Friday, February 14, 2014

Ways to Help

People have asked how they can help us in this journey to Everly. We have a few ways set up at this time.

1. HerStory Bracelets: The kids chose their fabric, we chose ours and of course there is the Everly bracelet. The kids came up with one word that they think best describes their sister. Elias {Extraordinary} Norah {Important} Samuel {Beautiful} and Mom and Dad chose {Adored}. You can click the link to the right to order yours if you so choose :) These will be available through February. What a great Easter or Mother's Day gift!!

2. Just Love Coffee: This is a really awesome coffee shop out of Tennessee. The owners are adoptive parents that just want to help other families out. So, they allow us to set up shop and get a portion of the sales. How cool is that??? That link is on the left as well!

3. Donating: We have a PayPal account set up if you choose to donate. PayPal is a secure site and the money goes straight to brining our girl home. You don't need to have a paypal account to donate, just your debit/credit card.

Thank you to everyone that has purchased HerStory bracelets. Thank you for helping our family bring this little girl home. God has been so incredibly gracious to us this far but we have a long way to go.

We will be having several yardsales when the weather gets a bit warmer and I will keep you posted on that ! I LOVE a good yardsale!

Please keep our family in prayer during this time of preparing and waiting. Please pray that we will have the funds needed to complete this journey set before us.

Thank you!! <3 p="">


Early Morning Thinkging...

I was up this morning around 4:30. Shannon was up before getting dressed for work, so by default I seemed to rise and (not so much) shine a little earlier then usual. I fixed a pretty cup of coffee and sat down to check my email and look over facebook.
For the last few days we have been confined to our house due to the weather. Wednesday we lost power for most of the day throughout the night. We finally got it back around 3:00am Thursday morning. I must admit that I enjoyed having no power. No computer. No phone. No internet. It was a nice reprieve from the normal. We played, talked, wondered what to do next, ate dinner by candlelight. And that dinner consisted of PB&J, chips and milk. It was awesome!!
During this time I couldn't help but think about my Everly. I wondered what it was like at her orphanage and if they had heat.
I wondered what our life was going to be like with her home and was a little scared at what that might look like. We have seemed to settle into this really comfortable vibe around here. We all have a job and we do it. We all have a place and we know where that is.
All of that is going to be shaken up a bit here shortly. All of the normal is going out the window. I've done this twice already so I know what is getting ready to go down. And it makes me a little nervous.
I asked Norah last night, "Norah, what are you going to do if Ev wants to sit in my lap all the time. And needs lots of hugs from momma, and takes up A LOT of my time?"
Her reply, "I'll just pull her off of your lap and we can play. But only when she has been here a long time and is used to us."
She talks about her sister a lot. The boys not so much. They know she is coming home but I honestly don't know if Sam has a clue. Elias will ask questions but Norah has incorporated her into our day to day already. I try to explain to her that things may be a little different when she comes home for a little while. She just shrugs and plans their next big adventure. Bless her.
I'll be really honest. I don't like this part of the journey. The not knowing. Not knowing if she is alright, if she is being taken care of, how things will be once she is home. Not knowing how this shift will effect everyone involved. Not knowing how to communicate with a 9 year old that speaks Mandarin. Wondering what her favorite color is. Will she like music? Movies? Us?!?
When will we travel? How will we really make this financially? What will the end of this journey look like and what will her story look like?
I cant wait to show you her picture. Those sweet lips, that porcelain skin. Oh, y'all she is to precious for words. She is petite, precious and she is a Sharp. And she is half way around the world. It is the most humbling feeling to know that. To know that God chose this family again despite our shortcomings. Despite how many times I think I have failed as a mom. He chose us again. I am honored and so thankful that He saw fit to use us.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Throughout this adoption people have asked me questions... many of the same questions. So, I thought I would have a Q and A with myself to help y'all better understand this process we have to take to Everly.

* WHY do you want 4 kids?? Are you crazy???

Well, yes. We are crazy. Fruitloops. Bananas. And we are crazy about our kids and crazy about this family we have. Yes, our house is small. Yes, the kids will ALL have to share a room. We won't be making several vacations a year, we don't eat out a lot, our kids wear handmedowns and we LOVE Community Thrift Store. They don't get everything they want, we say no A. Lot. And there are times that I do lock myself in the bathroom for 5 seconds of peace and quiet. I ain't gonna lie. BUT... our kids love each other. We all love each other. There is one seat left at our kitchen table, perfect for our Everly. We don't have a ton of possessions and we aren't rich. But we have a lot of love to give each of our children and they really dig that. They think we are pretty cool :)

*WHY does it cost so much??

A China adoption costs roughly 25-28k. Sit back and take that in for a sec.
Okay, you are back. Awesome.
So when you adopt from China there are people involved. A homestudy agency that visits and asks lots of questions, the placing agency that is facilitating your adoption, immigration/fingerprints so you can bring your kiddo back, your dossier (a packet of notarized papers and forms that you gather) must be sent to a few places to be looked over and they each get a seal. They all want and need money to make this happen. THen you have your international flights, visas, hotels and food while there, Everly will have her visa appointment and her medical exam and she will need a flight home. There is also an orphanage fee that is paid directly to the place she lives.
So all of this costs money. Lots of it.

