Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Back!!!

After my much needed break from electronic gadgets (computers, tvs, PSP, DS) my family is feeling so refreshed. I thought my kids would kill me for taking it all away but you will never believe it!!!!!! Bethany actually enjoyed it.... and Colin... he discovered he has toys in his room!!!! Amazing! I highly recommend this to you all.

After my break I decided to give my blog a fresh new look. I wanted to create a cool banner with my family pictures on it, change the font, and you know just spice it up. Well, I don't know if this is a sign that I should of just left electronics out of my life forever... but my computer caught a very bad virus and I lost EVERYTHING!!!! All my pictures from the past 2 years, all my school work, all my home school records, and who knows what else. I managed to upload pictures of Anna Li's adoption and Dylan's birth to a photo website so those are safe but my trip to Disney, Sea World, Colin's first fishing trip, and so many more memories GONE! I know I should of had a back up but I just never got around to it! I am so disgusted.

The website I went to is one a lot of my dear blogger friends go to. I have been there a hundred times. It gives you blogger secrets to make your blog "the cutest". Well, I downloaded the program they recommended and that is when it happened. I am too scared to go back to the website to email someone and let them know their site is contaminated with a virus. SO just one big warning to you all... when updating your blog DO NOT DOWNLOAD any "photo shop" type of program!!!

I just don't understand it??? Who would want to put a virus on a computer? Where do they come from? Is there some evil doer sitting out there in a dark and lonely room creating this stuff?? and for the sake of what?? I really don't understand. Can erasing my pictures truly make someone happy?? Does anyone want to explain this all to me?!?!?

Any who!! I am back!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Taking a Break

Taking a break from TV, facebook, blogging, emails, and the Internet (except for school work) for 1 week. Sometimes we just need to get rid of the distractions and focus on what is important in life. Be back in a week!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to School

It's that time again! I am back to school and hoping to finish someday before I die!! I am still majoring in Collaberative Education (once called Special Education). It has been a little bit of a struggle considering how our school system let us down but that is all the more reason to keep on keeping on. I can and will make a difference in the lives of these children... may not be in this school system but somewhere... I will.

I am taking 2 classes at Athens 1. Teaching Language Arts 2. Intro to Learing and Emotional Disabilities. I am also taking 1 credit hour class (A&P lab) at Wallace. Not too happy about this one but so thankful that Dr. H was so willing to work diligently to create a class just for me to get this one credit I needed. Once upon a time, I took A&P 1 class. After the class was taken the system changed from quarters to semesters. Sooooo, when my classes got transfered I somehow lost a credit due to the conversion!! So now, I am stuck taking a 1 credit hour class that I have already taken! It is an independent study so I do get to do it in my own time but there is a LOT of work to do for that one little credit! That's life:)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

To My Dear Followers:)

I failed to make any new years resolutions this year...
probably a good thing because I always break them.
However,
I am always trying to make an effort to be more thoughtful.
I pledge every year to send out birthday, thinking of you, and get well cards.
Yet,
every year life gets crazy busy and I start to slack off by February.
I know, It is sad! But my nephew always lucks up
because his birthday is in January.
So, new year, new beginings..
I want to let ALL 8 of you know
I appreciate you
AND
In honor of YOU I am making a donation to:
THE MORNING STAR PROJECT
I learned of this organization through my blogger buddy Lori
and I know how dear it is to many of your hearts.
Thanks for being my blogger friends:)
I wish you all a wonderful new year!
To learn more about The Morning Star Project click on the link below:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dylan @ 3.5 Months







After failing 3 hearing test the ENT doctor informed us that Dylan needs tubes in his ears:( We are going to get a second opinion and looking into some other options in hopes of avoiding surgery. I know tubes is a simple one day surgery but any time you have to put a baby to sleep is scary to me! Besides failing hearing test Dylan is doing wonderful:) He is a good and happy baby as you can see from his smile! Teething is right around the corner... he can't keep those fist out of his mouth! Some of Dylan's favorite things are laughing at his brother doing jumping jacks, squealing, and gooing:)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christian Action

Christian Action is near and dear to our heart. 
They took such good care of 
Anna Li as she waited 
for her journey to America
to find her 
forever family!

Close to my Heart

Coming Soon....

Our Adoption Story

Our adoption story...

To read about our adoption of Anna Li click here.

Adopting Anna Li was one of the greatest moments of my life. There are no words to describe the love I have for this child. I will be forever thankful to God for allowing me to be her mother for 16 precious months. Some may look at our story and think what a tragedy but I am here to say you couldn't be more wrong. Sometimes God calls us to do things and they don't always have the ending you would expect. As humans we want to think where did I go wrong because it didn't turn out as we planned. As Christians, we must realize God's plan is not always our plan, God's plan is not always easy, but God's plan is always perfect. God is doing amazing things in my life as well as Anna Li's. It brings me great joy to see her heart shine so bright for Jesus. She is never ashamed to share Him with others. She plants the seed and has faith that someone else will come along and water it. Christ's name is being glorified my friends... there is no tragedy in that.

