Monday, September 29, 2014

Letter of Intent

To Whom It May Concern:

We are Andrew Stephen and Angela Faye Holland.  Andrew was born on May 6, 1978 in Americus, Georgia, United States of America.  Angela was born on January 16, 1977 in Austin Texas, in the United States of America.  We have always had a desire to adopt. 

We know that we have more love to offer to a child and that our family is not complete.  We desire to adopt a Chinese girl between the age of 2 and 4.   We have 3 biological children and desire our adopted daughter  to be younger than our youngest child.  Our youngest son has some special needs and we feel that we have the skills to care for another special needs child.  Over our lifetimes we have traveled to many orphanages and our hearts have gone out to the children needing families.  We have spent significant time traveling throughout China and Asia as college students and through Andrew’s work.  China’s culture and people have left a wonderful impression on us that will last our lifetimes.
We admire the people and culture of China and we already take opportunities to incorporate and teach aspects of Chinese culture to our biological children.  As a family we love education, learning and traveling.  Our children our accustomed to adapting to other cultures.  We teach our children about Chinese culture, famous historic landmarks, and history.  We desire to take every opportunity for our daughter to be a part of her Chinese heritage in America.  We hope to travel with her back to her birth country when she grows older. 

As a family education is important to us and we all LOVE to read and learn.  We intend for our daughter to have every opportunity to be educated as our biological children are.  Not only do we love education but we have a love for travel.  We believe children learn through experience and that they can learn from what they see, hear and feel.  We are excited about the opportunity to take our daughter on our travels throughout the world.   Our family is very active and loves the outdoors.  We all exercise regularly and enjoy  running and hiking.   Each of our children plays soccer and takes dancing lessons.  We look forward to having our Chinese daughter learn whatever skill she desires and to be a part of whatever activity she desires to or is most skilled at.   As a family we love the arts.  We attend plays, musical concerts, and listen to music constantly.  Our two oldest children play piano and are leaders in the church choir.  Most of all, we love family and our extended family plays a large part of each of our children’s growth.  My mother already calls our newest family member her granddaughter.

We promise never to abandon or abuse our adopted child and that our adopted child will enjoy the same rights as any biological child.  We promise that our adopted child will be raised and educated in a manner that will allow her to develop healthily and reach her full potential.  We also promise to provide all required post placement reports.  We would love the opportunity to care and love one of China’s beautiful children.  Thank you for considering us as prospective adoptive parents.

Sincerely,


Andrew Holland                                                                       Angela Holland

Monday, August 25, 2014

If I Could Dance Across the Ocean

If I could dance across the ocean..........

If I could dance across the ocean, I'd dance all the way to you.
I wonder who you are? Where could you be?
The ocean is a beautiful border that keeps you from me.
So today I dance a slow dance and back and forth I sway.
To reach my loving daughter and bring her home one day.
If I could dance across the ocean, I'd bring you back to me.


If I could dance across the heavens, I'd dance all the way to you.
I wonder what you're doing? Do you think of me?
The Heavens are a beautiful border that keep us apart.
So tonight I dance with you in my dreams, embraced in your loving arms,
Seeing your sweet smiles, I bring you close to me.
Someday I'll dance across the heavens, all the way to you.


God is the dance partner that brings you close to me.
He keeps my heart at peace, until the day we meet.

So I'll dance the dance with Him and He'll dance the dance with me.
We'll dance the dance together, over oceans, heaven, sky and sea.
Until the day He brings you to me.
Until again your face I'll see.

For you guys!!
Love you so much my sweet baby girl!  I can't wait to bring you home!! You are loved and truly missed Heather Price, Mary Francis Nesbit, and Nancy Burklund.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Deep Thoughts: From a Pastors Wife on Sabbattical

Deep thoughts.....

Getting Ready to Leave and Travel:


Yay! I can't believe it's finally here! I can barely stand it! I can't wait to leave! I still have a lot of packing to do.

We leave in a few days!!!!

I'll miss my friends!

6 weeks is a long time to be with just my family. I wonder how that will turn out:/?

We are off!!! It only took us 2 1/2 hours to pack the car.

Yep, on the road day two....Were still in the car.