*Is this why you are selling bracelets, having yard sales, doing other fundraisers and contemplating selling your kidney?


*Will she speak English?

Nope, not a word of English. She will strictly speak Mandarin. There will be a lot of charades going on at the Sharp house for a while :)

*You talk about adoption all the time. You adopt like it is your job. WHY??
We have a natural born desire to have more children. We love our family and we love the children in our family. There is a place for one more. We want one more. They are not a burden, they are a joy.
We feel as Christians we are called to defend the cause of the fatherless. We feel that we are inline with what we are supposed to be doing. Everly is a much loved and much wanted child by us. But she is also a child of the Father. We have room, she needs a family, we are called to do this in James 1:27. Boom. Done. It is a win win all the way around here people.
And we are now balanced! Partners for rides, buddy system in full effect, we got this!

As a side note, why do people ask why we would adopt "so many" kids anyway?? It would be like someone visiting their friend in the hospital after they have delivered a beautiful baby and say to them: "WHY DID YOU HAVE THAT BABY! ARE YOU CRAZY??

So, for the record we are crazy. Our goal in life is to be like Brad and Angelina.

There. I said it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

{Part Two}

So as you can imagine "Esther" was not meant for our family. But I believe that God was preparing us for an older daughter. I believe that, much like Esther in the Bible, he was preparing us to rely on Him and some pretty incredible unshakable faith. I believe that I was CHOSEN, much like Esther, to step out on that faith "for such a time as this"...

Love Gave.

LoveGave is a collaboration of churches in Charleston that are on mission together. Once a year they have a three day drive to support local non.profit organizations. This year they kicked it up a notch to say the least. Not only were they planning on raising money and supplies for the organizations, they also chose 10 families in the Charleston area to come around and monetarily support  in their adoption endeavors. Our family was incredibly blessed to be one of those families.
LoveGave took place on a Thursday night, all day Friday and was to wrap up Saturday at 7pm.

I tended to be there a lot during the celebration as 1. I couldn't stay away. 2. It was just charged with this crazy amazing energy. 3. I just couldn't stay away. So I was there a good bit of time helping the team with production and whatever else they needed me for.

As I was standing at the production table right in front of the stage I happed to look at my phone and saw there was an email from our agency and they got an update (finally) on Everly. I stepped away and read over the email and new pictures. I was DYING inside. I stared at this child for a while, just intently looking at her precious face. Her almond eyes,  plump lips and thick hair. I was doing jumping jacks and summersaults in my heart. After holding my phone and my emotions under control I couldn't do it anymore.

My dear friend Katie was hanging out with me that night. Katie is a lover of all things adoption and is actually awaiting another brother from Ch**a. She spent much time there, two years to be exact, working in orphanages loving on all kids Chinese :) I felt like I needed to tell Katie. I HAD to tell Katie. I called her over there and showed her the picture. That was all I did. I didn't speak a word. I didn't tell her what orphanage, province, boy/girl (Everly has really short hair in this particular picture, bless her.) I spoke not a single word. And then this happed.

"Penny, I know her."


"I know her. She is in *** Province. I have hugged her. I painted her fingernails. I've hugged your daughter."


She immediately began to cry. She then went on to tell me all about Everly, things I knew and some things I didn't know. She was freaking. I was freaking. She told me I need to call another one of our friends Autumn.

Before I called Autumn I was so incredibly visibly shaken I had to sit a hot second. I took a seat by a one of our pastors, the missions pastor to be exact. Funny how that works out. I sat down and I know he thought I was a freak crying in the middle of the day. I told him what happned and he looked at me. Then this happened.

"Penny, don't you remember?"


"Don't you remember the orphanage we came around when Autumn was in Ch**a? We sent them boxes of craft supplies for their summer camp? You sent your daughter crayons."


I (thankfully) got in touch with Autumn on the first try. I probably would have had a stroke otherwise. Autumn, come to find out, was actually IN Everly's orphanage for a few months.


Our church came around a few orphanages that Katie and Autumn were going to be spending time in. They wanted to have a camp for the kiddos and our church came along side of them, collected A LOT of stuff and mailed 25 boxes to them in Ch**a as they were traveling around the world. While the girls were traveling it was my responsibility to meet the FedEx truck at Autumn's house and make sure they got all tucked in the truck and were sent to the orphahages. As a matter I have some pictures from that day. Funny how God works in the tiniest details...

After talking to Autumn, I knew that I had to get my girl. And it was of utmost importance that I do it now.

I couldn't believe how God orchestrated such a story for our family. Long before we knew of Everly He was working and making things beautiful.

But, if I am going to be completely transparent.

