Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today was different than most days have been lately. We did not have any plans. The day was gorgeous. We browsed the only bookstore in town looking for a blank journal....NO luck. But I did enjoy browsing through the children's books. We grabbed a coffee and dreadfully stopped by Wal-Mart for some small things. We decided to take a drive into the "country". We came home and hung out together, watching basketball, making guacamole and spent much needed time together. I just could not shake the feeling that something, someone was missing....


We have been so busy with so much going on that I do not have time to dwell on him not being with us. Do not get me wrong. I know he is not here. I feel it everyday. With getting the paperwork in, waiting for a residency spot, JT's job search, looking online for all has run together and I have not really had a moment to breath, much less focus on the gaping hole in my heart and in our home. We are continuing to wait for our court date, patiently waiting. But today when I walked into our office and picked up a piece of clothing purchased for Tedi, I could not help but clinch it tightly in my hand and push back tears. We have no children, yet have the deepest yearning to be parents..a yearning with which I was truly unfamiliar until we actually started the adoption process. So, today I want a little one to hold....MY LITTLE BOY. I wanted to take him to the park and play and fly a kite and read to him. I know this waiting is difficult for so many, but having no kids of our own, our eagerness is palpable.

Now, I say all of this to remind myself that God is in control. As we were cleaning up tonight, JT asked me to play the music on our blog and turn off the TV. John Waller's song "While I am Waiting" came on....not a coincidence....reminding me that I am doing something bigger than me and God will carry me through this.... so below I am sharing the lyrics. Tomorrow we are speaking to our church's contemporary service out our adoption. We spoke back in December but only to the later service because snow cancellations. Pray for us tomorrow!

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Friday, March 26, 2010

Natalie's Medical School Blog
Most of you know but those that do not...I have recently finished medical school. I did my training at Ross University, where the first two years are completed Dominica, which is an island in the Caribbean. JT and I lived apart for those two years. I can not even imagine doing it again. While there, I kept a blog....From November 2005 until the last year or so, I blogged fairly regularly. I decreased my blogging once I started this blog. However, I wanted to give a shout out to my old blog. Check it out if you have time!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”Used by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech~Maryanne Williamson

Thursday, March 25, 2010

(Borrowed) Fab FIVE

So I am stealing this from my frien Jenny (Patroling the Borders blog) who stole it from another friend. Every Friday they list five things that make their life better or just five favorite things... So though it is not Friday (I am seventy minutes away), I am going to post five things that have made my life better THIS WEEK. This is also a way to keep me distracted in the week of waiting for a court date, working like crazy, and finishing residency paperwork. Here it goes in no particular order...Thanks Jenny...

1. New Contacts.... I am that person who makes a box of six contacts per eye last for a whole year. In February, I was telling JT that my left eye was hurting. I took out the contact and I had apparently been wearing it with a huge tear.....AND it was my last one. So, this morning I ordered more contacts and should have them in a week. The lady was shocked that it was one day before my one year deadline...She obviously has never met me!

2. My "147 Million Orphans" Tee ( I bought this at the adoption conference in Louisville. It is for a fabulous cause, but more than that it is comfortable. I wear it at least three days per week under my scrubs...I can not spread the message with it under my scrubs but it is a remind of what we are doing and why! They are great shirts and I love mine. Check them out...the funds go for a great cause...

3. Easter SweetTarts.... Specifically the purple ones. I am biased. They have been my favorite for years. When I lived in the Caribbean, my mom would ship them to me. Angel, one of the physician assistants with whom I work, and I were discussing our love for this candy. Another girl and her boyfriend overheard us and bought somewhere between six and ten bags... We are pumped. Though I pick out all of the purple ones, I love them!

4. My Leather Journal.... this is the actual journal JT got for me in January after my last residency interview. Initially I was going to use it to write about the match and residency trail. However, since we got our referral for Tedi, I have used to write daily letters to him. I only have about 15-20 pages left in this one and will start looking for another one. JT did a great job and I love this book.

5. Clinique makeup.... I love makeup. I know it is vain and honestly, I have slowly given up my indulgence in makeup. However, for my birthday in February, my co-workers gave me a $100 gift card to Sephora, a store I fell in love with in NYC. They now have one in KY but I try to stay away because I know I will want to spend money that is better used to more appropriate causes...or things like student loans. HOWEVER, I went to use that gift card this past Saturday with my friend Jacqueline. She helped me pick out new Clinique foundation, powder, concealer, eyeliner and mascara. I am very pleased... It helped that there was a special.

