Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Avi Joy and Nehemiah recently started wearing each other clothes for dress up time. I never expected to see them come downstairs one morning both dressed in Avi Joy's princess panties. I laughed so hard it started the ball rolling. They went to Nehemiah's room to get his undies. What is funny to me here, well besides the obvious, is that N's are on backwards. (Oh and I love that they are holding hands- night and day different in temperament, but still like twins.)
Here is more dress-up. Seriously, this needs to be THE ONLY TIME he dresses like a girl, because he looks exactly like one. His sisters named him Hattie, geez!
We kicked off our December by doing our Advent Box. Here is our 25 day count down from this year. I tried to change it up a bit since last year. It is our most precious family tradition.
(The first word is what was inside the box, it was their clue for that night.)

December 1st. Tree: We got out the tree and decorated it.
2. Heart: Played hide and seek with cut out hearts, talked about Psalm 119, "I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I will not sin against you."
3. Band-aid: Read the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17. We wrote with marker on our band-aids, "Jesus is my healer." And then wore them to bed.
4. Q-Tip: Read the story of Mary and Martha listening to Jesus and which was better. Then we cleaned out our ears so that we could listen to Him.
5. Popcorn kernel: Family movie night. We watched Elf and had popcorn. The movie was too adult. Although it is hilarious, we will not watch it again as a family.
6. Mend: I cut the letters m, e, n and d out of fabric. We read through Ecc 3 that there is a time for everything. A time to tear and a time to mend. We got out fabric and needles and sewed.
7. Prayer bracelets: Our church was doing Toys For Tots that week and each person in the church got a bracelet with a child's name. We put on the bracelets and prayed for each child.
8. Music note: We listed to Christmas music while we cleaned house.
9. Gingerbread house picture: We used candy to decorate a gingerbread house.
10. Jesus: We made birth announcements about Jesus' birth. I taught them out to make little feet using their hands and fingertips.
11. Snowflake: We traced circles, folded and made snowflakes. Then we hung them on the tree.
12. Empty: I said it was stolen by the Grinch. Then we watched the old Grinch who stole Christmas movie.
13. Gift tags: They made homemade gift tags with paper and glitter.
14. Little book: We made our own little books, about 5 pages in each book. They are about 3 inches by 4 inches or so. We decorated the front then wrote all the things we were thankful for from 2010. We then punched a hole and hung them on the tree.
15. Three: We pulled out the tree pictures of the children we support. One lives in Vietnam, one in Kenya and one in India. We talked about their Christmas and prayed for them to have forever families.
16. Lightbulb: We hopped in the car and went around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.
17. Net: I took an apple net/bag and we Read Luke 5 about becoming fishers of men.
18. Star: We got out the paints and black paper and painted our own nativity scenes.
19. Red nose: (It was a human nose in drawn in red marker, so they had to figure it out.) Then we watched the old Rudolph movie.
20. Sheep: Made from the end of a Q-Tip. We talked about we are the sheep and God is our shepherd. We then took a straw and blew the "sheep" into their pen.
21. World: Talked about being the light of the world. We turned off all the lights and had one small flashlight. We each took turns playing with it in the dark and that we are the light in the darkness.
22. Soap: We talked about having clean hands and a clean heart and what they meant to us. We then washed our hands with the soap.
23. Sugar Packet: Baked a birthday cake for Jesus
24. Present: Talked about the wise men and that they gave Jesus 3 gifts. Said they would be getting three gifts each from us tomorrow.
25. Cross: Read the Christmas story from Luke 2.

