"And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Get to know the boys

Wilnes

He is the oldest of our sons.  He is 12 and will be 13 on Jan 29.  He is so smart and wants to keep learning things.  When Laura observed him in school he was on the front row of the class and writing things in his notebook fervently.  When we are together he draws pictures and does math problems.  He also likes to take the Iphone and play with apps or listen to music.  He chose to listen to Coldplay (smart kid). He is so quiet and sweet.  He keeps his brothers in line, and we hear that he is also very nurturing of the babies and younger children in the orphanage.  His favorite color is blue, and he likes to play soccer, basketball, and dominoes.





Woody

 He is one of our twins.  He is 8 and will be 9 on Jan 8.  These twins could not be more opposite! Woody is rarely in pictures, or when he is, it is much like what you see here - in action!  He is quiet like big bro Wilnes, but in a shy way.  He keeps to himself but laughs a lot, especially at his twin brother.  He would often choose country music on the Iphone - we found him digging Gary Allan and Alan Jackson.  His favorite color is green, and he likes to play football and dominoes and sing "Waka Waka (this time for Africa)" by Shakira.








Wendy

The other of our twins, he is 8 and will be 9 on Jan 8.  He LOVES to be in pictures, unlike bro.  If there is a camera, he's in front of it.  He is a dancing machine, and if you check out a previous post, you'll find him dancing to Kings of Leon.  He is not into sports like his brothers, but he does dig a good game of dominoes like they do.  He laughs a lot and makes others a laugh a lot.  He's got a crazy good hug.  His favorite color is red, and his favorite thing is smiling.








Photos courtesy of our friends at Carpe Diem Photo Video

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Waiting

We know it's been a long time since our last post.  The truth is, we keep hoping we'll have an update to share before posting again.  The big question we always get - "so when do you get your boys?"  We wish we had an answer to that.  We are in a season of waiting, and until now, I thought "waiting" was a passive experience.  I kept looking for something to "do" to make this go faster or to not be sitting still.  However, I am learning that waiting is more active than I ever imagined.  Waiting requires prayer, faith, grieving, trust, preparing a home, adjusting a budget to include 3 more people, and so many more things.  Waiting is not easy.  I started reading a book called "When the Heart Waits" by Sue Monk Kidd, and it's providing me many gentle reminders about the process of cocooning...and the beautiful timing of the "birth" of the new. 


In the meantime, we continue to get monthly email updates on the boys' weight and height, along with a picture - most recent one above.  We finally learned their birthdays too! 

Wilnes - Jan 29, 1999
Woody and Wendy - Jan 8, 2003

Some cool things about these dates - we started dating on Jan 29, 2003 - the day of Wilnes' bday and the year the twins were born.  It is so crazy when I think about where we were in that time of our lives and how God already had a very special 4 yr old and newborn baby boys that would be ours! Jan 29 is also Todd's grandparents', Art and MaryBeth Garwood, wedding anniversary.  It has certainly become a day in our family to celebrate love!

So, that's where we are for now.  We are grateful for your prayers in this waiting process of becoming mommy and daddy to these incredibly special young men.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Peak into Parenthood


It’s been a week since our children ran into our arms on the side of the street in Port-au-Prince.  We had not seen them in so long, and this trip was particularly important, because they were being transferred into the care of our lawyer and his orphanage.  All our paperwork is turned in, our children are in their “new” temporary orphanage, and now we all wait to be reunited once the IBESR in Haiti approves us to be their parents.  We are told this could take up to 2 years.  It could be, and we obviously pray for, less than 2 years.  Our hearts are heavy and long to be with them.  The 1.5 days we got to spend with them on this last trip was worth every tear that was shed by all of us upon departure.

We made so many wonderful memories, and we were also given insight and small bits of preparation for being parents to three boys.  This first lesson came within 30 minutes of having the boys with us when Wendy, the second born of the twins, announced, “Laura, pee pee.”  So, we asked our driver to pull over while all 3 boys hopped out, with Papa Blanc (Todd) supervising, and took to their business on the side of a busy Haitian street.  

More precious and funny memories…

-They can eat – A LOT.  The twins got thirds, sometimes fourths, when we sat down to each meal.  Wilnes is content with one plate, but we get the feeling he could and would eat more, but he makes sure others get enough.  We would give them candy or snacks throughout the day, which they would eat immediately or hide some place where they could enjoy it later.  Todd found a packet of sweet tarts in his shoe. 

