Monday, July 30, 2007

House Closing

Well, we had the closing today for the new house. Everything went according to plan--no surprises. As soon as we closed we started moving boxes to the new house so that our house will look nice for buyers. When we got home today the for sale sign was in our front yard. It was very emotional. While I'm excited about moving, I'm really sad about leaving our house. I'm sure everyone goes through these emotions when they move out of their first house.

Tonight Brian wanted to walk around the new house and pray over it. It was really neat--my husband is so awesome. :-)

Painting starts tomorrow! We washed all of the base-boards and trim in the den and my dad is going to start painting tomorrow while we are at work. After the painting is finished we can start working on the floors. There is a chance we will be having a painting party this weekend--more about that to come!

Okay, (for those of you readers that are not a part of Benton Heights Elementary and didn't hear me talk about this all day today) I didn't get up until 7:00 this morning! (About the time I should BE at work.) I slept through my alarm for a solid hour! All this to say, I MUST get to bed! Goodnight!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Birth Mothers

We had the privilege this week of catching a special on 2o/20 about adoption focusing on birth mothers. It followed two birth mothers as they made the decision to give their babies up for adoption. It was both eye-opening and heart-breaking. I think up until now I've somewhat thought about our daughter's birth mother and the decision she had (or will have) to make, but I've felt really removed from that part of our child's life. After watching this program, it really made me feel a special connection to birth mothers. Having been in the situation with Zeke and having to let go of your baby knowing that's God's will and that it's best for him/her--it really allowed me to connect with these women. These women loved their children so much that they did what was best for them--even though it was the most painful thing I'm sure they will ever have to do. I am so amazed at the strength, courage, and love these women have for their children. Adoption is such a special gift that God has given us and I am so grateful that He has allowed Brian and I to experience this gift.

"...we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters."
--Romans 8:23

Moving Right Along

Well, things have been moving right along for us this week. First of all, the sweet little children came back to school on Friday. For us (kindergarten teachers), we didn't actually have our class, but just a group of 30 kindergartners that we all tested. The kids are so cute and seem SO small compared to my class of almost second graders I just left. Although the testing can be kind of boring, it's fun to hear the kids' answers to some of the questions. (If they can speak any English, that is!) My classroom is finally almost set up which has been a long time coming seeing as we've had termites and my room has been in shambles for the last couple of weeks. Kindergarten testing goes through Wednesday, Thursday is open house, and Friday is the first day of school for Kindergarten--that's when I'll have my class for the first time.

We close on the house tomorrow at 1:00! We are both excited and nervous about this big leap we are taking. They've allowed us to go ahead and start cleaning up some since it's a forecloser which has been nice, but in all honesty--with everything else we've had going on--we've only actually made it over there once. It's still got a long way to go but it's amazing how far it's come already.

We got the last of our adoption paperwork sent off yesterday which was a HUGE task that we got taken care of. Now we are truly just "waiting"--up until this point we've had something we've needed to be working on for the adoption at all times, but now it's SO nice to honestly be just sitting back and waiting. We are waiting for our paperwork that we sent to the Secretary of State to get certified then authenticated then EVERYTHING will be off to Vietnam. SO exciting!

Yesterday we went to Raleigh for a wedding. Brian's good friend got married. It was a beautiful wedding and we got to spend some good time with our friends Josh and Brooke. We even got to watch a movie in their new movie room last night! It was honestly better than a movie theater--very impressive!

I'll close this post with some pictures--because as Anna says all posts are better with pictures. The first several pictures I stole from my friend Brooke's blog--they were taken at a wedding shower we went to last weekend honoring Brian's friend from college, Matt. The bottom picture is a picture of Brian with his sister Marie that she emailed us last week. It was taken when we went to Winston-Salem for the Forth of July. Enjoy!

