christmastime already?

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Wow – I LOVE Christmastime, but this one snuck up on me! Maybe because Thanksgiving was early, I don’t know, but it feels like it came quickly. We got our tree & decorated this week – which always puts me in a good mood. Decorating a tree with three year olds who so badly want to “help” with everything isn’t always 100% magical, but we had fun & certainly had some precious moments. After, you know, figuring out why three strands of lights wouldn’t work once they got on the tree even though we’d tested them, and realizing once we got it up (with a pre-drilled hole/tree stand that you can’t really change) that it’s kiiiind of a leaner (“am I tilting my head?!”). Oh well, ’tis the season!!

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This has been an amazing week for our adoption agency! After a long, discouraging “drought” (NO referrals for months… the transition home has been full, but it’s taken a long time for all the clearances to come through for the children. AWAA is extremely thorough, which we are so grateful for… but we all have been praying for these children to become paper-ready so they can be matched with families! No one wants those precious children to sit in an orphanage even a day longer than they have to!)… this week there have been SEVEN referrals in 3 days!!! Amazing! AND it’s included referrals for babies, older children, and some special needs! Praise the Lord! {and yes, that means we’re getting a little bit closer to our daughter, too… 🙂 }

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We were also given an update on our matching grant and we are nearly halfway to our goal!! $1950 has been donated to our adoption fund, which means that with the matching, so far we’ve raised $3900! PRAISE. THE. LORD! I can’t even tell you how grateful we are to the grant foundation and to the amazing people who have given in support of our family and our little girl. Thank you SO much. We’re praying we can raise the full $4,000 for a total of $8,000 by December 21st.

I leave you with a picture that melts my heart… you can bet I jumped right in on these snuggles as soon as I snapped the photo. How sweet are the brothers? Man I love these boys.

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thankful.

We are home from our annual Thanksgiving trip to Ohio, and feeling very thankful.

We have so much to be grateful for this year… here are just a few:

  • for the three boys I get to spend every day with–I love them more than I’ll ever be able to explain. My greatest blessings.
  • for God’s incredible provision for adding another member to our family sometime soon. I can’t wait to meet her.
  • for a little dusting of snow before we left… I know the locals weren’t thrilled, but us Southerners were pretty darn excited (and therefore the only ones to go play outside!)
  • for mashed potatoes. I’m sorry, they’re just my favorite.
  • for family, friends who are like family, and the gift of doing life together.
  • for laughter and a husband who never fails to make me laugh, even (um…especially) at my own expense 😉
  • for a cup of coffee, a microwave to reheat that coffee four times before you actually finish it (can I get an amen from fellow moms?!), and a good glass of wine at the end of the day.
  • for the group of adoptive moms I am getting to know, and the adoption community–just an incredible blessing we wouldn’t even know about if it weren’t for this process.
  • for the fact that I am going to be an AUNT in May!!! woohoooooo! 🙂
  • for our health–honestly, so many reasons lately to be thankful for just that.
  • for Chick-fil-a, and more importantly, its toddler-entertaining, nap-inducing playplace. Amen.

From our family to yours, we hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving!

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ANOTHER grant!!!

I don’t even know where to begin – I am totally blown away and a little speechless. Certainly emotional.

Yesterday, we found out that we’ve received a grant from the JSC Foundation for $6,500. The check is already on its way to America World. WOW. That is huge!! I can’t even describe how grateful and humbled we feel. Last month we wrote a huge check, knowing that it was pretty much all the money we had to pay for this adoption. We weren’t sure how we’d raise the rest, but I have felt such a peace about this part, and all our adoption friends kept telling us that God ALWAYS provides it–maybe not ahead of time, but right on time. Well, he’s giving this part to us ahead of time. If we can raise the full $4,000 toward our matching grant, that means that we’ll have raised $14,500 in about two months. That means we’ll be prepared to accept a referral, whenever it comes (when you get a referral, you pay your remaining agency and international fees), AND pay for most of our travel fees…already. Just amazing.

Will y’all join us in praising the Lord for his incredible provision?! And whatever you may be facing in your own life–just know, God hears your prayers, and he truly, truly provides. I know money and finances can be stressful… but whatever God’s asking you to do, don’t let fear of the cost hold you back. If he’s calling you to something seemingly crazy, do it. I just told a friend today, please don’t let me doubt God’s provision ever again. He took care of us financially with our insane NICU and preemie specialist charges; he gave us a crazy story of the way he provided for us every step of the way when Jeff lost his job; and now with this adoption–to him be the glory, great things he has done!

I mean, Happy Thanksgiving, right?! 🙂

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Matching Grant!!!

So, now for our exciting news!  We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a matching grant from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption!!!

