Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Pictures

I admit I did not take a ton of pictures in 2009 but I thought I would take a look back over this past year... This is not a detailed account of our year but a few pictures here and there.

January 2009:

JT and I on NYE with our friends Emily and Jason at the Russell Springs Bowling Alley...don't ask.

February 2009:

the month of my 26th birthday.... I took one part of my second board exam in Chicago so Valentine's Day was spend with our friends Lisa Foody and Jason Ryan in the Chicago snow.

JT and Robert Gibbs, Obama's White House Press Secretary in Banana Republic

JT and I on Valentine's Day at a Lincoln Park restaurant

March 2009:

I sent this month in Chattanooga, TN for school and we moved into our new apartment, pictured below

April 2009:

Not much went on in April other than studying for my boards; pictured below is me with my dog Asia, who now lives with my in laws

May 2009:

I spent the month studying and JT was supporting me.... thus, no pictures

June 2009:

I took my boards during this month, visiting with some of my old friends, and at my dad's family reunion...

Me with my friends Jacqueline at get to together with some friends

JT and I out in Louisville the night I passed my boards

Me with my dad's dad; he is 96 years old

July 2009:

We spent a long weekend with some good friends on my dad's houseboat
August 2009:
We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary by attending one of my childhood friend's wedding in Indianapolis

September 2009:
We went to our friend's Gatlinburg cabin for a weekend; pictured below is me with Jacqueline and her dog, Caroline at the cabin

October 2009:
We went on a cruise with two other couples to Key West and Cozumel, celebrated Stella's (our friends' daughter) 4th birthday.
Me, JT, our friends Ashli on the right, Ryan in the back, and the piano bar singer on the cruise

JT and I on the cruise

Jacqueline and me outside of DASH, the Kardashian's store in Miami

My dear friend Emily and me with her girls, Stella dressed as Cinderella and baby Vivian

November 2009:
We officially began our adoption process, started selling Christmas ornaments, and I started interviewing for my pediatric residency. (pictured below: JT and I painting ornaments at Thanksgiving.)

December 2009:
Christmas, more ornament painting, more interviews and some basketball games...

JT with my sister's guitar headband on Christmas eve

Christmas with our alma mater gear on!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I just wanted to drop in to say hello! Two couples whose blogs we follow, The Gibsons and The Hannahs (the links are to the right), are now in Ethiopia picking up their children. Definitely check out their blogs and keep them in your prayers...

If you can believe it, I spent part of our evening painting more Christmas ornaments. We have now sold 518 ornaments. I went to Wal-Mart today and bought what they had left of the silver ornaments and have started working.... Thus, we are still selling ornaments.

As another fundraiser, I am considering running a half marathon in Lexington, KY on March 28th. Our friends, The Prossers (blog to the right Bird's Words and Semi-Daily), did this to raise money in order to bring home their little girl Ellie. I ran the Louisville half marathon in 2007 but I was thinner then. I am not a huge fan of running but I think with a combo of walking and running, I could do it. My plan: to have 100 people sponser $1 per mile that I run for a grand total of $13.10 each. This would raise about $1300. If JT does the same thing, it would be about $2600. ANY IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS????

I Hope everyone has a great new year. I have all of the papers but 2 letters ready for our dossier. I am so excited. I will be faxing it this week to our agency to review before getting it sealed in Pulaski County and Frankfort, KY. Also, today we mailed our I-600A. Baby Steps. I just keep hoping we will see our child(ren)'s face sooner rather than later.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

We took quite a few pictures duing our 5-6 Christmases. It was a great year with our families from Tennessee to Somerset, KY to Louisville. Here are a few newer pictures of us from this past week. I hope everyone else had a Merry Christmas!