My husband--what a hottie! :-)

Me, Brooke, Jessie
Brian and me, Josh and Brooke, Jarod and Jessie

He looks like a sweet little brother--we know the truth, don't we, Marie?
Just kidding! :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Big Step

Well, today our paperwork left to be state certified. We are saying a special prayer because there are a couple of documents we are a little unsure about. The Secretary of State's office assured me they were okay, but you never know who is actually going to look at them. But if all goes well, PLAN (our placement agency) will get the documents and send them to be authenticated and then our dossier is off to Vietnam! One step closer!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Big week!

Well, this week has been a big week for the Hines' so we've got lots of updates. First, we were VERY excited to open our mailbox today and find that our I 171H had arrived! We weren't expecting it until August or September so we were thrilled to get it today. The I 171H is the document granting us permission to bring an orphan into the United States. We have a few finishing touches to put on our dossier and then it's off to be state certified. Very big step! We also found out this week that another couple we know are going to be adopting from Vietnam as well and when I got home tonight she had emailed me and they got their I 171H today too! We could very well be traveling together which would be very exciting. They are also adopting a little girl from China so they have much more experience in the international adoption world--I'm planning on using her a lot as a resource. :-)

In other news, we have an official closing date on our new house--July 30th. I have such mixed emotions about moving. I'm excited about having a fresh start, but sad about leaving our house. We won't get to move in for awhile after we close because we'll have some work to do. We are still planning on a moving party sometime in the near future. :-)

Brian has been helping his friend Josh work on "the movie room" at his house. Josh has turned his unfinished bonus room into a movie room. Josh is incredibly handy and has done pretty much all of the work himself. Hopefully Brian is learning a lot that he can put to use in fixing up our new house. :-)

Finally, even Ruthie had an exciting week this week as she had a doggie sleep over. Her lab friend, Shelby, stayed at our house while her owners Matt and Tara spent some time at the beach checking out locations for their upcoming wedding. Ruthie wasn't sure she cared for Shelby at first, but by the time it was time for Shelby to leave, they had become good friends. We decided that we don't have enough going on in our lives right now so we are going to get a puppy! Just kidding. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hang Gliding

While Tara and I were busy planning for Anna's party this weekend, Brian went camping with some guy friends. They got to go hang gliding which was very exciting. Here are some neat pictures from their trip:

Scott taking off

Brian taking off
Scott and Brian in the air--okay, not really. :-)
Scott and Kevin

I'm glad the guys got to have quality "guy time" this weekend and do whatever it is guys do with no ladies around. This trip was actually planned by Scott's wife as they have their second baby coming in ONE MONTH--so exciting! :-)

Congratulations Anna and James!

Last night was my good friend Anna's engagement party. Anna and I teach together at Benton Heights and she is AWESOME to work with. She's one of those people that everyone loves. She is an amazing teacher and a great friend. I am so excited about moving back down to kindergarten with her next year. She and James are such special people and Brian and I are very excited about their upcoming wedding! Congratulations, guys!
James and Anna--the happy couple.
A preview of the cake-cutting?
A couple of random pictures too cute not to post:
Ms. Tye
Matt and Tara

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


My friend Alicia and I were talking last week about how we tend to like to do all of the major things in life in a short period of time. For example, I graduated college, started a new job, planned a wedding, and bought a new house all in one summer. It feels like this is going to be another one of those years.

Since Zeke passed away, Brian and I have talked about moving on and off. While we love our house and didn't want to lose the memories of Zeke here, the thought of putting another child in his room is hard. While our house is three bedrooms and that's not something we'll have to deal with anytime soon, Zeke's room will have to become the office/guest room when the new baby comes. We've started cleaning out his room--we've done it in stages--but I just don't know that I would ever be able to use it again.

We'll, we'd looked a few houses but had decided that this was not the year to think about moving with the adoption happening right now, so we put it on the back burner. Then last week a house nearby went into foreclosure and it was SUCH a good deal that we put on offer on the house. Today we found out that our offer was accepted! We know that God's had was in this as we were only the top offer by $600! Our realtor said that was the closest he's ever seen.

Our new neighborhood is directly behind our old neighborhood which is nice because as most of you know both my parents and my brother have houses in our current neighborhood. So we will still be in walking distance. (It actually probably takes less time to walk as there is no cut-through so it's a few miles away.)