Beach Time:


I don't know what day it is.

I still don't know what day it is.

I love just sitting here and reading....I could do it for a long time.  I could do it forever!

The beach is so beautiful and peaceful.

I wish Rachel would stop telling people how long we are going to be here. I am tire of being looked at weird.

Says a family we met at the pool," Were heading back tomorrow."(BTW we've seen them at the pool all week long) "Ya'll headed back tomorrow?" Me, "Nope."

It's odd to watch people come and go come and go weekly.  One week your sitting at the beach by a family from Missouri for an entire week, and next thing you know here comes a North Carolina family.

Now what are my friends name? Their memory is slowly S
                                                                                                L
                                                                                                   I
                                                                                                        P
                                                                                                            P
                                                                                                               I
                                                                                                                  N
                                                                                                                      G
A......W.........A.......Y!


Where are all my friends!???!!! Where are they?! Where are they?!

I've said hello to about twenty people today.  I'm just summing it up to the fact that I am from Texas and I am friendly.  Not the fact that I desperately want to make a friend.

Why want you talk to me?! All I want to do is talk!



This is our first visit to a church in 3 weeks. We act like we know everybody and are worshiping with tons of gusto. I'm sure people are not used to seeing visitors worship like this. I bet the don't realize we are pastors and that we are comfortable anywhere in the family of God. Every church is our family.

The church is nice, their worship is great, the pastor is good, everyone is friendly........I sure do miss my church family.

Over the course of time, We met people from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Canada, California, Texas, Kentucky, Brazil, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Alabama and Missouri again.
Yep, we've been gone a long time.

There was a big storm today. I went for a run at the beach.  A lot of  Heron's were at the beach laying in wait for their fish prey.  I stood pretty close to a couple of them.  I think they were as tall as me.  That's  just sad.

I don't feel like were at sabbatical anymore.  I just feel like we have moved here.

Should I be doing something, creating, writing, teaching something special to my kids?? Wait I see mold!  I have time to clean that!!

I'm just going to straighten my hair for good measure.  At least it will be slightly wavy and frizzy. Not a big curly fro.

Oooh, that's a cool thing to pin.... I'll pin that, and that...oh yah, and that too!!

I wonder if  saltwater fish ever get sea sick?  They get swished, back and forth, back and forth. Is there a place deep in the ocean they can go get a break?

Were headed home! I am so nervous and excited at the same time!

You feel all fancy smancy when you spend a month on a beautiful beach.  Then you take a 12 hour road trip home with 3 kids under 9.  Then you realize, "I'm just a scrub."

Conversation when we arrived in Ft Worth:


Me, "Isaac, Do you recognize were we are?  Does anything look familiar?"

Isaac, "Yes, It looks like home."

Me," Isaac, yes it looks like home.  It is home."

The last verse given to my husband  on the last day of  sabbatical.  Just before we left.


Psalms 121:8

The Lord shall preserve your  going out (Leaving for sabbatical) and your coming in(returning home) from this  time forth and forevermore.



Monday, May 12, 2014

You Control Me......

Control:  con·trol  [kuhn-trohl]  Dictionary.com
verb (used with object), con·trolled, con·trol·ling.
1.  to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
2.to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one's emotions.



All poster credits go to Type I Diabetes Memes.  Like them on FB if you want to see more.


No matter what changes we make, choices or sacrifices we implement, diabetes has a mind of its own. When diabetes says, "Stop what you're doing and deal with me!",  the entire family has to drop everything and turn its focus to the ever-shouting and always taunting voice of diabetes. Simple choices of what or where to eat involve asking diabetes, "How will this affect you?". When deciding on family vacations, outings, or even our other children's extra curricular activities, we have to ask diabetes, "What do you think?"  When my husband and I go out on dates, hang out with friends, or try to escape reality through vacations,   diabetes raises its ugly head, smirks and taunts at us: " I am here. I am always here."  That silent yell pierces our minds -the voice that only we can  hear.


