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Showing posts from 2016

OUR YEAR IN A JAR- 2016 Edition

One of my favorite traditions is our end of the year jar. It gives us such a great perspective on all wonderful things that has happened in the year. Without our jar, we have found that we really focus on the BIG stuff- whether that be good or bad. What I love about our jar, is it reminds us of little things that we often would not remember, but it brings us smiles and joy as we remember the sweet little moments that we have experienced throughout the year. We don't have a system of when we put things in, so some months have more than others. We simply keep the jar on our coffee table with a pen and paper all year long, and we fill it as things happen.

Our jar is filled with Adventures, Answered Prayers, Laughable Moments, Blessings, and Things We Don't Want to Forget. 
Okay so 2016!
Wow! What a year it has been. Like every year, it has been filled with good and not so good. Our hearts have been broken and hurt for many people nationally and around the world for various reason…

Waiting on a Printer

We live in a world where our lives are so very dependent on the technology that we use.  I mean seriously! I can’t find my way home from anywhere; I don’t have a real alarm clock; I definitely don’t know the phone numbers of any of my friends; I have to google so many things every day! Maybe you are better than me, but functioning without technology can be rough. Many of us have become so dependent on it that we can’t imagine a life without the resources that are so easily accessible to us.
This week, I was having a rough time thinking about this sweet little boy of ours. Everyone knows the holidays make it difficult to be away from those you love. I have been playing Christmas music in my class all week, and every time I hear the song “All I Want for Christmas is You”, I can’t help but think how true that statement is in my life right now. Since Ethiopia is still in a State of Emergency, internet and cell phone use is still extremely limited. Zane’s nannies are saying they get access…

When You Saw Me

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Oh how very sweet and exciting it was answer the phone call where we discovered who you were. We learned about your village, your past, your medical history, and more, but we were anxiously waiting to see your face. After we hung up the phone, we impatiently kept refreshing our email until suddenly THE EMAIL APPEARED. The email where we laid eyes on you for the first time. Oh how precious those first pictures were. Your beautiful dark brown skin was the first thing we noticed.  We laughed (in a loving way I promise) at your adorable pointy ears and your chubby cheeks. Your lips were pressed tightly together, and you didn't reveal any teeth although we knew you had them. Bright yellow crocs were pointed out quickly by daddy. He really likes shoes, and he is excited to shoe shop with you. You sat strongly on the little ledge on the landscaping at the Transition Home and looked so innocently at the camera. Tiny little hands clasped together as if they didn't know where else to g…

Orphan Sunday

This Sunday, many churches around America advocate for orphans through a program called Orphan Sunday. This is the short video that many churches will be starting their morning services with this year.  CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Many of you know of the need, and today, I challenge you to be a part of the solution. Here are a few ways you can help with advocating for orphans.

1. Pray for orphans here in the United States and globally.
2. Find a foster/ adoptive family and figure out a way to love on them.
3. Begin researching foster care in your state.
4. Begin researching adoption and thinking about what that would look like for your family.
5. Consider being a respite family (you would have a child in your home for 1-5 days while a foster family is out of town, needs a break, or has an emergency)
5. Donate to organizations such as ShowHope that help adoptive families financially (They really do!) or organization that help with orphan care.
6. BE CREATIVE and think of your own way to be a …

Update on Ethiopia

I wanted to write an update on what we currently know about the State of Emergency in Ethiopia.

The courts have opened which is wonderful news since that is where we are going on our first trip to Ethiopia. You may have also read on social media that we received pictures and updates of Zane! All of this may have sounded like things are back to normal, but unfortunately, they are not. The State of Emergency is set to be in place for six months.

We had a conference call with our adoption agency on Thursday, and they told us internet and cell phone use is still being limited greatly. Zane's home currently gets an hour or two of internet a day which does not allow them time to send all the emails and documents that they need to send. This also means that all of the paperwork we are currently waiting on is going much slower than usual (if that is somehow possible) due to limited time to access the internet and connect with people they need to connect with. They said to expect longer w…

Calling all Warriors

I've been stalking my emails this week because we were told we would be receiving pictures and updates on our little man. My heart leaped with joy as I saw we finally had the email we were waiting on; however, it turned out to not be what we wanted at all.

Adoption has definitely prepared me for the unexpected. Sadly, it has made me cautious to rejoice at good or promising news. We've learned that things can change in a matter of minutes or at least it seems for the better or the worse. It has showed me how so many things are out of my hands. In the wait, we have grown and learned so much for that I am so very thankful, but the wait has been far harder and painful than it has pleasant.

Today was a painful day. Today, I have been provided with two choices in how I can respond to the news I received. I can sit and cry and I may do that, or I can stand and fight the only way I know how in this current situation. We were just given the heartbreaking, gut punching news that the Prime…

TRIVIA NIGHT FUNDRAISER!

