Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Thirteen years ago tonight, I married my friend and my love, Kevin, in a ceremony at Grace Baptist Church in Pleasant View.

Much like tonight, it was raining and cold.

Now, thirteen years later, so much has changed, and yet, so little has. We have been blessed with the love and life of our son. We have been blessed to still have our parents with us, and my grandmother. We have had good years and bad years, but it has all been for the best. We have found and love our church, First Baptist Joelton.

Ironically, we still live in the same house we moved into when we got married. It holds such great memories.

Happy anniversary, Kevin. I love you as much, and more, as I did on the night of November 26, 1994.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Girls Go Shopping - "No Need to Fight, I'll Just Take It"

Instead of our annual weekend trip, this year "the Girls" decided to tackle the Day After Thanksgiving shopping -- BLACK FRIDAY.
We had made plans for quite a while and decided we would leave at 4:00 a.m. Because I knew we would need space, I offered to drive the van. It's just sitting in the drive anyway. Before the day was over, I was calling it an amusement park ride because you could just never be sure what was going to work -- or not work -- at any given time. Apparently, Kevin had not clipped the blinker, brake or front right lights back in so we drove into town (in the dark, mind you) on almost flat out DARK mode. God love him, he then drove out to Academy and put them in for us before he went to Clarksville to meet his family for lunch and shopping. The tires were low and we had to air them up. We had to pool all our quarters to get enough to put air in two tires and we were not certain, at one point if we were letting the air OUT or putting it in. We smelled antifreeze and the windshield wipers froze up when we turned them on. It was a RIOT after a while.

We hit Kohls first where the line literally snaked around the whole store. We were next door to Target where I wanted to get a TV that was on sale. They didn't open until 6 a.m., so I thought I had plenty of time. Imagine my surprise when I walked out of Kohls and the line to get into Target was all the way down the street to Kohls. Fortunately, it didn't take long to get in and I promptly shuffled off to electronics. There were no more carts so that wasn't a problem.
The place was PACKED, especially in electronics. I saw a lady with the TVs I was looking for in her cart so I walked up and asked her where they were. She started to tell me as another woman walked up to listen. She said they were back in the far corner but they were already all gone. She then went on to say that she had picked up two but only needed one. She said, "You two can fight over this one." She no more than had it out of her mouth when I said, "Oh, there's no need to fight, I'll just take it." and proceeded to lift it out of the cart and walk off with it. Now, this didn't strike me as odd or humorous at all, but the girls have laughed and laughed over this. They said they could just see me doing this. *smile* She offered ....
We ended up going to Kohls, Target, Walmart, Panera Bread (morning snack, you know), KMart, Academy Sports, American Motorsports and then off to Opry Mills where we hit Bass Pro Shop, Bath and Body Works, TGIFridays (lunch by then), Apple Barn and Bed Bath and Beyond.

By this time it was 4:00. We had been going for 12 hours and we were tired, silly and giddy and had to go home. Here is a shot of the back of the van and the interior -- after a long day.

Oh, and by the way, the television was worth it. *big smile*

Thanksgiving Group Photos

So, we got the great idea to take a few group photos while we were all together for Thanksgiving. All I can say is, "hahahahahahahahahaha"

Fort Knox??? Notice Joshua is on the floor!

There was much more laughing that photo taking. We finally came out with a few good ones. We should have planned better. There is talk of getting together for the family reunion in June. Maybe then, we can do better.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these should be a novel.

Had someone eaten a Fiber One bar?

Finally, a passable group photo of all 16 of us.

Thanksgiving Day

It was a wonderful day, with the exception that my mother was feeling so poorly that she and daddy didn't get to come. It was my first Thanksgiving without them, and it made me sad. Since there were a lot of folks around, though, there wasn't a lot of time to be sad. I did get to go see them for a short, short while later in the day. Hopefully, we will get to go out to eat for our birthdays and Thanksgiving when mama is feeling better.

