Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately.  Can you believe that 10 years ago this month a very shy, 29 year old girl launched a business called Amazing Transformations?!  Me either!   And boy have I been TRANSFORMED!

Here is just a small sampling of how my life has changed over the past decade:

1.  Met my trainer, mentor and dear friend JoAnne Lenart-Weary who encouraged me to follow my dream to create beautiful spaces.


2. Launched my business Amazing Transformations.


3.  Made weekly/monthly appearances on NBC56 news in Tyler, Texas.  (Yes this very shy girl actually asked to be on live television and they said yes!  Not sure if I would be able to do that now. :))


(No, I did not have the opportunity to decorate the set.  I sure would have liked to!)Image

4.  Had the privilege of working in all levels of homes across the country.

Here are a few examples:









5.  Opened 2 different studios (one in Texas and then one in Oklahoma) to teach decorating classes.  Oh how I loved that season of my business!  It was so fun to share so many decorating tips with my friends and clients.


6. Started writing Transforming Tidbits on a weekly basis in 2007.  I continued to faithfully write almost every week for about 3 years straight!  But because of #7 (see below), my ability to write as frequently, dwindled quickly.

7. Went from longing to be a mom (and having great difficulty becoming one) to becoming a mother of FIVE! (through the gift of adoption and fostering)


8. I began the homeschooling journey with my oldest two daughters.  I have to admit, although I never saw myself ever even considering being a homeschool mom, I can’t imagine my life any other way now!  I have enjoyed growing closer to my daughters and learning along with them.  I will say, this year certainly has its challenges with also raising three little ones 2 and under.  You can usually find them right on top of the dining room table while I work with the older girls.  At least I know what they are doing, right?! 🙂

9. About 1 1/2 months ago, I rid my home of almost all processed foods and started a very challenging but exciting adventure of eating whole foods.  As you might imagine, eliminating processed foods leaves one having to do a lot more work in the kitchen.    You may be asking yourself…”Why in the world would this open adoption, fostering, homeschooling, decorator mom even think about adding this to her already full plate?”  I know it is crazy, but I am finding it is totally worth it!

You see, about 6 months ago, a very dear friend who is just a few years younger than me was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through her journey, she shared with me how much the food we eat affects our health.  She made the choice to fight this ugly disease through diet and I am pleased to say she is winning!

Once you learn information in life, you are then responsible with what you do with that information.  Well, what I learned has motivated me to make a huge change in the way my family eats.  It was tough changing at first, but now I can’t begin to express how amazing it makes me feel!  I have renewed energy, my clothes are much looser (woo hoo!) and best of all, my husband says I am more beautiful than ever before!

10.  And probably the most significant change, I am content with who I am.  For a long time, I was driven to be “known”.  Known as an amazing decorator, known for working with people I highly admired, known for writing an amazing blog, known by the world.  But now, 10 years later, I couldn’t be more happy.  Now I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a homemaker who occasionally decorates and I wouldn’t change this privilege for the world!


As I enter my 39th year of life, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I have a hard time imagining being able to top the last 10 years!


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One year ago today this little man was born…Image

and then something happened,



He is such an adventurous, sweet boy!  And he loves playing outside and eating…Image sticks and


and flowers and

Imagelots of leaves and

Imagean occasional cheerio!

Happy Birthday my beautiful son!  Looking forward to celebrating you all day!

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Oh how I have wanted to post for some time.  My mind is flooded with so many details to share, but finding time to record them is a totally different matter.  Thankfully I have a burst of energy and everyone is asleep at the present so I thought I would at least take a few moments to introduce the newest addition to our quickly growing family!

Let me present my sweet little boy…John Adrian!

He made his grand appearance on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at around 10:15 pm.  He was 9 lbs, 4.5ozs and 21.5 inches long!  

Our First Glimpse!

My first thought when I heard how big he was…”He must be meant for me!  He was almost as big as I was when I was born!”. 🙂

He is so beautiful!  He has dark hair and blue eyes like his daddy.  God couldn’t have given us a more perfect surprise present!

And if you are wondering about his big sisters…

They are extremely proud!

And me…

Well, I’m pretty much in heaven. 🙂

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It is amazing how one little phone call can turn your world upside down in an instant.  We certainly know this from experience.  A week ago Tuesday, we received one such call.

It had been a long day with the kids at homeschool co-op.  My husband was out of town and I was looking forward to a quiet evening at home and putting my three sweet little girls to bed early.  We were finishing up dinner and expecting a friend to stop by for a visit when the phone rang.

Many times I will answer the phone…”Amazing Transformations, this is Jennifer” when I don’t recognize the name on the caller id.  This particular night I simply said “hello”.  The sweet voice then asked…”Is this Travis or Jennifer?”  I said…”This is Jennifer.” and then the life changing conversation began!

This timid young girl began telling me that I didn’t know her but that she had been working with CPO (Crisis Pregnancy Outreach) and that she was expecting a baby boy that she decided to place for adoption.  And then she said…“and I picked you to adopt my child.”

My response…”oh, oh, OH!”  (I was a little slow catching on! :))  “When is the baby due?”

“March 30th”

And then I began babbling non-stop.  I guess I needed to process this conversation and the poor girl had to endure my rattling on.

What makes this such an amazing call (besides the fact that it was COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED) was that just the weekend before I thought to myself…”I need to write my mentor an email and ask her to send me our family profile book back.  Our book has been with CPO for 2 years now and obviously it wasn’t God’s plan for us to adopt from this ministry.”  Well, I never got the email written and three days later I received this call!

