Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our blessed second hand kitchen!

When Josh and I bought Éveiller House we were a little nervous. I mean, who buys a church to turn into a house? And who does this when they have three boys running around getting into everything? We do, apparently. But that wasn't the only reason we were nervous. The church only had a kitchen in the basement, and if you know anything about old church basement kitchens, you know that they are not nice... and kinda creepy. 

We were buying the church at a much lower price then we had bought our old house at, which was a huge blessing for us, but we didn't have a kitchen... Well, a kitchen I wasn't afraid of, that is. So off I went to Home Depot to design my new kitchen. 

The gentleman at Home Depot was awesome. I'm good at designing things, but I need someone to help me with the logistics of things, which he was great at, and he had a few things to add to the overall design as well. I had two different appointments with him, each around 4 hours, figuring out every tiny detail. We technically weren't even done, and the design did not include any appliances, countertops, or installation... and it was 30k just for the cabinets. 

Excuse me while I go have a heart attack about that. 
Not only that, but yes, I loved the cabinets I picked out, but they weren't really what I wanted. I wanted something more worn, weathered, scruffy looking... but new things don't look that way. And, after all I picked out appliances, and countertops, we were looking at over a $40k kitchen. Technically we did not want to spend $40k on a kitchen... we didn't want to spend $20k on a kitchen! But we kinda felt like we had no other choice. We didn't want to spend a ton less, and then have to change the kitchen in a few years because it wasn't big enough, or things were breaking in it. So we took a deep breath, practically died from the thought of spending that much money, and proceeded. 


Isn't it pretty? 

Then one day we got a call from my dad. Someone at work we remodeling their kitchen, and was wondering if we wanted some of the appliances. Um, YES! Then we got pictures of the kitchen, and it turned out that they were getting rid of everything. Microwave, double wall oven, cook top, countertops, cabinets, literally everything besides the fridge. Then they asked us if we wanted everything for $1000. 

 If I wasn't having a heart attack before about spending an ungodly amount of money, I was now having a heart attack from saving myself $39,000. 

Now, we had no idea of the cabinets were going to fit in our new place. At Home Depot we were having to special order a bunch of cabinets to make them fit right, so we didn't have high hopes of the kitchen turning out the same as my design. I won't lie, I felt like I was giving up my dream kitchen, and part of me was little bummed, but that didn't last long when I thought of how much of a blessing was before us. So we scratched my idea, and all my plans, and felt horrible that the Home Depot gentleman spent 8 hours with me designing a kitchen that wasn't going to happen. (That was a hard phone call to make!) We were going to piece together our second hand kitchen, and hope for the best! 

It took hours to move everything to our house. Literally filled up my dads truck and trailer. We even ended up getting more then what we had agreed on. They had decided not to bother trying to sell some of the extra stuff that they had, so they just loaded it up onto the trailer with everything else and told us to enjoy. Seriously the nicest people ever, and so sweet! 

We got it home, and my dad and Josh unloaded everything, and it looked like this....

 Um, yeah. So we had no idea where to even begin! We didn't know which doors when with which cabinet, where to put anything, and so on. It was one huge mess.

We waited until the kids went to bed, took a long hard look at the mess, and started moving everything. I'm fairly good at puzzles, so as we were starting to move things, I thought why not just try to make my $40k kitchen out of our $1k second hand kitchen.

By the end of the night, which may or may not have been about midnight, we had this:

 Guys, this is almost the exact same set up as my $40k kitchen!!!! I know it might be a little hard to tell from my design pictures, but the ONLY thing that is majorly different is instead of having a wine rack on the left side of the double wall oven, I now have a big ol' pantry, which turns out I like much better!

The only thing that we have to add that we don't have is the window seat (our windows are huge and too close to the floor to put any cabinets in front of, so we'll have a nice little sitting area under the right window), the shelfs on the islands, and a tiny little shelf next to the corner cabinet. Other then that, everything fit perfectly AND we even had cabinets left over to use in other parts of the house.

Oak isn't entirely my thing, so yes, I am refinishing everything. The lower cabinets on the two islands are this fun vintage blue color:





And the cabinets on the wall are distressed white. The pictures don't do them justice, as the lighting is bad, but all the corners are distressed, giving it that old, weathered, scruffy look that I had wanted in the first place. These ones take FOREVER to do. I'll write a post on how to refinish these bad boys someday, but seriously, unless you LOVE the look (which I do), I wouldn't suggest it because it's A LOT of work! 