-We were all giddy at bedtime.  It was our first time to all stay in one room together as a family.  Conveniently, there was a double bed and 3 twin beds in our room.  We read in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:11) and said a prayer before bedtime.  Wilnes said the most beautiful prayer in Creole.  We are not sure what all he said, but it was long and passionately spoken like his Mama Blanc (Laura).  They all slept with the monkeys we gave them (manca in Creole) and the covers over their heads – so cute.  Wendy got up in the middle of the night 3 times to say, “Laura, pee pee.”  I think it’s the only English he knows. 

-We are surprised at how self-sufficient they really are.  They immediately knew to brush their teeth when they woke up in the morning.  And watching them line up at the sink together was adorable. They had toothpaste dripping down their shirts and were so excited to have clean teeth.

-When we asked them if they wanted to take a shower, they got very excited.  I think this only happens a few times a week at their prior orphanage, so they were eager to be clean and use a “real shower.”  Todd supervised and said it was the cutest thing to watch their system.  Wilnes started with the washcloth and washed his front side.  Then, he handed the cloth off to Woody who cleaned Wilnes’ back then his own front.  Then, he handed it off to Wendy who followed suit.  True brothers helping each other out and literally “having each other’s backs.”

-Most of our daytime was spent playing basketball, soccer, dominoes, listening to music, dancing, and singing.  They also each took countless photos of just about anything around them.  They got a kick out of taking our iPhones and picking out music.  An attached video below shows Wendy especially enjoying this.  Their personalities are so different, yet each so special.  Wilnes is very curious and wants to learn everything he can.  He figured out how to open the Byki app on my iPhone and started teaching himself English.  He is very responsible and a good caretaker of his little brothers.  Woody does not talk much and would have a ball in his hands at all times – football, basketball, soccer ball, whatever.  If it kicked, threw, or bounced he had it.  He laughs a lot at his twin brother.  Wendy is a clown and never stops performing (again, see the attached video).   He is always smiling or laughing.  We can already see the “scholar, athlete, performer” roles emerging in them.

One of the most precious and tangible memories we have is a picture Wilnes drew.  As a counselor and having worked with children, I understand the power of what children draw.  Without any direction from us, Wilnes took my notebook and drew a picture of a house with all of us inside.  We were a family.  We look at his drawing often and pray for this time to come very soon.

While it was extremely hard to say goodbye again, we feel much peace about where they are in the meantime.  We became friends with Dr. Bernard’s daughters, Argentine and Stephanie, who also served as our Sweet Sleep team translators on this trip.  They have already emailed us to let us know they sit and visit with our boys often.  They write, “your boys miss you and say they love you soooooo much.”  What a blessing to know these sweet young women are a loving presence for our boys while we cannot be.  Please continue to pray along with us that Wilnes’ drawing will come true soon.  Thank you for supporting our family.


video

Friday, March 4, 2011

The First Trimester

Hey friends, Laura here.  I'll just get right to it...

I've never been pregnant.  I have no clue what it might be like.  I have friends who tell me what it's like, so I have some indication that even an adoption journey is like being pregant.  There's a few differences that no one warned me about...especially when you've already met your children.   My very dear friend Jenny Black recently told me, "You have held your babies.  And today your arms are empty.  They are not gone forever. But they are gone from you today.  How would I feel in that same situation? Heartbroken, lonely, aching for my little ones."  That's exactly it.  I have met and held my children. And now I wait for them to be here with us.

On this day 34 years ago, March 4, 1977, my parents gave birth to my older sister, Amy Michelle Melrose.  They gave her back to Jesus soon after.  I have no idea what that must have felt like.  I have heard my Mom talk about that day and how she had never felt so sad, yet so close to Jesus as He came to hold her after she lost her daughter.  She shared how she felt His physical presence with her and an indescribable peace.  God knows exactly what it feels like to grieve for your children in whatever circumstance.  

Today, 34 years after the birth of Amy,  I was rushing around downtown Nashville trying to get notary certifications and "authentications of certifications" for our adoption paperwork.   Basically, you get signatures that say the previous signatures are valid.  I am usually angry and irritated in those types of circumstances. I fought for parking, walked a million blocks, showed my ID more times than being in an airport, and had unwelcomed contact with disgruntled state workers.  Today was different.   I happily ran from building to building gathering the official documentation that would bring my children home.  It was exhausting, yet precious and extremely peaceful.  I appreciate my mother more today than ever.

