Monday, July 31, 2006

Showers of Blessings!

Oh! What a wonderful time I have had this weekend! I was so fortunate to spend the weekend with the people that I love the most! From Aunts who are my favorite, my favorite Aunt Debbie, my favorite Aunt Pearl, my favorite Aunt Ginger, and so on..,to my earliest Best Friend and her mom, my mom and sisters, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, my sweet neighbor, old and new friends, and last but certainly not least my GIRLS. I have not laughed and cried and celebrated like this in a long time.
It was the absolute best way to celebrate Tatumn's little life. This sweet little one is so loved by so many and I dare say that they so desire her to be here about as much as we do!
On Saturday, my girlfriend's Jennifer and Ally hosted a beautiful shower at Jennifer's house! There were of course lots of pink, lots of girly things, great food, and the sweetest of all was that my girls were there! I cannot put into words what this group of girls mean to me! They have been my support, my encouragement, my running mates, my mentors, and so much more. I just love them so much!
One of the sweetest things that we did on Saturday was pray for Tatumn. It was a uniting of the Spirit,a calling out to the Father, with a unified heart. It blessed me so much to gather back with this amazing group of ladies, I truly wish the day didn't have to end! I am just crazzy about each and every one of them!
Well, Ms. Tatumn was showered lavishly with gifts and prayers! From bath gels and lotions, to the sweetest bath towels and toys,the cutest little clothes,play gyms, and monogram bibs, to ladybug shoes, a darling strawberry sweater and hat, a ballerina book, her first bracelet, her first tea set, an American Girl Bitty Baby, and the most amazing decorations for her room!
My mom helped me bring everything home, yes it took 2 cars! We were bringing all of our goodies in and the boys were just amazed! They kept saying this is what you get at a baby shower?! Yep, I replied and a lot more than just gifts. I think they understood what I meant. You see our boys have seen this group of ladies rise up and be there for us in a way that none of us have ever experienced before. There was a week in March that literally brought us to our knees. We were hit with a pretty major blow that took the breath out of us. It was tough, I will not lie. One thing after another that week left us shocked and scared. This special band of believers rallied around us, fed us, sat at the hospital, called to check in, came by to visit, and PRAYED for us. I am not exaggerating when I say, they carried us through the storm.
My life has not been the same since the day that I walked into First Baptist Church, a very young mom with so many questions and a desire that only God could fill. We may not all serve in that church anymore, some still do and the fruit of that labor is showing in a mighty way! But others have gone out and grown amazing ministries in new places, but my heart will be forever knit so tightly with this group that time, location, and life cannot separate! I love you girls and thank you from the bottom of my soul!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Summer Fun at Crown Center Fountains

On Friday we met up with The Massey's at Crown Center! We ordered pizza from The Bronx and the kids got to play in the fountains! We had a great time! When the sun finally went down, it was actually nice to be outside! We watched the Free Friday Night movie, Footloose! Funny what you catch on to when you are the mommy now! I don't remember some of the scene's playing out like that! One of the best things about hanging out with the Massey's is we laugh so hard with them! We get to relax, all of our kids play so great together, and doing life with them is just good! And not to far off, we will both be adding to the mix a sweet little almond eyed beauty! How good is God! I pray and also thank the Lord that He created these two little girls to be friends. Their birthdates are so close, much like our littlest boys. I know that the girls' birth givers didn't know each other but I know that God knows their names and loves them just the same. I pray that He will give them the assurance that their little girls are being loved, will be loved for all of their days. I pray that He will touch their hearts with His love! Our lives will be forever changed and blessed because of the love and the chance that they gave their girls. I will be forever grateful to Tatumn's birth giver, and promise not to forget her.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Crawford's explore the Omaha Zoo!