Normally, when a family works with CPO a mentor will contact the family and set up an appointment with the birth mom to meet and decide if everyone wants to proceed.  Apparently this time, the birth mom was certain of her decision and wanted to call us herself.  Boy was she brave! 🙂

After a week I have begun to get used to the idea that we are about to have a newborn in the house again.  It really is crazy isn’t it?!  Two babies 8 months apart!  God really does have a sense of humor…and I am glad!

We have had the opportunity to meet the birth mom and she is BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t wait to introduce you to my son and his birth mom!  We are going to have an open adoption and I am so thankful.  The birth mom has already expressed that she would like to see him as much as we would allow her to.  I am thinking that having two sweet babies to hold will offer lots of opportunities for her to come and see our family! 🙂

The girls can’t wait to welcome a little brother!

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Our very special “surprise” visitor for the past week has been Nana!  Anyone who has followed our family’s journey knows that through the miracle of adoption. we were blessed with these beautiful girls.  This gift of family came as an amazing sacrificial gift of love from Nana (the girls biological grandmother).  Thank you Nana for your selfless gift!  We are so blessed!

This visit has been wonderful!  I can’t wait to share all the details and photos, but sadly Nana must return home tomorrow.  So I am off to enjoy the rest of our precious visit together.


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Last Wednesday, January 20, 2010 I was in a really bad mood.  Have you ever had one of those days that it seemed like nothing was going right, the kids pushed you to the limit, your dreams seem to be on hold.  Well, that was me last Wednesday.  I was pretty grouchy.

It was almost time to get ready for church and I had a huge desire for ice cream (It always seems to make me feel better.) I decided it would be even better to share it with a friend so I called up a good friend of mine and proclaimed that I would have my husband put the kids to bed after church so I could go out for ice cream (Can you believe I made that decision without even asking my husband if it fit his schedule.  I am really living on the edge! 🙂 )

Anyway, my friend said she would be able to meet me at Braum’s around 9 pm.  Now all I had to do is keep my attitude together through church so I could then vent over ice cream.

The service was unusually good for a Wednesday night and the Lord started softening my attitude.  (He was probably having pity on my friend!)

By the time I made it to Braum’s I had already started working through my frustrations but I was glad to have someone to visit with and help me even more.  Because we both had busy lives we weren’t able to stay out long. We said good-bye, got back into our cars around 10 pm and then the most wonderful thing happened!

Have you ever turned on the radio and the song that was playing was exactly what you needed to hear at that moment?  That is what happened to me.  I couldn’t have turned the car on at a more perfect time!  The next song was also for me.  I decided to sit in the car in the garage to finish listening to the second song when all of the sudden I realized what the date was….JANUARY 20, 2010!

In all my pouting over having to wait for a second adoption, I almost forgot to be thankful for the beautiful adoption that I was already living out!  On January 20, 2005 I met the most beautiful little girls and their Nana for the first time.  (It also happened to be the date of their Nana’s birthday too!)

(This photo was taken this year when the girls were able to see their Nana again after 3 years.)

I am so thankful for God’s gentle reminders.  I would have been so disappointed with myself if I had allowed the day to go by without wishing Nana Happy Birthday and just taking a moment to thank God for the gift of my daughters.  Instead I was able to chat with Nana for a while and go to bed with a smile on my face because I have so much to be thankful for!

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My family and I have been on a journey over the past couple years to simplify our gift giving.  We always make sure that the kids have a few presents to open but most of the time we encourage family and friends to donate to a charity in our honor if they desire to give us something.  We really don’t need more “stuff” and most of us would be better off spending our money on our personal needs like bills and food. 🙂

Anyway, because of this, my husband and I don’t really exchange gifts.   If we do, they are usually pretty small.   A couple weeks ago my husband asked his normal Christmas question, “Are you buying me something this year?”.  He is happy to avoid shopping but he does not want to be caught without a gift if I happen to have one for him.  I told him I planned on buying him one thing but that it was small.  I let him know he really didn’t need to get me anything.

Last Tuesday, I was in a “courtesy car” from the auto body shop that will be working on my van from the deer hunting adventureWhile driving this lovely vehicle, the transmission went out. I was sitting at a stop sign on a very busy road with about 5 vehicles lined up behind me.  What a humbling moment!  Fortunately my sweet husband was just one phone call away!  He quickly dropped his lunch and came to rescue me.   You should have seen him roll that dead car backward down the hill and around several cars.  I truly was impressed

To be able to give the girls and I a ride to the auto body shop, we had to clean out his back seat.  While clearing the “stuff” I noticed a gift box holding a Willow Tree Angel in a bag.  You are probably familiar with these sculptures.  They are pretty, simple carved angels and seem to be fairly popular.  I have decorated with them many times in various homes.

Now don’t get me wrong, the angels are nice and I have 2 of them.  I decorate with them because they were gifts from special friends but I really don’t want to start a collection.  As soon as I saw the bag in his car I thought…“Oh no, my family thinks I want more of these.  I know they are nice but I am really wanting to simplify, not add decorations to my home.” Aren’t I terrible!  I really did think this way and contemplated telling my husband  I didn’t need any other “what-nots” around the house.  I am so glad I didn’t!

By the time Christmas morning came I had decided to be thankful for whatever was given to me.  Guess what happened when I opened his gift?!  I cried!

About a week and a half ago we had received the third call in a month about a possible baby to be adopted.  I was so excited and then the day after the call, I received a call saying another family was chosen for the child.  I was so discouraged.  Actually I was mad and ready to give up.  It is so difficult to get excited over and over again only to be disappointed.  3 possible babies and not one worked out!  I had begun to think I made a mistake about adopting again.  Travis knew how discouraged I was.

His gift to me was encouragement to not give up.  He believes in my dream to adopt again and thankfully now I do too!

Isn’t it funny that sometimes the very thing we think we don’t want ends up being the best gift of all!

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