Each time we leave our house, we have to ask diabetes, "What do you need before we leave?" The pressure is overwhelming as diabetes gives us the list. " I need insulin, glucose tablets,  juice, snacks, AAA batteries, the pump, the continuous glucose monitor, alcohol wipes, chargers, needles, lancets, multiple bottles of strips, the glucometer, the back-up glucometer, the reservoir, site changes, an insulated cooler, a penny, glucagon, a calculator, a book or app that list carbohydrate counts, a book or app that can track insulin etc.... God forbid if you forget something! Naturally, the one day you forget something, you run into a problem and need the exact item you are missing. The entire family then has to stop what they are doing and frantically rush home or to the nearest store to get the item.  It does not matter if you are at the end of year play, recital, or at a championship game -someone has to leave and respond to the call of diabetes.
You may decide to test the limits of diabetes and turn your focus to another child's activities. It's only an hour, right? We can make it an hour without a problem.  That's the time diabetes laughs and yells, " No! Pay attention to me!"  Your confidence is quickly stolen, your focus diverted and the fight begins again, as you pull back the reigns and try to get diabetes under control.



de·fine
  [dih-fahyn] Dictionary.com
verb (used with object), de·fined, de·fin·ing.
1.to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
2.to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe: to define judicial functions.
3.to fix or lay down clearly and definitely; specify distinctly: to define one's responsibilities. Synonyms:state, name, describe, detail, enumerate.

Diabetes you may control me, but you do not define me!  I may not have a choice when you rear your ugly head.  I may have to submit my physical responses to you, but the only One that can change me or decide the precise meaning of me and my family is God.  I can choose my attitude, my response, and direct my family on how they should respond.  I can inspire them with confidence and faith.  I can direct their attention to their Heavenly Father, and assure them He is always with us, no matter what the situation.  Throughout my life, in every hopeless situation I have experienced, the knowledge that I was not alone has offered me the most comfort.  I can remind myself and my family that Christ is with us and there is always hope.
I have failed more days than I care to admit.  I have allowed anger, frustration, hopelessness, sorrow and depression to rule my days on many occasions, but I take comfort in the thought that His mercies are new every morning. I know that sorrow is only for a night and joy comes in the morning.  I thank God that when I fail, I can wait for tomorrow with confidence, because joy is promised to me and will soon come!



How do I not let diabetes define me?



Prayer:

I live in a constant state of prayer.  Since Ryan's diagnosis, I have had a true revelation of my human frailty and so I search for God's help in everything.  Having Him near comforts me; my focus is turned away from my circumstances and towards the God of all hope.
I have stated the simple words, " Will you pray for me?" more over the past year and a half than I have in my entire lifetime. In the past, I was nicknamed "The Machine", because I feel no pain and can suffer through any circumstance.  I have truly come to the realization that I am not a machine.  I cannot survive anything without God and His family, and I now know for sure that I can feel pain! Every day since his diagnosis, I have felt small twinges of pain in my heart, and have had many days of all-consuming, overwhelming pain -you know, the pain that you feel that you cannot survive.  I have had to swallow my pride and the idea that I might be a bother to friends and family and have regularly asked for prayer from friends, family and church leadership.  Prayer is the first thing that move God's heart and moves heaven into action.

Worship:
I turn my eyes and heart to the God of all gods, The King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega, the One who is more than enough, the Great I Am, the God of all hope, my peace, my joy, my strength, the God of mercy and grace, my all in all, the God who is Holy and Just, the Savior that sits at the right hand of the Father and prays for me daily, my Savior and my Lord!  Then I am moved from my circumstances to the presence of my Heavenly Father and the effect of my challenging circumstances are weakened.

The Word:

The Word was given to us from our Heavenly Father. Jesus was the Word visiting us in the flesh. As we read the Word, we are visiting with Jesus and are reminded of His truth. Then confusion, sorrow and weariness dissipates.

Exercise and Healthy Eating:


I have always had an intense exercise program since I was a pre-teen.  When you go through hard circumstances, the enemy always tries to steal any joy and comfort you might have.  I still exercised after Ryan's diagnosis, but knew I needed to step it up a little. As a friend encouraged me to start an intense exercise program, I told her, "I can barely survive each day. How am I supposed to exercise six days a week?"  However, I ignored my feelings and committed to a life change, and I was surprised how well I could do it!  Even if I had to wake up early or sacrifice  another activity, I had fun and was able to manage my stress better. Healthy eating just makes you feel better all together so that's helping too.

