Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grace's Adoption Story

On January 8, 2007 I was having a time of prayer. Nathan and I were struggling through some things in our marriage and yet I had been praying daily that the Lord would grant us another child. On this particular morning I felt the Lord speaking to me very clearly saying that we were going to have a daughter and he wanted us to name her Grace. I journaled this but did not tell anyone. A little over a month went by before I shared this with Nathan. It was actually on Valentines Day. I shared what I felt like the Lord had told me. Nathan affirmed me by saying that God has spoken to me in the same way many times before. Since we knew I was not pregnant he felt like we should pursue adoption again. I was ready to call Life Choices (our domestic adoption agency) but Nathan reminded me that before Caleb was born God gave us a vision of adopting a bi-racial little boy and a little girl from Thailand. We committed to take a month to fast and pray and asked some of our closest friends to join us. After fasting, praying and researching for that month we shared with our family our plan to pursue adopting a little girl from Thailand.

We could not officially start the adoption process until Caleb turned two, so on May 11, 2007 we sent off our application and began the journey to Grace. Our dossier (a collection of official documents) was sent to Thailand in September of 2007 and our wait for a referral began. At the end of January of 2008 I was in a rut and felling pretty depressed about what seemed to be a never ending process. I began to doubt if our adoption process would ever result in bringing a child home. My dear friend Melinda Snader (also an adoptive mom of two girls) and I got together for coffee and she encouraged me with scripture and with an understanding of the roller coaster of emotions that comes with such a lengthy adoption process. I came home encouraged. As if the Lord had not blessed me enough through her I came home to a message from Shaohannah’s Hope. For those of you who do not know, SH is Steven Curtis Chapman’s ministry that provides adoption assistance and resources for believers pursuing adoption. (You can check out their website at http://www.showhope.org/.) I thought that this phone call was in response to the grant application we submitted. When I returned the phone call, our family was invited to come to Steven Curtis Chapman’s show in Jonesboro. They ask a different family who has applied for assistance to come to each of his shows and at the end of his concert come on stage with him and share/answer questions about their adoption process. We accepted the invitation feeling so humbled by the opportunity and blessed that God cared enough about us to meet our need for encouragement in such a drastic way. So in mid February Nathan, Betty (Nathan’s mom), Caleb and I traveled to Jonesboro for the concert. It was such an amazing experience. They do an incredible job of educating people on the needs of orphans around the world. Through out the show they were collecting donations to allow them to present a grant to a family at the end of the show. It was not until the middle of the show that I realized that WE were that family! We were blessed that night with a grant for $4,000 and with the prayers of Steven and the audience over our family. That experience will always stand out to me as one of the sweetest during Grace’s adoption process.

On June 10, 2008 on our way home from Blue Coast Burrito we got a phone call from our adoption agency letting us know that we had a referral. Kwankhao Sakuntaradon was born in Bangkok, Thailand on October 3, 2007. At the time of our referral she was eight months old and living with a foster family. She was so adorable and our hearts began to ache for her. Caleb as so excited that night he could not quit jumping on his bed. When we corrected him (he had just turned three) he told us that he could not stop jumping because he was so full of joy! One of the sweetest things that happened took place the day after we received our referral. Because both of our children are adopted I asked the Lord to confirm that they were ours, intended to be in our family and not something that we had made happen on our own. He did that very clearly with Caleb. So the morning after we received our referral I remember asking the Lord the significance of January 8th for Grace. I really expected it to be her birthday and was shocked when it was not. I had this idea to use a conception calculator to figure out her conception date. It was January 8th 2007. The Lord spoke to me when she was conceived as he was knitting her together in her birth mom’s womb and began the work of bringing her home to us. What a confirmation that he had chosen us to be Grace’s family.
The months that followed our referral were sweet to begin with. Mom and I began shopping for little girl clothes and our family looked forward to the updates we got every three months. In October I began to struggle with depression over the longing for her to come home. I cried just about every day begging the Lord to bring her home by Christmas. Despite the sadness I felt the Lord carried us through the holidays and blessed us with sweet time as a family. Then on Christmas Eve we finally got an answer to our prayers.

Christmas Eve morning Granny, my mom’s mom, called me and said that she had been praying for me throughout the previous day and she felt like the Lord said “Look up, joy comes in the morning.” She did not know what that meant but felt like it was something that the Lord wanted her to share with me. I was encouraged that she had been praying for me but was not quite sure what these words meant. About an hour later we were on our way to Nathan’s parent’s house to spend Christmas Eve with them when I got a phone call from our social worker at Holt. She told me that we had our travel approval and would be meeting Grace in Thailand on the 25th of January. I was blown away. The Lord had encouraged us that morning and then followed with this amazing gift. Granny was the first person I called and we both were able to praise God for his goodness.

Our journey to Thailand is recorded on our blog at http://www.slankyandcompany.blogspot.com/. Now four months after traveling to Thailand we cannot imagine our lives without this little girl. Her adoption process was the hardest thing I have ever been through but it was also the most rewarding. We could not have done it without the prayers and support both emotional and financial of our family and friends. Thank y’all for being a part of this journey with us. We are filled with praise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3086 Princeton

These pictures are for our family members that are out of town...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Grace's Neighborhood Greeting

I meant to post these pictures of our neighbors preparing a sign for Grace's homecoming. Thank you Austin, Olivia, Elianna, Preston, Bennett and Emma Sanders. Grace and Caleb are both so thankful for your friendships! (E and Carrie...thanks to you too! I love you both!)

