have been given, and if you don't know if this hope of which I me..I would love to tell you about it!
The Ragsdales (