I applied for this grant a while back, and on Friday we received word that Hand in Hand had reviewed our application and is awarding us a matching grant for $4,000!  That means that they will match, dollar for dollar, any funds donated up to $4,000 – which would be a total of $8,000 toward our adoption expenses!!  I can’t even tell you how grateful and excited we are–this means that if we can raise the $8K total, we’ll be financially ready to accept our referral whenever it comes.  God is GOOD!!

Here is our letter explaining how the grant works.  If you are interested in contributing, all donations are tax-deductible through the deadline of December 21st.  And the great part is that your gift will be doubled–$25 becomes $50, $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200, and so on–toward bringing our baby home!  We’re praising the Lord for this amazing news and so, so thankful that He is providing.  This is such great encouragement and confirmation–He truly wants us to bring this child into our family, and He’ll move mountains to make it possible.  What a mighty God we serve!

Dear Family and Friends,

As many of you know, we feel that God has called us on a new journey to provide a “forever” family to a child through the process of adoption.  We have started down this path of adoption and will be excited to bring a child into our home sometime soon.  We have felt led to pursue a child from Ethiopia and are now waiting for the specific child God has for us.

This road to adoption is full of many joys and challenges, the greatest joy being the inclusion of a child into our family and the greatest challenge being finances.  The costs of adoption include the expense of a home study, adoption agency, lawyers, travel expenses, etc., with the total cost ending up somewhere around $30,000. 

 We were recently awarded a matching funds grant to help with the expenses of our adoption through Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. a non-profit private operating foundation.  Hand in Hand will match any funds that are donated through our friends and family for the expenses of our adoption.  All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount.   All donations are tax-deductible.

 Please find enclosed a grant award letter that will explain more about the matching grant program from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. You can find out more about Hand in Hand through their website at www.handinhandadopt.org. If you have further questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program please feel free to give us a call or email us.  You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have.  They can be reached at 913-248-5015 or by e-mail at handinhandadopt@gmail.com.

Please send all donations made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption” postmarked by December 21, 2012 to: (for tax purposes please include our name on the outside of the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself)

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Jeff and Lauren Pyles
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS  66030

Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping bring our child home into a “forever” family.

In Him,

Jeff & Lauren Pyles

Pieces of the Pyles’ 11.10.12

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Our dossier has been delivered!  It was fun to track its journey to Addis.  So now we wait!  There probably won’t be any updates for a while – we’ll probably update monthly on our DTE anniversary day, but most likely there won’t be any news for a bit.  However… we do have some great news to share in our next post! (not a referral, but it is adoption-related)

We decided not to run the half marathon next weekend, for various reasons.  First, it’s pretty expensive to run (would’ve cost us a couple hundred dollars when all was said and done) and after the big adoption payment, and with Christmas & some other expenses coming up, it doesn’t make sense financially right now.  We’re hoping to run one in March with my sister, if my shoulder is better by then.  Which leads me to our other reason – I need shoulder surgery, which is scheduled for Dec. 20th.  More expenses and it’s been hurting a lot lately = it just made sense to postpone the run, unfortunately 😦

We’ve been busy little bees but things are finally slowing down a bit–we’re enjoying some down time as a family.  God has really been convicting us to make sure we’re not over-scheduling ourselves, even with good things, but making sure we make each other a priority!  Always a balancing act.

The brothers have been begging us to sleep together again… so Jeff & I sketched out a design for their new “big boy” joint room, with bunk beds Daddy is going to build for them – shhhh… don’t tell them, but Christmas is coming and so is a fun little DIY room redo as their present!  We’re excited.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

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Cullen & Lane at THREE.

{So somehow I wrote this back in August & never posted it… nice work, L.  Figured I should post it for the record!}

We finally made it to the doctor today (a month late) for their three year old visit… time for some stats!

Cullen:  Weight – 29 lbs, 2 oz (25th percentile); Height – 36 1/4 in (25th)

Lane: Weight – 29 lbs, 4 oz (25th); Height – 35 3/4 in (22nd)

*That’s right, no one broke the 30 pound mark – oh well!  Little, but MIGHTY.