I would be more afraid to not do what the Lord has called me to do than to be afraid of what the Lord has called me to do. I was warned by many not to adopt an older child "it would ruin my life."  Those 16 precious months were the hardest of my life and yet I never felt closer to God nor heard his voice so clearly as I did then. God placed Anna Li in our lives for a season to open our eyes to His will for us. He placed her right where He needed her and He is doing great things through her. His name is being glorified and that my friends is far from "ruining my life"

Would I adopt an older child again? YES, YES, YES! If the Lord called me to I would. It is an honor and a gift from God! 

Will we adopt again......

for that you will have to stay tuned!  

To meet our extended family (Anna Li's family) click here
 
Update:
Lord willing, we will bring home our son, Nathaniel, summer 2012! He will be 8 months younger than Dylan meaning we will be the proud parents of two 2-year olds next year:) 

 

Our Story

Where to begin?!?!
The first time I met my husband: I was a cheerleader in 6th grade and he was a basketball player. My school was playing his school and my dad was there to video tape the whole thing. I am sure we saw each other but at 12 years old… there were no fireworks going off.


We almost met once before that in 5th grade when his grandfather came to our house and invited us to church. We had to turn him down because we were already going to another church. If we had went… I would have met my future husband.

Fast forward to the year 1997: I landed a job as a part-time cashier for Lowe’s Home Improvement. I went in for my first day of training and who do I met… that 12 year old basketball player all grown up. No, I still wasn’t impressed. I made polite conversation in the break room and then went on with my day. He continued to pursue me, and he eventually won me over after a few happy meals at McDonalds:) We were engaged in 3 months! Chad called off the wedding a month before because of cold feet, but luckily, he came to his senses and we were married a year from the day we met. Today we have been happily married for 12 years:)

We wasted no time starting a family and had our little princess 9 months later.

Our Princess is 11 years old:
Bethany is the sweetest child ever! She was our one and only joy for the first 6 years. She begged us for years for a little sister so you should have seen her face when the doctor said “You will soon have a baby brother!” She turned out to be a wonderful big sister and she adores her brothers. She loves being called Sissy by them. She is a very talented princess. She is good at drawing and making crafts. She loves doing origami. She loves a good sewing project and makes many things on her own without a pattern. She enjoys soccer and has been playing for 6 years! She enjoys horses and playing with her friends. She loves to travel and had the opportunity to go to China with us.

Monkey #1 is 5.5 years old:
Little Brother Colin is Mr. Personality. He keeps us all in stitches! He is also a little stinker! He loves to aggravate his sister and brother. He is a typical boy that loves his superheros and his cowboy guns. He could play outside with the neighborhood kids from dawn till’ dusk if we would let him. When he is inside he thinks he has to be playing video games or eating. His favorite saying is “I want a snack!” He hates taking long trips and gets carsick. He loves going to the movies. He also loves sports! So far he has played upwards basketball and AYSO soccer. We missed T-Ball this year but he will definitely play next year!

Monkey #2 is almost 9 months old:

Baby Brother Dylan is always on the go. He looks a lot like his sister but acts a lot like his brother. He is crawling everywhere, pulling himself up, sticking everything in his mouth, slobbering, and jabbering! He is spoiled rotten and thinks he has to be held all the time. We can’t pass a door without him saying “bye-bye”. He loves being outside. He is such a joy!

Anna Li is 14 years old:
Anna Li was our daughter that we adopted from China at 12.5 years old. She opened our eyes to so much in the year that she lived with us. She is a very special girl that will always be near and dear to our hearts. God planted a seed in our hearts to bring Anna Li home. He used us as a stepping stone to get her where she needed to be. In the process, He taught us so much about ourselves and strengthened our relationship with Him. Anna Li found her forever family in November 2009. She was officially adopted March 2010 and is now known as Mary Katherine Poko. We call her MK! We didn’t lose a daughter but gained a family. She is doing wonderfully in her new home with her new family and is really excelling in school. We keep in touch through phone calls, emails, and visits. She is no longer legally our daughter but she will always have a special place in my heart as well as the Poko family.



Will there be any more? I hope. God has placed adoption on our hearts. Chad and I both knew since we were young that adoption would be in our future. We do not believe it was a mistake to bring our Anna Li home. The Lord used us in a big way to get her where she needed to be. It was an honor and a blessing to have her in our lives, and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. For now we will live our lives in the most God honoring way possible and listen for his sweet spirit to guide us from day to day.

