Thursday, May 30, 2013

No More Numbers

We received a program update from AGCI last week.  If you hadn't noticed, our "numbers" have slowed considerably in the last 6 months.  There are a couple of reasons this has happened but the biggest reason being that our agency, along with a few other agencies, refuses to cross the line, enter into any grey area or practice any behavior that can be construed as unethical behavior. 
I'm not going to lie when I say that this waiting part is arduous at the best of times and pure torture at the worst of times.  And while we've had a few hiccups shall we say with our agency, we would never, ever want to use an agency that does not do their due diligence in authenticating a child's orphan status, that would allow money to exchange hands or yes, I'll say it, buy a child to fill a quota.
To battle unethical behavior MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs; agency in ET that oversees adoptions) is going through each and every agency and not renewing or canceling the license of agencies that work outside the scope of ethical behavior.  Evaluating each agency takes time, weeding out the bad ones takes time; thus adoption; children being placed, cases being processed and court dates being made are slowing down. 
While the waiting part stinks and knowing that we now have an estimated 3 1/2 year wait instead of the 18 months we were given initially is a little hard to swallow.  But knowing that our adoption will be done as ethically as possible, we're okay with that to have our peace of mind.
That being said, with the slow down in referrals our agency is doing away with wait list numbers.  The waitlist numbers were really for the families waiting because the agency refers children by dossier registration dates (dossier - great big file of super important adoption paperwork) and let's be honest, sometimes I'd get way to caught up in the numbers game.  I'd be happy when it went down, cringe when it stayed the same and cry when it increased.  I'd get so blinded by the numbers that I'd forget that God knows who are child is and exactly when they'll join their family.

We'll still know what's going on through beginning of the month program updates that will state how many referrals went out, the age of the child referred and the registration date of the families dossier.  We'll still be in the 'know,' we'll just have the weight of waitlist numbers off our back.

So no more numbers, an assumed slow down but you know what, God is in control, He's in the details and He knows who will join our family and when. 

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 
-Deuteronomy 32:4 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Follow Him

Following Jesus. 

Following Him. 
It seems so easy yet sometimes, the path He asks you to follow springs up in front of you and your steps begin to slow.
Follow Him?  But this wasn't what I had planned....
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Follow Him?  It's going to be hard.  It might hurt.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:24

Follow Him?  What if it doesn't work out?
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Matthew 21:22

Follow Him?  I'm scared...
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13
Follow Him?

Have you ever read something and even though you've read it numerous times before, this time it was different?  Today I was reading in the book of John and verses 15-19 in 21st book stuck out to me this time.  Perhaps it's because I'm trying to read the Bible more for understanding and not just to get it done but I think it has more to do with the fact that the Lord knew I needed to read this with fresh eyes; that my heart desperately needed to understand what He was saying.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

As I read this passage for well, probably the 100th time, it hit me.  It spoke to me in a new way.  By following Jesus wherever He tells us to go, we are not only being obedient but we are displaying our love for him.  If Simon Peter hadn't truly loved Jesus, believed in Him, would he have left his fishing nets by the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called out "follow me?"  It would have been so much easier to continue to cast his nets into the water, pull out fish and go about his day.  But no, he loved Jesus and trusted him enough that whenever Jesus told him "Follow me," he did.  

Following Him includes a whole lot of trust, love and obedience.  Following Him can take your trust, love and obedience to a complete different level.

So where is He leading?  Where are we going?  

It may hurt, it may be scary, it may not work out but we're doing it as best as we can. 

Following Him...

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Noonday Collection

Have you heard about Noonday Collection?  Yes.  Good, then you know just how lovely their items are and how AWESOME the movement behind the items is.  Empowering women by providing them with an opportunity to have positive employment, feed their families and to live a life of hope is what Noonday Collection is all about. 
The beautiful bracelet in the picture above is one of their jewelry pieces and it is gorgeous!  For Mother's Day we bought my mom this necklace:
and now I want one too!!!  It is even prettier in person.

They have household items:

and lots of lovely accessories

And in my head I am now singing "these are a few of my favorite things"  [Smile].
But seriously, there are some awesome things there.  And from now until June 8th my lovely friend Lauren is fundraising through them. 

Why is she fundraising?  Adoption of course!  Lauren and her sweet family (husband, 2 daughters - 1 from ET) are adopting three brothers from Ukraine! 
So shop at Noonday, help a woman in Uganda care for herself and her family and help a family in the US bring their sons home! 
Here's how you do it: Click here and go browse Noonday's awesome online merchandise.  Add items to your cart!  And then checkout.  At checkout you MUST click Noonday Ambassador Debra Rice from the yellow bar at the top.  And then after filling out all of your information at the bottom there is a section that says Ambassadors Only.  In that section type: Lauren Huss Adoption
And there you go, easy-peasy!  Buy cool stuff, help women far and family near.  Just don't forget to click Debra Rice in the yellow bar at the top and type in Lauren Huss Adoption in the Ambassador's Only section. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Education and Lifesong for Orphans

Education is important.  In the US we have the opportunity (if we choose) to send our children to school to get an education for free.  In many other countries that is not the case, this is especially true in developing countries.  Read on to see how sponsoring a child through Lifesong for Orphans provides them not only with an education but hope for their future.

From Lifesong for Orphans:

13-5 MM Email

The commitment to provide a quality education to every child we serve is just one of our four pledges we make to "our" kids. We believe that education is a foundation for the future and is the start to change nations and peoples from the inside out as they fight against cycles of poverty and unemployment.


