Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Through the Eyes of a Child

There are so many different facets of adoption. There’s of course the expense, how are you going to raise it, why China when it’s so expensive. There’s the travel, so far away, leaving behind children, getting used to time change and flying so far. There’s the unknowns of the child, what is her health really like, is it worse is it better than they said, are there things they missed? And then there is the one that really mattered the most to me-how will your children respond and act, now and when she comes home? My girls (I say girls because though I have a boy he is really too young to understand what is going on), have gotten to see first-hand adoption taking place. I said before I have friends who have adopted, so they have seen a few families they know going from having 1 or more children, to have another baby or child being added, that was not biologically theirs before. So the whole idea behind adoption I think they get, this child is coming into our home and is here for good. From the moment that we started talking about looking into adoption they were hooked, asking us, is this her or him every time they saw me looking at ANY child on the computer. My second daughter Emma, was very and is VERY interested even now looking at any child she sees that looks Asian and asks if she has a mommy. And when we decided on Nina they were crazy excited. They started thinking of names, and deciding where she was going to sleep and where she would sit at the dinner table. After our first garage sale the girls were eager to save EVERYTHING they have and put it in the Nina money jar! A little background on the girls-like most children EVERY penny they get they want to spend, especially my sweet Emma. But her little heart is changing and she has looked in every corner of the house-closets, beds, under beds, EVERYWHERE, to find money to give to help bring her sweet sister home! Even when she does her chores, she puts the money right in her sisters save money box. And when we go to the store Emma explains to her sisters that we cannot ask to buy anything extra because we need to save all of our extra money to bring her sister home. This gives me such great hope in teaching my children that there are better things to spend our money on than ourselves. (Such a hard lesson to teach children, in my opinion, in a world of me, me, me.)

SISTER! Yes and they have called Nina sister from the time they found out we were working to bring her home. There was no doubt in their child like faith hearts that this was their sister and mom and dad would find a way to bring her home. It cracks me up to watch how if they see a toy they may have out grown that they now have to decide, do we sell it to get money for Nina or do we save it for Nina because she might like it? A thought they came up with totally on their own! They blow me away!

Now don’t get me wrong. I know there will be PLENTY of challenges we will face when we bring Nina home. There will still be and always be sibling spats. Nina will get attention like a new baby would get attention. But I am so excited and happy to see the love that is growing in my children’s eyes for this child who once had no one and now has a family to call her own!


I did get an email from my agency from Nina’s orphanage. Unfortunately nothing about her health. But they did tell us she likes to sing but can’t really sing words yet, she just gets loud…HAHAHA she will fit right in!!! How awesome is that! They said she is shy with strangers but will grow very close to anyone who teaches her songs! Now is that a Noll or WHAT!!! The pictures I’m sharing with you are ones with the doll and picture album we sent to her-one of the pictures is of her looking at a picture of her baby brother. It just totally and completely melts my heart!!!

Picture number 1 and 5 she is holding the doggie and picture album of our family that we sent to her. And the one that makes my heart melt the most is picture number 3 where her nanny is showing her the pictures and she is looking at Levi. <3 <3!!! Best Christmas present EVER!!!

Thank you all who contributed to the 31 party! And if you would like to buy a t-shirt, the link is on the side of this page.

Have a great week everyone and a VERY Merry Christmas…remember what this season is about…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not In my Strength

A simple post to remind myself that when my faith is weak, He still remains strong...
Having a tough weak remembering this fact, but tonight I heard my husband playing this song and I was reminded of HIS strength...

                                                             "All Things Possible"

I will call on Your name
For there’s always a way
When You lead me
And when life knocks me down
I am not counted out
For You’re with me
And You’re with me

Even when it feels like the light is fading
And I’ve lost my way
Still I’m holding on to the One who’s making
All things possible

Even when it feels like my heart is breaking
Hold on, there is strength
Knowing I belong to the One who’s making
All things possible

I know mountains can move
I’ve seen what You can do
In my weakness
So my heart will believe
If I wait I will see
My God doing, what only He can do

My God is strong and mighty
My God is faithful
My hope is in the Lord
For He is able

