Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The moment she took our breath away!

We are in love! It is as simple as that, and at the same time it is so complex! I love this saying, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." In one moment, we looked at her and.... it happened! She has stolen our hearts and took our breath away.
I love being a mom. I really do. I always wanted to be a mom. God has been so good to us and has blessed us with three amazing, healthy, funny, polite, smart, witty, compassionate, lovely boys. I could go on and on about them, I am crazzy about them. Crazzy with them, too. Somewhere in my dreams I always dreamt there would be a little girl in our family. Well, God has answered our prayers in this sweet, petite little girl that we affectionately call Tatumn Hope. Here is a little poem that I found that kind of wraps up my feelings about this ivory skinned, almond eyed beauty that I now call daughter.

As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday.
My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
But now my dreams have been transformed. New visions fill my head.
Now the tresses that I long to stroke are raven black instead.

And in my dreams those eyes are not so big or blue or round.
Now in my dreams they're almond shaped and colored cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.
They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.

As you grow in your birthmother's womb, carefully knit together,
you're also growing in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your birthmother says good-bye,
I'll be right there to comfort you and hold you as you cry.

Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be.
But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands,
and though we're half a world apart in very different lands,

I'll be right there to get you just as soon as God allows.
But until He says the time is right I give to you this vow.
I'll pray for your protection every day on bended knee.
For God to hold you in His arms, until you're here with me.

by Gayle Leubecker
Swept Away, Stephanie

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tatumn Hope Crawford

Today was another day of waiting! That darn UPS man wasn't early, but to his credit we were not the last stop either! As soon as we saw the brown stork...er huh..truck I jumped out the door. I think I may have startled the poor man! I asked him to pose(pictures to come later!) and he took one with the boys' too! Then we had our unveiling! It was magical. I could barely open the package because my hands were shaking so much. The pictures inside took our breath away! We are so in love! She is a tiny thing! Her little fingers are just darling. Her report says she is active, a moderate sleeper, takes good naps, sucks on her fingers to soothe herself (how sweet is that?), is attached to her caretaker, laughs out loud (I wonder what does her little laugh sound like?)turns her head when her name is called. We are in love!
Proud Mommy, Stephanie

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tatumn Hope Crawford

The Crawford Family is blessed to announce Jun De Chen. Jun means good looking. De means virtue. And Chen is her last name and the name of her orphanage. She was born on October 24, 2005. She just turned 8 months old. She weighs 13 lbs and is 24 inches long. She is from the Hunan Province, and is residing at the Chenzhou Childrens Welfare Institute.
As I type this, I am still in awe. It almost seems surreal to me. Her picture is a faxed copy, so it is grainy and dark. But she looks really little, has very little hair, and big almond shaped eyes. I don't think she is setting up, she looks more propped up in this little picture.
I love her though. I almost feel like I knew this would be her. This is what she would look like.
Tomorrow we will get colored pictures and more information. I truly want to know more about this little that we are so excited to call "Crawford". Today, after we got the call the boys and I huddled up and prayed for her. Both of my big boys thanked the Lord for making her a Crawford. Yes! She was made to be one of us. The Lord knew that before one of our days came to be. A Crawford.
Dreaming tonight, Stephanie
I will tell of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1

Friday, June 23, 2006

MONDAY is the DAY!!

After 369 days of being in the China's Adoption system, we will finally get our first glimpse of our sweet little one. The plan for the day is that our referrals will arrive in St. Louis on Monday, the China team will process them, and will scan and e-mail a smaller portion to our branch office in Kansas City. They will then call us with the information and e-mail us a small picture. This information will contain, her Chinese name, her date of birth, where she is at now (orphanage or foster care) how big she is and hopefully a little about her personality. Then on Tuesday, UPS will "deliver" our package to us. This will have more pictures, more information, health information, and hopefully a little about her history!
We are thrilled beyond words!
I have thought about her so much these past 24 hours! I have visualized her in her crib, in the watermelon dress, giving her a bath, maybe putting her hair in a barrett, if not that than in a head band, picturing Kip loving a little girl, holding his daughter. Saying daughter. The boys having a sister. WOW! So many fun and amazing things are coming to the Crawford House! Thanks for being along side us! Looking forward to Monday!
I will tell of the kindness of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us- yes, the many good things he has done for the House of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindness.
Isaiah 63:7

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Referrals are Coming!