In lieu of a full write up of the day, I thought my favorite pictures from the day would tell a better story. Suffice it to say, we had more food than we could eat, we had lots of laughter and fun.
Here are some of my favorite phrases heard througout the weekend:
  • It's just paintin' the walls, Nana
  • Please let someone pray who won't cry
  • Has anyone tried those Fiber One Bars?
  • What's "Iraq"?
  • Where's the gold stored?
  • Fort Knox
  • Watch out for that water spill.
  • You're going to sleep how many, WHERE?
  • Don't forget the new baby -- WHAT?? What new baby?? Is Ann pregnant?
  • "Rodney"

We are blessed for each life that is in our family, for who they are, what they add to our family and for the fact that we get to call them family. I am blessed beyond measure. Who could ask for more?


Sarah is the baby Latham. She will be four in December. She is the cutest little button in the world and is smart and polite thrown in for a bonus. She gives great hugs, loves her Aunt Maria, Uncle Kevin and cousin Joshua. She loves the kitties, too. She has the cutest little sprinkling of freckles across her nose and her braids this weekend were darling.

She's so tiny that everyone, including Joshua, picked her up at one time or another. She's always smiling and happy.

I can't wait to see you again, Sarah!



Lauren, my third niece, is nine, almost ten. She will be ten in January. She and Joshua are the closest in age of any of the grandchildren and they are like two peas in a pod. When they are together they are inseparable.

Angie and I were pregnant and our due dates were only six weeks apart. I remember after they were born, they came to visit and I bought them both a Disney outfit and we put them in the crib together and took pictures. Even though they have been apart for many years, as soon as they were back together, it was like they were long lost buddies and were inseparable all over again.

Lauren has the most beautiful complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. She is going to be a beautiful woman one day as well. She is quiet and artistic, sensitive and caring. She and Josh spent the day in the yard working on the "Latham Clubhouse" with a hammer, string and a blanket.

Steve and Angie told her they would leave her with us and she said, "Ok! I could come visit you all on the weekends!" She and Joshua really get along well.


Caitlin was my second neice and I remember her as a little girl of two at Christmas when Joshua was born. She was wearing this cute little red velvet dress, white tights and a pair of black patent leather shoes. She had gotten a Tigger and was so excited.

And now, she is a young lady turning 12 in December. She has the most amazing smile, is so intelligent and has "to-die-for" thick blonde hair. As soon as she got to our house, she pointed out that she had gotten braces. She also told me what a good time she's had playing softball this summer. Her team came in second place.

My favorite Caitlin story from this weekend was watching her show her younger cousin Lauren how to work her Webkins cat on the computer and when her little sister Sarah came up and laid down on the floor beside her and snuggled up. Caitlin is a real nurturer and is going to be a great mother one day. She's also so very pretty.

Here is a photo of Caitlin (in the bright pink) with cousin Emily:

Oh, and she's a die-hard Tennessee Vols fan!


I remember when Dani was three and we went to visit them in Maryland. Kevin carried her on his shoulders as we walked around in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Museums. I remember how cute, cute, cute she was with her coat and hood on. She was the first niece I had and I thought she hung the moon.

And, now, she is 14, a teenager. She's more quiet, more easily embarrassed, more concerned about how she looks, what she wears and her hair, but she is still hangs the moon in my book. Here are some photos of her from Thanksgiving and some I downloaded from her mom's camera from her recent birthday. Isn't she pretty?

By the way, Dani, is Ian still around after having to talk to all his uncles?

My favorite "Dani story" from this weekend was her asking for someone to pray who wouldn't cry because if they cried, so would she!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Steve and Angie's baby is Emily. She is the only blonde of the family, and I think she looks just like Steve's cousin DeeDee. She is a wisp of a thing with a powerful mind and determined spirit. She knows what she wants. This weekend, when we were at the mall, she was just distraught that she couldn't get this Tinkerbell doll we saw in KB Toys. Shame on Aunt Maria for taking her to the toy store in the first place. *smile* She finally talked her daddy into getting it for her. She was so pitiful in the store, "But I want it now. Everyone else is getting something."

Emily is in first grade and is 7. I haven't had much time to spend with her as they were living in Texas and I didn't get to see them much, then they moved to Germany. It was nice to be able to spend time with her, get to know her and love on her this weekend. She is definitely still young enough to be mama and daddy's baby, and that's so sweet.
Emily loves Tinkerbell, and our cats. She gives GREAT hugs, too!