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Overwhelming Gratitude

             We live in a day and age of technology. More specifically the internet is one that blows my mind. The internet brings people, information and things into our homes that we never thought would be possible.  While social media has harvested greed, envy and misunderstanding, leading to hurt feelings and frustration, it has also been a way for people to reach out to each other in times of needs. I have seen people reach through the social media to help others because of  hurricanes, floods, fires and all other types of other circumstances to help people get back on their feet. But never did I think my family would be on the receiving end of this kind of generosity! Why, I already have two people as members on my blog who I have never met! People who want to know about our journey. That just blows my mind that someone who doesn't know our family cares enough to keep up with us. THANK YOU! We had someone donate $3 to our goal. And while $3 may not sound like much, it is those acts that make a HUGE impact on our certainty that we are right where we are suppose to be, doing exactly what we are suppose to be doing. I didn’t know the person who gave, as far as I know, they don’t know us, they could have read and kept going, but they cared enough to give what they could, and for that I am SO grateful! THANK YOU! We also had someone that I don’t know buy 3 shirts! Again THANK YOU!!! Both Josh’s and my family and friends are going above and beyond what we ever asked or expected, to help us come up with ideas to raise money, get our story out, and pray for us. THANK YOU sooo much! My girls violin teacher asked if she could help put the word out about our adoption and maybe take donations at the Christmas concert for ours and 2 other families adoptions, and not long after that conversation I got a call from the leader of my Bible study asking if our family could be the Christmas project this year to raise money for Nina!! I was blown away and in AWE of the love people have shown to us! Thank you!
When Josh and I talked about doing adoption when we got married, we, like I said in my other posts, were going to wait til the children were older. Our plan was to start saving our money when WE thought we were ready to move forward. But God’s plan is perfect. We are saving as much as we can of our own paycheck, but the price tag is high! We are relying greatly on God using people to help bring our little girl home to us. And so far He has not disappointed! Today in church we sang a song that made me think of the people God has blessed us with through Nina’s adoption. It is called Beautiful Things by Gungor. The lyrics are:

“All around, hope is springing up from this old ground, Out of chaos life is being found in You, Oh you make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust, You make beautiful things, Oh you make beautiful things out of us…”

Know your gift, no matter the form, or the amount, does NOT go unnoticed or without much gratitude! You have touched our hearts and you are forever apart of the journey of a little 2 ½ year old girl in an orphanage in China. Our little Nina bug.

THANK YOU ALL!!!! Xoxoxoxox

--I have posted the song Beautiful Things in my play list below, as well as some other songs that make me think of our sweet Nina.

  • P.S. Don't forget if you want to order a 31 bag as a Christmas bag you need to have your orders in by the 10th of December!!! Also there are still plenty of shirts available! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It Does Not Make Sense To Me
Adoption Bug T-Shirt Fundraiser

Some of you may read this and know exactly how I feel, some may think maybe she's is being over dramatic-and that's okay, I'm self proclaimed dramatic...just ask my hubby, and then there may be those of you who will think I may just be plain crazy. Maybe you wont say it out loud...but you think it could be a possibility. Why you ask would you think all these things....because I think I may be all of those things! I spent Thanksgiving having fun with family and eating great food and truly being thankful for all the things God has blessed me with, but part of me was trying to push back sadness. Sadness for a little girl I have never met, many many many miles away from home. I missed her so much and it made me sad that her family was having a family get together and she was somewhere in a cold orphanage. She was unaware of the happiness that holidays could bring. Possibly hunting somewhere for something else to layer on her cold body in the cold China winter. Maybe longing to play with the doll the older child took away from her that she could never call hers. Maybe I'm wrong about imagining all those things. Maybe her orphanage had the privilege of being heated (though doubtful), maybe they had plenty of toys to go around. Maybe the nannies at the orphanages went the extra mile to make sure the children enjoyed the holidays the best they could. But she was still without the love of a mother and father telling her daily how special, beautiful and wonderful she is and how much they love her.
              I have to admit I was surprised by these feelings myself. How could I miss someone I've never met? Or wish for someone who wasn't here, if they had never been here? It's not like I knew what we were missing by not having her here. I don't know if she would be outside with her older sister exploring her Nanna's new yard, or in the kitchen like her sister just a little older than her, trying to help cook, or like her middle sister, who would be playing with her cousin trying to make her smile. I don't know what makes her giggle, or makes her eyes light up. Or if she would want light meat or dark meat, or any meat at all. So what was I missing so much? I could not answer the question, nor could I make the sadness of not having her with us at the table, go away, but I did know deep down inside-I was missing her. Somehow, in a way I don't think I could ever describe, I fell in love with this child who I don't even know. She is our daughter, and I can't wait to hold her in my arms and spend everyday getting to know this little peanut. Now to get through Christmas...