JT and me at his parents' house the day after Christmas

JT, me, my step brother Craig and my sister Gretchen before playing Rock Band on Christmas Eve..... we obviously take it very seriously

Me with Asia, our former baby who now lives with our in laws (left) and Caroline, my friend Jacqueline's dog

JT with his mamaw who is 93 years old

508 Ornaments Sold

After adding up all the ornaments JT's mother sold at her work along with a few more sold during Christmas, we are now at 508... we have to paint and ship several more. Of course, though, we will sell them as long as ornaments are available and people want them. We are just blown away by outstanding sales! Today we also had our first Home Study interviews....the individual ones about our childhoods...

Please check out a few blogs to the right. Two and Counting as well as The Gibsons'. Both families are in Ethiopia picking up their children as we speak. They could use the prayer and support!

Here are some more pictures of friends with the ornaments...Please keep sending them!

My dear friends from medical school.... Lisa Foody and Jason Ryan. They are getting married this April. As you can tell, they live in Chicago! I love these two people!

Sabrina Pate, a friend from college, with her two nieces and their ornaments

Gavin Perry with his ornament

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Cutie....

Meet Ellie. She is the two year old daughter of Jeff and Holly Prosser. They adopted her from Ethiopia just a few months ago. Jeff was my youth minister when I was in middle school and high school! She such a cutie. Her mom's blog is Bird's Words, listed on the list to the right! Keep the pictures coming...

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Pictures with Ornaments
Please keep the pictures coming.... We mailed another batch of ornaments today... If you know anyone who wants one, please send them our way.
Nonie Yancey, I went to college with her mom, Elizabeth.

Nonie's Aunt Susan

Nate Wesley, my friend Tara's little boy... Tara and I were neighbors in college

The Mullins Girls
These girls are the daughters of JT's best friend, Phillip Mullins. We love these girls!

Annie, 4 years old

Amelia, 2 years old

Evelyn, aka Evie, almost 2 months

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First Gift....

My mother was handing out Christmas gifts tonight at our family Christmas at her house. She handed JT and I a bag that said "To: Baby Henderson." I opened the bag and here was the gift....a white teddy bear with a reddish ribbon. Maybe this family may be progressing.... I just wanted to share... Sorry for three post today

Another Ornament Picture....

This is Haddon! I went to college with his mom and dad, Cheyenne and Matt. Per his mom, he almost dropped this ornament a few times.... He is such a cutie...

Adoption News, Ornaments and Life!!

So I guess, unofficially, you can call me doctor. My last of medical school was on Wednesday, December 16,2009. What does this mean? Not much really other than I no longer have to do "school" stuff. I can't write prescriptions or see patients independently. But soon, I will have my diploma in hand (probably January or early February)! What's next, everyone asks? I will continue working for the neurosurgeons with whom I have been employed for several months. I will work there until I start my residency in June. In terms of my residency, I have been going through the interview process for residency position in pediatrics. I have interviewed eight places so far, with the most recent being yesterday in Savannah, Georgia. For those interested, the others are Dayton Children's in Ohio, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va, East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, Peyton Manning Children's in Indy, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, and now Mercer University in Savannah. It has been a long journey. I still have on more interview to go...East Tennessee State University in mid January. I am really exhausted but thankful to be blessed with so many opportunities. I am also so very blessed to be in the position to ALMOST be a pediatrician. I never thought I would come this far.

In other news, we mailed our first state side adoption fee of $4400 in on Monday. On Wednesday, we received our Dossier guidelines and packet and have started working on it. I will be real honest. The process is very daunting. I know that we have most of this paperwork put together already for our homestudy, but it still does not relieve the stress I feel from it. I guess this in combination with my residency decisions makes life a little more overwhelming right now. I just feel so amazed that the adoption process is going faster than I anticipated. On top of starting our dossier, we have our first two home study interviews on December 27 and at that time, we will schedule our in home visit. I just can't believe it! I guess I just want to see my child(ren)'s face(s). I want to know who they are. I want to pray for them by name. Yet, I know I could wait months for this. In the meantime, I will continue to pray for my child(ren) and enjoy watching those around me celebrate their adoptions.

