Saturday, December 31, 2011

john 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

This verse stuck with me as I read over it this morning. I always seem to be in this battle where I'm trying to find peace in my world through the things of this world.  Searching for peace in relationships, myself, work, home, finances, etc. etc.  It was refreshing to read this and get a reminder that TRUE peace comes from God. God wants us to have peace...His peace. 

Happy New Year to all of you!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Pictures...

Always have to bake cookies with Ma...

Some of the gals...

Some of the fellas...

Attempting a Christmas card picture...including Cash

We gave up...

Hope y'all had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving, Family and New Additions...

Pictures from Thanksgiving:

Casey and Hannah

Fun with Jo Jo

Little Abby Leigh

She loves her Uncle Jay

Kolby Janae is our newest niece!

Proud Daddy and Biggest Sister

Yay for another niece!

Fun with our St. Joe Family:

Two wonderful ladies

Love you Grandma!

With two of the sweetest Aunts

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

USCIS Paperwork...

We are getting ready to head into Thanksgiving weekend and I had a goal of getting our USCIS paperwork out in the mail by 11/24/11.  The director of AFAA looked over our paperwork and asked us to make several corrections.  So, I was ecstatic that she took the time to go over it so we could get this done right.  USCIS paperwork went out in the mail today!  Next, we'll get a date and time for an appointment in the mail where we'll travel to Kansas City for some more fingerprinting. 

My brother and his family are in town this weekend so I'm hoping to post some cute pictures in the next few days.  Jason and I both work Thanksgiving Day so we'll be celebrating a day late, but at least we can all be together. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Thankful...

I don't know if many of you get on facebook, but the trend recently as Thanksgiving is coming up is to name things you are thankful for.  I haven't been participating on there but I have read what some of my friends are thankful for and I've thought about some of my own.

This morning, on Veteran's Day, I'm off work and am very thankful for that!  On a serious note, I'm thankful for those who have served our country and those currently serving.  My path has crossed some amazing people in the past couple years that are serving in the military and their incredible families.  It's a courageous and self-less act and to you all I say THANK YOU!

On the adoption side....I've had a break in the paperwork since our home study wrapped up in the summer.  We are currently working on filling out ONE form that needs to be submitted to USCIS and for some reason it's been more challenging than expected.  There are a lot of important questions on this form and I don't want to mess up!  I mentioned a couple in church that I met last week that has adopted a little boy and is now in the processess of adopting a little girl.  This morning, I'm thankful for Keela!!  The names of forms and the adoption lingo are pretty foreign to most people so having someone to walk me through some of this is incredibly appreciated.  I'm a detail oriented person so I have a tendence to ask a lot of questions and pick things a part.  Thank you Keela for your patience!

We need to get some documents together but I hope to get this form mailed off this week.  At that point, we'll wait for the approval and then get an appointment date and time in the mail.  Then we'll travel to get fingerprints done.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Couple of Answers....

I wrote Cheryl from AFAA an email to get a few things cleared up.  We've been waiting to submit our I-600A Application to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) until our home study was 4 or 5 months old.  Cheryl gave us the go ahead to work on that and get our appointment set up.  I believe we will probably travel to Kansas City to complete this.

Second, I asked her if we were able to get matched during a "matching" meeting without having our USCIS paperwork submitted.  Her response: "The Government of Lesotho does not need to see a family's I-600A - only the US Embassy.  I took your authenticated dossier in to Lesotho when I went in a few weeks ago.  It would be terrific if you were matched at their next "matching" meeting but there is no guarantee."

So, that is the latest.  We also met another family at church that has adopted and is in the process of adopting again.  You can check out their blog to the right...Adopting Baby Davis.  It's encouraging to meet others that are walking down the same road!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How About an Update?

We got word from Cheryl at AFAA today and here are some key points to her meeting in Lesotho last week:

*Lesotho does want to continue adoptions in the 4 chosen countries
*Approximate time of travel has been 2 weeks...this could potentially increase until paperwork gets completed at the Embassy
*There was talk of changing the minimum age of adoptive parents to 30 years old...thankfully it is Lesotho law that the minimum age is 25 years old
*Social Welfare staff will continue to strive for 4 match meetings a year...if not possible because of their schedules, they promised 3.
*The next match meeting is tomorrow! Due to some changes, Cheryl at AFAA will not know the results of this meeting for a month or more

The meeting appears to have gone well and I'm thankful for the information Cheryl was able to share with us and other adoptive families.  Jason and I still are waiting to go through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to get fingerprinted.  It was suggested that we wait to do this until our home study is approximately 4 to 5 months old.  Next month will be 4 months.  I've emailed Cheryl this evening to get more information on this is all "Greek" to us!  Thank you for the prayers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Meeting Needing Prayer...