This is BEFORE in the previous owners home...

And this is after in our new home! 

So where are we now? Oy! Still a long way away! We needed to install the floor, and refinish the cabinets, and put in electricity and water... oh, and fill in a huge hole in the wall. See the wall on the right that all those cabinets are hanging from? There used to be a 8x8ft hole in the wall there.


 We're actually pretty close, even though it doesn't look like it. The doors are what take the longest in the refinishing project, but I figure I can live with open cabinets as long as I can get everything else done. So we need to finish the floor so we can install the cabinets on the bottom by the wall. We also need to build the walls around the islands so we can put the countertops on, and of course, finish the countertops which are all wood. We have then sanded, but not finished and sealed. There is also the window seat and the small shelf, but those can wait until everything else is done!

So there is our crazy awesome, blessed story of our second hand kitchen that is going to be way cooler then our $40k kitchen (if I do say so myself ;) ). God honestly blessed us beyond our imaginations with this thing, and I cannot wait until it is finished! The only thing left that we need is a fridge, but since we're not moved in upstairs, we're not too worried about it and I will keep my eyes peeled on craigslist in the mean time :)

We'll keep you posted and let you know when this bad boy is finished!





Monday, December 21, 2015

Adoption Update


I feel like so much has happened in the last few weeks with adoption, I don't even know where to start. I've been reflecting on this past year, from the beginning when we felt called to adopt to now when things have become so real, and things are actually starting.

I realized that for many, it might not make sense why it took so long to get going. We had realized that God was calling us to adopt at the end of February of this last year. At first we thought that we would just take a few months to save month and then start, but slowly we felt like we should start. At the same time, we couldn't start, per say. Ebola was still in Sierra Leone, and had shut down the entire country. There was also only one organization who was doing adoptions in Sierra Leone and they were entirely backed up because of Ebola shutting everything down. Looking back now, I can realize that when God said 'start' and it didn't make any sense, what he was really doing throughout the whole thing was preparing our hearts.

The agency we had hoped to work with, had said to call back in May, then in July, then September, ect ect. Nothing was moving, no one was getting their kids through the system, is what we had been told, so they just told us to wait. In the mean time, we had started to get to know two kids in an orphanage in Sierra Leone through sponsorship. We had fallen in love with them, and we had called the agency multiple times asking about these two kids, but every time we were told to wait, but never giving the impression that these kids might not be adoptable.

So we kept going, hoping, pursing. We guarded our hearts, for the 'just in case' it might not happen, but whole heartedly praying it would. So we continued to get to know the kids, and they, us. See, in Sierra Leone, part of the countries adoption laws is you have to have an established relationship for 6 months with your children before you can adopt... so we were hoping that our relationship with the kids would grow, and that even though we were being told 'wait' by the agency, it was still a way to be in the process to adopt them.

We had gotten really excited a few weeks ago, with some news that lifted our spirits about adopting these two kids (who will remain nameless, for their sake), with hope that the process might finally actually start! We were so excited, and in so doing, flung our hearts wide open. We had guarded them for so long, and we felt like it was finally ok to dream and hope for these two kids.

Within days, our dreams and hopes ended. Although the agency had every opportunity to tell us over the last 6 months that these two kids were not adoptable, knowing we wanted to adopt them, knowing we were pursing a  relationship with them, they didn't, even though the information was right in front of them the entire time. In a way, knowingly given us false hope for months. We were heartbroken.

We didn't know what we were feeling. There was so much that happened in a 3 day time period, and we weren't even sure if we could process what was going on. We were in the middle of our snowmen fundraiser, we had finally filled out our home study application and sent it in... and all the sudden, it just all felt like we were doing it for nothing. And when I say that, I don't mean that investing in the kids was for nothing. Josh and I actually still talk to them, and write them, even though we know we won't be able to adopt them. The relationship is what is important, and we want these kids to always know that no matter what, we are still in their corner cheering them on, loving them, and supporting them. I just mean that we felt we had started a process for nothing... with no outcome.

