Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Special Christmas...

We are so very thankful for the gift of God's son, and for the gift our special son, Caleb.
God's Gift
Little baby on the hay
Soon there will be another day
When nails shall pierce your hands and feet
As you provide our sin's defeat
Risen Jesus on the throne
We lift our praise to you alone
For you're the gift that we receive
The moment that our hearts believe
-Roy Lessin

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our First Meeting....

One year ago today Zack and I were riding in a van down a bumpy road with a racing heart and sweaty palms.....we were on our way to meet our son! I can't quite express the thoughts and feelings that were going through our hearts and minds during that time, but I can tell you it is a moment we will never forget. When we pulled through the gate and saw the transition home, I thought my heart would explode! We had decided that the families would go in alphabetical order by last name- that meant we were number two in line! When our time came we stood anxiously looking at a door, knowing that the moment we saw our son carried through that door our lives would be changed forever. I still remember his little face. He had just woken from a nap and the sun was so bright that he squinted his little eyes. I remember it all like it was yesterday. That day is still so clear and vivid in my mind. And now it has been a year.

He still squints his eyes when he awakes from his nap- I love that! But so much has changed for him and for us. We have seen him blossom from a scared and unsure baby to a vibrant and lively little man! We have seen Caleb thrive this past year. It has been amazing to watch him grow, learn, love, and live. When we think about where he started as a tiny 5 month old baby found all alone, and how far he has come, it makes us so grateful. We could not imagine our lives without Caleb......

Caleb is not the only one who has undergone change- I have to smile when I think of those first few days and nights in Ethiopia with Caleb. We really had no idea what we were doing. There is actually one picture where I am changing Caleb's diaper and he has diaper rash creme all over his arm...I had no clue how to be a mom- but I learned :) And Zack learned. It was a trial by fire, but we learned, grew, and are better people for it. Of course, we have tons more to learn, but I when I see how far we have also come, I am so thankful.

Perhaps what is the most amazing aspect of all of this is that God took three people, all very different, all very much in need of love, all with very much love to give. We lived thousands of miles apart, and would come together through a series of events coming together at just the right moment, at just the right time. God worked through all these things and and made these three people into a family. What also is amazing is that he would allow Zack and I the opportunity to experience this most amazing journey of adoption and then give us the most amazing child in the world :) What is amazing is that he not only does this for us here on this earth, but also for eternity, by adopting us into his heavenly family through his Son, Jesus. It is simply amazing.

So, we celebrate this special day, and also celebrate all that God has done for us and continues to do for us. He is simply amazing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Birthday Pictures.....

Finally, I can upload some pictures from Caleb's birthday . Caleb had such a wonderful time at his party. Many of his church friends were there and they had a great time playing. My favorite part was when we all sang Happy Birthday to him. He had the sweetest look on his face....almost like he couldn't believe everyone was singing to him. I was proud of how well he let all the other children help him open his gifts and even play with his new toys. He is a sweet boy. We are blessed!

Caleb is also loving the Christmas season. He loves all the decorations, lights and Santa Clause. He also loves the Christmas parties! I think he has been to at least 3 already :) We try to talk with him each day about the true meaning of Christmas. Because he just had a birthday, he still thinks that Christmas has something to do with his birthday, but today when I asked him whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas, he said "Jesus!" So, I think he is getting it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Caleb Meets Santa and Celebrates His 2nd Birthday!!!