Our Story

I sat in the heaviness. And I weighed the risks of sharing our life, all of it, the joy and the sad, the beautiful and the ugly, with the whole crazy world. And I know. That if on the other side of that risk is the possibility that someone may see Jesus in our brokenness and know that there is grace and purpose in theirs too, the the whole crazy world is welcome. For a glass of water, for a welcoming smile, for a story of redemption, for a place to belong. For a glimpse of a Savior who uses even us, the messy ones, "Come and listen to what He's done for you."           -Katie Davis



Where to begin?!?!


The first time I met my husband: I was a cheerleader in 6th grade and he was a basketball player. My school was playing his school and my dad was there to video tape the whole thing. I am sure we saw each other but at 12 years old… there were no fireworks going off.


We almost met once before that in 5th grade when his grandfather came to our house and invited us to church. We had to turn him down because we were already going to another church. If we had went… I would have met my future husband.


Fast forward to the year 1997: I landed a job as a part-time cashier for Lowe’s Home Improvement. I went in for my first day of training and who do I met… that 12 year old basketball player all grown up. No, I still wasn’t impressed. I made polite conversation in the break room and then went on with my day. He continued to pursue me, and he eventually won me over after a few happy meals at McDonalds We were engaged in 3 months! Chad called off the wedding a month before because of cold feet, but luckily, he came to his senses and we were married a year from the day we met. Today we have been happily married for 12 years


We wasted no time starting a family and had our little princess 9 months later.


Our Princess is 13 years old:


Bethany is the sweetest child ever! She was our one and only joy for the first 6 years. She begged us for years for a little sister so you should have seen her face when the doctor said “You will soon have a baby brother!” She turned out to be a wonderful big sister and she adores her brothers. She loves being called Sissy by them. She is a very talented princess... she may just be the next Martha:) She is good at drawing and making crafts. She cooks and bakes! She loves doing origami. She loves a good sewing project and makes many things on her own without a pattern. She enjoys soccer and has been playing for 7 years! She enjoys horses and playing with her friends. She loves to travel and had the opportunity to go to China with us.


Monkey #1 is 7 years old:


Little Brother Colin is Mr. Personality. He keeps us all in stitches! He is also a little stinker! He loves to aggravate his sister and brother. He is a typical boy that loves his superheros and his cowboy guns. He could play outside with the neighborhood kids from dawn till’ dusk if we would let him. When he is inside he thinks he has to be playing video games or eating. His favorite saying is “I want a snack!” He hates taking long trips and gets carsick. He loves going to the movies. He also loves sports! So far he has played upwards basketball and AYSO soccer. We missed T-Ball this year but he will definitely play next year!


Monkey #2 is 2 year old:


Baby Brother Dylan is always on the go. He looks a lot like his sister but acts a lot like his brother. He is crawling everywhere, pulling himself up, sticking everything in his mouth, slobbering, and jabbering! He is spoiled rotten and thinks he has to be held all the time. We can’t pass a door without him saying “bye-bye”. He loves being outside. He is such a joy!






Anna Li is 16 years old:


Anna Li was our daughter that we adopted from China at 12.5 years old. She opened our eyes to so much in the year that she lived with us. She is a very special girl that will always be near and dear to our hearts. God planted a seed in our hearts to bring Anna Li home. He used us as a stepping stone to get her where she needed to be. In the process, He taught us so much about ourselves and strengthened our relationship with Him. Anna Li found her forever family in November 2009. She was officially adopted March 2010 and is now known as Mary Katherine Poko. We call her MK! We didn’t lose a daughter but gained a family. She is doing wonderfully in her new home with her new family and is really excelling in school. We keep in touch through phone calls, emails, and visits. She is no longer legally our daughter but she will always have a special place in my heart as well as the Poko family.


Ella Ruth Gray: our angel in heaven  February 2011 I gave birth to our daughter at 16 weeks. I went in for a routine checkup only to discover she had passed away. I was admitted into the hospital and delivered the next morning. Oh how we miss her and wish she was here yet we find comfort in our Savior and trust in His plan even when we don't understand it. 

Will there be any more? I hope. God has placed adoption on our hearts. Chad and I both knew since we were young that adoption would be in our future. We do not believe it was a mistake to bring our Anna Li home. The Lord used us in a big way to get her where she needed to be. It was an honor and a blessing to have her in our lives, and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. For now we will live our lives in the most God honoring way possible and listen for his sweet spirit to guide us from day to day.