But the thing is, God is funny. No, there was nothing funny about our situation by any means, and lots of tears had been shed. But throughout the past year, God has made it very clear that he wants us to walk the path of adoption. He told us to sell our house so we could have a bigger place to adopt kids and a place that would cost less, and he sold our house without us ever trying. He provided a gigantic home for us, that just so happens to be an old church, with ample room for lots of kids, and happened to cost way less. He has had random people jump into our lives, giving us words of encouragement, gifts, even random funds that we never asked for, never expected, and each time nudging us down the path to being a forever family. Even when everything was 'hitting the fan' with such force that no one knew what was going on, God kept reassuring us through it all that it was ok, that He had this thing, no matter what the outcome. And when we suddenly were at a loss, He was still saying 'this has not been for nothing.'


Josh and I were sitting in the library one night after we had been told we wouldn't be able to adopt these two kids, and we sat praying. I looked at him, and said, 'babe, call me crazy, because I know that it would be so much easier to adopt from a different country, but I feel like my heart is in Sierra Leone. I feel a pull, a need, an ache in my heart that this is where God wants us. I feel like we're supposed to adopt from there... and I know it makes no sense.' But he looked at me, and said he felt the same way.

So we are continuing. Within days, we got accepted into a 'Pilot' Program for adoption in Sierra Leone, meaning it's new, but the people heading it up we know are awesome, and they have been connected with the country for 10 years, having lived there at one point (Hi Juli!), and also we don't have to go through the old agency (yay!).

So here we are, our hearts open, and a little raw. God has a way of using times like these to change people, and mold them into something new... so we are standing here, with God's hand deep in our lives, letting him form us into something new.

We still hope to adopt a sibling group of 2-3 kids. We have our own kids, and see their bond, and if there is a way we can preserve that in another family by keeping kids together who have already lost so much, then we whole heartedly will.

We should be matched with kids sometime between now and mid-end of February. And once we get our referral, one of us (me) will fly to Sierra Leone to meet the kids and to spend two weeks getting to know them, and to start building a relationship with them. We will get to skype and exchange letters after I get back to the States, to continue building the connection so as to not only satisfy country adoption laws, but also make it easier for everyone when they come home and build that love and support system.


So there you have the update on our adoption. We still talk too/skype the kids that we had hoped to adopt, and yes, it hurts deeply when we have to say goodbye and I can't tell them how much we wanted to bring them home. Instead they will always just know us as cool 'Auntie & Uncle' who love them very much. And we stand here, letting God change the course of this adoption, following his lead, trusting in his good and perfect plan, and going headfirst into this adoption. I wrote here "How do you tell someone 'where' you are in the process, because you're on this journey, with sharp bends, corners, hills, and valleys, and when you've taken the first step on this journey, you don't know how long it is, what it's like, where it goes... so you never know 'where' you are, you just know that you are where God has you." And I feel as though we've never been off of our adoption path, we've always been on it. We just didn't know where the road was taking us, and we still don't. But we know that God has taught us much, and has already changed our hearts deeply, and he has us on the part of the path that he wants us to be on, and in that we will find peace!




The Sunday after everything happened, Josh and I had been invited to talk about what God was doing in our lives at church. Although it was hard, our adoption story was so much apart of what God was doing that neither of us felt right about leaving it out. So we talked about Éveiller House, and then had our pastor read this letter that I wrote about our adoption as it was too hard for me to talk about: 



Adoption Miscarriage

These past two weeks has been emotional, with highs and deep lows. I have spent the last couple of days trying to process what we’re thinking and how we are feeling, and I think I can finally describe what is going on in our hearts, and finally understand it myself. 

This past week, we were told the one thing that could break our heart in two in this adoption that we have been pursuing. I've been in denial, trying to focus my attention elsewhere, and I've had moments where the emotions want to come to the surface, and I shove them down, unwilling to go where it hurts too much to think about. 

See, back in 2012, Josh and I experienced the pain of losing a child. We had hoped to get pregnant, and when we found out I was, we were elated, and as one does when they are expecting a child, you immediately start to dream of what their life is going to be like, who they will become, and how it will change your family forever. Then one day, it's gone. 

It changes in an instant, all those hopes and all those dreams, come crashing in all around you, and you are powerless to change what is happening, and what is now your reality. You loved your child, even for the short time they were yours, and you miss them, you long for them, and your heart hurts without them. 

So in the past weeks, when we found out that these children whom we have gotten to know, whom we love, and who we longed for to be apart of our family, may actually be apart of our family one day... we were elated. We had been guarding our hearts for 6 months, never fully embracing the possibility of them being ours, and with joy we flung our hearts wide open, embracing them, and all of our hopes and dreams of them being apart of this family. 