Here's a cutie pie picture of my sweet little baby-girl niece, Emily:

"It's Just Painting the Walls, Nana"

So, all of Kevin's family showed up today for Thanksgiving. It was so cool to have everyone at our house. It wasn't nearly as cramped as I thought it would be. We could have used more room, but no one complained.

When Ben arrived, I was busy getting things ready and in the kitchen and didn't pay good enough attention to him. He said, "Well, I've had a little body sculpting done." I looked up and gave him a really confused look. Then, I saw it. He had his eyebrow and tongue pierced. Hmmmm. Then he said, "And look here" and lifted his shirt to show me his tattoo. Apparently, he had the Greek letters symbolizing Jesus Christ put on his back. Well. I asked him, "Does your daddy know you did this?" He smiled and said he did.

At that time, Nana said, "Your body is a temple to the Lord" to which his twin brother, Ben, just promptly replied, "We're just painting the walls, Nana, just painting the walls."

I burst into laughter. I had never thought of it this way. I told him I was posting it to the blog.

While I know that this is something today's youth feels the need to do and that they think it's cool, I really hope Joshua never decides to do this. I'm sure I sound like an old "fuddy duddy" to them, but . . . I don't know, I just have some crazy preconceived notion about it, I suppose.
The boys have grown up so much, though. They are in college and Ben is going into the Coast Guard soon. I still remember them as the 7, almost 8 year old boys that were in our wedding. Where did time go. And now, here you are, almost 20 year old young men, in college and going into the Coast Guard. Time goes so quickly.

And, man, did I learn a lot from them this weekend. Ask me sometime!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Joshua's Birthday - Kevin's Celebration

Since we knew that tomorrow would be crazy/crazy, we decided to combine Joshua and Kevin's birthday "parties" today.

During the day, I put up the Christmas tree, along with help from my "straw bosses" Punch and Duke who inspected the tree and decorations.

Punch inspecting the box and contents...

Duke - "going in"

While I put the tree together, Josh and I watched my traditional "annual" movie: Christmas Vacation. I think I could quote it verbatim. It takes a truly sick sense of humor to enjoy this movie year after year. You can infer what you need to from that. I think I just identify with Clark Griswald. He wants, so badly, to make everything for the holiday and his family just perfect and goes to such extremes to make it right, and then it just all goes to pot! *smile*

But.... I digress.

Joshua decided he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday, which we did. He won 722 tickets and got a fly wheel. We then went to Baskin Robbins to get an ice cream cake for Kevin and they were CLOSED. We went to Dairy Queen afterwards and they picked out a cake to take to Mee Mee and Dee Dee's so we could celebrate with them. Mama is not feeling well and they could not go with us to Chuck E. Cheese's.

Mee Mee and Dee Dee gave Joshua an orange jacket and hat to wear when he goes fishing with Dee Dee.

Joshua models his new hat

Dee Dee and Joshua

Mee Mee and Joshua. She wears this outfit every year on his birthday.

Once we got home, I began the cooking. Together, Kevin and I finished the sweet potato casserole, one of the turkeys, the strawberry lasagna, pecan pie and three bean casserole. All that's left tomorrow is another turkey and mashed potatoes. Everything else is being brought by the other people in the family.

Into bed at 1:30 but ready for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Eve of Joshua's Birthday

Joshua's choice of birthday cake -- Cheesecake

Tonight is the last night my little boy will be nine. He will, officially, enter "double digits" tomorrow. How have ten year passed since he was born???? So many good times have gone the way of the past in those 3,650 days. In ten more years, he might be out of my house and on his own. I can't even get my mind to go there.

Today, he asked me to bring snacks to school for his birthday. Cupcakes, apparently, are not an "appropriate" snack (THANK GOODNESS -- remember the Halloween cupcakes? I surely didn't have time to make those again!!) so I took "pigs in a blanket" and muffins -- per Joshua's request. He told me the right time to bring it was between reading and math, so that's when I took them. I got the most sincere compliment tonight when he told me, "Everyone thought your pigs were as good at Matthew's moms'!!" Apparently, Matthew's mom has the market on pigs in blankets. I'm honored to be considered worthy of hers.