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We are so excited for the trivia night! We love you all so much! We can't wait to have a big family/friend reunion playing trivia and helping to bring Zane home! Leah has an awesome night planned with great door prizes and really fun trivia questions! Thanks for being a part of this crazy journey!
When:Saturday, November 12 at 6:15 PM Where:St. Teresa Catholic School 1108 Lebanon Ave, Belleville, Illinois  RESERVE YOUR TABLE BY EMAILING: woodsontrivia@gmail.com

*Details From Leah About the Night*
1.) Please note that the trivia night is at the SCHOOL and not the church. Enter through the back doors.  
2.) Doors will open at 4:45pm and trivia will start at 6:15pm. Please have all members of your team here by 6:15 so we can start on time. 
3.) Bring food and drinks of your choice- we will be selling soda and iced tea that evening. 
4.) Bring extra money- we will have mulligans for sale for $1 a piece, raffle for a beautiful handmade afghan and a 50/50 game.
5.) Prize for 1st place and really …

Top Three Questions

Since our exciting news, we have been overwhelmed with so much love and support by all the wonderful people who are connected to us. We know that so many of you have felt like you have been on this emotional journey with us every step of the way, and we are so very thankful for your constant support through it all. We know you are all almost just as excited as us. Sorry have to say almost! WE ARE PRETTY PROUD PARENTS! With your excitement many of you have asked us lots of questions, so I am going to answer the top three questions for you.

Question #3: What do you know about him? What is his name? Do you know why he is in an orphanage? How old is he?

Answer: We know he is an absolutely adorable two year old boy. His village is in Western Ethiopia very close to Sudan.  His name is Zane meaning "Gift of God". We are naming him that, but we will be using his Ethiopian name for his middle name. We do know how he came to the orphanage, but we feel like some of Zane's story is …

The Call

August 22, 2016 started as many Mondays do. I was rushed, I couldn't find my cellphone, and I decided to leave it at home instead of searching and searching and being late for work. Jeffrey and I had just received a letter from immigration with their approval, so I had asked Jeffrey to email me during the day and on my lunch break, I would send it all to our family coordinator at the adoption agency.

Let me jump back for just one minute here. Jeffrey and I felt like we were getting close, and what I mean by close is we thought we would probably be receiving the call within a year or so. Seriously. If you looked at the unofficially list which we know now is clearly unofficial, it looked like we still had close to 15-20 people ahead of us. We knew many people had switched programs and were on hold for various reasons, but we really did't know for sure where we were. What is funny is about a week before the call, we had talked about our game plan if we ever got the call. We had J…

Hit with Reality

If you know me as a teacher, you know that I do my very best, and I want my students to receive a great education and enjoy themselves in my class. I have always said that I want to teach the way that I would want someone to teach my child.

Earlier this week, I discovered that we have a student coming to our school that doesn't speak any English and is coming from a country that would be extremely difficult to translate. Selfishly, I was so relieved to find out that this student was not in the grade that I teach. I even texted a teacher in our grade, and I told her that I was so thankful that we wouldn't have this student.

Last year, I had a student who didn't speak any English, and I was so worried about it at the beginning of the year. It turned out to be the highlight of my school year. His progress was absolutely amazing, and by the end of the year we were having full conversations. He pushed me to be a better teacher, and I was so thankful that he was in my class. Bu…

Mother's Day Identity Crisis

Living in a world where labels tell people so much about who you are can be a tough spot for those in waiting and in longing. Don't get me wrong. I love so many of the labels that identify me. Wife, teacher, sister, friend, life group leader, coach, neighbor, American, and daughter are just of the few labels that I am so proud and humbled to be called. Every year around this time, I find that I struggle with what label I fall under in the "mother" category. Yes, yes, I know, I know. Many of my very sweet friends and family reading this would quickly respond and say, "Of course we look at you as a mother, Rach". But you see, I have found that it is not the labels that people give us, but the labels we see ourselves as that truly define our identity. 
Because you see, no matter how many times, you tell me I am a mother, I still find myself struggling with the big "Mother's Day Decision" do I stand and be recognized at church when they honor mothers…

An Empty Room

We bought a new house
But it has an empty room
When we bought the new house
The room was meant for you

Some people said I should leave it alone
Some people said to decorate it soon
Some worry that it will hurt too much
Some said I should await for you

We bought a new house
But it has an empty room
When we bought the new house
The room was meant for you

Daddy and I have decided to make it yours
It has colors, books, and pictures galore
We are waiting on the bed to see how big you are
We're sure you'll like the room; don't worry our room isn't very far

It is hard to walk by it every day
It constantly reminds us you haven't come to stay
But now we have a special place to think of you and pray
We are ready for you as soon as they say, "Today is the day!"

We bought a new house
We're just missing you
We bought a new house
The room is no longer empty of stuff, but it sure feels empty without you.