We stopped off at the Omaha Zoo on our way home from the wedding! We have heard such great things about this zoo, so we dicided to stop and take a look for ourselves! We were NOT disappointed! The alligators and crocidiles freaked us out a little bit! The one thing that was so great about this zoo is how close you actually get to the animals! We were so close to Rhinos, Polar Bears, Grizzly Bears, Lions, Tigers, oh my! I threw that in for Taylor! Penguins, Sharks, jellyfish.......I have actually had a MUCH CLOSER connection with a MUCH LARGER jellyfish before but.....that is a long stroy and one that is still a little frightning to talk about! So, we will not go there today!
One thing I learned on this little trip was that my favorite white, leather, flip flops will not do well in China. I devoloped a blister on both of my feet, I did make it through the day!, so now I am in a shoe dilemma!
Moving on .....again! We would recommend the zoo! Taylor said something that was a crack-up! He kept saying "And you thought mom we lived in a zoo!" Yeah our lives our crazzy and at times it is a little smelley (have you been around pre-teen boys after a football game?) But it is MY ZOO! I wouldn't trade it for anything!
The Zoo Keeper, Steph

3 boys and 1 Beautiful Bride

Wedding Fun in Nebraska!

On Saturday we loaded up the van and the children and headed North. WAY NORTH! Northern Nebraska to be exact! We were so excited for our road trip. The reason for our destination was to attend the wedding of Joey and Kari. Kari worked for my husband, and she became one of the family! And through loving her, we got to know her Joey! He is a police officer, which the boys think is SO COOL! He is a good guy, we love him too!
Tucker informed us on the ride there, that boy always has a lot to say, that he had never been to a wedding before! He asked a lot of questions and pondered things out loud. He asked if it was outside; to which we answered "Yes", asked if Joey was going to wear a tux "Yes" then he was curious why he wasn't going to wear a tux. Then Tanner thought we were all going to look dorky because nobody in our family was dressing up! I had to remind them that we were guests at the wedding not in the wedding party! These boys are crazzy! Taylor was very curious about the garter toss. You will never believe this.....but he caught it! We cheered for him like he just caught the winning touchdown in the Superbowl! It was HILARIOUS!!!!
The boys danced with the Brides mom, Shelley! She asked if we taught them how to dance, did I mention that she is a little sarcastic? She fits right in with us!
Well, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin will be coming over for dinner some time this week and we are so excited to see pictures and hear all the great stories! We were so thrilled to be a part of their Most Exciting Day!

Monday, July 17, 2006

First Photo of the Boys and their Sister!

This was taken on referral day! OKAY, it isn't the best kind of photo, up until that moment we didn't even know what she looked like! But this will go down as the first photo of our 4 children! (Minus the UPS man! He was a good sport that day!)
I was "nesting" today I am sure of it. I cleaned out the pantry, redecorated some things in the kitchen, moved furniture around in the living room, and changed things around in the office. What I kept coming up against was either needing an 8x10 frame for Tatumn's picture or having an empty frame that would be perfect for all 4 of them! So, now by the kitchen window by the sink there is an empty 8x10 frame waiting to be filled with all 4 of our children! I can't wait to be home with Tatumn and resume our "normal" life!
Waiting for our Travel Acceptance, Steph

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Kisses in the Wind

I have dreamt of Tatumn so many times this week. I have held her in my dreams, kissed her little face, smelled her sweet scent, and fallen in love with our little Hunan Beauty. Then I wake up and look at not an empty crib, oh no! it is getting full of travel things, but she is not there! This wait is tough too, yes we have our picture but now that we see a face, the wait is different. I wonder how much how she changed. What are we missing? WHEN will we get her? Kip and the boys miss her too. Kip said the other day, I would leave today if they would let me! And he is NOT looking forward to the plane ride! SO that was HUGE for him! Here is a little poem that I have read many times and it really sums up how I feel this morning!
Blowing Kisses in the wind, Steph

Kisses in the Wind

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.

You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are...what's taking so long.

But, remember, child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...

Because tonight, just as always, I blow kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.

I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.

But, for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.

And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Building a Bear named HOPE!

Building a Bear named HOPE!

