Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Blog

I've finally run out of free blogging space on Blogger, so come and follow me at my new Wordpress home!

Sadly, Drink It In is taken, so I'm now at: .

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Two Year Slideshow

I finally finished Rory's two year slideshow, and it was only 3 1/2 months late.  My highlight is the video of her meeting her sisters for the first time...and her dancing is pretty rad too.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hello, Goodbye

I know it's been awhile since we've posted.  Now that we're not taking monthly pictures of Rory anymore, it's hard to make the time to post much of anything.

Here are a few of the happenings going on in our lives right now.

  • We finalized our adoption at the end of July.  This means our twins are now officially Pascuals and American citizens.  Of course, when having to answer questions in front of the judge, I cried my eyes out because it was such a special moment.  Here they are after court.
  • Baby #4 is coming!  ETA 3/26/13.  This means we will have 4 under 5.  (Well, the twins will be about 5 and 2 weeks...but their emotional maturity will still qualify them for being under 5.)  This is also our last least we're pretty sure.  It'll be our last biological child at least.  This pregnancy has been so different compared with my first.  Those who knew me while we were in Turkey can attest to the fact that I was terribly sick. I could hardly walk, couldn't see straight, and I was throwing up 3-5 times a day.  I've definitely been sick this time, but haven't thrown up at all.  We're hoping this means it's a boy.  (Actually, don't tell Jonathan, but I'd be just as happy with a girl.)
  • The twins started preschool.  They're in the 3 year old class since that's more along the lines of where they are as far as language development and emotional maturity.  Here they are on their first day of school.  They really enjoy it, though Favor always has a hard time leaving Jonathan to go inside.  It also gives Jonathan a break from such intense parenting.

  • We went on a super last-minute vacation to the beach.  A week opened up at the house we rented last year and we couldn't pass up the deal.  It was fantastic in every way.  They played hard all day (with very few timeouts) and slept hard at night.  It was awesome having something to entertain them that is also enjoyable and relaxing for us.  

  • Resonate, the fantastic church we're a part of has finally launched and we're loving everything they're doing in the city and in the community.
  • We've also got a lot going on behind the scenes.  I'm still working, Jonathan is staying home with the girls, but also starting to make some big moves on the coffee shop we're going to open.  So, though we're not ending the blog, you may see a long-term dramatic drop in the amount of posting we do.  We'll jump back on here every once in awhile to give updates, post pictures, etc. but no promises of anything consistent, and probably no project postings because, if I even get around to making something, there's no way I'll get around to taking pics of it.
Don't forget to follow us on instagram at pascualsarah and coffeejonathan.  You can also follow Jonathan on Twitter at @coffeejonathan too.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2 Years of Rory!!!!

We've finally arrived.  I've chronicled Rory's growth for the last 24 months and she officially turned 2 on Thursday.

Isn't she adorable?  She's lost a lot of her stranger anxiety, but definitely wasn't pleased with a room full of people singing Happy Birthday to her either.  She's all giggles and smiles at home with family, but comes across as serious to people who aren't immediate family.
This month, Rory has especially enjoyed:
  • dancing (though that's nothing new)
  • reading (nothing new again)
  • doing puzzles...for hours
  • asking mommy and daddy, "What happened?" with palms up and shrugging shoulders
  • wearing anyone's shoes but hers
  • baking with mommy
  • getting her toenails painted
  • singing at the top of her lungs first thing in the morning
We adore her with all our hearts.  Check out her growth over the past 24 months.  Amazing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bits + Pieces

Jonathan recently started a weekend job so I get to play stay-at-home-mom on Saturday and Sunday.  I thought it would be hard since I'm working all week and the weekends are my only chance to relax, but it turns out it's awesome!  And (since controversial statements are becoming the norm these days), staying at home is SO MUCH EASIER than my job!  Good thing I love putting people to work M-F!

Here's what's been going on in our house recently. (And, I'm going to go ahead and apologize for all of Rory's faces.  She's in the stage where telling her to smile is a terrible idea...and yet I can't resist.)

Somebody was not interested in wearing cow ears.



I couldn't have dreamed of a more perfect family.  I'm in love.