In 2 days, October 20th, there will be an important meeting taking place in Lesotho between the Lesotho Department of Social Welfare and the adoption agency reps.  Please join me and those waiting for their child to come home in praying specifically over these areas:

1) pray for clarity of roles and processes and for relationships to be healed
2) pray against confusion and the spirit of competition and control

3) pray for cooperation and a focus on the best interests of these orphaned and vulnerable children.

4) pray that God will act mightily to defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed; rescue the weak and the needy (Psalm 82:3)
5) pray for the children and families that have already been matched and those who are still waiting for that step to take place

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Catching up on the last month...

Closing is complete! September 16, 2011

We did it!

Moving day September 17, 2011

Flora Family 2011

Thank goodness for coworkers!

Cash was being consummed by boxes for the last few weeks!

Still loves his mommy though...

Icing fight after baking for a birthday at work 

Mom's early birthday celebration in Oklahoma
 (complete with the Stewart bday hat)

Casey and Abby Leigh

Ready to cheer on KU!
 (We won't mention the score of the game though)

A fun weekend in OK with my family

Love my nieces!!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011's been awhile!

Hello! Sorry I have neglected this so bad the last few weeks.  We did get moved! It did rain cats and dogs and it was a tad miserable....but it's done!! We had a good crew come out from Jason's shift at work and couldn't have done it without them!

I've been putting things in their place the past couple weeks and am about ready to start with decorating.  This weekend I went to the Ozark Craft Fair with my Mom and we had a great time! We found "country" looking stuff that I think will be perfect in our new place. 

Jason and I went to a local place here in town today after church and got pumpkins and mums! It's definitely looking like fall around here.  Fall is my very favorite time of the year so I'm soaking this up quite well. :)

Nothing new on the baby home-front.  We will be scheduling a new walk-through with our home-study agency; since we moved she will have to come and check out our new house.  We did submit our first part of the program fee to AFAA so that has been taken care of.  It sounds like things are moving quite slow for the other families that are ahead of us.  I'm hoping to get some sort of raffle fundraiser put together in the next few months by talking to local businesses.  Other than that, that's about it for now!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Moving Week....

Well, we are down to the wire now.  We close on Friday and move on Saturday.  Our current house is a mess and a sea of boxes.  This kind of living drives me nuts so I'm ready to get this show on the road!
This will be our 4th move in 5 years.  My sister commented that I should be a pro at packing by now.  One might think that, but in all honesty I think it's getting sloppier.  I know it's not going 8 hours away...more like 10 minutes so I'm doing what I can to skim by with it. 
Jason and I have this unsaid moving system we've developed throughout the years.  It goes something like this...I pack, he stays out of the way...then come moving day...he loads it up, I stay out of the way.  This works fairly well until someone over steps where they don't belong.  Jason has attempted packing a box....notice I said A BOX.  Then in Texas, I attempted to direct Jason and his buddies in loading the truck...I quickly got tuned out.
We'll get'll just be a long week.  Hopefully I can get back into the swing of posting updates, thoughts, etc. fairly soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stamp of Approval!

We received a letter from AFAA today, which to most people would look a lot like a hefty bill.  To us, it looks like an approval letter :) AFAA is requesting 1/2 of our Lesotho Angel Fee and the Orphanage Donation Fee. 

As we move forward I'm interested in hearing any fundraising ideas that anyone has done or thinks might be good! Thank you for the continued love, encouragement and donations.  One day you'll have a face to put with all that support!

My mom purchased some African goods from our website: HERE  My brother-n-law and sister-n-law brought the goodies back to the US when they went to Africa in July.  Check out the site and let me know if you are interested in ordering! Even little Abby liked the dolls :)

We also still have lots of wristbands up for grabs for a $5 if anyone is interested!! Just drop me a message!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Movin' and a Shakin'

Jason and I put an offer in on a house late last week...i, that feels like it was weeks ago.  Anyways...they accepted!!! We were very excited and have been working on getting things done ever since.  Last week we met up with our loan officer, Monday we had a home inspection and yesterday we met with the builder and insurance guy.  Whew! We are hoping to close in 3 weeks!  Good grief, I need to get packing.  It feels like we just unloaded a big 'ol truck and tons of boxes from Texas...and here we go again.  It wouldn't be a "typical" year unless the Flora's were moving and sending out a change of address. :)  Maybe today will be the day that I pack my first box to get this ball rolling again. 

