Sunday, January 31, 2010

Speaking on Adoption

Despite the crazy weather here KY, (see our previous post), we still spoke today at our church, First Baptist Church in Somerset. We ususally attend to the early, more contemporary service, but with the weather, there was only one service today. JT and I were interviewed by Pastor French Harmon about our journey that brought us to the point of adoption and then we were able to focus on how adoption has changed us. Thankfully, JT is much more of a talker than I am. Overall I felt it went very well. My dad and stepmother Terri, my uncle Dean and aunt Carol, JT's parents and brother and sister in law were there. Also, my co worker and dear friend, LaDale, and her boyfriend and his parents came to support us. My friend Sonya and her husband Matt were there along with our friend Meagan. My favorite little guy, Hensley, and his parents Curtis and Meredith were there to help us sell our ornaments. Kallie Rankin Bailey, one my best friends from high school, and her husband and step son came as well. SOOOO, despite the weather, we were thoroughly supported by those who love us.

After the service, we set up a table with our business cards (that say "Pray for Tedi" and our blog address), our Christmas ornaments, T-Shirt orders, and some pictures of Tedi. We were able to speak to many different people from church, most of whom we have never met. We are so blessed because by just standing there and selling ornaments, we were given $920. God really is wanting us to bring this little boy home. Granted, we still need about $8000 in agency fees and then travel cost, but we know that God is bigger than our finances!

Thank you First Baptist Church for allowing us to share our story and for your generosity. We do not deserve such blessings.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What I woke up to.....

I was sleeping soundly when I heard lots of noises outside the bedroom door. I got up but there was nothing out there. I open our door and here was the scene:

JT was outside sweeping and salting our deck. He is turning into a REAL DAD. He did not do all of our stairs because it was still snowing. What he swept he has already been snowed over.. For all of you northerners (which we used to be), this is a small amount of snow. But her in south central KY, the towns are shut down. Unfortunately, this may end up canceling our church service tomorrow :-(

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow, Snow, GO AWAY....

As I mentioned in a previous blog, we are supposed to speak at church this Sunday about adoption process and how God has used it in our lives. We are so excited (and admittedly nervous). They even put our picture in the local paper. But as this snow continues to fall, I am getting more and more nervous about it. I know, God is control but it still worries me.

Before the snow started falling, I went to our friends' house, Curtis and Meredith. (Their blog "Two and Counting" is to the right.) They needed someone to keep their little guy, Hensley, for a couple of hours tonight while they worked. I must say it was two of the best hours of my week. Hensley and I played, ate baby food (well he did) and listened to toddler tunes. JT was nervous because the snow fell throughout the evening...after getting home, we painted more ornaments to take with us in the event we do speak at church on Sunday.

Hensley.....during our time together...

Speaking of our ornaments....this is Rainie and her mommy, whose name is also Natalie, bought her an ornament for Christmas. She is posing for us, and is she not the cutest little thing ever?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


We got our Fingerprinting date for USCIS (immigration) for February 12!!!! We will hand deliver our homestudy to them that day.... after that we have to wait on them to send us our I171H form....which says we can bring our little guy home. I am stoked. I know this is a short post but we are excited!

Oh and please start placing your tshirt orders!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not a Coincidence.

So, we have a big task ahead of us this Sunday. JT met today with our pastor, French Harmon. The purpose of the meeting was to make him aware of our adoption and to ask for prayer during the process. The conversation progressed and at the end, JT and I were asked to give our adoption testimony to both church services on Sunday....our church has been doing a series testimonies as the sermons. The person who was supposed to speak this Sunday had to cancel today.. NOT a COINCIDENCE. The last two speakers have been a MLB player and UK basketball player and now there is us.... and I think.... what can we, two normal people, really say? But we have to have faith God will give us words to say. The pastor also wants to pitch our t-shirts and to bring some ornaments.... I never thought on the brink of February I would be painting Christmas ornaments but that looks to be our Friday night....

A little back story to us speaking.... last school year there were two Ethiopian exchange students living in our town of Somerset. Sadly, one of the boys tragically died in a drowning accident. The other boy, his friend, had the name Tedros. That is name of the little boy we are going to be getting. (I have not celebrated this yet on the blog. That is to come). I do not believe this is a coincidence. Now, in Ethiopia, they, the family who kept the boy that died, and our church are building a hospital in the boy's name. Not a coincidence.

Please be in prayer that the weather cooperates and everyone can make it to church on Sunday. I am both nervous and looking forward to it.