*Thanks to Bleubird Vintage for the great post idea.  Hopefully Bits + Pieces will become regular.

Friday, July 13, 2012

For Those Considering Adoption

We're four months into having our family complete, nine months into knowing what our family would look like, and about 15 months past the day we decided to adopt from Uganda.  We're regularly humbled and amazed at our weakness, but also at the grace and might of the God who whispered the idea of family into our hearts so long ago.

Adopting kids and finding adoptive parents is kind of like getting a new car.  Once you get a new car, you start spotting everyone else with the same car as you on the road.  We've all got a radar for families that look like they may have adopted, and try and initiate as many conversations as we can.  Adoptive parents are few and far between, so it's so sweet to connect with people who have the same heart and understanding of family as you.  Ahhh, and it's so nice to use adoption jargon with individuals you don't have to explain things to.  They just nod and their eyes tell you they've been there too.

Lots of the people we know have a lifelong calling of adoption that doesn't end when they get off the plane back in America.  They miss their child's home-country like crazy, start to creatively support the land, and do every single thing they can to keep another child out of the orphanages.  They are researched through and through on every aspect of ethical and non-ethical adoptions, adoption agencies, lawyers, orphanages, etc.  It's amazing, really.

We aren't so much that way, though we do have strong feelings about adoption.  So, we're going to share some of our thoughts about adoption, but please keep in mind that this is based on our experience and the experiences of those we know, but we are in no way the most knowledgeable in this area.  We do know some of the pros though, and are happy to put you in touch with them should you have questions we don't know the answers to.

For many individuals and families, the reason for adopting is to give a child a family who wouldn't otherwise have one.  This is awesome.  We especially dig it because it was our reason for adopting.  Here's the thing though: this vision and dream isn't as nicely packaged as most people (including us) want it to be.  All of those statistics about hundreds of millions of orphans don't come back with pictures of sweet, healthy infants swaddled up waiting to happily receive their new mommy and daddy.  Who are these hundreds of millions of orphans?  Older children, special needs children, and sibling sets of kids.  Who are the children who are kidnapped, bought from their families, and trafficked because international adoption is so lucrative for the wrong type of person?  The sweet, cooing, infants and toddlers who we all imagine in our adoptive family picture.

Our beautiful girls years before they were even a dream in our hearts.
The corruption through kidnapping, forcing parents to abandon their children, or purchasing of children for international adoption is sickening.  This is the primary reason most countries slow or shut down their international adoption program after a few years (think Rwanda, Guatemala, Ethiopia, etc.).  There are so many people working on adoptions from inside the country and if just one of those individuals gets tired of working so hard, or chooses to accept a fee to expedite something, or listens to an answer at face value rather than finding the answer themselves, there is a massive risk that the child who fits so perfectly into your family actually belongs to a devastated and heartbroken mother and father on the other side of the world.