Mesaye's story of hope in the midst of tragedy is just one of many. Thankfully, she is receiving an education and hope for the future because of her sponsor. But the impact goes even beyond Mesaye! Her grandmother, who has no means of providing for her schooling, is now able to witness Mesaye's growth and trust in her future legacy.

Sponsors support a child like Mesaye with quality education, 2 meals a day and exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for only $19/month! When you sponsor a child, you impact a family!

(100% of sponsorship received goes directly to the need -- helping children! No administrative fees deducted.)


While providing vulnerable children with an education, we also have the opportunity to share with them the good news of the Gospel of Christ. Watch Teja, student at Lifesong India, explain the impact of not only education, but also spiritual discipleship he received.

Learn more about Lifesong India>>


  • Rising to the Top with Technology - Lifesong Honduras tells of the dramatic impact technology has had in our school. Read full story

  • "Poor" Kids Come Out on Top - Students at Lifesong Zambia excel on their mock exams! Read full story
  • Adding Fun into School Days - Students at Lifesong Liberia enjoy new playground & school uniforms. Read full story
  • Gift of Education - Moses, student at Lifesong Zambia Schools, shares why he values and appreciates the education he is receiving. Watch Video

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adoption Day!

Somehow destiny comes into play. 
These children end up with you and you end up with them. 
It's something quite magical. 
Nicole Kidman

Three years ago today we heard those magical words... Gabriel's adoption was finalized and Gabe was officially and forever ours.

Today we celebrated by spending our day with Thomas the Tank Engine.  A Day Out with Thomas was at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Depot and we were not going to miss it! Gabe played with lots of trains, examined super cool model trains and rode through Cuyahoga Valley on Thomas the Tank Engine himself.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Something to remember

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
 Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway."

-Mother Teresa

And because I can't stand the cuteness of this boy and his yogurt smile... I just had to share!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

I popped out of our side door to grab something from the car on Tuesday when I saw a parade of little kids walking down the sidewalk.  A few children were pulling small wagons while the other little ones were smiling and waving, obviously excited about something. 

A little bit later Gabe and I headed out to the front porch to eat a snack and this I what we saw!

The note card reads
"An Act of Kindness
For You from Your Local School
Start your own chain reaction of kindness"

I loved it!  What a fun activity to do as a class to teach your children about being kind to others.  That little flower blessed my heart immensely and I just may have shed a tear or two at the sweetness of it all.

Gabe was pretty excited about the flower too!  I'm thinking we need to follow their instructions and continue McKinley's School chain of kindness.  It'll be a perfect way to teach Gabe about being kind to others as well.  A new LaGorga tradition is coming; I can feel it!

Thank you McKinley School for blessing us with your kindness! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Family Fun

I've said it before and I'll say it again, one of the best parts of moving back to Ohio was the time we get to spend with our extended family.  Every spur-of-the-moment-visit, picnics and celebrations are just memories being ready to be made.  I am so thankful for each and every chance we get to spend time with our family.

This past weekend we celebrated this sweet boy's 16th birthday.  I can vividly remember the day he was born, the joy I felt at becoming an aunt.  Caleb has turned into such an amazing young man and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things his future holds. 

Wrestling with Ethan is always in the mix.  Gabe adores Ethan.  I think the feeling is mutual.

This was just too cute for words.  Gabe and his Uncle Matt looking at the airplanes flying overheard. 

Memories, I tell you.  Lots and lots of memories.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beach Day

Waking up today one could not help but notice how beautiful it was outside.  Barely seven o'clock and the air temperature was already 75.  After getting a call saying Gabe's physical therapy was cancelled and a short text to Matt, we were off to the beach. 

Gabe was looking super cute in his new swim shorts and sun hat. 

A beach near our house is handicapped accessible - score!  We were able to pull up right next to the sand, load up buggy and head to the water.  The sand was hot and the water was cold.  Way to cold for my liking but I was a good sport and sat next to him while he splashed, through sand and pointed excitedly at every boat and bird we saw. 

It was simply a perfect afternoon. 


Then the storms rolled in, we hurried back to our car and watched as the sky darkened and the rain began to fall.  I could have sat there all afternoon just watching the rain but Gabe, well he was ready to go "drive on the street" as he likes to say. 

Today's beach visit was definitely needed.  Lately my heart has been heavy; friends and family members are going through some hard things and their has been a lot of upheaval and pain in my circle of adoption mamas.  Some days life feels like it is moving at what feels like break-neck speed and other times I can't believe it's still the same date. 

Today; sitting on the sand while the waves hit my feet and Gabe's laughter beside me I couldn't help but feel peaceful.  Peace and thankfulness and awe; awe that the God who created this beautiful lake in front of me with the sun shining down, the birds swooping around and little fish swimming by cares enough for me and all my worries.  Cares enough that, despite the raging heartaches and hardships going on around me, He gives me peace. 

Yes, it was a perfect day at the beach.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.
-1 Peter 5:7

Friday, May 17, 2013

It Feels Like??


The sun is out, the air is warm and my tub needs constant cleaning to keep the dark ring of Gabe's fun day at bay.

After a few beautiful days in a row we celebrated by getting ice cream at the neighborhood ice cream stand, Twist-n-Shake.

Gabe has definitely turned into an ice cream fan, don't your think?