We have been so looking forward to this day! We have talked about as soon as we received Tatumn's referral that we would go to Build A Bear and make a bear for her. We plan on sleeping with her bear so it will smell like us and we will give it to her on our Gotcha Day! Our hope is that she will be more familiar with us, and believe it or not our smells, and will be able to transistion well into our home! we have been taught that we will not only look different to her, she may not have ever seen a man before! But "Westerners" smell different. So, we are hoping that this may make her feel more secure once we are home! Please pray for that.
We chose the little bear. She is a little one (easier to pack! Tanner wanted the BIGGEST Bunny they had!)and she has pink fur mixed in! She is cute! Then we all got a heart, rummed it to make it warm, kissed it, and said a little wish/prayer for her! Then the boys got to fluff her, and make her birth certificate! It was a good time! The boys are already planning on bringing her back and getting to dress one up with her! And they are secretly hoping that get to make one of their own as well! I think we could handle that! They have been so good and excited during this long process! I am just crazzy about them!
A little note about Hope. We say it so often and most times we say it more of a wish! I hope we have pizza for dinner, I hope the boys don't get sick, I hope my suitcase makes the weight limit!, I hope Kip wants to go shopping in China! But the biblical meaning of Hope is: Joyful Expectation. Close to a promise from God. Hebrews 10:23 says Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful. The HOPE, the joyful expectation, that God does fulfill His promises in us, that He not only died for us but lives to intercede, that His plan is for our good, our hope and future is secure in His hands, He will never forsake us, and will return for us. When I hope that this will happen, it is not a wish but it is full of joyful expectation in the One and Only who can fulfill it.
So, we named Tatumn's bear Hope. Our prayer is that she will know the One and fall in love with the One who our Hope is in!Because He loves her even more than we do! And friends that has to be a bunch!
Waiting in Joyful expectation, Steph

Pictures from the meeting!

For some reason I couldn't get the story and the pictures to go on the same post. So, here are the pictures! Scroll down for the story behind the pictures!
Thanks for following our journey!

Announcing Tatumn Hope Crawford to our...

CHI family.
(**Tanner was there also, but was just too nervous to come up to the front!**)
On Monday , we were finally able to introduce our sweet baby girl at our monthly meeting. I remember so well, sitting through those first meeting with tears in my eyes, butterflies in my stomach, and a longing in my heart. I would just be so home sick for her on our drive home. We all would. We would go to the meetings so excited to see the new referrals, the new babies, and then leave with a little of a let down, wondering and longing for her. I have said from the very first moment, we have it easy. We come home to a busy and full house. All of our bedrooms are full, we get up the next morning to a busy schedule;whether it is school or Summer. My heart has ached for the families on this journey to their first baby. We have prayed for them, I have cried for them an many occasions. So, I am not one to whine at how long it has taken us, we have a different perspective on things. BUT, I will say it was a complete JOY to finally be the ones at the front of the room! The boys were thrilled and actually it was the boys who said "It's our turn to introduce at the adoption meeting!" They have journeyed the year and a half long journey with us, in their own shoes and thoughts but believe me this has been their journey too! I pray that they will be forever changed by this decision. I am thankful that they are old enough to "get it". They have seen the sacrifice here, been a part of the anticipation, the preparation, and I trust God that they will also be a part of the blessing! This past year we have been challenged to keep our focus on the Lord. Through a lot of circumstances we have been left with just us, a family of 5, and our God. Nothing more and nothing less. It took us out of our comfort zones in a BIG way, and caused us to search our hearts and desires. This verse has been our banner, not in perfection because we are far from it, but as our encouragement.
Loving you-Stephanie
Whatever you do, work at it with all of you heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Monday, July 10, 2006

Referral Celebration with The Massey Family!