Here is the top of our gingerbread house.
The Birth announcements. They were so cute.
The sheep into the brown paper bag "pen" was a total hit. My favorite from this year was the thankful books/ornaments. They were so personal and will be done each year. Miss Beautiful's was just precious. It said things like, "So thankful to be in a family" and "Thankful for a mom who treats me like a daughter and not a DHS kid".
We had the Torres family over for a tea party. I just love those two peanuts and really enjoy being with their mama. Love that we have the same parenting style, both were teachers and now stay at home. She is very creative too, her Wisp Clips business is booming!
The week before Christmas we headed to the Homan's house for our annual p.j. party. The kids made a cute snowman treat out of marshmallows and we made salt dough ornaments. They were so fun and EASY!
4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 1/2 cups water. Kneed dough. Roll out. Cut with cookie cutters. Poke a hole. Microwave for four minutes. Cool. Paint. Hang on tree!
We ended up using 30 of them as tags for our Christmas gifts. We loved giving them away as part of the present. (Big hit with the grandparents you know.)
On Christmas Eve Eve we were able to have some old friends over for breakfast. The Woods family moved to TX last year and we were able to catch up. Their 2 kiddos are the same ages as our younger two and they are also waiting for a referral any moment from Thailand. They have a heart for the country as they lived in Thailand for a couple years. It has been my honor to walk with them through this adoption journey. I just love this picture of her, so joyous and filled with love. We were pretending to be in Vietnam. She is also one creative woman! Her handcrafted jewelry, J Woods Jewelry, is incredible.
Then we had our favorite and loudest family over to spend the night! Whoo hoo for family sleep-overs! All the kids get to play till they drop and then the adults get to stay up late and talk! The Pierce family will be leaving soon to live in India for four years doing college ministry with Student Mobilization. I am so privileged to be friends with those with a heart for God's people overseas.
Now on to some of our favorite gifts. Adam got a set of pots and pans. I had forgotten he asked for this for Christmas from his parents. I think my look of shock and happiness is hysterical. "They are pots, Natasha." "Yes and I am reallly excited!" My favorite gifts were the earrings that Shannon got for me in India and the necklace Vanessa sent from Kenya. I can't help it- I like culture.
Avi Joy and her cousin Annabelle both got princess dresses and glitter shoes.
Several years ago, I was at my friend Dana's house and saw a cross on her daughters wall. It was hanging in the middle of the wall and had her daughter's name and a date on it. I asked what it was and she told me that was the day her daughter accepted Christ. I literally burst into tears and put that away in my mom file. This year I painted one for Miss Beautiful. If you look closely, you might be able to see her new name along with the special dates. hehe.
Nehemiah got a lion from our friends who live in Kenya. They sent us jewelry, headbands, a nativity scene and a lion for Christmas. Nehemiah quickly stuffed his into his dinosaur's mouth.
Avi Joy has been super into flamingo's lately. I ran across this one, but it needed a little sparkle. So I hot-glued silver and pink jewels to miss flamingo and now she sits beautifully in her room.
Nehemiah's gifts: Dinosaur, Car set and a baseball glove.
Avi Joy's gifts: Flamingo, princess dresses and a mini haircut chair w/ hairdresser stuff.
Beautiful: Cross, purse and an apron.
They also all got filled stockings (They liked the new band-aids and pez candy the best), Christmas Eve p.j.'s and were blessed with lots of gifts from family and friends!
I think the apron was my favorite gift to give this Christmas. I am just so in love with this apron. And she looks like a dollbaby cookin in the kitchen wearing it.
Onto Deep Thoughts by Jill Handy: Each time it says the word "faith" in the Amplified version of the bible, it follows by explaining it in the Hebrew and Greek. I have come to LOVE the expanded definition of faith: "The leaning of the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness." Amen.
The Perryman Family

Friday, December 10, 2010


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet." Juliet Capulet

"God has highly exalted Jesus and has freely bestowed on Him the Name that is above every Name." Philippians 2:9

Name, Names, Naming- has been on my mind.

For several months we have been praying together about changing Miss Beautiful's name after she is adopted. We realize this is a very controversial topic so we have really kept this part of our adoption process to ourselves.
Well, at first I didn't plan on keeping it to myself, but after I told two friends with opinions ranging from, "Why would you do that? Her identity is in her name!" to, "Oh, that is the greatest idea". We could see that it needed to be kept quiet.
Many people have set opinions about "to change or not to change" a child's name after adoption. The following is purely the opinion of our family and what we have come to realize after prayer and consideration for what is best for our family.