It has been exactly one year since we were officially logged into China's Adoption system for our precious little one. This morning, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to get up and check the computer. I looked at the clock and it was 6:20 and I thought "I will look and still be able to get some sleep". Well, sleepy eyes tried to adjust to the glare of the computer screen and read the e-mail that was sent from our China Coordinator. This is what it said "The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before June 28th, 2005." I am speechless! (almost!)I am amazed to think that her picture was matched with our family. Someone in China has seen our family of 6 before we have! I am confident that the Lord was the One doing the matching that day ( and every day!) and He put our family together. Actually before one of our breaths came to be, He knew how our family would look.
We should get the Official Call, maybe on Monday I think. And the package, Tuesday or Wednesday. Travel will be around 6 to 8 weeks after that. What a whirlwind of a ride!
I want to thank everyone for praying for us! And ask you to please not stop! We feel so blessed to walk this road with all of you. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in cards, e-mails, and calls. The love that this precious little one already has is so comforting and assuring. Soon we will be able to introduce you in person to our sweet Tatumn Hope Crawford. Until then please pray for her health, safety,protection, and that the Lord would begin to prepare her heart for us. Our hearts are overwhelmed with love for her.
Celebrating today, Stephanie
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No News.... YET!

If this doesn't feel like the banner over our lives for the past year. Whenever someone, the boy's teachers', neighbors, family members, the BOYS', our Church family, would ask us if we had heard anything, we would comment "No, no news yet!" If only I had a dollar every time I said that.....
Well, after a restless night, not because of anything adoption related I don't sleep well when Kip isn't home! I checked the CCAA website and there has been no change. It's not that I don't think it not going to happen, I just don't know when. Kinda like life. It is putting one foot in front of the other, step by step, we make progress to get to the goal. Since it is nighttime in China, the boys' and I are going to make the most out of this day! Along with Grandma! Maybe a little shopping, playing, swimming, and enjoying each other will make the day go by a little faster! Then as we are getting ready for bed, the CCAA will be up and ready to work. And then just maybe...............
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do;forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Monday, June 19, 2006

Good Furtune! Confirmed Rumor!

The boys and I just got back from the pool and I am so thrilled! And maybe a little sunburned! It is HOT in Kansas City!I received an e-mail from one of the June Jitterbugs (LID's June) and she got a confirmation that Referrals were mailed! They were going through 6/28! And this was posted on the Rumor Queen website
June 19th, 2006
As is noted on the forum (thanks Maria), a second European agency, the one that’s usually right, has confirmed June 28th as the cut off date.

WOW! Heart be still. Can it be? Are we this much closer to our little one? I have guarded my heart during all of the up's and down's of this journey. To think I may actually get to know her birth name, the date of her birth, how much she weighs, if she has teeth, or is sitting on her own. To put into words what this means is nearly impossible. So, now we wait...... and pray......
Daring to dream but guarding my heart,

Friday, June 16, 2006

Rumors! Rumors! And MORE Rumors!

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
The anxiety and hype has escalated much during this very long week. I am a part of a wonderful on-line yahoo support group called the June Jitterbugs. The members of this group have all sent their dossiers to China in June of 2005. Some already have their babies, some already have their referrals and are waiting to travel, and some are waiting and hanging on to every rumor and whisper of a hope that we may be next! I happen to fall in the still waiting category. It has been such a joy following the journeys of families to China, I have learned a lot! Watching referrals come in has been so exciting! And waiting has been daunting... To say the least. Honestly, I thought this season would look different but God saw fit to make it what it is today. It is a good place really, we have reevaluated a lot of things and are hopeful for our future. Just because things get tough, that is not permission to quit. It also doesn't mean that God has changed his mind either. When He SPOKE to our hearts on that February night, we knew we had heard from the Lord and He was directing our paths. He knew what our March would look like, our June and our futures. HE is in control, we are not. We have had to step back and wait on God for direction, we felt it, we listened and we have obediently stepped out in faith. Now Faith is being sure of what you hope and certain of what you don not see. Hebrews 11:1 More than ever this journey has called for more faith than what we thought we had in us, but with God ALL things are possible(Philippians 4:13). I wonder how many times I have given up because it looked to scary or circumstances turned out differently than I expected. I want to finish strong now, and in the future. I don't want to shrink back and live in fear. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him. But we are not one of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved. Hebrews 10:39 So anonymous, I thank you for your concern but you missed the mark and the truth. If you feel like leaving your name next time, I would welcome any further comments.
So, we wait.... I have heard maybe this weekend, maybe Monday, maybe by the end if the month. So, until then we are enjoying our Summer, the pool, friends and family! I hope hoping for a great Father's Day present, though!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