On Satuday we FINALLY got to celebrate in style with our dear friends the Massey's! The Monday that we got our referrals was crazzy and hectic for both of our families! Greg, Ally's husband, was out of town and my husband was in classes all day! We both got our phone calls around the same time and since we were the only Kansas City families, we drove to our branch office to get our files! So, there we were 2 frantic and bewildered moms, with 5 children (her oldest Ryland was on vacation with her parents and sister!)driving to get our fuzzy, black and white pictures of our daughters. We celebrated and fell in love with our little darlings, but we just couldn't"really" celebrate without all of our group there!
So, on Saturday we were invited to the Massey's to celebrate! They had decorated their deck beautifully! There were chinese lanterns hanging on the trees! The table was beautiful with Red Roses, Chinese fans, chopsticks in festive Chinese colors! And the FOOD was amazing! I only wish that they had a China One in China! That is my favorite version of Chinese Food! And do you think they may have Crab Rangoon in China? If so, then I will do just fine!
We toasted our Blessings with a toast from Ally. (It was Sparkling Juice!)Ally talked about how in the book of Ruth, she was from a country that didn't acknowledge the Lord Most High. She came from a land that worshipped many gods, but Ruth, beacause of Naomi, found the God Most High and called on His Name to be her God.Our prayer is the same with our girls,that we will live our lives in Honor of the Lord Most High. And like in Ruth, Our God will become their One True God. That they will call on Him in honor and truth. And love Him with their whole hearts!
Greg and Ally's daughter is Myer Kincayd Massey. She was born Sept.3, 2005. She is in the Beihai Social Welfare Institute. Guangxi Province.
I feel so blessed that The Lord has blessed our friendship in so many ways. Being able to raise these two little girls, side by side, is one of His sweetest! We will not being going to the same Province, but we will meet up agagin in Guangzhou and from then on, Tatumn and Myer will get to do life together just like their mommies do! Oh! What Fun!
Tatumn's Mommy-Stephanie

More Referrral Celebration Photos!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Crawford Boys invite you to.....

Follow us on our journey to Tatumn Hope. While we are in China, we will be posting from www.journeytome.com. Just click on public journals and then scroll down to Journey to Tatumn Hope. Our agency is CHI. Until then we will keep you posted here! You just never know what will happen next!
We are so busy getting ready to travel. We got our travel packet yesterday. That was exciting and nerve wracking all together. We are sending off for our Visa'a with the travel date of August 10th. Our agency thinks we will travel a little later than that but that is an estimate! WOW! We don't have much longer! A lot to do and so little time! And the boys will be starting school. Taylor turns 13 on September 2nd. So, we would ideally like to be home and settled before that! But as we have found out during this year and a half long journey is GOD is in control.
Proverbs 19:21 says "We humans keep brainstorming options and plans but God's purpose prevails." The Message So, father I will commit my plans to you, for in You I know that you will provide the Best way.
Thanks for journeying with us!
A busy mom-Steph

Monday, July 03, 2006

Still Getting ready!

Last night we worked late trying to get her crib up! Today is the dresser and all the other fun things! Waking up and having seeing the crib first things was pretty sweet. Tatumn will be in our room for a while! All of our other rooms are full! We are trying to decide what we should do, but we are going to wait until Fall/Winter to make decisions! I really want her close to us to begin with! More pictures to come! I am really enjoying PINK!!!

Getting Ready for Tatumn Hope!

What a week! It was so busy for us and filled with such joy! And milestones! God's Faithfulness has captured us in a new and profound way!
We just love looking at our sweet girl! We are all so in love! Whenever the boys see her picture, they will say "that is my baby sister!" They love her so! Her daddy has been swept away as well! I have prayed that his heart would be so tender to a little girl and have secretly wondered what it would be like for Kip to love a daughter.Well on Saturday we were so blessed to have our dear friends the Cowlings come to our Patriotic Service at our church. Bill served over 1 year in Iraq and we were honored to have him celebrated during our service. They came up to meet our small group and meet this new group of people that we have grown to love and cherish. As we were talking we shared a little bit of what we found out about Tatumn's history. We found out that she was found by a gentlemen, who was passing by. He picked her up, and took her to the police station. As we were sharing this, Kip with tears in eyes, said "I wish we could find that guy.(we do know his name) and say Thank you." My friend Tina, commented that he said that like a daddy. Not an adopted daddy, but a daddy who fiercely loves his daughter. Oh! Thank you Lord for growing his heart and filling it with love for her! God is so Good!
Well things are busy at The Crawford's. We have put off doing a lot until referral. So, now we are busy trying to set up her crib, getting packing lists together, getting re-finger printed, applying for Visa's, sending out announcements, shopping!, and enjoying the Summer with the Boys! We thank you for your prayers and support! They mean so much to us! We love you so!
Busy Mom-Steph