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Together for Adoption Conference and some thoughts…

Well, the 4 of us made it safely to Austin, Texas…the FOUR of us you ask? Yes, it was supposed to just be me, Rico Suave and Isaac T.—but we were heading out for our flight when we ran into some traffic. (Might I add we were also already running late trying to get all the kids settled and us packed up too!). SO…we realized we could take Frank all the way to my sister’s as planned and risk missing our flight OUT–or because Frank is still under 2…we could just be flexible—and bring him with us!!! We are fly-by-the-edge-of-your-seat (no pun intended!) kind of a couple–so this is SO us!!! Taken with my iphone…here is our Wiphan booth representative at this weekend’s conference…He has been a big helper–and I’m one of those weird mommies who can’t stand to leave her babies anywhere so it’s been a joy to have him add to the craziness!!!

And speaking of crazy—I forgot all of ITY’s hair products…can you tell???BUT he was sporting his smocked pumpkin outfit on the first day of October–and only ONE person asked what *her* name was…something I always seem to get when he’s in a smocked outfit.

We paid a visit to Walmart for Frankie-baby because we only had ONE outfit packed for him because he was only spending one night at my sister’s house before my parents came into town!!! By the way–you can get the cutest little applique shirts at Wally World for just $3.50:)

So far, the conference has been really fun. We haven’t gone to too many of the breakout sessions because we are ADD…we can’t sit still THAT long…and we are chasing the little ones…

OKAY…I wrote all of that (above) on Saturday afternoon and THOUGHT I posted it…but I guess it didn’t go through. SO…here in the rest of the weekend…and pictures I just downloaded from my “real” camera (the others above were taken with my iphone)…

It was Frankie baby’s FIRST airplane ride…so I had to grab a few pictures of his first big journey at the airport…

Oh this BOY is my heart. How I love all my babies with so much of my heart. With four that have my heart—my cup just overfloweth. I feel SO blessed that God would choose me to be their mommy!!!

TWO babies in ONE hotel room? Well, believe it or NOT–it was SMOOTH and they slept through the night BOTH nights!!! God’s grace was shining down upon us!!! And in the morning…they’d kick it together while we got ready…

I mean SERIOUSLY…could they be ANY cuter?!

Okay…so those were some highlights from our trip. The low point was Austin has an influx of crickets and cockroaches. The crickets FLY…and I don’t do flying crickets. Here is a little friend who welcomed us into our hotel room…Seriously—you can’t tell from the picture, but these things were HUGE. I have never seen such. One flew in the hotel and someone asked if it was a bat. Nope–just a giant flying cricket. I was squealing and the babies were laughing…and it was so not funny. Just sayin’.

Here are a few more from the conference at the Wiphan booth…Our Wiphan widows made all those necklaces Frank is wearing. I mean, how could you not buy one with him modeling them? I’ll tell you how–he refused to share them or take them off…so not many necklaces were sold this weekend;) His OTHER main focus–was to visit each booth and to eat their candy. He took this daily bullet point on his agenda VERY seriously–and I have to tell you, those stinkin’ orphan advocates at each table are VERY bad at turning a bald headed baby away. I had to keep a close eye on people offering him more candy;).

I can’t tell you how many times we were asked if ITY was from Zambia. We were confusing people;).

AFTER the conference on Saturday, we got together with some of our AGCI family in Austin. Now…if you are with AGCI you know what I mean when I say AGCI family. We are SO family at AGCI–and it doesn’t matter WHERE you are…you make every effort to get together and have community. I LOOOOVE my AGCI family:) Here is our AGCI Texas family…

And here is our AGCI family kiddos making their silly faces…

Finny and Isaac represented Hannah’s Hope at the get together…and they were SO cute together!

The REAL entertainment came from the 3 almost 2 year olds together! We TRIED to get a picture–but OF COURSE they were NOT having it…

It was really SUCH a fun weekend with our AGCI family, representing Wiphan at the exhibit booth AND just having community with others that share our heart for orphans and adoption. We were able to stick our heads in a FEW things…and the things we walked away with were…

…do not be discouraged if your pastor is not backing your attempts to start an orphan ministry at your church (our’s is not there yet either…but we will not give up trying!) I know this baffles some of you to hear that–but we go to a big church and I think we are realizing more and more that we are going to just have to continue moving forward whether we have the church’s leadership going with us or not. We have to run where we fill the Lord taking us and trust Him to equip us.

…being called to adoption is being called to helping your child with a life time of healing. It really is the church and the body of Christ that needs to be surrounding families called to adopt and foster—offering them support, help with meals, aid with babysitting and with the older children as new families as adjust. Not every family can or will adopt or foster–but EVERY member of the body of Christ can find a place to be a part of the orphan crisis and being used by God as He sets orphans in families.