This morning my mom and I went on a little shopping spree. With the thoughts of referrals coming we decided to do a little celebrating! Kip and the boys did their "male bonding" today at a near-by pond. They caught 16 fish! We met them coming in and the smiles on their faces were as big as the fish stories!
Back to shopping... Well I had a friend call and tell me that there were some great sales going on at Zona Rosa, so we set off to investigate! Our first stop, after Starbucks, was the baby Gap! BTW, they are having a GREAT SALE! We got our little Tatumn her first little swimsuit!Kip wanted to know if I could find a matching one! That little Pineapple would be much bigger on mine!How funny!I told him I was looking for Pineapple Swim Trunks for him! So if you see the pineapple family swimming at The White Swan in China, it will be the Crawford's! My mom also got her a little cover-up, a cute kitty cat towel and matching slippers, (too cute for words!!), a little sundress,socks, a bonnet, and a cute little onsie! We also had a coupon and came out feeling pretty proud of ourselves! Whew! What a day! Starbucks, my mom, shopping for Tatumn, and 16 fish...And to top it off...My mom took the boys home with her to play and go to a ball game, and Kip and I are going on a date! This my friends, has been a good day!
Blessings, Steph
I trust in your love. My heart is happy because you saved me. Psalm 13:5

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Getting Practice!

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
As you all know we have the sweetest neighbors. Jim and Terri and Baby Clara. They are great neighbors. Well, yesterday Terri came down so I could cut her hair and of course had baby Clara with her. The boys are always so excited to see her and they always want to hold her. Whenever they see them at the door, all three of them rush to wash their hands and sit on the couch and wait to hold her. They all take turns and just love her so much. Well, since we were doing a pretty "major" cut with Terri's hair, it took a while. So, the boys took over as care givers. It was so cute! They used "hushed" voices and were so very gentle! It was so great to watch them tenderly care for her. At separate points of the day the each said how excited they were for our baby to come! They are so excited for her. Tanner wants her to be as small as baby Clara so he can hold her for a long time. I have wondered how we will transistion with this new little one, and I am trusting God that He is already starting on our hearts.We have been very thankful for this family of 5 and the moments that we still have as just the 5 of us. God has been so good to us. Words fall short in trying to explain what the boys and Kip mean to me. I have always wanted to be a mom and wife, no need for titles or initials before or behind my name. Wife and Mom suit me just fine. Looking forward to the near future, our family portrait will change just a little with this sweet little addition and truthfully we are all so excited.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is tomorrow THE day?

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
It has been almost one year since we were officially logged in to China. Our LID is 6/22. That is when our official wait began. Unofficially it has been much longer. I remember the first time I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, I even remember what I was wearing. I will never forget the moment God touched Kip's heart, one of the sweetest memories I have. No matter what is thrown at us the enemy will never be able to take THAT moment away! All of the paperwork, the notary's, the parking ticket along side Ally, the strawberry shake at Fritz's with Ally and Brantley, the meetings, the daydreams, the wait. Well, rumor has it that tomorrow may be the day that we finally get to see her picture. Know who she is. Get a glimpse of her history. See the face that we have only dared to dream about. This is not a for-sure deal, but there was a package that left China on Friday, our Thursday, and will be in the agency's office on Monday. The rumor also said that the CCAA website will be updated to say that families LID by 6/23 have been matched! We are so excited! So, we will let you know as soon as we know. Please continue to pray for us and our sweet little Tatumn Hope. Much like the anticipated sonogram picture when you are pregnant, tomorrow maybe the first glimpse of our little one who has captivated our hearts for so many months.
With a guarded heart but daring to dream, Stephanie
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's a cake! A DIAPER cake!

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
We built our home in 2004. We were the first finished home in a new development. We moved from a very busy cul-de-sac where we knew everyone in our circle. So moving north without knowing anybody was a step of faith for us. ( Little did I know what the Lord would require of us later!)So from the early stages of the building process we began praying for our neighbors. We asked that God would bring us great company to live by and friends for the boys. The Lord answered our prayers in our sweet neighbors, the Dwyer's. Jim,Terri and now baby Clara.They are a younger couple, which is great being the older more wiser couple of the group! Totally kidding! For years we were always the youngest couple in our SS class, so this is just a running joke! Yesterday, we had plans to go to the pool but plans changed. Terri and baby Clara showed up at our house with this great Diaper Cake! We were so excited! Terri made this cake herself and tucked a lot of "travel treasures" all around the cake! How great is that!? The boys had I had a great time finding all of these goodies wrapped around out first diapers! Tucker thought that all of these diapers would last forever! Terri, said maybe not forever but a while! Well, we are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and neighbors! So, Dwyer Family we say "THANK YOU!"
The most importnat is this 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind'. The second is this 'Love your neighbor as yourself" There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31

Monday, June 05, 2006

Let's take a Poll!!