Another bit on T SHIRTS.... $15. First order and payment deadline: February 14.
Sizes (in mens): S-XXX (add $1 for 2X and 3X)
Children's sizes available and we are working on todders and infants

Monday, January 25, 2010

T-Shirt Design

We got our final t-shirt design today. JT is meeting tomorrow with people to print them. We believe the cost will be $15 for adults and some lesser cost for children. Spread the word! We don't really have a goal but are handing it over to God. The t shirts will be black with the design below in the center! We are going to collect one big order rather than individual orders. Email me if you are

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Truly Blessed.....

I had a great weekend. My second look at the University of Louisville and our adoption training went better than expected. I am just blessed. I can't say anything more....I am blessed.

Here is one of my current books.... It is such an easy read that closely resembles our journey to this point. I would suggest to anyone adopting or interest in it....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I have not had a great day today, but I wanted to take a minute to update the blog. Despite not having the best day, JT and I had a great dinner. We called up our friends Sonya and Matt to meet us at the Mexican restaurant near our house. When we got there, another couple we are friends with, Meagan and Kyle, were there as well. It was a great hour and a half spent with them.

Also, since I last posted, JT and I have made a decision. After much discussion with some close friends and prayer, we have decided not to do the half marathon as a fundraiser. We have decided it was going to follow our ornament sales too soon. However, we are going to forge ahead with our tshirt design and sales. The design is almost done and we will post pics as soon as it is. Now that we have decided not to do the race as a fundraiser, I am finding it harder and harder to find the motivation to run. I don't enjoy running that much. I enjoyed it much more when I lived in the Caribbean and ran beside the ocean everday. I have continued to make healthy eating choices and exercising through Zumba and other classes at the Y. I am positive that I will keep this up!

I hope everyone is having a great week! We received our official marriage license for the dossier today. Other than the home study, we are ready to go with the dossier! Hopefully, once the home study is complete, we will be closer to the seeing the face(s) of our child(ren)!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lazy Sunday, Busy Week......

I have had a fabulous weekend. Yesterday, I was able to run 4 miles with JT in training for our half marathon and go to a great yoga class at the Y. Afterwards, we met my mother and grandmother for lunch. My mom was in town visiting my grandmother so it was nice to see her, if even for a little while. I had time to take a nap then we headed to Burgin, KY (don't ask where it is) to watch my friend Jacqueline coach her high school girl's bball team. We had dinner afterwards and headed home. We woke this AM and went to church, where the music was great, of course. Since we got married, Sunday has already been our favorite day to hang out and was the perfect Sunday....two great football games and rain. After church, I never took off my pajamas.

This week, unlike today, is going to be very busy. We are both working this week but on Thursday night we are heading to Louisville. I have a second look interview at the University of Louisville pediatric residency program. Then that night we start our adoption training from
6-9p and 10am-4p on Saturday. We are going to try to visit our friends Phillip and Abby, The Maynards, and JT's mamaw all in that time.....Yes, we are crazy. On top of this, we have to squeeze in our running for the half marathon.....which is exhausting to think about.

Speaking of which, we are getting ready to start asking for sponsors for the race. What does everyone think? Just ask for $1 per mile for a total of $13.10. I am not a huge running fan so this training is taking tons of faith and pain but I am doing it....SLOWLY with walking...but it is getting done. And, our t-shirt design is almost complete!!! I can't wait to post it. Our friend who did it has done such a great job! Let me know what everyone thinks one last time!


Friday, January 15, 2010

So I resisted for a while but I gave in today. I added a music playlist to the blog. JT did not want one at first, but we both love music.... Finally, today, I had some time and added a playlist. For now, it is all Christian music. I wanted the playlist to be positive and refreshing. I have a blog that I have kept since starting medical school ( and on there, I have more of the other music I listen to....hip/hop, pop, alternative, and the like. I hope you like the music on here. I did not make it an automatic start so you can control if you want to listen to it. Enjoy~

There is nothing new going on in our adoption world. Now we are waiting for all of the paperwork for the home study to finished. They are waiting to receive our NY state child abuse check. Next weekend, we have adoption training, which we are very excited about! We get to meet other families within our agency at different points in the process. Though long, it should be lots of fun.