Phew-now that I got that out! I wanted to tell you all about another fundraiser that we are doing. It is through a company called Adoption Bug. The company was started by a couple who wanted to fund their own adoption so they started making their own adoption shirts. Now they are making shirts for other families adopting to help fund their adoptions. We as a family get to pick out which designs we want in our store, and you go through our store to pick out which shirt you would like to buy. In addition to the shirts that Adoption Bug designed there are shirts that are designs from Show Hope, a Christian Adoption organization, founded by Christian music singer Steven Curtis Chapman, that helps children find their forever families, help raise funds and awareness for adoption, and help families get grants for their own adoption. Part of the commission  from any of the Show Hope shirts that are purchased, will go to Show Hope to help them help more children and families. There is a link on the left side of my blog down under the Donate button and the blog archive, that will take you to our family store. You see it?---> The one with the shirts? HA! That's it. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful night and a great week!

Our link to our Adoption Bug store:
About Adoption Bug:
About Show Hope:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

31 Fundraising is Here!!!!

Our First Fundraiser!!!!!

Hi all! I am excited to tell you all about our first fundraiser! Why am I so excited? First off because a sweet sweet momma who is in the process of her own 2nd adoption started selling 31 products just so she could help other adopting momma's raise money to bring their babies home too! So all the profits she makes from this party will come to us and into our adoption fund! I just think that is amazing and sweet! But also because I LOVE LOVE LOVE 31 stuff! LOVE!!! Did I mention I like it a lot? Ha ha. The company is a Christian company, which in my opinion is AWESOME! Not many will claim their beliefs for fear of not being able to make money, but 31 is not one of them and I think that shows great courage. Their name 31 comes from Proverbs 31. And secondly they just have GREAT stuff!!! They sell all kinds of bags and blankets and baskets that are great quality, very stylish and you can get names or whatever you want embroidered on them!!! They make awesome Christmas gifts-*hint hint! (But I can give you my Christmas list later. LOL) Any how. If you are interested in getting gifts for yourself or for someone else on your list-and I'm telling you, NO ONE you get this for will be disappointed!-click on the link I have provided, then look for the MY PARTIES and click on that. Then you will see my name, click on that too. It will take you to the catalog and everything and anything you purchase through there will go towards our adoption! 
Also, for those who are familiar with 31, they have great deals that change every month. This month they  have some fantastic holiday specials right now. Spend $31 and you can choose ONE or ALL of the following for just $5 each - the mini utility bin, thermal tote, cinch sack, timeless beauty bag, and the timeless wristlet. Buy one or buy all of them - no matter, they're $5 each!
I also have an awesome friend from college who as soon as she heard we were adopting asked if she could have a Mary Kay party for us to help raise money! I have been so blessed! So that one will be coming up also. :)
Thank you in advance for your support. Even just by following our journey through this blog is an encouragement to Josh and me.
Thank you all!!! YOU are amazing!

                                                             Link to the 31 party:

Had to add another one of our sweet girl!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Here She Is!!!!

Part three of the back post is here!!! Now you will all be all caught up in our crazy fun!

November 6th

Well on a date I may never forget we got our pre-approval for a little 2 ½ girl,!!!! I was afraid to say it out loud that we had gotten her file and moved forward to adopt  her in fear that we would not be able to bring her home, but alas, the race is on!!!  Though the wait would have been at least 1 or 2 weeks as I said before, it was 5 days! And to make it even sweeter, I had mentioned to a friend how cool it would be to get our pre-approval on November 1st since that marked the first day of National Adoption Month. I was almost afraid to say those words out loud, it fear that I would really get myself hoping that it would happen on that day, but alas our God is so good, and gives us reminders of His sweet love all the time. And they didn’t ask us anything about us not meeting the financial requirement! Now we race to raise the money and get the paperwork in, and try not to go crazy while waiting to go get her. She truly is already a Noll in my heart and I am the mother of 5 precious children! One just happens to be a lot less work at the moment.
On another note, we did have our first fundraiser this weekend at our community wide garage sale and we made $500!!! Way beyond what I’ve ever made at a garage sale before!!!  The girls set up a lemonade and water stand and made $60 dollars them selves!!! Cuteness sells I suppose. ;) A big thank you to our neighbor girl who helped push the lemonade with the girls! And her mother for the donation and allowing us to borrow her all day!. And my mom for taking care of the 2 little kids while we ran the sale! Thank you to all of our many many great friends and family who gave us their garage sale items to sell! Your support and love mean more than you know!!! One down many to go!
      I'm in the process of getting a 31 fundraising catalog party going before Christmas and in the new year hopefully a Mary Kay catalog party. We are also in the process of setting up a store for adoption shirts!!! I'm VERY excited about this because the company we are going through are WONDERFUL! But I will tell you more about all the details of these things when they are ready. Also hoping to find a race to run in and find sponsors to raise money and eventually a silent auction! ;) So much to do, but it will keep me busy while I wait to get things together.
    Thank you all for reading, and please please make yourself a permanent visitor!! It would be great to show our sweet girl all the faces who helped bring her home!
   Oh by the way...I haven't told you her name yet have I????