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
I am not a numbers kind of girl nor am I very scientific. Do not make me tell you about my biology teacher, Mr Fanara. Or my sophmore science teacher, Mr. Shirck. I was not a big fan of either one of those guys and I am sure that if by chance you ran into one of them they would not remember me. I already told my small group about my aerobics and weight-lifting coach, and I think a little too much information. I really want them to like us, so I will forgo any details about my science teachers! BUT as I was running today (first day of the week, not bad I say to myself!) I thought a great way to interact with you guys is to take a poll. I would like to know when you think our baby's birthday month is. Just a little background....last month's refferals of babies ranged in age from 7 months to 14 months. So, we will most likely be in that range. I have a thought in my mind but I just want to see what you guys think. You can actually put in a date; like January 1st. Whoever gets the closest I will get them a little something in China from us! Let the voting begin!!! All you need to do is click on the comment line below or send me a personal e-mail at crawfordscoo@kc.rr.com I will let you know who is closest by the time we get our refferal!Thanks for your support and thoughtfulness during our wait! One day soon we hope to celebrate with everyone of you our great news. Please continue to pray for our sweet little one. I pray she gets kisses at bedtime, hugs in the morning, and rocked for nap-time. I also ask that our Father will fill in the gaps when needs go unmet and tears fall without someone there to wipe them away.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
COunting the votes, Steph

Saturday, June 03, 2006

2 Grandparents 2 Sisters 1 Mommy and 3 Boys= 1 GREAT TRIP!

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
Here are some photos from our Branson Trip! We had a great time!
Thank you Gramma and PaPa for spoiling us!

Have we been matched?

3 Boys and 1 Ladybug
Last night I had a dream about our little ladybug. I held her and knew her. I don't dream about her very often. I truly believe that the days are getting so close. I wonder what will she look like? How old is she? Does she have any teeth? What does her brief little history look like? Will she like us? Will she grow to love us? As hard as it is to imagine, she is not waiting for us. We have prayed so often that the Lord will prepare her little heart for us. That He would be already growing a love for us within her little heart.

Were you born today?
Were you born today across the ocean deep and blue?
Did someone wrap you warmly? Did they stop and gaze at you?

Did they look upon your almond eyes and touch your silken hair?
Did they stop to kiss each tiny toe, hear your breath upon the air?

Did you hear a soft voice comforting, securely in her arms?
The warmth of two souls bonding, oh, the lure of newborn charms.

Were they charmed by every movement; every yawn and stretch and pout?
Did they celebrate with handshakes and good spirits all about?

(Or were the tears mistaken, as they fell upon your face?
Their eyes were wells of sorrow? Their heads hung in disgrace?

Did they tremble when they realized the thing that would be done?
Did they mourn the new day coming, with the rising of the sun?)

Did they place you, oh so tenderly, in the place where you were found?
Were those blankets wrapped up tightly to deny the cold, hard ground?

Did she whisper words of comfort with a love that was so deep?
Did she recognize the features of this one she could not keep?

Did you feel the night wind blowing as it carried in the morn?
Did you hear your mother weeping on the day that you were born?

And here across the ocean a mother weeps for you.
How long before she travels across that ocean, deep and blue?

How long before she gazes at those dimpled hands?
How long before she travels to that promised, distant land?

Her heart is filled with gladness. Her dreams are coming true.
The secret thrill of motherhood, across that ocean deep and blue.

And she'll gaze upon your almond eyes and touch your silken hair.
She'll stop and kiss each tiny toe...feel your breath upon the air.

And you'll hear a soft voice comforting; the worlds so insecure.
Two fragile souls are bonding as they hold each other near.

She'll be charmed by every movement; every yawn and stretch and pout.
And she'll celebrate with handshakes and good spirits all about.

And you'll hear the night wind blowing as she rocks you off to sleep.
And she'll whisper words of comfort, with a love that is so deep....

And far across the ocean a mother weeps...