Our tentative closing date is August 10th so I'm sure we'll be posting more about moving soon! We'll probably have a big moving party! :-)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007


"I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."
--Isaiah 43:5

We are working with Christian Adoption Services in Matthews. We had a sweet social worker that just completed our homestudy and we just got it in the mail this week! (A lot faster than I expected!) We decided to look at where the biggest need was and decided that was internationally. We looked into several programs but didn't qualify for a lot of them because of our age. A lot of countries require you to be 30--and while Brian is a LOT closer to 30 than I am (ha!), neither of us qualify for many places such as China. The countries we qualified for (that CAS works with) were Vietnam and Guatemala. We didn't have a peace about Guatemala so we decided to pursue Vietnam. Christian Adoption Services networks with an agency called Plan Loving Adoptions Now (PLAN) so right now we are working on all of our paperwork for PLAN and our Vietnam dossier (the packet of papers Vietnam requires.) Right now we are waiting on a paper called an I171A which is basically permission from the United States government to bring in an orphan. We should hear something by August or September and then our paperwork will go to Vietnam and we will wait on a referral--a picture and information on a child waiting in a Vietnamese orphanage.

In the meantime, in trying to be open to WHATEVER God has planned for us, we are also registered with the Department of Health and Human Services who will notify us if children come into the foster care system in the United States that we may be interested in adopting. We were clear, however, with CAS that we were NOT interested in dual-placement (I know, I know.....what did I just say about being open to WHATEVER God has planned--I better be careful!) :-) so once our dossier is in Vietnam we will take that as a clear sign that that is the path we are supposed to take. Another adoptive parent gave us some real words from the Lord that we have really taken to heart. She said that the thing to consider was where OUR child is--and pray that God would reveal that to us. It gets so easy to make it about the country, but the truth is God has a child out there that he has chosen for US--so we are trying to be open to His Spirit and His leading--whether that be in the United States or in Vietnam.

Whatever God has planned, we are very excited!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Why Adopt?

Although our friends and family have been VERY supportive of our decision to adopt, quite a few times we've gotten the question "why adopt?" We are not infertile and while we had a son with special needs, our chances of having a normal, healthy child are just as good as anyone's, so why adopt?

Well, God put adoption on our hearts long before we were ready for children. (For me, I think it was as a child the first time I realized there were actually children in the world without homes.) Since Brian and I met and began dating, we had always factored our adoption children into our life equation. After Zeke passed away, we both had the desire for more children. The more we prayed, the clearer it became that now was the time God had prepared for us to adopt a child. I will always remember the night a couple of months ago when Brian said "I can't imagine a more perfect way to mirror God's love than through adoption." I think those words will be engrained in my heart forever. The Bible says that God "predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." (Ephesians 1:5) And I just love that image. God doesn't just say we can be his friends, He calls us His SONS (and daughters)--He is saying that since the beginning of time He has chosen us to be a part of his family through Jesus Christ. And the second part of that verse--with his PLEASURE and will. He finds pleasure in adopting us--in making us His own. So I have to be in agreement with my wonderful husband--what a pleasure and an honor to show a child just small glimpse of the love God has for us. The Bible also says that "pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..." (James 1:27) Adoption is just so obviously a beautiful plan that God has for the world and we are honored that God has called us to be adoptive (and adopted!) parents.

New Blog

As many of you know, Brian and I have recently started the adoption process. Several people have asked if we were going to start an adoption blog and I immediately said yes, but I have to admit it was hard to finally take the step to create it. My only experience with blogs/blogging was our blog for Zeke--a means of keeping friends updated on his life. As funny as it sounds, blogging (like so many other things) was connected to him in my mind so it was a little emotional to start over. I really enjoy keeping up with friends through their blogs and being able to say after not getting together for a month or so "oh, I read on your blog that...." It's a really neat way of staying connected. My plan for this blog is to remember our precious son Zeke who is now with Jesus, chronicle the journey of our adoption, and update our friends on the happenings of the Hines family.