Baby news:
We haven't heard a word from the director of AFAA since we mailed in our Power of Attorney form and our home study agency submitted our completed home study to them.  I'm going to send her an email today and hope to get some kind of update back.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In-laws head to Maseru....

Jason's parents just got back from a 3 day trip to Maseru, which is the capital of Lesotho.  They visited an orphanage called Beautiful Gate Orphange, which is most likely (fingers crossed) where our baby will come from.  The children range from ages 0 to 5 here and Teresa said she held a chubby little boy and just fell in love with him.  It's incredible to think that maybe even that chubby little boy could be OUR boy!  Their trip to the orphanage sounded incredible and I would have loved to have been there.  (Some day I will!)  The information that Jimmy and Teresa received from the Operations Manager of the orphanage was very encouraging.  Click on the link and on the different header tabs to see some of these beautiful babies!

Update on the house-searching:
Tonight Jason and I put an offer on our very first house!  It sounds like it could be a far fetch that they would accept it but we'll see what happens...we serve a BIG God! :) 

Monday, August 8, 2011

We've got Mail!

On Friday Jason and I received the Power of Attorney form in the mail from AFAA.  They are still waiting on our finalized version of our home study but getting this form from them is a step in the right direction.  We got it signed and notarized and it's ready to go in the mail tomorrow.  Our home study gal, Meryah, advised that she got the final signatures on our paperwork (home study) and that it was going out in the mail tomorrow as well.  Once AFAA receives all of this they can send our paperwork to Lesotho and then we'll wait for a match meeting.  Our matching could take longer due to us requesting a younger child. 

In the midst of all this waiting going on, we have been looking at buying a home.  It's been stressful and fun looking at houses and trying to seek out where we want to live.  We want to make a good decision financially and find a good neighborhood for our family.  Sometimes it seems we are just really gun-shy to make a decision but my brother led us to this verse:

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
 – Proverbs 21:5
I know that I can be too careful about decisions sometimes but this was a good verse for us to hear.  I want us to be responsible with the finances that God has provided us with.  We'll keep seeking!

Monday, July 25, 2011

So much to say, so little time....wait...reverse that

We still have no new news to report to ya'll. We've been in limbo for the last couple of weeks coming to an agreement on an age range that AFAA and All Blessings will accept. AFAA says our homestudy looks great but there is concern over our requested age range...0 to 18 months. All Blessings (our home study agency)would like us to be approved up to age 5 to prevent delays in bring our child home. This has been a frustrating couple of weeks but I feel we are on the verge of moving forward. Jason and I decided that we would get our homestudy approval for 0 to 3 years old and then state a preferred age of 0 to 24 months. God knows our heart's desires and we just have to remember that He is in control of every step.

This past weekend we went to Oklahoma to visit Casey and the girls. Hannah was having a girls weekend at the lake so we missed her. On a surprise note, my sister, Courtney and her boys made the trip up so it was good to get a quick visit in!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A little bit of news...

Heard the definition of faith today described as "ceasing your efforts".  This stood out to me because it's a reminder to give up control and completely trust God.  I find this pretty fitting considering some of the emails that were exchanged this week.

 AFAA sent an email to our homestudy agency asking if we would be interested in increasing the age range we are looking at adopting.  Cheryl, from AFAA advised that the wait will be longer for a younger child and the waiting timeline is uknown.  That wasn't exactly positive news to receive this week.  "Uknown" is not a real great word to hear...considering that I'm such a planner and like to have some sort of clue as to what is going on.  Jason and I have thought about it and still feel that God will provide a baby for us to adopt.  Our requested age range is 0 to 18 months at time of placement and we will continue to pray that God will work and move in this.  I hope we can use this time to continue to save and raise money and enjoy the time we have left as a family of two.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More pictures...less of an update

Still no word from AFAA on whether we are approved and moving forward.   I sent an email to them a couple of weeks ago and have heard nothing as of yet.  We are working on being patient and enjoying the summer.  We got to spend a day at the lake with family for the 4th of July and thoroughly enjoyed this holiday off of work!  I hope to post more of an update soon!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anniversary and Birthday Fun!!!