Then, as when you have a miscarriage, things start happening, and you have no control over what is going on, and you question if this is real or if this is just a scare, and you have a million questions that you don't have the answers too, nor have any control over what those answers may be. And in a few split seconds, all of our hopes and dreams, were simply gone. These kids that we have hoped to bring into this family, will never be apart of this family. 

The reasons are messy, the situation is messy, and we don't understand all the answers. We hope and pray that the reasons given to us are right and true, and that there is a family planned for this brother and sister who will love and support them. And in that, Josh and I have chosen to find peace that there is a far greater plan for these children, even if it is not with us. 

Unlike our miscarriage, that ended with our child in heaven, our adoption miscarriage ends in an entirely different way. But in a way, they are still the same. There is pain, there is mourning, and just as our heaven baby rests in the arms of our Father in heaven, these two children we have longed for, rest in the same arms, but He still has a plan for them here on this earth. 

Every year, Josh and I hang an ornament on our tree, of two small ice skates, in memory of the child I carried in my womb, and hold each other as the tears fall in remembrance. And now we shall hang two more, in remembrance of the children we carried in our hearts, and hopefully, if all comes to pass as it should, smile one day, knowing they are with a different family who loves them. 


We know we have been called to adoption. That calling has been clear, and we will not stop. God has a funny way of redirecting things to His good and His amazing glory, and we trust that His hand is in this, and will continue to be in it as we walk this winding path of many unknowns to be a forever family to children who do not have one. 

Thank you for your love and support. 
Josh & Kayla 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Éveiller Update!

I feel like so much has happened recently, but then I try to come up with proof, pictures, or just what is going on, and feel like like it evades me. But, there are things happening, and I need to just rest in that even if I can't always grasp what, how, or when, that things are in someones hands that are far greater than I.

I was going to write this update on adoption and Éveiller, but as I'm writing, I realize that there HAS been a lot in Éveiller that has happened, so I'll do another post about adoption soon. So, Éveiller. Josh and I have been working hard on getting this place updated, or just feeling like home. I think when you live in a construction mess for so long, it just starts to feel normal, or you naturally just don't go into rooms that you know are going to stress you out, so instead, you just close the doors and pretend they don't exist. We have a few rooms like that, one of them being the master bedroom. This room was meant to be the first room done.

We wanted a place that we could escape to at the end of the day and ignore the rest of the house and relax. But that has not happened. When we first moved in, I was all gun hoe about sanding the floor in this room and getting it refinished. So I started, not realizing how God awful hard it was going to do by hand, and it left a rather large space of exposed wood on the floor. We couldn't just move in, and walk on the exposed wood, at risk of ruining the whole floor, so since I started, I knew we had to finish it. So we waited, and we waited, until we could rent a floor sander and get that bad boy done. 

The floor was extremely hard to sand, and took Josh a whole day to do this one room, and lots of sweat and tears... ok, maybe not tears. Alas, it took awhile. It still even looked splotchy, but at this point we had tried everything, so we were just going to go with it. I had picked out Bombay Mohogany for the floor, and went to stain it. It didn't stain AT ALL! It actually turned the floor the EXACT color that it had originally been. Turns out the stain was old, and all the color had sunk to the bottom to one big hard lump that fooled me as the bottom of the can. So, I opened up a new can, making sure I actually scraped the bottom of the actual can this time in mixing, and restained the floor again. I got about half way through before it was proven to me that I cannot handle staining a floor twice in one day, more so, my lungs couldn't handle it, even with a mask on. So my husband finished, and because I had been high on fumes and coughing up a storm, along with getting an instant migraine during the second staining, and my husband having a hard time figuring out how the stain brush worked, the floor turned into one big dark blotchy mess. Alas, it needs another coat, but I'm kinda scarred for life after almost passing out the last time, so I'm pretty determined to just move in and pretend it's pretty and stain it again in the summer. But, we did get the nasty drop ceiling down, the ceiling tiles down that was behind that, and revealed the beautiful old wood ceiling that we knew was hiding up there. We still have to get the glue off the ceiling, since they like hot glued those bad boys up there, but ladders and I have a horrible relationship with each other, so I'm kindly waiting for my husband or someone else to crawl up there and do it. Oh, and since we took out the drop ceiling, we had to get a new light! The ceiling is super high in this room, so I opted for a chandelier. 