Nina Ann Yulin Noll!!  Nina fits into the family names-that were not done on purpose but are 4 letters ending in a vowel. Ann is my sister's middle name, and Yulin is the name of the city her orphanage is.
      Well I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends and too much food! I know I did!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Which Way is Up

Here's another back post to catch you up on our crazy ride! Please feel to comment and join!!! ;)

October 29, 2012

Well….we started our paper work. We talked to an agency, annnnd we have talked to a woman to do our home study. All these things guided by a friend who I’ve known forever, who has gone before me. My husband and I told the agency, we wanted a boy younger than Levi, under a year, or a girl younger than Elli, 4 and under. MY husband and I started leaning more towards a boy to give Levi some boy action in his life, but before we could tell our agency they sent a file of a sweet girl. Josh and I looked at her and smiled. Well, how can we say no to a child that needs help? That’s why we were doing this. She was under Elli’s age and she had epilepsy, we really didn’t feel we had any reason to say no…so we emailed our agency back and said alright, we will move forward. Well in the world of adopting, our agency had locked the child in for us so that no other agency could match her to someone else. That gives you 72 hours to make up your mind and send in the necessary paperwork. YIKES!!! My thoughts too! But we went ahead and did it. We sent in the paper work, and since we had already started the paperwork we had seen that, well, we do NOT have $80,000 worth of stuff in our home. We don’t own our house, so we don’t have home owners insurance, and most of what we have isn’t worth much, even if we were being generous with the value of it, we still didn’t make it. Many told us China doesn’t check to make sure your numbers are right, but we didn’t feel right about saying we had more than we did. Many will say but the government is corrupt, these children need families, and they don’t care about you so who cares if you need to lie to bring them home. ALL of that is true, and for those who feel they have every reason to fib a little to bring a child home, I am in NO WAY judging, I too totally understand that way of thinking, but my husband didn’t feel comfortable with it. He said if this is something God really wants to happen, it can happen despite us. And he is right, though everything in me want s to scream but what if?!, he is totally right. I knew from the beginning that this was God’s plan and not mine, so I needed to trust my God, trust my husband and lean on them both to follow. It has not been easy. I see her face and think what will her future be if things don’t go through. She is very cute, young, a girl and she only has epilepsy, so maybe her chances are good that someone will come get her, but what if they don’t, what will happen to her? But my God is bigger than me and He can and will walk with her in her life. I'm trying very hard not to attach myself because of the what if's, but even if she is not ours, she still needs prayers from a mommy out there, even if she is not ours to bring home.
I can see how much this process is growing me though. Even with all the unknowns, and the lack of faith I feel I have. A year ago I would have never had this kind of security in myself that God could possibly call me to step out in such a big way. That my faith would be strong enough that I would literally almost hear God whispering, it’s time to move. And that when I would finally give into that call, I would feel such an undeniable almost physical, peace that this was His voice, not mine, speaking. I know this is going to be a LONG, hard road, before and after. But I’m really excited to see where God is going to bring me, because I’ve seen how far I’ve come even in this last year of my life.
Another little tib-bit I wanted to share was a couple weeks ago, somewhere I was listening to the story of Gideon and how he kept laying out the fleeces and saying, prove to me that your God, okay one more time, okay just one more time. I listen to that story and thought, ya know, I have never asked God to show me anything so that HE had to prove He was who he said He was. I just have always believed. But I thought to myself, how cool would it be, to say I’ve seen a miracle on earth? Something I couldn’t deny was totally God. That thought came to me the other day as I was crying at the thought that there was this chance that I may not be able to bring this little girl to a brighter life. But then I thought, what if this was God’s way of showing me a miracle. What if, despite the fact that the woman working on my case said, it may be possible to be pre -approved despite not meeting the $80,000, but she hasn't seen or heard of it happening, that God shows up and makes it happen?! Anyway, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. It will be at least one to two weeks before I ever find out if were pre-approved…so I will wait. I will TRY to be patient…but I can’t promise anything. Because though my faith may look strong reading this…I promise you I am definitely a work in process!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Not My Plan But His

Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my story. I know I know another blog, REALLY!?!?! I knew I wanted to start blogging my adoption story not only for myself, but for others who may be thinking they want to start the process, and well, for fundraising. I had started writing this about a month ago when God started putting this on my heart but wasn't ready to put it all out there yet. So I'm going to start my first few blogs back to catch you up. :) Because I'm nice like that...