Lately, with the adoption and some other struggles I have been going through but do find it necessary to share openly, I have been doing a lot more thinking and praying than I had been. Before, I was going through the motions without much thought However, I was thinking today....We only get one life. One chance to make a difference. THAT IS IT. Going into residency as a pediatrician, adopting one or two children, being married, trying to save money and make money.....all of this is exhausting. But I can't imagine the day I stand in heaven and God asks me, "Natalie, what did you do with your life?" And all I can answer..."well I worked hard and slept in and traveled and made lots of money." While all of this is good and fine, I want to have done something more. I know I will be tired and stretched and at times, without tons of money, but I do have faith that I am going to make a difference. All of this makes me think of one of the songs on my place list "Its Your Life" by Francesca Battistelli. The chorus says....
"It's Your life; Whatcha Gonna do.
The world is watchin you.
Everyday, the choices you make
say what you are
and who your heart beats for
It's an open door
It's Your life"
The song goes on, but I think the point is made. We are here but for a fleeting my occupation this reality is palpable. If I can not make a difference, through adoption, the way I treat people, my relationships, my intimate friendships, my giving, my example.....if I can not influence one person for the good, what has my life really been about. And though I get down frequently about the little and big struggles in life (waiting for a referral, doing adoption paperwork to paying what seem to be insurmountable student loans and finding the right residency), I know that I am on the right path. I know I am doing what is right and what I am called to do.

Sorry this has been a bit of rambling but I am writing what is on my heart! I am excited because I get see one of my very best friends tonight and tomorrow. It will only be for a short period of time tonight and tomorrow, but I am so thankful to see her and to have her in my life! Hopefully it turns out to be an enjoyable the NFL playoffs are on Sunday....and JT and I love Sunday football together!
Have a good one

Monday, January 11, 2010

CIS receipt!!!

We got our CIS receipt today!!!! We haven't gotten our fingerprinting appointment, but I am excited. There are only two documents missing for our completed home study....CIS receipt and our NY background check. The NY documents SHOULD be done in 7-10 days. I am just excited about our means the government now knows we are adopting. To me that is really "cool". I wanted to share the good news....

In other good, fundraising news, we have a preliminary design for our T-shirts....and it is FABULOUS!! Once we get the final design, I will post it. Ww are going to sell them for $15 in conjunction with my half marathon. They are great and we can't wait to share them!

Speaking of which I have decided to go through with the race. I did my first run today..... I will probably regret it tomorrow when I do my second run. I realized while running that not only will this help raise money to bring our child(ren) home, but it will help me to be a healthy mommy. I have let myself get "heavy", "chubby", "fat"....choose your word and need to get in check, not only for my self esteem, but to be a healthier, as a future mom, future doctor, and a wife. I also feel that God wants us to be the best version of ourselves, and I am not there right now. My hope is to raise money and get to this point... Thankfully, a new, dear friend offered to help keep me accountable..Thank you (you know who you are).

Have a great night everyone!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Home Study.......... check.

SO..... The home study is finished. Our social worker came to our place on Saturday mid morning. She asked lots of questions about plans on disciplining, how we met and our relationship, and toured our home. It feels great to have it done, especially after all my stress over it last week. Now, we wait again. The way it was explained it us....the social worker has about a week to write it, then the director has a week to review it, then the SW has a week to revise hopefully in three to four weeks, we will have the final copy. Once we have that, we can submit our dossier (aka... international paperwork) since we have that completed and ready to go. After the dossier is submitted, we can wait for our referral....meaning we can see the face of our child(ren). SO as for for now, more waiting, but we havc done we can do at this point. It is now in God's hands....not ours......thankfully.

Today after church we had the opportunity to have lunch and spend the afternoon with Mark and Lori Carter. They also got to our church and have adopted a little guy from China. It was nice to hear their story and learn from them. What a blessing they will be for us! We are working on a tee shirt design for our adoption and they want to help sell them to the youth at your church. To me, that is great because youth are always into "cool" t-shirts and that is what we are hoping to have!

Check out "Armstrong Adventures" blog to the right. They left today to go get their little boy, Dawit. Please keep them in your prayers... Have a great week!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Apologies and Thankfulness....

I realized late last night that not only my blog post from yesterday as well as many of interactions with others were tainted with negativity and frustrations. Rather than letting go and allowing God to have control over our upcoming homestudy visit, yesterday I became more and more upset as the snow continued to fall.... Laying in bed last night after my friend called me out and JT asked what was wrong, I realized what I had been doing. For this, I apologize. I know this just out there and is not specfic. I have apologized to those who endured me first hand.....

Part of what helped me realize my behavior and attitude yesterday was sadly enough, a tragedy. Working for two neurosurgeons, death is not a foreign concept, especially with inclimate weather. Just before I left work yesterday we got a call about a bad wreck, one guy my age was dead and his friend was being transferred to us for emergency brain surgery. I was too caught up in my own emotions to really appreciate how thankful I should be. After thinking for several hours last night, I realized my foolishness. I started thinking...."I am alive. My husband is alive. My best friend did not die in a car tonight. I did not die. I am healthy and educated and blessed with great people around me. I have a job." Possibly delaying our home study was only a small road bump in this long road of life and of our adoption. THEN WHAT HAPPENS TODAY....JT called and our home study visit is still ON for tomorrow.