Happy Birthday Granpa Stewart!

Today is my Granpa Stewart's 97th birthday....Yes 97. He was born in 1913. It is remarkable to reflect upon. He was born in rural Tennessee to a farming family. He married my grandmother and they had fifteen children. My grandmother delivered thirteen of those children in her own bed. My grandparents outlived five of their own daughters. They were very poor but hard-working tenant farmers who instilled that very work ethic in my own father.....and then to me. With grandmother gone many years ago, it amazes me that my grandfather continues to live alone in a small duplex on my aunt's property in Muskogee, Oklahoma gardening roses when he can and taking tons of vitamins. Though I do not see him often, it is because of this man I am here and am able to be a doctor and adopt Tedi and love my husband....At the risk of sounding cheesy, because two people fell in love, I exist. I just wanted to honor him with my words. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Helping Friends Fundraise

Another couple adopting from our agency, who JT knows from grade school and family connections (not a coincidence), are fundraising for their adoption as we have been. They are selling coasters and I posted an example below. There are five other options as well. We ordered a few and they are beautiful and of good quality. Please check out their blog if you would like to support them in their journey:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Touch of Good News...

We heard today that anyone who has their dossier and papers filed to the Ethiopian courts prior to April 9, 2010 will not have to travel for the court date. If this holds true, we will only make one trip to pick up Tedi. Our papers have been filed. Now we are just praying for a court date... and for our tshirts to be paid for and finding ways to save for the rest of the cost.... OH AND we get our first set of vaccines tomorrow, if the health dpt has enough help (another story)....getting Hep A & B, Meningococcal, Tdap.. Fun Fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I just wanted to take a minute to really give God the glory for our adoption and give a re-cap of the process since we started. I know many have started reading the blog later so I wanted to give our story:....

This time last year JT and I were trying to get pregnant. Our plan was to get pregnant during my third year of med school, have the baby near the end of my fourth year so I could have this time off with the baby before residency.... again it was OUR PLAN. We did not conceive after a year of trying, painfully trying. We used clomid for four months with no results. We were not happy with ourselves, in our marriage, and honestly, with God. We were angry with news of our friends' pregnancies. It was a dark season for me personally and our marriage.

One day in August I met Paul Maynard (Maynard Mayhem blog) who introduced me to Ethiopia through his two sons adopted from there. The boys are adorable but still unable to see my past my pain, I did not see the window God wanted me to jump through. Over the following months, adoption was more and more on my mind. One day in October in the car outside of JT's mamaw's house, he looked at me and said, "I know it will be difficult for you to be pregnant or try to get pregnant during residency. Would you want to consider moving forward with adoption?" We talked about adoption early in our marriage but not since trying to conceive. His words opened a new world in me and I do not think he thought I would jump on it. I was in touch with Paul the next week.

More and more things came together....Paul introduced us to his agency, Arise for Children. JT reconnected with two friends from junior/high school, one of which was friends with the director and one who had also adopted with Arise. God was opening a world to us we never knew we would a part of....a world that would change our world.

In November, we joined Arise and began our adoption of "one or two children under the age of five, boy or girl" planning on a year at the least. We were unsure of the funding, even fretted and sweated it...still not trusting God despite his guidance. We could not fathom how to raise the money to even pay for the required home study. We sold Christmas ornaments and watched God show off....our goal was to sell 150 ornaments. Over 500 ornaments and several large gifts later, we had paid for the home study, a large agency fee, and several other fees. We were blown away by God's provision. We continued our fundraising with t-shirts sales and have raised $5000-$6000 more in fees. Now, we do not even question what God can do.... We expect Him to blow us away.

We accepted the referral for a three year old little boy named Tedi in late January in the middle of our t-shirt sales. Seeing his face changed our lives. Now, this was not a process, but OUR mission. Not just for Tedi, but for orphaned, hungry and sick children everywhere. We now realize that Tedi, though he will be our son, is our catalyst for our marriage and lifes' "care for the least of these.." for indeed they are the greatest.

We now wait for a court date for our son. We could learn of this date tomorrow or months from now. Wait...we must wait. We long to hold him, to love him, to read to him, to tuck into bed. But if we have learned anything through this process, it is that God is in every detail of our lives....from the large, seemingly insurmountable cost of adoption to a court date to my husband already having job interviews after five days of finding out where we will move. We may not know and want rush life.....but I am learning the joy in the waiting, the change in the waiting, and what God can do in the waiting.