Two days after we decided to move forward with Everly I wanted out. I mean like all out. Fear set in and I felt like it was going to swallow me whole. I sent a text to Katie and told her I couldn't do it.
Her needs were too much. We were not capable of being her parents. I questioned her relentlessly about her needs and if she was able to walk, talk, skip, dance, sing, go to the bathroom by herself, tie her shoe... you get the point. Could she do all of this like normal kids.

Katie's response rocked my world.

"I don't know if she can do all of that. But I know that she is a child of God and she is WORTHY to have a family. She is WORTHY."

Yes, sweet Everly, you are so worthy. You are worthy of a family and love and a home, baby girl.

We don't know what needs she will have coming home. We know her special needs listed but we also know that she has probably endured more and her little eyes have seen more than we all have in a lifetime. We will have struggles and set backs. Good days and bad days. Bad days and even worse days. We are working so diligently on paperwork and getting things in order to send our dossier to Ch**a.

Happy Birthday, precious daughter. I hope someone tells you today that you are special and loved. I hope with all of my heart that someone hugs you tight. This will be the last birthday you will be alone. I promise next year that you will have a HUGE party with all of your family and friends present to celebrate what a treasure you are. We are working so hard to bring you home soon.
And Everly, above all you are worthy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

{Part One}

I want to tell you about Everly. I want to tell you how God moved in our family and in our life to prepare us for her. But I feel that I need to start at the beginning and be really transparent. I want to soak in and not forget one single detail of HER story but I feel that I need to scoot back. WAY back....

A year and a half ago I approached Shannon about adopting again. He was hesitant at first. Okay, he was really hesitant. He is a realist and I... well, I lead with my heart. I would have 6, 7, 8 kids if he gave me the "yes" every single time. And this time, it was a "no". But I knew in my heart that it was time. MY time. MY time to be a mom again. So I begged and cried. I acted like a brat. I exhausted him. He was still pushing back with that yucky word... "no". So after trying to do it MY way I laid it down. As my friend Heather says, "Lay it at the foot of the cross." And I did just that. I laid it down. It was soooo hard to put it there and not revisit it every. single. day. But I did it and survived to tell about it. Oy vey... I prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Just one more, God. Just let me be a mom one more time and I promise I won't ask again.

I began to come across the name Esther. Esther was everywhere I looked. Who knew that was my son's favorite book of the Bible? Who knew our vet techs name was Esther? It was in books, on the radio, TV... it was IN. MY. FACE.

On a random day, 9/11/13 to be exact, I was so sure in my heart I had found my Esther. Her Chinese name literally meant "Bright like a  star"... Esther means star. Esther, who was a pretty amazing woman in the Bible, was also adopted.

This particular girl was prissy, precious, a little older than I imagined my daughter to be, but none the less. I was sure.

A few days later, on a Thursday to be exact, Shannon came home and said that we needed to talk. Uh. Oh.

Our conversations went like this:

"So, are we going to do it again?"
Me:  Excuse me? What?
"Adopt. Are we going to adopt again? Because if we are

And at that point I was a hot mess. I mean HOT. Snot slinging, hugging, more snot, ugly cry. It was bad.

But I realized that this was not MY time. It was GOD's time. His time is so incredibly perfect.

Esther+husband that says yes= DAUGHTER!!!

So I began to pray. If this was God's plan for our family that he would open the doors. Esther wasn't agency specific. She didn't even have her paperwork done. And that if it wasn't His will he would close the door. Her paperwork, we would later find out would make it's way to Italy. This girl, who had just turned 9 on September 11th, the day I saw her face, was moving farther and farther away from us. Like really far. Italy far. Everything we tried to work out to bring her home just didn't fit. I cant explain it. It was more than really overcoming odds and trusting God to move mountains. It was suffocating, exhausting, and I felt we were running a race that we were waaaay off course for. And I was so right.

In the beginning of November I was looking at an agency website that has waiting kids from China. I like to torture myself, don't ya know. I came across this one particular girl that caught my eye. She reminded me soooo much of a friend's daughter. I knew I had seen her previously, actually not long after we came home with Sam. But we just weren't in a place to go there. She just looked SO familiar to me! So I see her on the website and it just got the best of me. I emailed the agency and asked for more information. I quickly got a reply back with her "file" (all of her medical and social information that Ch*&a provids to waiting families. I looked at it, called Shannon, and asked for more information called an update. I thought of her but just felt so... raw from what we went through a few months later that I was really afraid to go there. I didn't tell anyone about getting "Wanda's" file. No one. Not mom, not best friend of 25 years. No one. I just couldn't put anyone else back on this rollercoaster again. I was sure they were nauseous from the last ride. So, I kept it to myself.  We waited almost 5 weeks for an update. I would be lying if I said I checked my email like it was my job and my nerves were on edge. They just weren't. She was older, her needs were a little unclear and I was scared. So we waited on that email while fully engaging in life.

Then, LoveGave happened....

{to be continued...}