This past weekend was a busy one for the Caldwell family! Caleb met Santa for the first time, and celebrated his 2nd birthday with family and friends. Unfortunately I am having technical problems so I can't upload the birthday pics... so I will wait until I can upload those to tell you about his birthday- he had an awesome time!
So, back to meeting Santa....Caleb understands who Santa is and what he does, and he was very excited to meet him. When he first saw him at a distance, Caleb was so excited! He looked up at me and smiled as if to say, "Wow- that's Santa!". Then, the closer we got and the more Caleb realized that the point was for him to sit in Santa's lap, the more panic stricken and fearful Caleb became :). All of a sudden, he wanted nothing to do with Santa! Wouldn't even go near him! So we let Santa take a little break and Caleb and I sat in the big chair (this was in hopes that Santa could sneak up behind us and at least be in the picture). As you can see from the pictures , this worked, until Caleb realized Santa was back there....then you can also see what happened :)

Eventually Caleb did calm down long enough to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, and Santa even got a little smile out of Caleb. It was a memorable first meeting :) Don't worry, Caleb also knows the true meaning of Christmas and about Baby Jesus. He met him too- at our manger scene at church :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

With Gratitude We Remember.....

Thanksgiving is always a time to reflect, to remember, and to express gratitude. We did just this over the weekend, as we reflected on just how much God has blessed our family. He has blessed us in so many ways, of course one of the biggest blessings being Caleb :) The joy he brings to our family is indescribable! We could never have imagined just what a gift he was going to be to us all.

We also remember with thankfulness a year ago at this time...We knew our court date was coming up soon- December 2. I can not explain to you the anxiousness, excitement, fear and anticipation I felt in my body every single waking second as we waited for our court date to was the most intense wait I have ever experienced! Anxious to hear news, excited to think about the prospects of passing, fear of not passing and further delays and anticipation for all that was ahead of us. Of course, we were not the only ones waiting to hear- several other families had court the same week, so we were all sharing these feelings!

December 2 came and went, and no news! I did not think we could wait a second longer! December 3 came and went, and still no news!! Worry consumed me as we were not sure why we had not heard any news concerning our court date. December 4th came. A few families heard their news- some was good, some was bad. It was almost lunch time and we had still not heard any news. I was slowly beginning to fall apart. I was at work by myself that day, so I went back into the back room, got down on my knees, and prayed for the Lord to bless us with a successful court appointment so that we could bring home our son. When I came back into the office, I noticed a missed call. Sure enough, it was from AWAA. I wanted to collapse in fear because up to that point many unsuccessful court notices had come via telephone (as our first failed court notice had come). With shaking hands I dialed my voicemail. What I heard elated me! It was the travel coordinator for AWAA telling us we had passed court and to call her asap to confirm our travel arrangements!!! Praise the Lord! I will never forget that moment.

We have come such a long way since that phone call. I truly can not believe that this week will mark a year since we passed court and that our baby will be turning two years old. And soon he will have been with us for one year! We have so much to be thankful for.

As I mentioned in a recent post, we have been seriously contemplating another adoption, and we feel God has made a few things more clear to us. The first is that he desires we adopt again from Ethiopia. The second is that he desires that we trust him and his calling in terms of the child that he has for us-more on what this specifically means for us in a later post. The third is that we not rush the process. We are in a time of transition in terms of careers and residence, so we don't forsee it being beneficial to begin a homestudy anytime soon, as much will likely change in the coming months :) We may, however, begin collecting our dossier in the coming plan is set in stone as of yet.

One thing we know and are thankful for: God has used adoption in our lives to show us more of Himself and who He desires us to be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Congratulations Caleb!!!

Yesterday we received an email from America World telling us that one of the photos we had submitted for the 2010 America World calender was chosen as the winning photo for the cover of the calendar! Wow! Way to go Caleb!!! This is truly an honor as all former and current AWAA families across all country programs are invited to submit photos for the contest! We are proud of you buddy!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back to Work...& Thinking....

So, I have been back to work for two whole weeks now. So far, I really like my job! I have a wonderful supervisor who is doing a fantastic job training me. I have learned so much about candy and sales ( I work for Hershey as a part time retail sales merchandiser- mainly in convenient stores & food stores). I can honestly say this is something I would have never ever seen myself doing, but so far, it seems to be a great fit :) The schedule is great, Caleb seems to have adjusted well, and the extra money is really helping out.