Tonight, we had an early celebration since I know things are going to get crazy tomorrow getting ready for Thanksgiving and all the family coming. I asked Joshua what kind of cake he wanted and he decided on cheesecake. Hmmmm... not what I would have thought. So, during my grocery store trip, I got a cheesecake that had five different flavors -- yummm!!! He and I had some turtle cheesecake. Kevin skipped out (for now -- I'm sure about midnight, he'll be in the fridgey getting some cake and milk). He also had wanted to go to eat at Matzatlan. Since we had to return his football pads and helmets tonight and I had the truck full of groceries, he and Kevin got takeout and we had it at home. Now, he doesn't actually eat Mexican food -- he gets cheeseburger and fries, everytime!!

We have been cleaning house -- hard -- to get ready for all the family. Kevin's brothers, Steve and Mike and their families will be here Thursday, along with Kevin's mom, my mom and dad, and Ann's mom -- total Thanksgiving eaters -- 18. We will have fun, I know.

And Thursday is Kevin's birthday too. I won't tell how old he is as that might be a secret, but it is a "4" number. I suppose I will have to send him out to get his own cake tomorrow. I'm sure it will be an ice cream cake.

Josh is a little under the weather. We took him to the doctor yesterday and was pretty much given an indescript diagnosis of "crud". I'm not sure if it's sinus or a cold, but we are just pretty much treating his symptoms (running nose and cough). I'm hoping it will be gone by Thursday.

Photos of Joshua's birthday "cake" and dinner are forthcoming. I'm tired and headed off to bed!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rooster, Robbers and Rose -- Terrorist and Tika

So, all in all it has been a very interesting week here in Bennettsville, SC. Top 10 things I have learned/enjoyed:

  1. If you have a camera in the car, with the window rolled down as you pull into a drive, people might think you are a terrorist. Mind you, I have been called a lot of things (including Jehovah's Witness and a door-to-door salesman), but never a terrorist. Apparently, according to what he told me, this guy is a terrorist tracker (and is paranoid, my comment). I asked if there really were any terrorists in Bennettsville, SC. Apparently, there aren't so I guess he's doing his job really well. (Please note that I know that the war on terrorism is a serious matter; however, the implication that I might be a terrorist struck me as alternately hilarious and stupid).

  2. Roosters run faster than some dogs and cannot be stopped by yelling, "STOP" or by swinging a clipboard at their heads. This method often works for dogs -- at least long enough to get back as far as their chains will go. These two roosters had it in for me today and were not going to let me anywhere near the chickens. They were crazy. I serious thought I was going to be pecked.

  3. These are the two crazy roosters - Fast and Faster

  4. Dogs located in chain link fences and on a chain can still get to you. If they are particularly crazy, like this dog, they will come under the fence while you are walking by and try, really hard, to either bite you or make you wet your pants. Screaming, "STOP" and backing up quickly did work in this case, long enough to get me farther back than his rope would go. I really nearly had a heart attack.

  5. Crazy dog who came under the fence to try to bite me.

  6. TIKA is a sweet little Jack Russell - terrier mix dog who is deaf. She came limping up to me at a man's house. I made a comment that she was limping both her front and rear foot. She had "prickles" stuck in them and wouldn't come to him to let him get them. She did, however, come to me for "pet pets" and "love loves" whereby he could pick her up and let him get them out. She was absolutely the most loving dog. She laid her head in my hand and just stayed very still. She is deaf. She was born 12 hours after all her other litter mates. I would have never known she was deaf had her owner not told me. She wanted to come home with me and tried to get in the car. I told him I'd take her, but he was so fond of her that he wasn't interested in my offer. Can you imagine Kevin's response if I'd actually brought her home -- oy!

  7. I have been stopped on more than one occassion by neighbors thinking I was trying to rob the house. Apparently, all over the city of Bennettsville, county of Marlboro, there have been multiple break-ins. GREAT!!! Send me to a town where that is happening and tell me to take pictures of their house. And, please be sure to tuck a door hanger either on their door or inside their door -- right.