Cullen & Lane, at three years old, you both:

  • are active, smart, funny, sweet, amazing little boys.  I still find myself daily amazed that you are OURS and can’t believe how blessed we are to have you in our family!
  • continue to be big eaters (not that your stats show it – ha) – you both have great appetites and aren’t too picky.  You fight us at dinnertime occasionally but are generally pretty easy to feed… breakfast is your favorite and largest meal of the day.
  • are BEST FRIENDS.  Honestly, I am amazed at how well you get along – sure, you have arguments & fight over things here & there, but for the most part–for the fact that you’ve been together 24/7 since birth, you have such a heartwarming relationship.  You hate being apart, you look out for & take care of each other, you make each other laugh, you entertain each other really well, you make me want twins again… {almost.. but really – I have moments where I think that if we just have one child, I’ll feel bad for them that they don’t have a playmate!} 😉
  • are in your own rooms, for now (mostly because Lane takes longer naps)… but have already started begging us for bunk beds!
  • love to read books (Curious George & your Storybook Bible are your favorites), do projects, paint, play legos or “pretend,” ride your bikes & fire truck, play golf, baseball, soccer, basketball, are definitely getting into the superhero stage, and love to play reading games on the computer.  Your favorite toys are your train set and your legos; you love to design huge tracks and towns with these.
  • are showing us that the 2’s are easy stuff – you weren’t that terrible – it’s the 3’s that are going to be a good time 😉  No, you’re great boys, but I’m not going to act like you’re perfect–three is a tough age!  I think it’s may be the MOST fun AND the MOST challenging all at the same time.
  • love the outdoors, playing in the woods, making up games, and playing at any park/playground we can find.

Cullen Wayne, you:

  • sleep from about 8:00 to 7:30ish, and usually take about a 2 hour nap, give or take (and usually play/have hilarious conversations with yourself in your bed for at least half an hour before you go to sleep – I love it).  I don’t know how much longer these will last but I will take them as long as I can get them!
  • love to run.  You always want to “race” people and think you are the fastest little boy alive 🙂  I hate to break it to you that those short legs can only take you so fast–but I love your determination.
  • still have great focus & an ability to stick with a task that I think is rare for your age.  You love fine-motor activities and are always asking me for a new craft or project to do.
  • have a great imagination–I love hearing your pretend activities, stories, and plays.
  • are still the leader of the pack and a firstborn to a T.  You’re stubborn and determined, but also sweet and caring.  You look out for your brother and are fiercely loyal to him.
  • have such a good memory–I am already getting called out when mine isn’t as good as yours! 😉

Lane Davis, you:

  • sleep from about 8:oo to 8:00ish, and usually take a 2.5-3 hour nap.  And still bust out a 4 hour nap about once a week. Still our sleeper and we love you for it.
  • have gotten even more attached to your lovey bunny – we may have to start a detox program.  But it is so sweet to see you cuddle with it and suck that thumb (do I have to get you to quit that?)
  • are active, playful, and coordinated – you can climb like crazy but somehow rarely get hurt.  Future athlete?
  • are still my laidback, go with the flow “baby” of the family.  You certainly let your brother know when you’re tired of being bossed around, but for the most part are totally content doing whatever he wants to do.  You guys are such opposites, but I guess opposites attract because you make a perfect pair.
  • are hilarious.  Your stories, “jokes,” goofiness, and silliness make us laugh out loud hourly.  Life of the party.
  • are sweet, caring, sensitive, and already showing us glimpses of what an amazing big brother you will be.

We just love you boys–even on the hard days, I find myself baffled that we get to be your parents.  God has certainly blessed us far more than we deserve!

halloween 2012.

Well, this year’s Halloween had a bit of a rough start due to my shadow, Mr. Lane, being super clingy, along with the craziness of a missing cape for about half an hour… but once we got that under control (and Uncle Kyle somehow got SuperLane to agree to taking a picture or two), we were good to go!

This time around, once they started going door to door, Lane ran the town and would’ve gone all night if we’d let him.  Cullen had a blast for a while and really loved seeing his buddies in costume–but discovered his favorite thing was handing out candy to “the children” once we got home!  When we put them to bed, all Cullen would say was “but who will give the candy to the children?!” THE CHILDREN NEED THEIR CANDY, PEOPLE!

They asked to be superheroes so we came up with these mostly homemade outfits – I present to you, SuperCullen and SuperLane, to the rescue!  Any damsels in distress, you know who to call…

DTE!!!

We are SO excited that today is our DTE (Dossier To Ethiopia) day!! This is the date that you are officially put on the list and waiting for a referral. So as of 11-2-12, the Pyles’ are officially waiting on little sister! We went out to dinner as a family to celebrate-a real treat around here!

I know a few have asked-we really have no idea how long we’ll be waiting. A healthy child referral is still estimated to be an 18-24 month wait, but since we are open to special needs/medical needs, ours could certainly be shorter. It’s very weird to just be waiting around having no idea if it’ll be weeks, months, or years…but we know God’s timing is perfect and we trust that He has an amazing plan! He already knows who our daughter is and I find so much comfort in that.  For now, we will just enjoy being a family of four as long as it lasts!

We love you, sweet girl!

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