Side note: My husband would highly suggest not going shopping with me for a chandelier. I may sing the entire time ' IIIII want to swiiing from the chan-da-la-HEEERE, and IIIIII want to fllllyyyyy like tomorrow doesn't exiiiist.' and may continue to do so all through the installation period as well. 

He loves me, I know it! 

Oh, and we're doing a pallet wall to cover up the old wall by the window that has something on it that's like an old form of drywall, but I'm not even sure what it is. 


We had a work day at Éveiller, and some of our friends came to help us with some of the renovations. Josh, my brother in law, Jason, and my Dad did the plumbing for the upstairs kitchen that day. It ended up being trickier then they expected, and had to work around a few things since the building is so old. But, I can now run my dishwasher upstairs so YAY!!!! I don't have a sink yet though, and really nothing else is hooked up or installed, but that does not stop my husband from hauling dishes upstairs to stick them in the magical machine that saves us from the worst chore ever. 

My group worked on the South Wing. Yes, I call it a wing, because I just don't know what else to call it! It's where we, for the most part, live on a day to day basis. It's where the bedrooms are, and where we will one day have a bathroom (which is actually serving at Josh and I's bedroom until we can move into the room with the chan-da-la-HEEERE), and the laundry room is. The old part of the building, which the master and the laundry room are in, has the nice hardwood floor. The other rooms are in the newer addition and had carpet. 


Carpet in an old church = YUCK!  I actually learned that it wasn't that old, only like 5-6 years old, but boy oh boy, I couldn't handle it. We ripped up the carpet in the boys room, the long room which will one day be split in two and serve as the girls room and the TV room, the bathroom/our room, and the hallway. It wasn't the carpet that ended up being smelly (thank goodness) but it was the nasty padding that was underneath it. So we sold the carpet, and since Josh and I hadn't budgeted to redo the flooring, we were just going to paint the chip board that was there until next year some time. 


By the way, this nail board will make you scream and cry the whole time you work with it. It's evil stuff, I promise you! 

Turns out, that painting the floor was a bad idea. I had asked the Home Depot guys what they suggested I use for the flooring, and it turned out that this paint was for outdoor uses only, and they told me to use it indoors... and pretty much, ever since painting, I've been dying of a horrible cough. My husband thinks I may have a chemical burn of some sort on my lungs, I think it's just irritated, and the doctor actually didn't know what to think of it so put me on a crap load of meds to try to fix it. Which, btw, only worked until the meds ran out, so I went back in today, and got put on a new load of things. 

ANYWAY, so our quick floor job wasn't going to work. So I spent some time researching cheap flooring, and we drove back into town, and picked out this floor. 

It's actually very pretty, but with the layout of the rooms, it's slightly tricky to install. Therefore, we have half of the long room installed, and the rest is just waiting... but that also means that there is still a bunch of that paint exposed... which is probably why I'm not getting any better. 

In the rooms that are in the newer addition of the building, there is not any nice old wood ceiling hiding behind the ceiling tiles. So to cover up any remaining churchy smells, we painted every last inch of the rooms that had the carpet (minus the bathroom/bedroom since it's going to be awhile before we get there). The ceilings in all the rooms are higher then average, so I was able to get away with the dark ceiling again, which improved the look of the tile. The boys room will be nautical themed one day, so they have white walls with blue stripes, and the dark ceiling. 

The long room, since it will be cut in half (someday) we painted it according to future plans. The girls room had this dark greyish-purple ceiling, and what I thought was an off-white wall... but it turned out to be kinda like a super pale pink... it works though! The TV room has a color called Seaglass... I liked it every time I went to the store, but couldn't decide where it would work in my house, so I finally decided to use it in this room. I just went with a dusty white for the ceiling (which will be the only normal looking ceiling in the whole house, haha!). Until the wall to separate the two rooms is up, I just have one giant room with two colors on the ceilings, two colors on the wall, and currently two different floors until we can get the rest of the wood floor in. In other words, it kinda looks like Easter! Pastels mushing in every which way. 

 

So, that is where we are for now. We keep working on bits here and there, this week we took off because I can't handle any more painting until I figure out what this outdoor paint did to my lungs, and we are currently working on a fundraiser for our adoption which I will share with you on my next post, but if you're on facebook you may have already seen it! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Words...