October 15, 2012

Well, I will first give you a glimpse into our lives. As a young child I had always loved kids. Always thought and dreamed about being a mommy. And adoption was always on my heart, though I still wanted very much to bare my own children too, my heart ached for those who were brought into the world with no one to love them and kiss them goodnight. Fast forward many years later and while in college I met the love of my life. He too shared in my interest for adding onto our family with children who needed love. We always said, we’d get married, have a few years as a couple, have kids, they would get a little older, then we would start looking into growing our family through adoption. Wellll, God had other plans, other BIGGER plans that did not include our own plans…Josh and I were married for 2 weeks when God blessed us with Anna. Though it was an exciting time, I was also unsure of how things were going to work, Josh was still in college, I still had college to finish, it just didn't seem like my plan. But we loved it anyway because we knew it was what God wanted for our lives. A year later Emma was born and then a year and a half later Elli and three years after that Levi was born into our family. Remember when I said we wanted to wait til our youngest was a little older to adopt? Yeah that wasn't in God’s plan either. I've been blessed to have a few friends around me who have been through the process of adopting, internationally and domestically. Watching the joy of being with their new child ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart so full. Though these children don’t quit understand the gravity this love from these parents will have on their little lives, it gives me chills to know what these little people will grow up to be a great person in society because these parents were given the gift of changing these little people. I started feeling this nudge when a friend of mine posted a story of this woman in China who had been gathering children out of boxes and trashcans and in parks benches, and bringing them into her home and taking care of them for years. My heart ached for these parents in China, who couldn’t fight against the government to keep the children they bore. Or couldn’t take care of the needs they so desperately needed. I felt this tug get stronger and stronger as I watch another friend of mine go to Russia to bring home another little boy with down syndrome. I wept as I watched the videos of her with him, and the other children standing in the background, never knowing the love of a mothers kisses or hugs. I wanted to reach through the screen and bring them all home! I felt God telling me, you can start. But could I? Me? I’m not brave like these women Lord. Surely you still mean wait. My youngest isn’t even out of diapers yet, surely you mean wait? We aren’t even in a house we own yet, surely you mean wait? We aren’t even a little close to having anything saved for an adoption, surely you mean wait? But God said, you saw what I did for your friends. You saw their faith and you saw what I can do, so why wait? I prayed and I prayed and I PRAYED! I prayed Lord, I’m not sure why your giving this to me so early, but if this is what you want only make this passion stronger! So, after the feelings growing stronger and stronger, I gave into to the peace that this is what God wants for us. And oh what peace did I have when I surrendered to that calling! I am not kidding when I say it literally felt like a physical peace like I have NEVER felt before!! Now you may ask, like we did...Why now? I don’t know why now, but I feel a push, no a SHOVE, to move forward that is impossible to really put into words. I talked to my friend who had adopted from China already and she gave me the name of someone to do out home study. While I was excited about the peace I felt to move forward, I was also very very scared! What if I was wrong, what if they did a home study and they told us we weren’t good enough parents and that they were going to take our biological children away! -Now I know I’m exaggerating emotions, but the thoughts did cross my mind.- Anyway, I knew I needed to make that first step, though not a huge one because nothing would be set in ink, I needed to unfreeze, and move. So in my Bible study group, without wanting to disclose everything, I gave a prayer request and…disclosed everything. I’m not kidding you when I say I was sick to my stomach and shaking, because once it’s out there, it’s out there. A day later and I had still not called, though it was on my to do list for the day, I kept putting it til after "I get this done first". Then a friend of mine called-you know who you are-and told me what’s the worst that can happen, really. After that I felt my body start to thaw. I mean, really, how lucky am I that I have such good friends to back me up, to stand behind me, even when I myself think we might be nuts, she gave me the push I really needed. So I made the call and that call led to some questions being answered and another number to call. All the while God had something else crazy going on. When we looked on the websites of orphanages and their requirements to adopt we saw that you had to make X amount of money and X amount of money per person living in the house hold. We when we started feeling these feelings we did not have that. But in the middle of all this, God was working on a promotion for my husband, one that was bigger than he was expecting. And then they told him what his new salary would be… EXACTLY what we would need to adopt from China. Seeing God work in all these ways just gives me such joy. Now we wait. We wait for God to bring the right child or children into out lives. I have never ever ever ever been very good at waiting on ANYTHING! I have friends tell me I must be so patient because I home school, the answer is, nope but I’m trying. This is the reason I am typing this at 1:30am. Because I can't stop thinking about that little person half way across the world waiting for us to claim them as their own. I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I know the peace like no other that I have is reassurance that God has it all mapped out for us, so I will sit back and watch Him work an amazing picture and road map for our lives and live His plan, not ours...

Hope you have a blessed day!