…COMMUNITY. This was my “extra”…my time with my dear friend in the hallway…sitting and talking for hours together…talking about the importance of supporting one another and loving one another through community. To experience true community and life together–there will be sacrifice. We live in a culture so reliant on stuff, being busy, cyber relationships, quick emails, etc–that we often fail to really experience community and make TIME for one another. It is easier to expect others to slow down for us–but some times so hard to slow down and make sacrifices for others. Richard and I are really learning the value of making sacrifices…flying our family to Texas to sit in the hallway with other believers who share our hearts and make efforts to love and encourage one another. We want to continue to search for ways to do life with other families…and we always dream about how we can better live in community with others.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…one thing I really wish the conference offered was TIME to REALLY connect with other moms who share the same heart and passion…where we could learn from one another, encourage one another and simply hang together. SOOOO…I think it just might be time for some crazy person like me and a few others to plan a weekend together just for moms to come and spend time together and be encouraged and refreshed. I’m thinking counseling insight…hair tutorials;)…coffee…dessert and prayer time for our families…sharing our experiences and putting our heads together how we can do orphan care with our families and encourage our community to run with us. SO…my wheels are turning—and I think I may be on to something. Wouldn’t YOU want to come?!?!?!

Hope you all had a great weekend!!!

BY THE WAY…the panties and pads from “It’s a Girl Thing” which is supplying orphans and widow women in Korah and Wiphan with a more sanitary way to get through their monthly cycles have started arriving!!! WOW! I am so thankful–and so HONORED to do ministry with you all!!! I can’t WAIT to get these on their way very soon!!! Thank you so much for joining us and using your hands and hearts to bless these women!!!

Bobi Bobbitt - October 3, 2010 - 9:28 pm

Count me in on the girls weekend! I would LOVE nothing more than to spend some girl time with other women who have a heart for orphan care and adoption as I do! Just let me know the time and place and I will be there… no matter how far away! I am SO in need of an adoption support system and there is just not many adoptive families here…hope you got our box of panties on your doorstep last week! (: Bobi

Alison - October 3, 2010 - 9:48 pm

I am so there for the adoptive mommas weekend!! Count me in!! 🙂

Amanda - October 3, 2010 - 10:07 pm

So nice to meet you on Saturday! I would definitely be in for a moms weekend.

Sara - October 3, 2010 - 10:23 pm

The leadership at our church doesn’t share our passion for orphans and adoption either. It is hard and heartbreaking! But, we haven’t given up! Oh, and I’m in for a mommy retreat!

Kristin - October 3, 2010 - 10:43 pm

I’m on the same page as you!

Amanda - October 3, 2010 - 11:30 pm

Email me so I have your email address and I will send you the pics! I would love that picture with everyone in it.

Lara - October 4, 2010 - 12:10 am

I heard T4A is in Phoenix next year! I am so excited as that’s only a three hour drive from me AND my parents live there (which=free babysitting!) It looked like a great time and I can’t wait for 2011!

Kim - October 4, 2010 - 12:51 am

Andrea, I loved our time this weekend! Your family is beautiful and a delight to spend time with! Keep me posted about plans!


missy - October 4, 2010 - 1:03 am

wow…what a weekend!
*i love that you are undaunted in the smocked outfit regardless of comments you may have gotten about ity being a girl. i got one comment about lulu being a bow and since then i refuse to take her out without a huge hair bow.
*taking frankie was obviously a great choice. too bad it wasn’t after the movie was released so you could work his movie star status for the benefit of wiphan. but he obviously was working the crowd anyway.
*i am IN for the adoptive mom’s gathering. SOOOOOOOO in.

Cristie - October 4, 2010 - 1:12 am

Hey girl! I can’t believe y’all were in Austin! I wish we’d come down from Waco to hug y’all and meet ITY in person!!! And can you believe that in only 3 months of living here that I’ve gotten used to these crazy crickets…I mean, you step on and squish crickets on the floor in stores sometimes because there’s so many! Crazy! I never saw crickets (and roaches) this fierce in ATL!!!

Meredith - October 4, 2010 - 7:26 am

We are new to the AGCI family, but we love it already. I would love, love, love a mommy retreat! So glad you had a fun weekend!

Ashley - October 4, 2010 - 8:09 am


I have some bags and panties that we made for the It’s A Girl Thing…but don’t know where to send them…if you’ll email me an address I’ll get them on their way! We have about 80ish bags…


Becca Harley - October 4, 2010 - 1:11 pm

oh girl – let’s do it! I am all for a weekend with my AGCI girls!!! Let me know when, where – and I will try my hardest to be there (unless of course I am halfway around the world! cannot wait for that trip!):)

Kathryn Lewis - October 4, 2010 - 3:05 pm

Love the idea of a weekend get away to support one another!! Not sure if I’d be able to come but I would love to try! So wonderful meeting you this weekend – what a blessing it was to be with other families who have the same heart!

Kelly - October 4, 2010 - 3:20 pm

Loved meeting you at the conference! 🙂 Thanks for not thinking we are crazy stalkers!! 🙂 Think the adoptive mom’s weekend is a great idea! Oh… and it is so funny that you said something about the crickets, during one of the main sessions I saw a huge one crawling down the auditorium isle!!

Beth Bailey - October 4, 2010 - 5:41 pm

I am there! I would love to help you organize!

Jennifer - October 4, 2010 - 11:33 pm

Sign me up! Let’s all use those frequent flyer miles from traveling to get our babies to come to your gathering!:) You’re awesome!

Tisha ALexander - October 5, 2010 - 9:20 am

Where do I sign up for the weekend away??!! That sounds amazing!

I REALLY hope I can go to the T4A next year… sounds like a wonderful time!

Tara - October 5, 2010 - 10:24 am

It was fun to see you in real life:-) Learned so much at T4A this weekend, just still trying to process it all.