Time alone and with friends:

In life, busyness tries to steal these gifts from God.  As a mom, I felt guilty leaving my children with caregivers or with my spouse. During this trial, my value for friends and personal time has strengthened.  As guilt tries to visit me, I remind myself that this time is a gift from God.  He is offering me strength through my friends and moments of complete rest.


As you walk through trials that seem to have full control and power over you, be reminded that the Bible warns us to expect trials and sorrow. The good news is, He also promised us that He would always walk with us and give us victory through Christ. Through the cross, Christ has complete victory over sin and our circumstances.  As the enemy tries to turn your eyes to hopelessness and your circumstances, remind him of the victory of the cross!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our Adoption Story: Training

We have been really busy working on the adoption!


As most of you know we attended the Pathways training class March 27 and 28.  The class was insightful, encouraging and educational.  It was good to get to know a little more about Gladney and learn that they are there for your family for the long haul.
We learned how to respond and retrain a child that did not have the gift of parents, external regulator, from the beginning of life.  A parent or a external regulator can train a child in distress that they are there to comfort them and help them through life.  A child without beginning with you will have to learn to attach to you and trust you and how you train them.  This class trained you how to respond to your adopted child no matter what their beginnings were.  Pathways was basically a parenting class for adoptive parents.  

At Gladney training we turned in our application to adopt to Gladney, and This week we will be mailing our first huge packet of paperwork to Gladney in New York.  It's kind of hard to tell you what type information is in the paperwork.  Other than they want to know everything about you.  We had a lot of paperwork to complete and at least  three different pieces of paper work that needs to be notarized for the first packet of papers.   This month we also will both will have a physical with our doctors.  The physical paperwork has to be notarized also

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Adoption Story: Training/Fundraiser

 For stories about the Holland family and their journey of adoption check links below the vendor list and photos.


We will be having a vendor fundraiser on May 24, 2014 from 10:00-2:00.  The fundraiser will be held at HighRidge Church 10100 Rolling Hills Dr. Ft Worth, Texas.  Don't worry if you live far away there are many opportunities to help us by shopping online!  See below the vendor list, some raffle prizes, and some ways to shop on line and to contribute to the Holland Adoption Fundraiser.

Vendor list updated as of May 1, 2014


The following vendors will be present May 24,at HighRidge Church from 10-2
1. Casey - Herbalife
2. Anna - Missions Market
3. Layla - Thirty-One
4. Alisha - Tastefully Simple
5. Donna - Cross Creations
6. Kimberly - 3 little ladies boutique
7. Dee - Baked Goods
8. Hillary - ItWorks
9. Darla - Custom Glass Art
10. Jana - Mary Kay
11. Kellie - NeriumAD
12. Mishawn - Eden in a Jar
13. Alicia - Pampered Chef and Pierced Hearts Collection
14. Dawn - Scentsy and Velata
15. Debbie - Just Simply aDOORable
16. Melissa - The C and me Co. and Young Living Essential Oils
17. Brandi - BElive
18. Debbie - Glass art
19. Kayla - Tupperware
20. Heather - Origami Owl
21. Becky - Roses Rad Relics
22. Shawna - Paparazzi
23. Charlotte Tackett - Handmade Jewelry
24. Billie Jo - BJ's aprons and more
25. Sara - Advocare (Www.advocare911.com)
26. Rhonda - The Sew it all Shop
27. Lisa Salas - Lorenes Bows
28. Candy - Wildtree
29. Desra - Grace Adele (http://dharrington.graceadele.us)
30. Cheri - wildtoad toffee (http://www.wildtoadtoffee.com/)
31. Mary Samudio - HOT Tamalez
32. Cicily Pope - Handmade by Cicily
33. Jeffrey Church - Mosaic Artwork by Jeffrey Church
34. Kristin - Polarized Sunglasses

35. Scrubs by Chelsea- Homemade scrubs

You can purchase from the following vendors online and a portion of funds go to the Holland Adoption Fundraiser:


My Thirty One:


 Please go to www.mythirtyone.com/laylaweaver,
click on "my parties"
and click on "shop now" on the Holland Fundraiser"
This party will be open until April 15th.
Help me pay it forward! I will give this family a half of my commission (I get 25%)
And if you want to book a party with me, I will donate 10% of your parties earning to their adoption fund as well!!!
Feel free to share this party with your friends and family!
Tastefully Simple:
Here is the website to go to to order online.www.tastefullysimple.com/web/apierce4 when you go to this site under my picture you will see upcoming parties with Angela Nesbit Holland as the host. Click on the link and I will know it's for this family. So all know, there is 2 shipping options if you want to order early, 1) go to this link and order and it will due a direct ship to you for $6.99 for orders under $59.99 and 12% of the order for anything over $60. 2) If you have a small order under $60 you can contact me to put the order in and do a ship with friends option so you only get charged the 12%. This option can be cheaper for smaller orders but won't get shipped till the end of April once I put in all orders I get. Just let me know if you need help.

Below are some of the pics of raffle prizes donated!










                         

Donated $150 towards a photo shoot!

                               




Photos of some of the vendors items:










So exciting!! Such great vendors and this is only a small picture of what it available!!!

For more stories about our adoption check out links below:

Do it Afraid
Looking from Afar
From Fear, to Faith, to the Courage to Adopt
Our Adoption Story:  Our First Steps
Our Adoption Story: Baby Steps
Our Adoption Story: Training



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Baby Steps: Our Adoption Story

Our family has been making a lot of steps towards adoption.  We are attempting to chip away at all the details and fast forward the process as much as possible, but seems a times to only be little baby steps towards our goal.
We a paid for and received our official application.  The most important step in that process is the background check.  Which they want addresses to every place we lived since we were 18 years old.  Yah, like I can remember that.  I called Christ for the Nations record office, a college I attended after the Air Force,  to get the addresses from when I lived at the campus,  but that was a fail. I told them what years I attended and  the wind was immediately knocked out of my sails.   As I said the years I attended,and as the young spring chicken listened to the dates. I realized how long ago that was.  It seemed like yesterday to me.  They could not find my records, because "They were too old."  What!  That story was just for the fun of it.  I hope you had a good laugh.  I called Gladney and they did not need the exact address.  We could list as close as we could remember.

We have also registered for our Pathways class in March. This class is training on all aspects of adopting a child and what to expect.  They will train us on how to care and nurture her and how to help an orphan.  Gladney is in it for the long run and will do anything to help us be successful before, during and after the adoption is complete.


We are continuing our process to raise funds.  This month we are having an Puzzle fundraiser.  Each time someone donates their family name with be written on the back of a puzzle of our adoption announcement photo.  We will purchase a double sided frame so that we can always remember who put the puzzle of our family together.
At the end of the Puzzle Fundraiser we will have a puzzle party.  Anyone can attend and help us put the puzzle together.  Local vendors attend the party and donate a portion of the funds they earn to the adoption.  There will also be a raffle for fun prizes.  Stay tuned for more details and to hear what we will have to raffle off!

Our family is also working to prepare our house for the home study.  We are making any home improvements that we have not been able to attend to over the last year. We have been searching Craig's list, going to garage sales and buying organizational items to improve the functionality of our home.    We are hoping to finish building the wooden fence in our backyard, and purchase a play-set for our growing family.  We are going to have a Holland Family workday soon, and would appreciate any hard working hands to help us complete those task.  There is so much you can do to help us bring our daughter home!  Donating is not the only way.  God is so amazing that He leaves no one out.  He wants everyone to be a part of  helping and serving others.  Everybody can be a part!



This is used to organize my earrings. Yes, it is ice trays and I did get it off of Pinterest.

I made this to hold my necklaces.  Yes, I got this off of Pinterest.

There is much more that we have done to make our home a little more functional.  It's been hard work but fun all at the same time!

For more stories about our adoption check out links below:

Do it Afraid
Looking from Afar
From Fear, to Faith, to the Courage to Adopt
Our Adoption Story:  Our First Steps
Our Adoption Story: Baby Steps

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"The Beloved Daughter" Book Review

I personally adored this book.  I have a heart for the persecuted church, and loved the fictional story of a christian woman's struggle with persecution for Christ.  This book was gripping, heart wrenching, exciting, courageous and hopeful.  I could not put the book down It is definitely a must read for anyone that loves christian fiction.  I hope to continue reading all the books in the series.  For more information about the book please read the review below.