So... I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays warm. I will let everyone know how tomorrow goes!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Thing I know and Many Things I don't......

I do not know when our home study will be done....with this weather, our last visit, which is scheduled for Saturday, does not look good. I am prayful but nervous. And this is scary and frustrating because NOTHING else can move forward without it....our dossier, our grant applications, our potential referral....

I do not know when I will see the faces of my child(ren). I never thought I would ache to just see the mere face of the child I will parent. There were even times in the past when I was unsure if I would ever be a parent. Now, though, that it is an inevitability, I can't begin to tolerate the wait..... I mean, I am tolerating but it is so heart "aching"....

I do not know where the money will come from..... though after the miraculous ornament sale, I do know that the $$$ will come as it is supposed to.

I do not know where we will end up for my residency. We find out the third Thursday in March....I turn in my order in February and have to wait another month after that.... we will then move AGAIN in June where ever "that" is.... and have to have our home study amended.

Despite all of this "not knowing", I am trying to enjoyr, appreciate and love the ride.... Despite all fo this "not knowing", there is one thing I know without any doubt...... I know that my husband, JT, will be a fabulous father. I have always known this and never doubted it. Yet tonight he did something that was proof. Many of you may or may not know but Kentucky is getting ice and wet snow tonight. The roads were slick, mainly because here in the South, we don't handle winter weather well.... Basically, the entire state had school pre-emptively canceled today with the prediction of snow. Tonight, in the chilling temperatures and snow and ice, JT first came to my office and waited in the lobby for an hour while I saw patients so that he could drive me home (my car is not the best snow-mobile). After we got home, he insisted on sweeping our porch and the stairs leading the parking lot. After THAT, he then salted the entire porch and stairs and walkway to the car...... ALL of this so I won't fall tomorrow when we leave for work. I know this is small and may seem insignificant. But with all things I don't know, I DO KNOW this is child(ren) will have the best daddy ever.

More Ornament Pictures.....
we have sold 10 or 12 more. I think now we are over 540. Can you believe it?

Bennett Kuma Gibson.....he just came home from Ethiopia on January 1, 2010.

Miller Washam......I helped deliver this little guy during my OBGYN rotation on May 15, 2009.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome Home,
Hensley Binyam Hannah

Our friends, Curtis and Meredith Hannah, returned home on January 1, 2010 with their son, Hensley. Curtis updated his facebook status on Saturday morning with something to the tune of, "we are home. Come visit." I am sure many people thought he was being nice but we took it literally. It was amazing to see Hensley and see an adoption come to fruition. We stayed for about an hour playing with Hensley and talking to Meredith and Curtis about their experience. Just holding him and talking with them made our own adoption seem even more real. We have met several adoptive families, but this was different to me. It was different because when we saw them on December 23 there was no Hensley, and last night there was. JT and I got in the car and we were speechless. It was another reminder that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Thank you, Curtis, Meredith and Hensley!!!!!

(Their blog is to the right "Two and Counting") Below are pictures of JT, Hensley and myself with Hensley's ornament we made over a month ago. Also, there is one with JT helping Hensley with his bottle, although he is pretty self sufficient with the bottle.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year. JT and I took rainchecks on two parties to stay home and get some rest. It was nice to spend some alone time together watching movies and hanging out. We re-watched "Four Christmas-es" with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn and watched Taking of Pelam 123. Both are great movies! I, of course, fell asleep at 11pm, but not peacefully... JT was in my ear the whole time to wake up.... In my sleepiness, I said, "I don't care about the new year. Just let me sleep." Uneventful at best.

We have been continuing to sell ornaments, to a family I met in a yahoo group and one to another Arise family. We are now at 525 ornaments! Can you believe it because we can't?!?! We still have a few to make and plan to ship the ornaments on Monday. But, we ARE still making them. As long as we can find ornaments, we will continue to make them.

So....I believe we have everything together for our dossier. Another thing that I can not believe. Well, everything but the most important thing....the HOME STUDY. Thankfully, we have our final visit on Jan 9th, one week from now. I am not sure how long after that it will take to write up but we pray soon. Once that is in, we can submit our dossier and begin applying for grants as well.... All of this will put us closer to our referral, which, honestly, I can not wait to have. Just to see the face(s) will be so amazing. With that said, I do not think I have said what we actually requested. JT and I did not request male or female and we said any child aged zero to five years. We also agreed to take siblings. Thus, we are open to about any little one God has for us. Now, like I presume most of the adoption process is, we are waiting....waiting on the home study to be finished only to wait on the dossier to be submitted to wait for a referral. What a lesson in patience.

Again, I hope everyone had a great year in 2009.