  8. Rose is a dog that was dumped and living off of hamburger wrappers until her owner rescued her. She and I played fetch a long time. I probably would have made more than 80 jobs today if I hadn't played with her so long and went to see the owners' woodworking shop. Rose was a lot of fun.

  9. Subway now makes pizza. There are not a lot of healthy options in this area so I stopped at the Subway and found that they now do pizza. I had a veggie one and it was very good.

  10. Bennettsville is a large cotton farming area. Today I picked a few pieces to take home for Joshua and Kevin. I thought it was very interesting to see how it grows.

  11. I miss my husband, my son, my home, my pets, my parents and friends, "real" food, my church and my bed.

  12. I'm too sleepy right now to think of another so I'll close with a photo of one of the two cute kittens I met today. They are three or four weeks old and their mother died just last week. They were both black.

I met the most peculiar man today. He was sitting on his front porch smoking (after having inched out on a walker??), and I was working at the neighbor's home. I walked over and said I was with [insurance company name]. He said, very firmly, "Yes, I saw you working over there. I'm just sick of [insurance company name]. It's always something with them -- some letter in the mail telling me what I have to do. Tell me this, do you have any legal rights to be here on a person's private property taking pictures." Well . . . . how about that one??? So, I tried to explain that [insurance company name] was providing a service and therefore had a right to come on the property and take photos of what they were insuring. He said, "What do you mean they own part of my property?" Huh??? I explained they had a vested interest in the property but did not own any of it. I told him he had the right to refuse the inspection. Well, he didn't want to to that! He just went on and on about how he wished he had never gotten started with them and wished he didn't have to hear from them again. He got up and then just went inside. What's that about??? Why does he have them if he hates them?

People. I never understand them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post #100 - Day #3

This is my 100th post since I started the blog.

Today is Day Three in Bennettsville, SC. Today was a great work day. The weather was mid 60s all day with the sun shining. I managed to complete 124 inspections tonight. I'm going to try to complete another 105 tomorrow, leaving somewhere between 60-75 for Friday. Then Saturday, I'm COMING HOME!! Yay.

This is the last project for 2007, and I'm glad. I'm looking forward to getting home, getting these entered, getting my regular work caught up and then going into the holidays where it would be nice to get a little rest and time with my family.

I like to post the things I'm praying for occassionally so I can go back and see the answers provided to them:

  • The families "stuck" in Vietnam who want so badly to come home with their babies. I asking that God will allow them to come home very quickly, and, most importantly, with their babies.
  • My mother's pain in her neck and back will be relieved
  • Josh will continue to do well in school
  • Kevin will hear from his Senior application at work
  • My friend Dianne and her situation
  • My friend Susan and her situation
  • My friend April that she is feeling better soon
  • My friend Sharon as she starts her new job, that she will enjoy it, learn the job quickly and settle in easily
  • My friend Jennifer's father who has staph infection and is possibly facing another amputation
  • My church and the staff that they will remain healthy and that the body will support them, help them and lift them up
  • My neighbor, Debra, that her foot will heal

I found a penny in a yard today, head's up. "Find a penny, pick it up; all the day you'll have good luck." I picked it up.

Disturbing Update from Vietnam

Lately, there has been a lot of disturbances going on in the adoption world in Vietnam. Several families with our agency have been detained by the U.S. Embassy while in Vietnam and their baby's visas have not been issued due to what the U.S. has deemed "irregularities" in their child's paperwork. They have proven to be, at the Embassy's own admission, unfounded, but still the families are still there.

To resolve this, the US has instituted some new policies which are now in effect, but it does not solve the underlying problem of possibility that there are some unethical activities occurring with adoptions in Vietnam. This is not specifically related to the agency we are choosing to work with. This is a general statement based on observations by the U.S. Government. This is a really deep, complicated situation that I could not do justice to in one post. The full story has involved my reading, researching and following Vietnam activities for several weeks now. To compile it into one or two paragraphs is impossible.