In ORNAMENT news, we have now sold 469 ornaments!!!!!! I can't believe that in less than five weeks have sold that many. Our original goal was to sell 150. Can you believe that we have exceeded this?!?! I can't. I am thoroughly amazed. We are shipping out another batch on Monday and praying they get there by Christmas. We will take orders as long as people want them, though. Thank you if you have purchased an ornament or spread the word. Thank you so much.

We are at my mom's this weekend for Christmas. Her house is like Santa's workshop at Christmas with snowmen everywhere and food and gifts. I will definitely be taking pictures of this! Have a Merry Christmas if you have anything to do this weekend!

More Ornament Pictures (please keep sending them)

This is Caleb. He was adopted from Ethiopia over a year ago. His grandmother emailed me and bought an ornament that says "5 Million Minus Caleb." She does not live near Caleb so he is not pictured with his ornament but she wanted me to have a picture of him!

Spencer, left, and Kate, right, with their Christmas ornaments. I went to college with their parents, Jenny and Stuart Borders. They are eleven months old and doing so well! Yes, they are twins. Thank you Jenny for this picture.

Again, please send me a picture with your ornaments, whether you have kids or not. The reason being.... I am retying to collect these pictures so that we can put these together for a "life book" or scrap book for our future child. I don't scrap book but I will make one for our child(ren). I would really appreciate the pictures. You can just email them to

Monday, December 14, 2009

460 Ornaments Sold

I continue to be amazed about the number of ornaments sold! My friend's mother in law wanted a tray of 24 to try to sell for us at her church this Sunday. Also, several people that we do not know came across our blog and ordered ornaments....and then their friends ordered ornaments. So here we are... I also included a picture below of my friend from college, Beth Kickert and her daughter Mikayla. You can see their ornament on the center of the tree. Everyone else, please send us pictures of your children with their ornaments! And, we will keep making them as long as people want them!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lots To Tell...

Things have been quite busy around here lately. Here is a little peek into what Natalie and I have been doing:

-Our ornament sales continue to amaze. In four weeks, we have sold 450 ornaments! More amazingly, we have hand-painted all 450!!! I joke with Natalie all the time that we are acting like Buddy the Elf (from the movie "Elf"). I am going to start answering my phone, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" I am pretty sure I wake up daily with the image of the outline of Africa seared into my brain. My African georgraphy is on point like never before. We are amazed at the support we have been given by our friends, families, and even people we have never met. Our child who may or may not be alive in Ethiopia right now already has so many people that love him/her. We are still taking orders if you or anyone you know would like an ornament or ten. Just let us know.

-The support we have recieved for our adoption has been nothing short of miraculous and I do not throw that word around loosely. God has His hands all over us right now and it seems to us like He really wants our child to come home a lot quicker than we expected. I am so guilty of trying to fit God into my timeline when it should be the other way around and He is sternly pointing that out to me. Now I am trying to stay out of God's way and let Him lead me where He will. We live in a broken world that is infested with war, famine, hate, and disease. These images are played for us constantly on TV and in print. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking all the good guys are gone but I'm here to tell you that there are so many who have stepped up to help us and our child whom they have never met. The idea of adoption resonates so well with Christ-followers because we are taught that Christ chose to love all of humanity and bring us into His family. It was nothing that you or I did. Figuratively, we all are like orphans: hungry, cold, poor, with no hope for the future outside of Christ.

-In other adoption news, we submitted all the paperwork for the required Home Study. It is quite a packet of autobiographies, health records, tax records, bank statements, etc. Sometimes the "process" of adopting becomes so tedious and it seems the details will drown you. For instance, not only did we have to get a criminal background check from Kentucky, but now we have to get one from Tennessee, Georgia, and New York because Natalie and I think it is fun to move every six months. When Natalie or I start to get down regarding this process, we think that our child may be cold, hungry, or in pain and we shut up pretty quickly and get back to work painting.