The Beloved Daughter, an inspirational suspense novel by award-winning author Alana Terry, is a story of persecution and triumph set in the oppressive North Korean regime.

The Beloved Daughter

Synopsis: In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father's faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha's well-being. The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.

The Beloved Daughter has won awards from Women of Faith and the Book Club Network. It was also a #1 amazon bestseller in Christian suspense and is the top- rated ebook in several different kindle categories. The Beloved Daughter is available in kindle or paperback. You can also get the audiobook narrated by four-time Audie award-winner Kathy Garver.

My Thoughts: 
 
    


Order your own copy of The Beloved Daughter.</ i>


Alana Terry is getting ready to release her next novel, Slave Again, about a North Korean refugee who escapes prison camp only to get trafficked across the border.

Alana is giving away free copies of her next release to anyone who makes a donation to Liberty in North Korea, an organization dedicated to rescuing refugees who escape North Korea. She's also giving away a mini kobo e-reader and several copies of Slave Again, so be sure to enter the giveaway below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The First Steps in Our Story of Adoption


I am so excited to share this journey with you!  

There are so many ways that God spoke to  is about adoption, a prompting of the heart, compassion, other's testimonies, a clear statement that "You will adopt."
There were many confirmations. Two that stand out in my heart and mind. One night we visited a local Baptist church for a Christmas play. Towards the end of the play God did what He does, and spoke to us strongly.  A small Chinese girl stood on the stage in a traditional Chinese dress and sung with her whole heart, "Tell me about Jesus." It was like our daughter was singing from China. Not only asking us to be her parents, but most importantly asking us to tell her about Jesus. We were moved to tears and God confirmed to us we were moving in the right direction.
Only a week ago our daughter, Rachel, woke up and said, "I had a dream."  " In the dream, I was in my room with my Chinese sister."  "  I was tickling her, and we were very happy."  " I woke up and I am still very happy." I told her, "That the dream was probably from God."  "He does that, He speaks to you in dreams to tell you the future,to comfort you, and to speak to you."  God even uses your children to comfort and to speak to you.  It is wonderful to know that God personally speaks to and comforts your children.  He takes care of them. He prepares them for the road we will all walk together.

Our first step in the adoption process was to choose an adoption agency.  We happily chose Gladney.  Friends of ours have used Gladney in the past,and we felt they would support us through our walk before and after.  As of date, they have proven that to be true.  The staff has been supportive, informative and encouraging!
Isaac practicing how to use chopsticks the
Gladney Chinese New Year celebration.

Our second step in the process was to complete a "Child Preference Profile". We are currently in a program called "The Waiting Child Program".  This program is filled with Chinese girls with special needs.
The wait for our daughter in this program could be one to two years. Currently the wait for a "healthy" child could be 7 to 8 years.   We went over the "Child Preference Profile" with our doctor. It listed all ofthe possible special needs our daughter could have, and determined if we would be willing and able to care for a child with the specific special needs.  No worries, we have promised to our leadership we would keep it on the simpler side of special needs. We will most likely adopt a child with cleft lip and/or palate. The form was seven pages long and took two doctors appointments!

Over the past couple of weeks we have been preparing for the fundraiser, by taking pictures, shooting videos, and setting up everything online.  We were ready to announce earlier but was not fully prepared to begin the fund raiser.


Our next step, is to pay Gladney $300 and fill out one sheet of paper that says we are ready to move forward.  We are very happy to say within one night we were able to raise the funds for our first payment!
Rachel practicing how to use chopsticks the
Gladney Chinese New Year celebration.
Thank you for showing interest and your prayers!  I always as many people as possible everything that happened for Ryan in the natural world started with someones prayers!

Thank You and God Bless,

The Hollands



For more stories about our adoption check out links below:

Do it Afraid
Looking from Afar
From Fear, to Faith, to the Courage to Adopt
Our Adoption Story:  Our First Steps
Our Adoption Story: Baby Steps