Because of all of this, however, I decided to send an email to the agency checking on the status of our contracts as we had not received them yet and to see if there is the potential that Vietnam might close adoptions to the United States again (this country has only fairly recently re-opened to U.S. adoptions). This is my email and the response:

Hi Maria,
Thank you for your vote of confidence =) We are swamped right now. Your question is valid regarding the relations between the US and is stormy. It has always been stormy. There is a bilateral agreement that is due to expire June 2008. This agreement needs to be signed in March 2008. Both parties (Vietnam and US) have issues with signing the agreement. There is already an effort being made to negotiate the changes requested by both parties...will they is yet to be seen. With that said should you forge ahead? We have elected to put new applications on hold. This is largely due to the number of clients we currently have and the pending agreement. You can place your file on hold and know that the line up for Vietnam will not be growing at [agency name], not unless things change and we open up applications, at which point you can request new contracts and move ahead. If you decide to pay the contracts and you have an approved home study you need to keep in mind that those fees are not refundable. We would move full speed ahead with the assumption that the program will continue. It is a hard decision...think about it and let me know what you think. If you decide to move ahead we will want to have the dossier done ASAP =)
Take care,
[agency contact]

-----Original Message-----

Oh, how I'm so glad I'm not you right now. :-) I know things are terribly emotional right now in [agency name's] world with so much going on. I follow the listserv regularly along with several other for individuals adopting from Vietnam.

I just hate that all this is happening, for everyone involved: agencies, PAPs, children ...

And so I write...

We have not received contracts from [agency name] yet. Of course, I know things are crazy right now. In all honesty, I have to question you about whether you think what is going on will force an end to American adoptions from Vietnam again. I am wondering if we should wait a little while prior to signing our contract and sending in our dossier. What are your thoughts on this? We are, in no way, dissatisfied or questioning of [agency name] as I think the agency has proven to be the kind of agency I would want -- one who goes to bat for their clients and who provides adequate communication. We are, of course, questioning the Vietnam program continuing.

Your thoughts, as always are appreciated.
Warmest regards,
Maria Latham

To that end, we have decided to wait a few months to see how things play out in Vietnam -- basically until we feel (reasonably) certain that we are not going into a volatile situation where we might stand to loose a large sum of money or worse, get a referral and the country close adoptions and we not be able to get our child. March is when the agreement is due to be signed. We'd rather wait those 4 months and feel comfortable. We will not loose our "place" in line (which is basically just at the application stage) as the agency is not accepting any more new applications. I think this is a very professional and responsible decision on their part. I wish our "other" agency had been so forthcoming when we signed up for China. We could have already been home with a child had they been this honest.

This will allow us enough time to raise more (much needed) funds. It will give me time to indulge in some much needed rest. It will also allow the agency time to move through the current list of clients and would put us near the top of the list once we turn in our dossier, hopefully, meaning our referral would come very quickly. It will allow the U.S. and Vietnam time to iron out any problems that are currently surfacing so that we can be sure that our adoption is both unencumbered and most importantly legal.

I want to be upset (my old self!) but I have seen first hand through the last few weeks/days that God is truly leading our family where He wants us. He is choosing a varied and twisting path, but we surely can't say it hasn't been eventful. I am positively CERTAIN there will be an Ellie (or two) in our home. I am still confident that He is at work on a miracle. :-) I will go wherever He leads us and right now he is saying, "Wait." And so, I will, we will. Both Kevin and I agree that it would not be wise of us, right now, to pay out a large sum of money with no guarantee that the program will be open in a few months.

We are still in line in China so that is still an on-going process as well.

Continued prayers for our family are always appreciated. Each of you reading this blog is special to us and we pray for you regularly. You are such a source of strength for our family and we feel blessed by each of you in our lives.

With love,
The Lathams

PS -- Ironically, we closed on our loan for this adoption -- today. :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gotcha Day

Today is my "Gotcha" Day. Thirty-eight years ago, my parents brought me home. Today, my mom said she said to Daddy, "Remember 38 years ago how nervous we were?" She said he told her that he remembered that they couldn't sleep at all the night before and that they were so afraid I wouldn't talk to them. Apparently, they were told that if I didn't talk to them they wouldn't be able to bring me home. Seems like I had an issue with talking back then -- wonder what happened??? Seems like a dam broke somewhere along the way.

Since I'm not home tonight, I can't scan a picture of me when I was 22 months old to include here. Maybe I'll remember to do it when I get home. Instead, I'm including our last entire family photo, from Easter.