So, it's all here - all the documents with signatures of signatures verifying we are able to adopt.   Now it all just has to be translated into French.  Ha! No kidding.  Off to the second trimester...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brunch fundraiser update

Laura here.  I've always heard the saying "It takes a village," and never really understood it until yesterday.  I am not good at asking for help. I like to think I can do things myself or just find a way to get it done without having to "bother" anyone.  As God works on me in this adoption process and continually reminds me I can't do it alone, I am learning more about the power of community and reaching out for help.  It's not about bothering anyone.  It's about inviting others to be part of the calling.  And it truly does "take a village."

We had over 40 volunteers with us at our brunch yesterday (pictured below).  They worked hard from 9:30am-2:30pm to be paid in chicken casserole and a t-shirt.  They did this because they love us, because they love our boys, because they care about orphans.   

We are humbled and blessed to report raising a total of $9,283 at our brunch!  Thanks to all of you who served, stopped by to eat, and prayed for these efforts!  After this fundraiser and previous gifts, we are just a little over half way to our needed funds to bring our sons home. 

T-shirts are still available and can be purchased through the link on the right of the blog.  We also have a few other fundraisers in the works and will post more details as they are available. 

Believe!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Still Believing

We named this blog, "I Believe in You" after our song and first dance at our wedding.  Cheesy...maybe.  But we had no idea then how much that song would mean to us even now.  A line of the song...

"But I believe in love.  I believe in babies.  I believe in Mom and Dad.  And I believe in You."

Now about those babies, and the whole "Mom and Dad" thing...

Our apologies for the long delay in posts.  This is what’s going on with us…

We are currently compiling the necessary documents to complete the dossier.  Dossier means: a big pile of paperwork that takes a ton of time to fill out and collect.  Some of the items on the list are on us to complete, and we are plugging away.  Others we’re waiting on answers or documents to come from various government offices.  Our goal is to get the dossier and first deposit turned in to our adoption agency by April 1.  No foolin’.  Then we wait for the in-country wheels to turn.  Not sure how long that process will take, but we remain hopeful. 

Many of you have asked how you can help and support us.  Your prayers for us through this process are highly coveted.  We have also come up with some fun fundraising activities in which we’d love for you to participate.  We have a mix of Nashville events, as well as activities for those of you outside Middle TN.

1. Puffy Muffin, “Brunch or Lunch for a Bunch (of kids)!”
Sunday, Feb 20, 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM
$15 adults, $10 kids
229 Franklin Road
Brentwood, TN 37027

Our friends at the popular Brentwood eatery, Puffy Muffin, have generously donated their time and cooking talents to host a brunch benefiting our adoption efforts.  They will be opening up on a normally closed Sunday (times noted above) and allowing us to serve a limited pre-set menu with all proceeds (after actual food cost) going towards our adoption. Isn’t that cool?!  They are tremendously kind people who are also on this adoption journey with us.  They’re adopting from Peru. 
**We also need volunteers to help us seat, serve, and bus tables on this day…shoot us an email at toddpramey@gmail.com if you or a group of friends would like to serve that day.

2.  T-SHIRTS!

Yes, the t-shirts we designed are finally ready! You will see a picture of the design and a link to purchase these shirts on the right side of the blog.  They come in a variety of sizes.  They are 100% cotton.  Tax and shipping included in the cost.  Click on the link, purchase a bunch of shirts and you’ll be the coolest people in your town, or even cooler than you already were.  They also make great mission trip uniforms for any service groups planning to make a trip to Haiti :)  In case you are wondering, the words underneath each word are Haitian Creole translations. 


3. MORE T'S FROM 1EIGHTY Clothing Line - www.180living.com

The very kind owner of 1eighty clothing has offered to give us $5 from the sale of any t-shirt on his website through the month of February.   There even happens to be one that says “Believe” (under “featured t-shirts” on the home page). He’s got some great designs, and the shirts feel great.  Be sure to use the promo code “Ramey” at checkout for the donation to be made.  www.180living.com


Other fundraisers in the works:

We are hoping for a ZUMBA-thon to be held in Nashville.  If you’re not familiar with this fun new way to exercise, stay tuned for more details, and get ready to burn calories!

iPad raffle.  Do you have a birthday or maybe a wedding gift to give?  What about something for that graduate you’re so proud of?  An iPad is the way to go.   We’ll have more info on this raffle in the coming months.

Waiting is hard.  Your prayers and support make it easier.   Thank you.

"The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him."  (Lamentations 3:25)

Waiting, Seeking, Believing...