I have posted this quote before and I am sure to do it again....but it says so much.

"Waiting is one of God's most powerful tools of grace. God doesn't just give us grace for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait." Paul David Tripp

All I can do now is pray for our son and give thanks for the blessings we have been given!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big Week.....

As you may have read, we found out on Thursday that I matched at the University of Louisville pediatric residency program which is through Kosair Children's Hospital. This was my first ranked choice and I/we feel very blessed to be there. I remember about two years ago JT and I were driving in downtown Louisville and I told that could never match at UofL because they would never take me... Well, I proved myself wrong....rather God proved me wrong. The program is three years for general pediatrics, but knowing that I want to specialize, I will have to add three more years to that. I start residency orientation on June 21, 2010 and officially begin residency on July 1, 2010. Now, we are praying that JT finds a job quickly and the right housing situation presents itself. We are looking for homes/apartments/condos to rent that will be affordable and appropriate once we get Tedi home. I can not tell you how excited we are about this. It is blatantly apparent to us that God is every detail of our lives right now...... and we know this because....

because.... JT has a job interview set up already and we found out Friday that we were awarded a matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans.... Yes! It is such good news. If we raise $1500, they will match $1500. They encourage us to send fundraising letters but thankfully we already have a fundraiser planned. JT's cousin and his wife, Brian and Heather Smith, have planned a cookout fundraiser for us on April 18, 2010. It is a cookout with bingo and cornhole and a silent auction. Hopefully this will help us raise a portion of the $1500 towards the matching grant....Speaking of the cookout, we would like to extend the invitation to the cookout to everyone interested. If you are interested, please let me know ( and I will forward the invitation. We are very thankful for Brian and Heather and those like them who have been so giving and supportive in our adoption.

We are still waiting on a court date for Tedi. Rumor is if we have a court date by April 7 or 9 (both dates are being tossed around) that we will only have to travel to Ethiopia one time. However, we will not know anything for sure until we hear about a court date....until then we continue to pray for our little guy. Also, our pastor, Dr. Harmon, asked us to speak at the 9am church service next week. We originally spoke to the 11am service on a snow day so the early service was canceled. Because of scheduling, it worked out that we are able to speak this week. I pray God gives us the words for those that are there.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Again, let me know if you want to come to the cookout.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

LOUISVILLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I matched at Louisville! I am so excited! I will write more later.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One More Day

We have one more day before we find out for certain where we will be living for the next three years.... what a big day!!!! We are both nervous and excited. We are also at peace with wherever we end up. I will definitely announce the location as soon as we know! We also continue to wait for more information about having to travel twice to Ethiopia, a court date, where are our papers.... we don't know much of anything that is going on right now, but as with with my residency, we are at peace with the process. This peace as only come with a lot of prayer and patience. We feel very blessed.


Monday, March 15, 2010

I MATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What this means is I have a pediatric residency position for next year.....or I have a J-O-B starting July 1, 2010. On Thursday, I will receive an email which tells me at where. I know this is a confusing process but I am so excited that I matched. I am very excited and nervous about Thursday! I just wanted to share the news!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stories in Pictures...

I have written before about my friend Emily's daughter, Stella, and the wonderful moments I have with her. Last Friday, we babysat their baby girl Vivian while they took Stella to see the Velveteen Rabbit play. JT continued to call it the "Velveeta" rabbit. Stella did not like that. Afterward, they came to our apartment to hang out for a little while. We were all talking, and should have known better since we did not hear Stella. I hear a clunking noise....out of my closet she my peep toe Steve Madden heels (that I never ever wear anymore). She is a diva in every sense of the word and loved the shoes....I had to snap a picture. I also took two pictures of Viv during our babysitting evening. (the pictures are below).