I look back on my adoption and the hand of God is clearly in each step of it. There were so many ways my life could have gone and yet He placed me with the parents who loved me and provided me a great life in a Christian home, who modeled values for me and who sacrificed their entire lives for me. My adoption story is a post for another time, as I'm tired tonight and need to get to some paperwork done, but it is truly a testimony of God's hand in my life.

The irony of my being here trying to earn money to pay for my own child's adoption is not lost on me on this day. But I have faith that He has this already taken care of as well.

While this is a really special day for me, I know, now, that it is a much more memorable day for my parents (since I can't remember it :-) ) and that the feelings they experienced on that day are just as real for them today as they were 38 years ago. I also know that I can't wait for my child's "Gotcha" day to come as well.

Little Pink Houses

Day two in Bennettsville, SC has ended. I completed 96 inspections today, which was below "goal" but I had trouble finding the last roads I needed to be on, my computer was dead, and apparently, I left my car power plug at home, so I quit for the day.

This house matched my blog and when I saw it, the song "Little Pink Houses" came to mind and I wanted to add it to my blog. I wonder why they painted their house this color?
I saw lots of cats today which gave me a much needed "cat loving" fix.

Dinner from my favorite restaurant here, Smithfields. It's a BBQ/Fried Chicken restaurant that is situated in the parking lot of my hotel. Their cornbread tastes a LOT like cake and their potato salad is to die for -- yum!

Monday, November 5, 2007

My God is Moving Some Mountains

This trip has been the POLAR OPPOSITE of the last trip to South Carolina. I had a GREAT day, completing 131 inspections and quitting an hour early. The weather was perfect, at 60*-70* all day. I didn't get lost, (yay!) and the day went well. The lady called to set up the closing for our equity loan today for our adoption and guess what -- since I'm here in SC, they are coming to my hotel to have me sign the papers. Is that convenient or what???? Kevin and I are both scheduled to sign our papers Wednesday - me here; him there.

AND THEN ... God revealed to me the confirmation that His timing is always perfect. In the midst of all the loan traumas and delays and lost appraisals and so forth, the loan processor, Natalie, said to me, "I don't know why this has taken so long, but I'm sure you'll eventually find out." She and I had shared our faith with each other one day and she has been praying for us about the loan and the adoption (how nice is that???). And then ... I found out exactly why.

Tonight, I gave myself an hour to eat dinner, surf the web, read email and blog before getting to work entering jobs. I had not looked at any of the China websites that I formerly frequented because I was spending time on Vietnam sites, trying to bone up on that. So, I went to Rumor Queen's site and read this:

And now, onto the subject at hand. A few agencies have been discussing the concurrent/interim adoption issue with the CCAA. It sounds like the final decision
in all of this is that it’s okay to do a concurrent adoption. And the CCAA has
been nice enough to put this up on their site.
And thanks to NJI13 for her translation, here:
The simple answer seems to be that concurrent adoptions and pregnancies
are fine, but that they want a “sufficient waiting period” between the children
joining the family. They do not state what this period is, so I’m guessing that
they are leaving that part up to the agency and social worker’s discretion.
I am pleased that the CCAA has addressed this publicly.
This statement was added to the CCAA website on WEDNESDAY, October 31, 2007. We were slated, originally, to close on the loan THURSDAY, November 1, 2007 at which time I had told our agency that we would give them the requested letter to PULL OUR DOSSIER FROM CHINA. Had we closed on the loan Thursday, I would have sent off the letter, along with our other documents on Friday. By the time I figured out that this was now a possibility, we would have already lost our place in line in China.

