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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year from Virginia!  As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to take some time to share all that has happened over the last 12 months.

As most of you know, in 2014, we were working hard to raise funds for our adoption.  We were adopting Mahesh, from India.  Things were moving along and we had decided to go visit him for Thanksgiving in 2014.  A few weeks before we were set to go, we got a phone call letting us know that someone in his family was blocking us from adopting him.  We felt like our hearts were breaking in two.  We allowed ourselves some time to grieve and to try and mentally process all that had happened. 

In the meantime, we had met a family that was in the process of adopting 3 children from Ukraine.  We got to spend a lot of time with this family and sort of became their respite family for the 2 boys, Mark  (13) and Alex (16).  We would spend time with them and loved getting to know them.

Since our adoption fell through, we contacted the agency we were working with to be matched with another child.  After looking at what seemed to be 1000s of profiles, we chose a sweet little boy, only to be told another family had just locked him in.  Then we chose a second boy.  We were told that our home study was good for every country in the world, except for the one he was from.  And, it would cost $2500 to update our home study for his country.  Yikes!  We definitely felt like God was closing the door for our adoption, even if just for a little while.

We had been house hunting for over 5 years and had just found our dream home.  A 3 bedroom, 2-½ bath home on 24 acres, sitting at the end of a gravel road.  We decided to put adoption on hold for a little while.  We figured that we would buy the house, fix it up, move and then start the adoption process again.  Our offer was accepted on the house and closing was set for the end of January. 

On January 12th, we received a phone call asking if we would temporarily take Mark and Alex.  There were some things going on and it became clear that it was not safe for the boys to remain in the family that adopted them.  We immediately said yes and we picked them up within a few hours.  The next few days were crazy as we heard what the tentative plans were for them.  Group home, foster care and then, eventually, possible deportation.  We sat in church that Sunday, listening to our Pastor preach about serving others (generosity) and stepping out in faith.  We came home knowing that we were meant to be Mark and Alex’s parents.  We told them a few days later and they were excited to be able to stay with us forever.

We recently were granted sole custody of the boys.  We now have to wait for the adoptive father’s parental rights to be terminated so we can adopt them.  Then, there is the grueling task of immigration to make them U.S. Citizens (yes, we will be doing more fundraising!).

Has it been easy?  Nope, not even close.  Each day we learn how to parent better.  And each day they settle more into being part of a family (growing up in an orphanage did not teach them about family!).

What happened to Mahesh?  He still lives at the Jackson Mission School.  He knows that we love him and pray for him everyday.  And he knows that God must have some pretty big plans for him in India to keep him there!  Our friends at Big World Project send teams to India every few months.  We are able to send letters with them and hear updates on how Mahesh is doing.  He is growing and doing well.  His picture is still on our fridge, a daily reminder to pray for him.  And we hope to one day take Mark and Alex there to meet him.

God has blessed us more than we ever could have imagined in 2015 and we are excited to see what He has in store for 2016!  We invite you to follow our story: www.journeywiththethurstons.blogspot.com.  And we appreciate all of your prayers as we continue to work on the house and settle into being a family of four.

Monday, June 22, 2015

World's Coolest Dad

Yesterday was Todd's first Father's Day.  Leading up to the weekend, I had asked the boys what they wanted to do.  They both agreed that Todd needed a day off from working on the house!  They also had their own idea of what to get him for a gift.  And, they each spent almost an hour trying to find the perfect card. 

The day started with us eating breakfast together so Todd could open his gifts.  On Sundays, it is usually every man for himself in regards to breakfast, so we can get out the door to church.  So it was nice to sit and eat together.   At church, Todd & the boys sang a song with the Men's Choir.  (When they announced a few weeks ago that they wanted the men to do this for Father's Day, Alex immediately started asking Todd if the 3 of them could do it.)
 (Mark is in the red shirt on the top row of the left section.  Todd & Alex are in the middle section, top row.)


After church, we grabbed lunch and the dogs and headed to Panther Falls to go swimming.  Mark & Alex are great swimmers and had tons of fun.  Copper & Musket had a ball swimming too!  After swimming we dropped the dogs off, changed, and headed to Lynchburg.  We enjoyed a yummy dinner and went to see the new Avengers movie. 
 World's Coolest Dad! And he has the trophy to prove it!
 Alex & Todd caught a little fish while we were swimming.
A great day for a swim!
 Mark had a lot of fun jumping off of the cliffs and into the water.
It was a perfect day and I am so thankful to be on this crazy parenting journey with Todd!

Monday, May 11, 2015

My First Mother's Day!

                                                     (Alex, 16 years old.  Mark 14 years old.)
Yesterday was my 1st Mother's Day.  It was perfect!  It started with hugs and flowers.  And, a "World's Best Mom" certificate. It ended with the boys cooking a yummy dinner and doing extra chores.  I am so blessed to be their momma!

I know many of you are wondering how our journey went from adopting Mahesh in India to now having 2 sons from Ukraine.  We are working on a post to share with you all about how God took our story and turned it upside down (and inside out!) to make it more than we ever could have dreamed!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Happy Birthday To Me!

Every year  I have wake up on March 4th one year older. I have woken up as a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend, a niece, an aunt, a volunteer and a child of God. Tomorrow morning, on my 41st birthday, I will wake up as a MOM!  God is so good!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day!

What do you do to get your kids off of the nintendo and away from tv? Fill spray bottles with water & food coloring so they can "spray paint" in the snow and borrow a sled from the neighbor. When they still have energy and you're ready to come in? Teach them about serving their neighbors by having them shovel the neighbors driveway!




















Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Shopping & Supporting Our Adoption

Looking for a unique way to help with our adoption?  Simply click on the Amazon link in the right-hand column of our blog.  Do your regular Amazon shopping.  That's it, super easy! For every sale, Amazon gives a % of the total to our adoption fund.  The more orders, the more they give.  Would you consider doing your Christmas shopping on Amazon this year and help us bring our child home?  Thank you!   MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Saturday Sale

Come out this Saturday to shop and help us raise money for our adoption!!

A HUGE INDOOR sale to raise money for our adoption!
There will be tons of stuff:
clothes
furniture
electronics
DVDs
home decor
antiques
handmade items
holiday decor
vintage Tupperware
Longaberger Baskets
vintage jewelry

Saturday November 15th 8-1

We will be accepting CASH and CREDIT CARDS! $5 minimum purchase to use your card!

Inside One Community Church
1415 Kemper St, Lynchburg, VA 24502

Come out and help us raise some money for our adoption!