Last night, we went to their house in Campbellsville to hang out since we know our weekends our limited with my residency quickly approaching. Stella has always love her Mr. JT. He "got" her, since he is little bit dramatic himself (no offense, sweetie). Well, our last few visits, she has wanted to be with Ms. Natalie more. Last night, we danced and played and read books and baked a make-believe cake. While she was bathing, I walked out of the room to help Emily get Viv ready for bed. Mr. JT walked into the bathroom to check on Stella only to find her wimpering. When he asked what was wrong, she said "I am upset because Ms. Natalie is not in here with me but she is playing with Vivian." She is too much!!!! So, obviously I returned to the bathroom. As I am drying her off and getting her ready for bed, this conversation commenced:

Stella: Is this how you are going to dry Tedi off after a bath?
Me: Yes. Are you going to help him learn English?
Stella: What is English?
Me (realizing how much smarter she is compared to me): It is the language we speak. The words we use.
Stella: Well, I heard him on the video use English. He said "Look, Look, mmmmm" (this is a true statement because we have a video of him saying this.)
Me: You are right.
.....she is now dressed and I am combing her wet hair.
Stella: Is this how you are going to comb Tedi's hair?
Me: No, his hair will be shorter than yours and it will be different.
Stella: Different how?
Me: Well, his hair is different from yours. Little boys from Ethiopia have hair that is not like yours and I will use different stuff for his hair. (I said something to this effect because I did not know what to say)
Stella: Huh. Okay. Want to go read?

....I Love that kid!

Before we went to Emily's, we were in Bowling Green, KY to meet a friend and pick up a suit for a wedding JT is in. We walked in Old Navy and this is what we found. Yes, it is a Run DMC shirt for our son. And, YES, JT owns one as well. JT has had his for almost a year now and it is NOT my favorite. He wore it on our vacation in the fall. He wears it whenever he can. When we found out that we were going to be the parents of a toddler little boy, he was determined to find this shirt....and yesterday we did. (not my best shot but sharing his for my lovely husband)

Lastly, we ordered Tedi's bedding on Wednesday! Well, I should say my mother in law did, and for that we are grateful. I will give JT props for picking it out. The great irony in all of this is that we don't have a bed!!!! I know, I know. But we are waiting, first, to find out about my residency, second, the home we will be living in, and third, when we will be heading to get Tedi. We are planning to get a twin....well, we are getting a twin since that is the quilt that we ordered. We are slowly collecting and getting Tedi little things because he is older and things like "showers" are not common for older ones! We love the bedding and hope you do as well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BEWARE: A Long Post Ahead
(Ethiopia law changes, our reaction, my residency, my graduation, our lives)
Hi everyone! I wanted to take some time to post and let everyone know what has been going on in our world. It will be a long post with no fun pictures, but I will break it up with bullet points and colors so it does not feel as long ;-)
1) Ethiopian Law: Though the details have not been hammered out, Ethiopia announced yesterday that there will be changes in their laws for adopting parents. The Good: They are now requiring a new form to be completed by the Embassy in Ethiopia before parents can come pick up their child. This will extend the time between passing court and traveling to get your little one. However, the good side of this is that apparently, if what is being said is true, the child will be an American citizen upon arrival in the country rather than having to go through re-adoption, as is the current policy. The Not-As-Good: As part of these changes, the government is now going to require that both adoptive parents appear for a first visit for the court date. This visit will last one week. THEN, you must leave your child and come back in 6-12 weeks to pick them up and attend their Embassy appointment. SOOOO....what this means is that there are now two required trips for adoptive parents. While this is not a bad thing whatsoever, it is difficult for us because it adds $5000-$6000 more in travel cost. Also, we are in an unusual position that we are waiting for a court date, so that we are in the last group that just missed these requirements. Quite honestly our paperwork could actually be in court but we just don't have a date.
With all of this being said, we are actually at peace with these changes. Surprisingly, JT and I have come to this place of peace. We have seen God provide for us and demonstrate his timing so earnestly that despite our frustration with such a big change midstream, we have not faltered and have tried not to question when our natures' beckon us to. We actually expected some changes to be made to the process, but we did not know it would be now. I realize that some agencies have mis-represented situations and such changes need to be made to protect children. I will never oppose this. Nevertheless, we are steadfast and resolute knowing God's provision will continue as we continue to seek him. I love my son and though difficult, God is in every detail of bringing little Tedi home. Whether in finances or in patience, we will move forward, hand in hand, to bring home Tedros James Henderson.