~by Mary E. McRae

This is a little poem that I found at the beginning of our process. I do think that our little, Tatumn Hope has been born, but I wonder often about her birth mother. What a terribly hard decision she had to make on that day. I believe from the beginning of Creation that this was God's plan all along. His plan is so much greater than we can even fathom. His ways are not ours. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says "No eye has seen, No ear has heard, no mind has perceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." We are so thankful that the Lord has included us in this amazing plan. Adoption. We thank you Lord for choosing us.
Waiting, Stephanie

Friday, June 02, 2006

3 Boys and 2 missing Crocs!

The boys and I went on a little vacation with my sisters and my parents this past week! On Tuesday we loaded up the mini-van and headed to Branson! We love branson. It is down-home country loving kind of fun! If the boys could pick where they would live, it would be Branson. Not just because of the fun but because the people are so kind. It is truly in the Bible belt and most of the people that we meet love the Lord! And there is country cookin everywhere you turn! So, if you know the Crawford boys' you know that country food is at their heart's and tummy's.
But just like anything that we do, there is always something that happens! So, here is just one little story. We were going down, doing great. Nobody was fighting, life was clipping along. Then we decided to make a potty stop. The boys didn't need to go, but us girls did. When I got back to the van, Tanner, my middle son, was out of the van visiting with my mom and dad at their car. Not a big deal, we got him back him and headed down the highway. Our next stop is a traditional one, The Oseola Cheese Factory. We always stop and get string cheese. So, we unload. Only to find out that Tanner is missing his shoe! We look and look and look. He is known for being a little temperamental, so I asked him if he has thrown it at anybody. No, he said he didn't. So, he quickly put on his other shoes and away we went. We unpacked at the condo, thinking we would find it. Nope. So for the 4 days that we were there he had to wear his tennis shoes! My sister thought we might be able to find one blue, left footed Croc in a size 2 on EBAY. What do you think the chances are of that? If there is a little boy just like Tanner, the chances are good. And I feel for his parents. So, we journeyed through Branson! Had a blast! I will post pictures later. My parents were great! I am so blessed to have such amazing parents! My dad rode some rides with us at SIlver Dollar City and Celebration City.! The boys and I rode the Ferris Wheel at Celebration City, and 2 out of the 4 of us in that little cart almost had a panic attack! I will tell you that I had a blister from holding on to the rail so tight! The boys saw mommy freak out a little! I have never seen them so still in all my life! Can you guess who else had a little panic meltdown?......Tanner! I am surprised we are so similar! I always thought he was a little off...hmmmm...What are you saying? I totally get the point! We visited the Titanic. It was fun. Taylor and Tanner really enjoyed it. Tanner had learned a lot in school about the Titanic, so he was a wealth of knowledge. Tucker was not that impressed. He really liked ringing the warning bell!( think church bell sound in a very small room!) I am not sure everyone else enjoyed his enthusiasm, or strong arms! That little boy has some upper body strength! We touched an ice-berg, put our hand in cold water, and Tucker rang the warning bell! Did I mention that? Last night we went to the Dixie Stampede! It is our most favorite thing to do! Had a wonderful time! If you have never been there before, let me share with you how you eat your meal...1st-put your hands up in the air...2nd- shake them...3rd- you just cleaned your silverware! Oh let me tell you the boys love it because they have permission to eat like heathens! It is quite a sight!So, this morning we begin to wrap up our wonderful trip to Branson. We pack up and do a wonderful job not forgetting anything. We hit the road and are making good time. Our first stop is a little place to get gas and go to the bathroom. Again, the boys don't need to go, just get out of the van and stretch. The next stop is the famous place that Tanner lost his shoe at on the begining of our trip. We get out and my oldest son, Taylor, cannot find his croc! We again look high and low, and come up empty handed! What is the chance the EBAY has a size 8 (men) black, right footed Croc? Now, I am a little mad! What is the deal with the Crawford boys and missing Croc's? This is a prime example of why our boys will not be joining us in China? For 12 days can you imagine what we would lose? One out of the 6 of us would come home in their birthday suits by the time our trip would be over! So, he has to stay in the van now because his other shoes are packed and in the bottom of the pile. So, I go to the counter lady and ask if by some chance, someone picked up our first missing croc? The ladies start to laugh, and I want to spank my boys, but she reaches under to counter and pulls out Tanner's missing shoe! Yippee! And I walk out leaving behind a little bit of my perfect parenting skills! So, now when you see a missing shoe on the side of the road, don't you always wonder "how do you lose a shoe?" or "what are they going to do now?" think of the Crawford's! And maybe pick it up, it could be one of ours!
Blessing from the family that looses their shoes,
( I am glad it wasn't one of the boys!)
And because I always have a Bible verse to go with my stories here is one!.... Luke 15:8-9 Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she does she calls her friends and neighbors together and say "rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin!"
Our version is with shoes and searching through a van, but if that missing croc is found I will alert you and ask you to rejoice with us! But for now we are truly thankful for safe travel, great family memories, and that Lord of Creation knows our names and that He loves us just the way we are, with one shoe or two!