Saturday, February 7, 2009



3 BR/1BA
Bathroom completely remodeled
All new exterior paint
New shed in backyard
Fenced in backyard
Neighborhood association with great neighbors

For more information please contact:
Kim Cook

I said in my last blog post that I was going to add information about our move. While we were in Thailand signifigant progress was made on our new home on Princeton. It looks like we should be moving around mid-April or maybe even before. That means we really need to come up with a plan for our house on Hopkins. We know God is moving us to Princeton. After years of living here and loving our neighbors we know that God has a plan for someone to live in this house as well. We really want to sell it but will begin coming up with a plan to rent it in starting in March. If anyone reading this blog is intrested in our house or knows someone who is please contact us. We are waiting to see what the Lord is going to do as he answers our prayers to bless some other family or person through this home and the community on Hopkins.


I had a little airheaded moment and posted before I added pictures to our last blog. I tried to go back and add them but currently Grace is climbing on me and I don't have the patience to figure it all out. So here are the pictures I would have added to the last post.


It has been a week since we have posted anything. Sorry to those of you who have been following our blog and especially to those who have been praying for us. Your prayers have been so fruitful! We are doing very well. To update you I will start with our journey home.

Our full time in flight was around 19 hours. I think our last post before we left said that Grace had begun to attach to Nathan as well as me. That was just in the nick of time. I was terrified of holding her in my lap for the duration of our flights by myself! We were able to get seats in the bulkhead of the plane with a bassinet for Grace on both of our long flights. She almost did not pass the weight limit to get to sleep in the bassinet but fortunately the stewardess let us try it. The miracle of it all is that she only cried for about 30 minutes of the 19 hour flight. That 30 minutes was broken up over the time we were traveling. She slept most of the time we were in the air and otherwise colored, ate and played. She was delightful while we were traveling.

We arrived in Chicago at about 9:00 AM on Sunday morning. We rolled through immigration and before I even had my camera ready Grace got the stamp in her passport that makes her a US citizen. I did not expect to be emotional about that but when Nathan looked down I was crying. It just made things feel more permanant. I also was able to let some of my OCD go at that point because I had secretly feared that we would get to Chicago and the immigration folks would not let her in!

In Chicago Grace not only got to experience her first cold weather but also got to see and feel snow. The walk from the L-train to Chad and Steph's apartment was surreal. I just kept wondering what in the world Grace was thinking. We had a great visit with Chad and Steph. They made lunch for us which was so nice after eating out for two weeks and escorted us back to the airport to make our flight to Memphis.

When we got to Memphis we finally got to the point I have been waiting two years for. Caleb ran to greet us and I sobbed. Finally our whole family was together. Our parents and Sarah and Ted were there to meet us along with several close friends. Grace was so peaceful and let her grandparents and Sarah and Ted hold her. When we got home we found lights on in our home, dinner in the freezer, a welcome home sign on the door and little treats scattered in our house. Our neighbors took such great care of Duke (our boxer), our house and the four of us. Our parents left us with BBQ, flowers, breakfast and just about anything else you could think of. We are so blessed!

At home...Sunday night we were all so tired (except for Caleb). We played for a little bit, ate dinner and went to bed. Caleb and Grace both were very warm with each other and she seemed to be very peaceful at home. Nathan returned to work on Thursday so we had about three days to get used to being a family of four. We were planning on doing nothing but playing for a few days but that was not really what happened. We realized Grace had head lice after we got home and she had passed it on to me as well. Fortunately Nathan and Caleb took most of our laundry to the laundromat for me. By Wednesday afternoon we had all been treated (two times) for lice, all of our laundry was done and we were unpacked. This helped me so much when Thursday rolled around and Nathan went back to work.

Grace is doing very well. She seems very peaceful at home. She is sleeping well at night. She still wakes up for a bottle a couple of times in the night. We decided to wait until we got home and settled to deal with weaning her off of her bottle. The damage of sleeping with a bottle of formula for 16 months has already been done. We think she has two cavities already. Anyways, she has adjusted very well. She also eats like a champ and loves her brother.

Caleb has also done really well. We did not anticipate how difficult all of this was going to be for him. More than adding a sister I think it was really difficult to have us away for so long and then for us to come home and have to divide our attention while being so tired. He has been through a lot but seems to love Grace. Nathan and I both are in need of an extra measure of patience with him as he adjusts to the changes the last month has brought.

So there you have it. I was tempted not to mention the lice but Tammy you said to share all. We continue to ask for your prayers as we learn to live in community with each other, in regard to our housing changes and for me with my headaches. I have a doctors appointment in a couple of weeks and we are going to post information about our housing changes in the next day or so. Anyways, thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. The have carried us through this season. Please keep praying for us!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rice Painting

Have you ever tried finger painting with rice? Grace finally ate real food yesterday afternoon and again this morning. This morning her stomach was a little upset when she woke up, but it didn't affect her appetite. She ate a bowl of rice and a piece of toast and "painted" sticky rice all over herself and the table.

She is starting to bond to both of us and sleeping well at night. We are leaving for the airport in about 10 hours. Thank you for your prayers for our return home. We have some more fun pictures to post after we get home.