"Waiting is one of God's most powerful tools of grace. God doesn't just give us grace for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait." Paul David Tripp

2. Residency: One week from today we will know where we will spend the next three years. Thursday, March 18, is the "match". It literally is like speed dating or even You interview with programs that invite you. You then put these programs in the order that you like them. The programs rank the students in the order that they like you. Then these lists are submitted to a computer-run system. You are "matched" with your list, hopefully. Some people do not get a spot if they are not ranked by programs. Anyhow, Monday I will know for sure if I have a spot, and then, on Thursday will know to which one of the nine places we will be moving. I may be minimalizing this or making it seem all technical when it is actually important. It is a BIG DEAL. We will move to a new city so that I can start residency on July 1, 2010. I will change jobs and be working as a REAL doctor....a REAL pediatrician....saving everyone else's babies. JT will be forced to find a new job and we will find a new place to live....a place fit for a beautiful little three year old boy....It is all so exciting...and yet a little nerve-wracking. Add this stress to the above changes all within a week of each other....let's just say my fingernails are shorter and my faith without knowing is steadily increasing. I will let everyone know where we are heading.
3. Fundraising and Moving Forward: We have been blessed with several people stepping up in big ways to support our adoption. Like many, we were initially met with some resistance in our adoption, more because of timing and funding rather than on principle. Now, so many people have enveloped us in support. There have been two big examples. First, the wife, Jennifer, of one of JT's college friends from Lipscomb University (his life before me) owns and runs a boutique. The store that she and her sister run are starting to carry the items designed by "147 Million Orphans" ( They have decided to give their proceeds of this gear to help fund Tedi's adoption!!!!! And once he comes home, they will help another family. How amazing! I have only met Jennifer and her husband, Wade, one time and she is willing to do such a drastic thing for us. ALSO....yesterday after we found out about the two trips, JT text his brother, a few friends, and his cousin. His cousin, Brian, and his wife, Heather, called us back last night. They decided that they want to host a fundraiser at their home just outside of Louisville. They want to have cookout and charge $5 admission and have cornhole tournament and all kinds of other activities to raise money. This is was completely their idea and what a blessing. We picked a date tonight with Brian and Heather and are working out the details... It is amazing how they just stepped up without even being asked. We were just merely planning to have a yard sale in May on our own (which we will still have)....and now two other families are stepping for us above what we could have fathomed. God really does place people in our path for reasons beyond our understanding. He is in the most minute details of our life.
Lastly, after writing all this, I wanted to say I realize how very blessed I am. I spent some time earlier reading the blog of 21 year old Katie, a missionary in Uganda, who has adopted 14 girls and lives there. She works with orphans and runs a feeding program. Her story is amazing. Check out her blog:

Monday, March 8, 2010


We are placing our third t-shirt order this week! It has been amazing how well the t-shirts have sold! We are over 350 shirts, which is a total blessing. We are placing our third order on Friday and the turn around has been about a week. The shirts are $15 and are in sizes infant through 5XL adult. My email is Thank you for those who supported us thus far. The image on the shirt is below!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Something to Think About...

"Fifteen thousand Africans are dying each day of preventable , treatable diseases- AIDS, Malaria, TB- for lack of drugs that we take for granted. This statistic alone makes a fool of the idea many of us hold on to very tightly: the idea of equality. What is happening to Africa mocks our pieties, doubts our concern and questions our commitment to the whole concept. Because if we're honest, there's no way we could conclude that such mass death day after day would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Certainly not North America, Europe or Japan. An entire continent bursting in to flames? Deep down, if we really accept that their lives- African lives- are equal to ours, we would all be doing more to put the fire out. It's an uncomfortable truth."

First, the number beginning that quote is correct. That's fifteen thousand. 15,000!!! Humor me for a moment. For all my fellow Kentuckians, let's say you wake up Monday and the first story on the news is that all inhabitants in Murray (population 15,000) had died. That would be a HUGE news story. I'm sure it would lead the national news for weeks. Only when you wake up Tuesday, everyone from Danville had died. On Wednesday, it was Glasgow. Thursday, Somerset. Friday, everyone in Berea. Dead. I am pretty certain that local, state and federal government along with churches and charities would work like crazy to solve this epidemic quickly. Yet, we are losing 15,000 Africans neighbors every day to diseases that we know how to prevent in the US. And you never hear about this. You do not hear about it on the news. You do not read about it in the newspaper. We CERTAINLY DO NOT hear about this problem from the pulpits in most of our churches. Why? Was not Jesus' greatest command to "love your neighbor as yourself?"

Secondly, you would probably guess that an American president, senator, CEO, or a minister said this. You would be incorrect. This quote is by Bono, the lead singer of U2. In an era when most "celebrities" are consumed with making more money and accumulating possessions, Bono has dedicated millions of his money and much of his time to raise awareness and slow this problem down as much as he can. I commend him for the clarity of his vision and the courage to care about people who, chances are, have not heard of him or his music.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?