Merry Christmas everyone!
It's hard to believe another year is almost behind us. We say this every Christmas, but time seems to move faster and faster every year. We hear our students, especially my cheerleaders and my 8th and 9th graders always saying they can't wait until they can graduate and go to college. I know we have all been in their shoes, but now that I am getting older I realize how naive we were when we were younger. I try my best to tell them to slow down, but I'm not sure they listen, just like I never listened when I was their age. I would give almost anything to be able to go back in time and experience some memories for a second time. The new Luke Bryan song is my new theme song. If you haven't heard it, you should go look it up...like right now. "Sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry, and all you keep trying to do is slow it down, soak it in, keep trying to make the good times last as long as you can, but you can't. It just goes too fast."
Yes, in case you're wondering, Christmas time always makes me nostalgic, especially this year. We have a loved one very dear to us who is very sick, and Christmas this year has not been the same, and it will never be the same again. It has me remembering past Christmases down at my great grandparents' house when I was little. Christmas has never felt the same since we stopped having it down there around ten years ago. Things change, we all know this, but sometimes you wish you could soak it all in a little more.
Anyway, I'll stop bringing everyone down now...we have some good news to share! First, Stormy has been feeling so much better this last week or so. He is walking better and he's feeling like he was over the summer before we even knew he was sick. We are clinging to this and remaining hopeful that we are gaining some control over all his illnesses. If we can maintain the kidney problems and the adrenal gland issues, then we can potentially keep him with us for many more years. Keep the prayers coming. Jackie has been feeling great too, which is a relief as well considering she turned fourteen a couple months ago. :)
The second piece of good news is that we went to our final appointment at USCIS last Monday to get our fingerprints completed one last time. After talking with Kelsey from Faith International, it takes one to two weeks for those to be processed then we will receive our official approval from our government to adopt a baby from Japan!!! Once we receive the letter, we are on the official waiting list!!! According to our agency, if everything continues as it has been the last couple months, we could receive a referral for a baby in early 2017 (January through March)!!! Yes, in one to three months, we will most likely be in Japan meeting our baby boy or girl! How crazy is that?!?! Talk about time flying by! People talk about the waiting and how difficult it is, but to us, this journey has flown by in the blink of an eye! Yes, we are anxious and excited to have our baby home, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, we are enjoying the journey and embracing life. We are cherishing every single moment because that is what life is all about.
We are still accepting donations, and remember that for every $5, your name goes on the back of a puzzle piece! Also, we have designs ready for t-shirts. We will be posting pics this upcoming week and will be taking orders to help us raise more money. We need $30,000 more. We will be talking to some banks this week as well to get pre-approved for a loan. We have applied for three grants, but we are in the situations where we make too much money for some grants but not enough to write a check for $30,000. So we are not banking on those grants being awarded to us, but you never know! Hopefully, we will get granted something. Every little bit helps!
We hope all our friends and family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! Here's to hoping 2017 is better than 2016. Thank you for following our journey so far! We love you all! Oh, and of course here are a few pictures...you all know how I love pictures! Vince does too...he just doesn't like to admit it! ;) Baby Banion has already received some Christmas gifts too! :) Enjoy!