We have also really been thinking a lot about adoption lately. Most likely because this past weekend we led an adoption seminar at our home church and I represented AWAA at an amazing adoption fair at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. I was able to speak to so many young couples interested in international adoption and gave out all the info I had with me! Praise the Lord! The most exciting time came when I recognized a family that I had met at an AWAA seminar in Frankfort a few months back- they recognized me as well, and came over to chat. During the course of our conversation they told me they had submitted their application to AWAA'a Rwanda program about a week ago!! I was so excited I just wanted to jump up and shout! So, back to our "thinking". We are really thinking about what God would have us to do in terms of adopting again. We both feel it is in our hearts to adopt again, we are just unsure when to start exactly and of a few other country (most likely Ethiopia or Rwanda) and age/sex. We are praying through all this right now. We would be honored if you prayed with us!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Caleb had a great time dressing up for Halloween! Isn't he just the cutest little lion you have ever seen? We decided to dress him up as a lion because his most favorite stuffed animal, Mr. Lion, goes everywhere with him and Caleb sleeps with him every night. So, a lion just seemed like the natural thing for Caleb to be :)

The upcoming week is going to be a difficult one for me- I really am going back to work for sure this time, and even though it is part time, it will be the first time in almost 11 months that I will be leaving Caleb on a consecutive basis. I am so thankful that God provided our family the opportunity for me to stay at home with Caleb for such a long time- I feel very fortunate. I can see how much the time has meant for both of us, and for that, I am sooo thankful. Caleb has adjusted so well, and I know he will be fine without me for 20 hours a week. I will just miss all the little special times with him, like putting him down for his nap and being able to hold him when he wakes up, saying his prayers with him before "bite bite time" (lunch), you know, all those sweet moments. I guess it will just make every moment I do spend with him even sweeter :)
Also, this weekend is the AWAA Spirit of Adoption Seminar at our church. I have really been praying that God would speak to hearts and bring folks to this seminar. He can do anything, and I trust that he will! Oh, and good news- one of the families at the last AWAA seminar has sent in their paperwork to AWAA for the Ethiopia program! Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Year Ago Today....And Updates!!!

One year ago today I received a phone call that I had been praying would never come- One year ago today we found out that we did not pass court. I still remember listening to Duni tell me why we didn't pass and being in disbelief. I remember calling Zack and through tears telling him the news. We would have to wait until December to try again, and hopefully we would be able to travel before the new year. My biggest disappointment came in the fact that we would not hold Caleb in our arms before he turned one year old. For some reason, that was such an important thing to me back then. I didn't know how we would make it through the next couple of months...but we did. Actually, it wasn't near as bad as I had thought it would be. It is so hard for me to believe that all that transpired a year ago....that means that Caleb has been with us for ten months now! Wow! I have no doubt that us failing court was all a part of God's sovereign plan and that he knew exactly what he was doing. Once we saw Caleb for the first time, none of it seemed to matter- he was ours, and would be with us forever!

Just a few updates on Caleb (sorry, no pictures this time.....more of our fall family pics to come soon, though :)

-He is a whopping 27 pounds now and is around 35.5 inches tall- not too bad for the little fella!

-He is beginning to put two words together! For example, he will say "Up momma" when he wants me to get up in the morning. Or he will identify his toys by name and color, such as "yellow ball".

-He is in love with football. That is all the boy wants to watch! So, his birthday party is going to be, yep, you guessed it- football theme!

-He is beginning to say his numbers, 1-10 and his ABC's

-He loves to throw a ball, kick a ball, and he has just learned how to do a somersault!

One of the most interesting things- He will point to other black or bi-racial children and say "Bubub" which is what he calls himself, since he can't pronounce a the cuh sound. He also identifies himself with the black children in his books, as opposed to the white children. Needless to say, he is a very observant child.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Family Pictures :)

This past week we went to the Rockastle River Trading Post and had our fall pictures/Caleb's 2 year old pictures (he will be 2 in December!!!) taken. We could not have been more pleased with how they turned out. Our photographer, Kelli Baker, did an amazing job! Check out her blog. She is awesome!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Fun.....