-Natalie continues to interview with various programs for a Pediatrics' Residency spot that will begin in June 2010. Recently, she has interviewed at the University of Louisville, University of Tennessee (which is located in Chattanooga), and the University of Kentucky. All interviews have gone great. They all loved Natalie (as you knew they would). The hard part now is deciding which program fits us best. This would be a very stressful time if we were focused solely on this. When you throw an international adoption into the mix, it can seem overwhelming. We are travelling to Savannah, Georgia on Wednesday for an interview Friday. Hopefully, the weather will be good and I can do some site-seeing in one of the South's most beautiful cities.

-In other career-related news, Natalie will finish medical school this Wednesday. Yes, she will be a doctor in three days!!! This goes without saying, but I am so proud of her and this tremendous accomplishment. I am going to post more about this later this week.

-If any of you know me, you know that I love telling or listening to stories. I love learning about people and their experiences and telling them about our journey. My friend Paul Gibson suggested a book for me entitled, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller. Many of you have heard of his best-seller "Blue Like Jazz." "A Million Miles..." is an excellent read. Miller views himself and his life as a character in one of his books. He theorizes that we are all co-authors of our "story" with God. He strives to live his life as a great story so he can help others and show them God's love. I loved this book (it instantly vaulted into my Top 5 of all-time reads) and highly recommend it. We certainly have a splendid story to share with our child when that day comes. I hope you choose to adopt (pun intended) this life philosophy and make your story one that you would enjoy to listen to or tell.

Again, let us know if you or anyone you know would like an ornament. Please email Natalie at Also, if you have an child and ordered an ornament from us, please email us a picture with your child and the ornament. We would love to see these pictures. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel this week, finish medical school, paint ornaments and prepare for our Home Study interviews.

God Bless,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good News!

Today, we were able to mail the second half of the fee for our home study, $1000, which is the full fee since we have already mailed the $600. What a great feeling!!! All of this is because of the ornaments we have sold.....that all of you have bought! Our count tonight was 399 ornments in 23 days. When we first started this, we almost laughed at the thought of selling more than one hundred ornaments, much less four hundred. Yet today, we are only one ornament shy of this. Also, almost all of our paperwork, other than letters of recommendation, are completed for the home study. Thankfully most of the same forms will be used for Dossier. Once all of the money comes in from the ornaments, we will also be able to pay the $670 United States immigration fee. We are amazed and I just wanted to share today's good news
~natalie and JT

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


How beautiful are these children? This is Lincoln Yohannes,the smaller brother, and Camden Yishake, the big brother, showing off the ornaments we sent to them....and their sisters are very cute themselves!!! Lincoln and Camden's parents, Paul and Bethany, are the first two people to introduce us to Ethiopian adoptions, thus we are forever indebted to them. We have met these boys and they are two of the most precious children. Plus, they are great at advertising and modeling our ornaments!!! Thanks Bethany! Their blog address is
By the way, we have now sold 382 ornaments, if you can believe it. What a blessing!!!! All we can say is... God is good and keep the orders coming. We may be developing carpal tunnel syndrom but it will all be worth it in the end! You would not
believe the people who are stepping up to support us. There are friends that we have not heard from in years....contacts from high school that we have not seen since graduation. It truly in a humbling experience.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I know, I know. It is hard to believe that in three short weeks we have sold this many ornaments! But we have. Our original goal was to sell 150 ornaments, and we have more than doubled that number. We have been blessed with support from so many loving friends and family members!
We also wanted to update everyone on other aspects of the adoption. We have turned in our initial homestudy application and fee, and hope to begin the interviews this week or next week. I will keep you posted. It is only with the help of everyone purchasing ornaments that we have been able to move this along so fast.
We would also like to ask for continued prayers in this journey. We do not have support from some in our lives, which is causing pain. Thank you so much for everything thus far! Please continue to spread the word about the ornaments. It is only December 6....there are 19 days till Christmas and we will make ornaments until then.