On June 24th Jason and I had our 5th wedding anniversary and had a fun weekend together.  We decided to attempt a nice hike on Saturday morning.  It was an interesting trip to Busiek State Forest and we quickly realized that we have a lot to learn about hiking :) We pulled up to a gravel parking lot where men were running around without shirts on and shouting back and forth to each other.  I was instantly worried that we just interrupted some sort of outdoorsy-ironman type race.  Nope, this was just a large group of intense runners and we were fixin to look like the city folk that just entered unknown waters.  We couldn't figure out where the trails started or ended.  We had to cross a small body of water...and I couldn't walk the entire hike with wet shoes!  I attempted to walk barefoot over the rocks but midway Jason picked me up so we could get on with the hike.  I then sat in horse poop while putting my shoes back was only the first 5 minutes!  Needless to say we survived and were able to have my birthday dinner that evening :)

Today I turned 28 years old and had a great day.  I work with some great people, have a sweet-as-pie husband and an amazing mom that made this day complete.  After work Mom and I went and got pedicures...we've decided this is our new favorite thing to do!  The day ended with a yummy cake that was bought against my will.  Sometimes Mom's do know best :)

P.S.  We are still waiting to hear that our formal application has been approved by AFAA.  They should have ALL of our paperwork and in the process of reviewing it.  We shall continue to wait....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Misplaced Worship...

Our church started a new 10 week series on the Ten Commandments.  This was our first week of it and the sermon was over the 1st Commandment:

"Do not have other God's besides me."
-Exodus 20:3

Our preacher went on to talk about the areas that can distract us from God and can become the center of our, pleasures, family and even church.  For the last few weeks I've been feeling kinda blah within certain areas of my life.  I feel like days and weeks go by and I don't even realize where the time has gone.  Some days it's more like existing and less like living.  I thought about the distractions of this world and realized that I've been putting "worship" in other areas and not where it belongs.  Our preacher stated that there is an expectation of a pay off when we misplace our worship...we expect to be satisfied and it never happens.  How true is that?!  Today's message was a good reminder for me...think about where your worship is going.  

Today is also a very special day...Father's Day!  Although my Dad isn't here to spend the day with, I sure have thought about him alot.  I'd give anything to have him be here know my husband and to one day know his grandchild.  My Dad and I went through a lot of ups and downs and spent a lot of time "butting heads".  We were more alike than either of us wanted to admit.  I have a lot of great memories and stories about him and am thankful for the time God allowed me with him.

Jason isn't an official Dad yet, but he sure likes to practice the discipline part with the dog :)  I know that he will be a great dad one day and thankfully he has an amazing dad of his own to learn from.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's in the Mail!

Finally made it to the post office this week with 2 ridiculously over-stuffed manila envelopes that were addressed to AFAA.  Our home study is complete and once AFAA receives our application and paperwork they will review our home study and verify that everything matches.  So, from here it looks like we wait to get approved by AFAA and I'm not sure how long that process takes. 

Other things going on...

Jason sold his truck last weekend so we have been a one vehicle family and that's always fun :)  Luckily it was his short work week and it wasn't such a big deal. We were hoping to find a replacement this weekend but that doesn't look like it will happen.  So, now we move into his long work week and hope that something comes along soon...real soon!

Other than that, we've just been plugging away and will continue to keep you updated!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


We've had a few obstacles with getting these last pieces of the paperwork together.  Our home study agency has issues with their PO Box which is a problem when your references are trying to get forms and letters mailed in.  We've been waiting on some lab work to come in to get our medical exams complete.  As of yesterday we got all the info in from our doctor that we were waiting on...yay!! 
Our home study is now ready to be emailed to AFAA (our placement agency) for review.  AFAA requests a rough draft to be sent to them to check over wording and verify that things will translate correctly once it's received in Africa.

We are almost ready to mail off ALL this paperwork! My house will instantly look cleaner!  Next week is the goal...I'll keep you posted.

I've had a few interesting conversations about adoption in the last few weeks.  I've started thinking about the questions, responses and the people that I've shared these conversations with.  I've thought about the differences in Christians and non-Christians in how people perceive adoption.  For the most part Christians seem to "understand" adoption better.  They can understand that we can bring a child into our home and love him/her like they were biologically ours.  They can understand that sometimes you just walk by utter faith because you can't possible see how details will work out.  They can understand that adoption is the means into which we entered God's family and it's how He is choosing to create ours.  I believe that non-Christians have a harder time wrapping their head around this journey because they don't have the foundation and understanding of being apart of God's family first. 
I'm sure I will continue to have conversations like I've had recently and I'm sure they will continue to stretch me.  God is moving and working even in the smallest exchange of words and actions.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend...

My brother, Casey and his wife, Hannah, and their 3 pretty girls came in town from Oklahoma this weekend.  We spent all weekend out at my Mom's house...visiting, eating, playing basketball and loving family time!