So, what is the solution?  I don't know the complete solution by any means, but I do have some thoughts as to what we can do.  Here is what they are:
  • Ensure your agency is ethical through and through. Make sure you get references for the agency you choose to work with.  Find reviews and go on adoption boards (or Facebook groups) and hear what others have to say about this agency.  Your agency will make or break your adoption experience.  All agencies will tell you the right thing, but it doesn't necessarily mean they follow up with what is actually happening on the ground.  If you're choosing to adopt independently, you have even more work to do along these lines.
  • Many families are now choosing to spend their own money and time to hire a 3rd party investigator.  This is someone who doesn't work with or for your agency, your lawyer, or anyone else.  You spend your own money to ensure that every single thing possible was done to attempt to locate or reunite the child you want to adopt with his/her biological family.  And if you find a link to a family, you have to walk away from the child you dreamed and prayed would be yours.  Adoption is not for the faint of heart.
  • This is the one that's going to be the hardest for most people to hear.  Adopt an older child, sibling set, and/or child with special needs.  Please don't adopt a healthy child under the age of 2 if your motivation for adopting is to provide a family for a child who wouldn't otherwise have one or because the Bible tells us to adopt.  That is NOT where the need is. [For further explanation below, see addendum.]  There are 2-3 (or even up to 7 and 8) year wait lists for young, healthy children.  That is not meeting a need, that is creating a need and increasing the number of older kids who no one seems to want.  The need is where there are waiting children (children who have had their background investigations done and are waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting to be adopted).  It's often not as easy to adopt these children, but if you truly want to meet a need and be a family to a child who wouldn't otherwise have one, this is how you need to do it.  When Jonathan and I first joined an agency, we wanted to adopt a young child because we didn't know that there weren't millions of young kids waiting for families.  But praise God, His plan was grander than ours and He led us to waiting children.  Our adoption ended up being a sibling set, older kids, and one of our girls has some special needs.  Our girls were orphaned at 5 months and became Pascuals at the age of 4.  It has NOT been easy for us by any means, but I say again, adoption is not for the faint of heart.
I hope this post doesn't discourage or offend anyone and I know that adoption is a very sensitive, tender, and vulnerable subject, but these things need to be said.  They need to be said over and over and over again, until there are no waiting children left.
Ahhh, and how grateful we are that God had mercy on us and changed our plans to His, giving us Faith and Favor.
ADDENDUM:  There are plenty of reasons to adopt and I don't mean to say that people should stop adopting infants altogether or that all infant/toddler adoptions are unethical.  I am so grateful for all the work that is done in helping provide homes to children who wouldn't otherwise have one (whether this be through being a blessing of a family to a child, becoming first time parents through adoption, or both).  My goal here is to encourage individuals to spend some real time considering their reason for adopting and then make sure their pursuit of adoption is fulfilling that goal.
And I finally close with this beautiful story from an amazing family who does amazing things in Uganda.  For some reason they're controversial, but I guess it's because they say the hard things much more often (and much better) than I do.  We are so thankful for the work they do and pray that every adoptive family would have the same passion and drive for justice as the Rileys.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

23 Months of Rory

Twenty-three amazing months.

Most people (or women at least) feel the fierce bond to their child the moment they see the plus sign on their pregnancy test.  I, on the other hand, was a bit different.  The first time I felt any type of connection to Rory was when I found out she was a girl.  I felt some more when she was born (though NONE of it came from nursing like everyone promises), but was content to leave her in daycare.  Then she started smiling at me, and crawling, and walking and I fell in love with her.  Now she's talking and I have fallen wildly and hopelessly in love with her.  I cannot get enough of my sweet little light-giver.

In the past month, Rory:
  • Started talking constantly.  She mimics everything her sisters say and shows clear understanding of almost everything we say.  She initiates lots of conversations and makes sure to talk us through everything she's doing and what's happening around her.  She really enjoys praying before our meals and as night.  It goes something like this, "Wah, wah, mah, mah, la, la.  Amen."  Adorable.
  • She FINALLY came out of her shell.  It started with a family get-together where she showed her true colors and sang, danced, and made lots of silly faces for everyone.  Now she's charming everyone she sees with her giggles and commentary.  She even lets people other than mom and dad hold her!
  • Dare I say she has mastered potty training?  She even used public restrooms with automatic flushers and the airplane bathroom.  And lets be honest, everyone's afraid of airplane restrooms.
  • Rory visited Grandma and Grandpa in Colorado and fell in love with them immediately.  Anytime they were in the other room, she would immediately ask for them and point out "Gamma" and "Gampa" to anyone who asked.  It probably didn't hurt that she was charmed by inheriting all of my childhood toys.  At one point on our flight, someone told her she was pretty.  She grinned and then pointed to her dress and said "dress" to show off her cute outfit too.
  • Rory loves playing pretend including talking on her cell phone, putting her animals in time-out, and acting like a cow while the twins try to "herd" her.
  • Speaking of time out, she's had 3 so far.  She's gotten all 3 of them for hitting (in play) and immediately submits to time-outs and gets an adorable pitiful look on her face when she's in them.  It's impossible for me to counsel her after her timeout without grinning.  She later reenacts them with us, grabbing us by the chin and forcing us to say, "Yes mommy" before she'll let go.
  • The moving picture below is what Rory does every morning when she wakes up.  We go into her room, she stands up, and then runs in place until she falls over.
Rory is (almost) always smiling and very adaptable.  She happily plays with her sisters no matter what game they're playing.