After praying about it, we then sought counsel from other families who adopted older child/ren and how they handled name changes. Surprisingly, we found that DHS recommends that it stays the same, but that almost all families we asked did chose (as a family with the child's consent) to change the child's name after adoption. They agreed that the adjustment to a new name was challenging, but that the benefits outweighed the negatives.

I reflected on this a lot, the naming of a child that is and the benefits of it. As moms we are given the great responsibility to provide for our children. I provide food, love, school, prayer, clothes, a home, and even though it is often mixed with impatience on my part, I am still trying to 100% provide all that they need. What seemed difficult for me to understand was providing almost everything, except her name.

I know that before adoption the first family was given the honor to choose a name and I believe after adoption the forever family also gets to share in this honor. With our first two kiddos we chose to keep part of their birthnames as their middle name. We think it is a beautiful connection to their birth family. We do not want to strip anything away from our children by renaming them, if anything, we want it to be a connection to both their birth and forever families.

Almost all mom's dream about naming their child. Whether the child comes to your family from your heart or your womb, there is something magical about choosing the name of your child. I really believe that this is one of the deepest areas of bonding. It is similar a wedding day, taking a new last name.

We also realized that it is also Biblical, as God changed many names at various ages. Such as Jacob to Israel or Saul to Paul, when they came to know Him in their new life. Exactly why did He choose to show their newness in this way? He could have chosen anything to show they were a new person, but He chose to change their name.

Because of her age, 12 1/2, we did want to respect her feelings in this area of course. Therefore talked openly with her about it being her choice and a family decision.
And we have been throwing around many names for quite some time seeing what she/we thought. We would call her a name for a week or so and see if it fit. We had some close winners too and funny ones as well. My personal favorite, Svetlana. If I lived in Russia, this would be my daughters name, so she was spared. And yes, I am serious.

We have already started calling her by her new name. And it has been an adjustment. We have explained it to the little kids several times. Even tonight Avi Joy asked, "Now what is her real name?" We tell them that just like how they were born with a beautiful Vietnamese name, she was born with a birthname as well. Then when they were adopted, we kept part of that name and changed their name to the name God gave us for them.

The meaning of names is very important to our family. Avi Joy means, "My Father's Joy". Nehemiah mean, "God's compassion". And Miss Beautiful's new name means, "Cared for by God".

She has started telling everyone at school, church and family on her own, so that has been exciting for us to watch. She said that yesterday at school (she attends a school on Tues/Thurs and we do school at home on MWF) all her friends love her new name. I know it is an answer to prayer because I thought the hardest place to change was going to be kids at school who wouldn't understand the change.

This week we turned in all our paperwork to our lawyer. This started the ball rolling on her adoption process in court. Actually this is when the new name really was settled in our hearts. Our lawyer called and said, "Choose it tonight, call me in the morning". It was the "choose to change it or not" moment, and we knew the right decision for our family was to chose a new name.
The paperwork has to go through several hoops, including two judges before we are seen in court in our local town and our expected finalization is still scheduled for sometime between January-March.

"And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds.]" Colossians 3:15, AMP