Fall is here in full force and we are loving it as you can see from the pictures. This past weekend we moved out of our home and in with my parents. Yes, we moved out of the home we worked so hard on :) But, the timing was right and the Lord blessed us with the sale of our home-we did buy it as an investment, after all, I just don't think we were planning on cashing in on it so soon :) So, we on the lookout for a new home! It is exciting, but I am hoping we can live in our next home a little longer....moving is no fun!

The AWAA seminar went great last weekend as well! Zack and I were supposed to just be training at this seminar, but unfortunately, just a couple days before the seminar the leaders son became ill (he is doing much better now) and I became the leader! Thanks to lots of prayers and the support of my family, it went great and I had a wonderful time talking with the families about adoption. God truly moved in hearts!!! Can't wait until the next one!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Welcome Fall and Welcome Opportunities!

Welcome Fall! My most favorite season of all! I love the crispness in the air, the football (Go Cats!), the beautiful colors of the changing leaves- yes, I would be happy if it were fall-time all year long! We are looking forward to Caleb enjoying his first fall with us as well. Fun, fun, fun!

God has also given us some amazing opportunities lately. Zack and I accepted the opportunity to be Associates for America World (our adoption agency) in the state of Kentucky. This means that we will be leading seminars for families interested in adoption as well as representing America World at various adoption seminars/workshops throughout the state. This weekend, we are co-leading a seminar near Frankfort, Kentucky, and on November 7th, we will be leading a seminar at our home church. We are praying for God to use these seminars in a mighty way, in hopes that more families will welcome children into their homes through adoption!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Just Can't Do It....

So, it has been a long time since the last blog post- we have been very busy- spending lots of time with family and friends, doing things at church, and looking for jobs. Speaking of jobs, in the last post, I wrote about going back to work, and, well, I just can't do it, at least full time. I was planning on going back to work, and though I had searched and searched for something part-time, but all I could seem to find was full time work. I had recently accepted a full time position with our local hospital and actually would have gone back to work today. But I just couldn't do it. Even though we really, really could have used the extra money and it would have been a great job, with each day that went by I just knew that I couldn't leave Caleb all day, every day. I had promised myself that when I became a mother, I would do my very best to stay at home with my child. My mom had stayed at home with me, and I treasure those times. I truly treasure them. So, as it came closer and closer to my start date, I felt more and more sick about leaving Caleb. These last 8 months had already passed so quickly.... I called the hospital and explained the situation. I couldn't leave my son full time. I admit, I had doubts if it was the right thing to do in terms of our finances, especially with this economy- was I crazy for turning down a job? At the end of the day, I was at peace with the decision and prayed that God would once again show himself faithful.

The very next day, something very amazing happened. My very sweet mom who is always praying for me had asked some of her co-workers to also pray for a part-time job. Long story short, one of my mom's co-workers had a connection with someone who knew about a part-time job. She mentioned that I was looking for a part-time job and the friend said she would mention my name. The next thing I know, I get a call from the supervisor of the position, basically offering me the job! I would have never heard about this part-time job otherwise, and it was a great position- perfect hours, in my degree field, it was too good to be true. It was evident that God had orchestrated it all! Once again showing himself faithful. It was one those moments where you just had to lift your hands to God and praise Him!
In other news, Caleb is doing really well going to the potty. He is not anywhere near being potty-trained, but he is making great progress! Tonight he even told me he needed to go pee-pee! As soon as he got on the potty, he went! Okay, enough potty news :) He has also been going to "school" as we like to call it- it is really a Mother's Morning Out program twice a week- we think he might already have a girlfriend!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Caleb and the garden

Caleb loves to visit Bobby's garden (Bobby is what he calls my mom). He likes to march through the rows of beans and corn and play in the dirt. At first, he was terrified of the scarecrow (as you can see from the pictures), but eventually they became buddies. He is so funny.
Our family is in for some big changes in the next few weeks....mommy is going back to work....more to come on this :)