Nathaniel Lin is 22 months old. As a volunteer with LWB I was introduced to a handsome little guy that we were helping to repair his club feet and have his hernia repaired. I gave him the English name Landon and we quickly found a sponsor for his surgeries. We also teamed up with AOW and they gave him the name Xavier. One day I was killing some time on fb when I ran across a post from a friend sharing the news that our Landon was available for adoption. I shared the news with my husband and after a day or so praying we decided to inquire about him. I wasn't  surprised when we learned that several families had inquired. I was happy this little guy would for sure get a family even if it wasn't us. They added our name to the list just in case and I went on with life. A month later our pastor spoke on adoption and orphan care. Our hearts were very heavy and I did all I could to hold back the tears. We cried out to God for clarification on all that we were feeling. We wanted to adopt but the timing didn't seem right. We had inquired about Landon and the door was closed. We were both willing to give up this dream of adoption if the Lord had other plans for us but we just need things to be clear. The next morning I checked my email and one from the agency stood out. Landon was available!! All the other families decided it wasn't the right time for them to adopt and his file was available for us... so here we are! Paper chasing and trusting in the Lord's provision to make this happen. Although nothing is set in stone we do hope to travel in the summer 2012.

 



Amazima


 
This is the most touching blog I have ever read!
Katie is a beautiful young girl that has left her world behind in the US
to follow the Lord's will for her life in Uganda.

Also checkout her ministry:



Be sure to have a tissue ready:)

The Gray's 2009 Year in Review

January
Does anything every happen in January?!?!? I think it it is just a month of recovery from the holiday season. No pictures to share.
February
We celebrated the 13th birthday of Anna Li this month. Her very first birthday in America! We also was surprised with snow! Anna Li came from a province that was very cold and got lots of snow in the winter so this was very welcomed and loved by her.

Party at the Skating rink!

We took Anna Li to Stix for her 13th b'day.


To bad she filled up on junk food from her school party to eat much at her special birthday dinner :(


March



Spring Break!!! We went to Panama City so that Anna Li could see the beach for the first time. She loved it so much! Who would have ever thought by the end of this year she would be living 10 minutes from the beach. We also continued our family vacation at Sea World and Disney World. It was a very special treat for Anna Li and Colin. This was a first for both of them.













April



This month we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We used the resurrection eggs to tell the story and the girls really enjoyed it. We also did the annual Easter egg hunt. We went a little crazy on the eggs... hundreds and hundreds of eggs!!





May

Oh No! Say it ain't so! no pictures in May?!?!
I guess with the winding down of school I guess there was no picture opportunities this month:)



June

Enjoying the lazy days of summer! Our highlight this month was going to the Dragon Boat Festival to visit with our FCC family. Anna Li made a good friend.






July
Summer fun. We celebrated the 4th at home this year. Anna Li was introduced to the egg toss, slip and slide, and homemade ice cream. It was a special month for us as a family for we celebrated Anna Li coming into our lives. We went hiking and out to eat with family on her special day. We ended the month with the beginning of soccer season.



Anna Li discoverer the slip and slide.
Kicking off a new season of soccer... Colin's first season.
Some funnies.. when asked how many goals will you score
Colin responded with "$10.50"


Father and Daughter
How painful it is to sit her today on Jan 1 2010 and know she is no longer with us..


Celebrating Anna Li's first year in our family.
As a mom I could not be more proud!


August
The end to another summer. We had one lasting outing before heading back to school. We visited the McWayne Center (a hands on learning center). We started the school year with Anna Li at East and Bethany home schooling. We ended the month with them both home schooling. I look at this month as the calm before the storm.
The storm that caused our lives to be turned upside down.

Digging for dinosaur bones at the McWayne Center


Lots of Fun at the McWayne Center
September
The most difficult month of our lives yet ended with a great blessing, the birth of our son, Dylan Michael Gray. We also celebrated the 5th birthday of our son, Colin. This month was full of trials and tribulations but the Lord carried us through them. He proved once again that He will never leave us or forsake us. My children seen Him at work in our family and we are blessed through His Spirit.



and Dylan makes 4!

October
One of our favorite months of the year. We became good friends with Anna Li's new family. We had a wonderful Halloween knowing it would be the last with our Anna Li. We so enjoyed getting to know our little bundle of joy. It was such a blessing to watch all of our children interact with our newest addition.

Colin's first year of soccer!!

Adjusting to new baby


My favorite picture from Halloween


NOVEMBER

A month of goodbyes and new beginnings. WE said goodbye to our daughter Anna Li in order to give her a better life full of peace, love, and happiness.

The end of a rainy soccer season.

Our last outing with Anna Li before she moved.

Anna Li's Special Night

When Two Families Became One
(sorry at this time we are not able to post pictures of her new family)
DECEMBER
December, we celebrated the 11th birthday of our daughter, celebrated the birth of our Lord, and Colin lost his first tooth.



Bethany turned 11 years old on December the 3rd.

She celebrated it with her closest friends.




Colin lost his first tooth!

The tooth fairy was so generous and gave him $5 for his first tooth.


I made sure he understood that the tooth fairy normally doesn't give that much...

just for the 1st one!

Food and Fun

Coming Soon....