The Perryman's

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gettin all caught up-

Let's begin with amazing news!
In October, our church holds a fall retreat for the teens. This year the theme was Hide and Seek. Teaching the kids about people groups throughout the world that have to "hide" their faith (such as hosting underground churches or being undercover missionaries) and "seek" the Lord during persecution, for protection and for boldness.
I really did want her to attend, but had to get over some mama issues about her going. I took the weekend to Him many times and was really hung up about the church leaving at 10pm at night and driving hours in the dark. Over and over this was the only thing I could think about. Once I laid that down and started to focus on how much she would learn about the Lord and how the seeds of Christ would be planted, Adam and I decided it would be wonderful for her to attend the retreat. This was spiritual warfare because...
We are thrilled to say that on October 22nd, our sweet Beautiful accepted Christ as her Savior. The next day at church, she went forward on her own to follow through with baptism. We talked her through this being a symbol of dying to herself and being raised with Christ. The joy was overwhelming to see our One True Love pursue her into a relationship with Him and for her to respond to Christ's redeeming love.
(I have readers that do not understand our love for God or our relationship with Jesus. And by all means I want you to keep reading our blog, but I want to share that this is our life and my life is nothing without the sustaining Relationship with the Lord. I am proud that our daughter will have His Light in her life and protect her from the darkness of the world. Trials will come, but His Hand will never leave her.)
October brought lots of events. We celebrated a handful birthdays (including mine- 32) and made costumes for Halloween.
Nehemiah, my little Rock n Roll star, "Like yo'. Hope you got backstage tickets to my show. Catch ya later. Peace."
Avi Joy, our hot pink flamingo. Miss Beautiful was Pocahontas- she looked amazing. Too bad you can't see the pictures, frown.
Handsome boy...
Who yells a lot.
We spent the weekend before Thanksgiving with Adam's family. It was also Adam's birthday (33). Here is his mama and our niece Annabelle.
Great grandma Fern, 89 years young. Getting some kisses from her grandkids.
Then we headed out for a 5 day trip to MO, to my mom's side of the family. I completed some artwork for my cousin. I love creating special artwork- it warms my heart to give of myself in that way.
A boy playing dress-up. A bucket. (His shirt says, silly banana head. True.)
A girl playing dress-up. Princess dress, twirling, singing and jewelry.
My grand parents. He was SO ho-hum, so I started tickling his feet to get a smile. IT Worked!
On Thanksgiving day we played "Paper Corn." That is the name Avi Joy gave it. The 3 kids cut out corn cobs, made the corn spots with their fingers and glued the husks on the outside. Each person received a paper corn with their name on it. They were passed around the room and as you got each family members corn, you wrote on it what you loved about them. Then we read them out loud to one another.
On my grandma's it actually said, "Good lover." I mean WHAT?! Grandpa, seriously! I look over at him and he gives me a thumbs up. We were all in stitches to say the least. Look at my grandma's face too. Like, oh Harold, 59 years of this man.
Then our whole family (well, half actually, as only half came into town this year,) went outside for our yearly family pictures. All the pictures turned out great, but most of them have Beautiful in them and I just cannot take time to blur her face (well, I did try on one group picture but could NOT figure it out,) so anyway- here is my favorite picture of my cousin and her boyfriend.
One of the highlights of the trip (well, besides the awesome food, desserts, boardgames, late night talks and quality family time) was playing dress-up, grandma style. All the girls (me, Emily-my step-sister, my cousins Jansen and Hannah and Beautiful) all snuck into grandma's closet when no one was looking and got out "grandma around the clock".
Natasha: Grandma in her Ojama's (Obama pajamas). These are her favorite night clothes.
Emily: Grandma going to the Lady's Democratic Luncheon. (Grandma is the woman's Chaplin for MO.)
Jansen: Greatest idea ever- dressed up as Grandpa. His favorite shirt, hat and rolled up jean shorts. No one could have pulled him off better. Seriously funny.
Hannah: Grandma at the beach. Matching flamingo beach outfit.
Beautiful: Grandma going to church.
We headed home and on Dec 1st we started our Advent box. The first day was to decorate the tree. Our first Christmas as a family with Beautiful and our first Christmas in our new home. Future days include making a gingerbread house, crafts, scriptures, movies and more.
We also enjoyed day two where we talked about the scripture, "I have hidden Your Word in my heart." Then we talked about doing that so we can make good choices (not sin against You is the rest of the verse) and then we cut out hearts and hid them around the house and played hide and seek with the hearts. It was big fun, the kids really enjoyed it.

Philippians 2:13, "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight."

The Perryman's