As morning hues
peak above outstretched land,
casting its light
on dew sprinkled roses,
the sweet song of dawn
rises from the depths.
Blankets of clouds
have come down,
nestling themselves
in the open fields. 
For that small moment
heaven and earth
are not separated.
It is here...
in the space between
night and day,
where the world is quiet,
the slumber still sweet,
that I find peace,
that I find rest. 

~Kayla Leveille


Fields are my favorite. Some people love mountains, some people love oceans, but give me rolling fields with beautiful trees hugging the edges and I'm home. 

For me, mountains are captivating, and will forever put me in awe. Oceans are musical, and will forever sing a beautiful song to me, with mysteries beyond my imagination. But fields... fields are new every day, that roll and spread across the land, best when trees dance among them. Fields are open, and I can see the sun rise in the morning, and set in the evening... Fields are home. 


I'm not one to share my 'artsy' written work. I write things here and there for friends, but mostly everything stays safely tucked away in my journals. But there are two pieces that I wrote, that I keep going back to over the past couple of months, and even though similar, they give me peace. 

Both written as I gaze out into the open space, of my small versions of home. They bring me to the moments where I sit in awe at God's goodness, his grace, and his beautiful creations... when the world was quiet, the air sweet, and my heart still... and I remember. 

Cold crisp air surrounds my soul,
the smell of sweet autumn comforts me.
The sun beams through the leaves of old,
to give off days last light.
Clouds had billowed of white,
now turn to specks of radiant color
to grace the sky at dusk.
The rustle of leaves proves life,
birds sing their last song,
as the world says goodnight. 
You are here.
You have always been here.
You whisper through the breeze,
'comer forth, come near.'
I am pulled into your presence,
your power, your awe.
Away we wander,
sweet lovers delight. 
To walk through the meadows,
to sing with the rain.
To find each others essence,
each others song. 
As dusk draws to a close,
the night draws near. 
But you are here. 
You have always been here. 

~Kayla Leveille


Monday, October 19, 2015

Where are you?

Something I get asked on a weekly basis by friends and family is; where are you in the adoption process?

I love the question, because I know that people care about our journey, about the kids we hope to adopt some day, and are excited for us. The problem is, I never know how to answer it.

The waters of adoption are murky. Sometimes you think you are making no progress, and look down and realize you really have gone places, and other times you think you've been running, but not realizing you're on a treadmill and not going ANYWHERE and exhausting yourself for no reason! Sometimes the progress you've made isn't physical, sometimes it's what God is doing in your heart to prepare you for what it to come... and really, how do you measure that? How do you tell someone 'where' you are in the process, because you're on this journey, with sharp bends, corners, hills, and valleys, and when you've taken the first step on this journey, you don't know how long it is, what it's like, where it goes... so you never know 'where' you are, you just know that you are where God has you. And the funny thing is, when you think you've reached the 'end,' that part where your kids actually come home, you realize you've really only begun!

I think it took me something like 6 months to FINALLY get ahold of the social worker we have to go through. I felt every email I sent, every voice message I left, just got sent into the vast open desert to be lost forever. When she finally answered one day, I was in so much shock that there was actually a voice on the other side of the line, that I didn't even know what to say and was just speechless. She probably thought it was some prank call as I stumbled over my words trying to think of what to say now that she was actually on the phone.

Some people ask 'Why do you keep going through them then? It's so slow, and hard!' Yes. Yes it is. And we know we're not even in the thick of things, we know we're just beginning. But all adoptions are hard, and you never know how long each one is going to take. So we press forward. We call. We write. We fundraise, because we know that when the bills come they will be high and costly, and it's only a matter of time before they come. We fill out forms for a home study we don't know exactly when we will get the go ahead to dive into.

So why? Why do it, why wait, why press forward, why pay the costs, why not just move on? Because we can't.

We can't, because God didn't on us. We've been adopted as God's sons and daughters, and he has paid a far greater price for us then we will ever pay. He didn't stop pursuing us, just because it got hard, just because it was slow, just because we never answered HIS calls out to us. He kept pushing forward, until we came to him. Until we were home in HIS ARMS. So we will push, we will pursue, we will work, we will cry, we will fall to our knees until they are callous and sore, bruised and bloody; because each child matters, each child deserves a family, and we won't stop until our kids, whomever they may be, are home in our arms.