Effectively, what this is saying is that we can pursue an adoption from Vietnam while we keep our place in line in China and NOT LOSE THE MONEY we have already paid.
Does this make anyone else's arm hairs stand up????? It does mine!!! Man, I asked for a miracle and this is just a small part of it, I know -- God has changed the mind of a country and an agency. Unfathomable to me -- out of the ability of my mind to have thought that this was even a possibility!!!! Could there be two Latham girls coming to our family (watch out Josh!!)? Who knows -- I'm just going to roll with God. It's never a dull moment with Him, that's for sure. *big smile* He continues to amaze me with His ability to speak to me daily, to surprise me with more than I can imagine, to give me strength when I feel like there is none left in me, to provide for all my needs, to bless me beyond measure. I am so not worthy of all He does.
I CANNOT WAIT to see how all of this unfolds. To God be all the glory -- GREAT things He hath done.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Back in South Carolina

I'm back in South Carolina for my last trip here for project work. It was a long 10 hour trip. I realized I have forgotten my printer cord. Kevin remembers putting it in my computer bag, but I can't find it and I've looked everywhere. I may have to make (another) Walmart run in the morning before I can start. Fortunately, Walmart is across the street from my hotel.

The weather is supposed to be pretty tomorrow and then highs of 50s the rest of the week.

I'm off to bed!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Yard sale

Storage building with all our "stuff" for the yard sale -- prior to beginning pricing

Storage building during pricing phase

Kevin loading the truck with another load of "goodies"

I'm SO TIRED!!!!

Yard sales are hard work. I started pricing items in the storage building about noon. Kevin joined me a little bit later and we finished up (well, not really) pricing and moving items at 1:30 a.m. on Friday. We were all back up at 6:00 a.m. so we could get Joshua to our friend Dianne's house (she was taking him to school) and get to mama's house, set up the tables and move the things around front.

We worked there until 6:00 on Friday night. Josh and Kevin went to Matzatlan to eat, but I hit the couch and couldn't move!! :-) There was left-over pizza in the fridge anyway and that is my favorite. I was in the bed by 9:30. We were back up at 6:00 to be back at mama's by 7:30 on Saturday. We finished the yard sale and packed it all back up by 8:30 Saturday night. We were all SO tired. Josh fell asleep on the couch when he got home (this NEVER happens) and we couldn't get him up so he had to sleep there all night.

In the midst of the yard sale, I dashed over to Lisa's house to get some of our dossier documents notarized and pick up my employment letter.

The great news is that we raised $800 for the adoption through this fundraiser. YAY!!! Praise be to God for His blessing on us.

I was so proud of how hard Joshua worked this weekend. He helped us move tables, set up things, take money and pack it all up. He was such a trooper!!!

Many thanks to Dianne, Iris, Jennifer, Sharon, Susan, Michelle, Tracie, Stoney and my parents who were all, in some way, helpful to the success of this event.

Sorry there aren't more pictures. We were too busy working to remember to take any more!!

I leave tomorrow morning for South Carolina. I'm a bit concerned about starting out this project so tired, but I know God will give me strength to get through the week. This is the last "big" thing for a bit -- I hope. :-) It will all be worth it when we get our sweet Ellie home.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


We had such a good time for Halloween. Josh got to dress up at school and there was a Halloween party and costume parade at school.

Joshua's Class - Halloween party

Josh's teacher, Mrs. Stroup

After school, we went home and I put together my Queen Bee costume and we left to go visit MeeMee and DeeDee. Joshua got a Pirates of the Carribbean Bath/Shaving set from them. He promptly disappeared to their bathroom where he tested out the shaving cream. We knew from the shaving cream he left on his ear!!

From there we went to Taco Bell for dinner and tacos for Grandmother. We had a nice time at the nursing home. We left there and headed to church where we met up with Kevin (he had just gotten home from a work trip to Memphis). We had a great time trunk or treating there. It was good to see our friends Troy and Betsy and their daughter Ella. Isn't she CUTE???? We also saw Carah, Cate and Mollie Beth, who were all dressed like the princesses they are. They were too cute, as well!

Ella "Mouse"

Cate, Carah and Mollie Beth are dressed as Princesses!

We also met up with the Gudinos there, and decided when we were done to go trick or treating at the Crossings, a neighborhood near our house. The kids trick or treated until 9:00 and then we went home.

Sable, Carson and Callie

When we got home, the official "bounty sorting" began. Josh is almost as compulsive about sorting the candy into appropriate "piles" as I was as a child. All candy bars together, gum together, etc. After the sorting, we all went to bed. Long day, fun day! Halloween has always been one of my most favorite "holidays". It still is. I love to dress up; I love letting Josh dress up and get candy. It was one of my favorites as a child, too!

The bounty revealed