Nov 23, 2008

To follow our trip while we are Vietnam please use this link and save it to your favorites.

Thanks for following us to Vietnam!!!

Leaving as 2 coming back as 3

Here we go. Off to become mommy and daddy. What an adventure it has been. We are so excited we can hardly stand it. We only got about 2 hours of sleep last night and have a long two days ahead of us. Please keep us in your prayers!
We love you guys and cannot wait to be home with Ema!!

Nov 22, 2008

Packed and ready to go!

Well today is our last day in the US. I woke up this morning with a nervous stomach and couldn't go back to sleep so I decided to get up and blog. I still have lots of things to do...teach my parents how to use the web cam, go to Wal-Mart to get the most important item.....SNACKS, go visit my grandmother, finish cleaning up my house,etc,etc,etc. I cannot imagine what the next two days have in store. On top of being extremely jet lagged, Kirk and I are about to become a mommy and daddy to Ema. Can you believe it? I am surprisingly calm about it. Don't get me wrong, I am excited but I am not busting at the seams yet. I guess that will come Monday night at 10:30 PM when we finally land in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Nov 20, 2008

Time fly's when you are having fun

I have never been one that likes change. Kirk and I are very routine people. We get up at the same time every morning, we do the same thing every morning, we carpool to work. After dropping Kirk off, I go to work and begin my routine. Later, I pick Kirk up we then go home change clothes and head for the gym. Kirk lifts weights while I run. Once finished, we come home, eat, clean up the kitchen and then it is time to go to bed and start over the next day. For 5 years, this has been our routine in a nut shell. Today, all of this changed. I handed over my calendar that I have kept up all of my patient information on to a fellow nurse (Shawns) that will be taking my place. She has been riding with me for the past few months and has been getting to know all of my patients. Today she took me to lunch to bid me farewell. While I am very thankful that I am getting a break from my job and will be soon meeting Ema, but for me it was a sad day. (Yes I cried)
So what is next? Kirk and I will be finishing up all the important things for our trip tomorrow: hair cuts, manicures, last runs.....oh and PACKING! Kirk and I have been dreading packing. We have the suitcases down but that is it. Tomorrow night should be fun. Our family is celebrating Thanksgiving and we will be watching our last Memphis game for a while.

Nov 18, 2008

The Visa's have arrived

Finally our Visa's arrived! We can now legally travel to Vietnam to pick up Ema. It is getting closer and closer everyday! It almost seems like a dream. I cannot believe that in a few days I will be meeting the child that I have long awaited to meet! I cannot wait to see Kirk with her and watch how she quickly becomes a Daddy's girl.

Nov 14, 2008

Packing for Ema

Nov 12, 2008

Labor Pains and Excitement

We are finally wrapping up the last minute things in order for us to be able to hop on a plane and head for Vietnam! We have Ema packed, but after tallking with some friends about their trip to Vietnam to pick up their beautiful baby girl Maria,we are sure that we packed way to many clothes and will need to take a few things out. We put up the Christmas tree and all of the other Christmas decorations this weekend. We thought it was better to do it now than to have to do it once we are home. Kirk and I got our shots done yesterday. (that is the labor pains) I know, I know, yes I am a nurse and yes I HATE shots. We got a tetnus shot (ouch), a thyphoid fever shot(ouch) and a Hepatitis A shot(ouch)!! Our arms are killing us today. Oh well, little Ema is worth all the pain. We bought Ema Magna Doodle yesterday to help occupy her on the plane and Aunt Amy gave Ema a bunch of movies for her to watch. Ema is ready and as for Kirk and I, all we have left to do is to run 1 more half marathon on Sunday (Kirk and I will be road warriors)and pack ourselves. I cannot believe that the time is here for us to finally meet Ema! I cannot imagine what that day is going to be like.

Nov 6, 2008

A look back ...

As I look back it is hard to believe that we have been working on our adoption since May 2006. I would like to take a brief look back at this amazing journey that led us to where we are today. I remember the struggle I went through when deciding to adopt. I thought of it as me giving up a little of my independence due to the fact that we were adopting because I had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It took many tears and much prayer before I allowed the Lord to reveal to me that this was HIS plan. MS was His plan, adopting was His plan and HE is in control. I struggled with this for a while but I found that trying to understand where my life was going was too complicated and that it would just be better if I sat back and enjoyed the ride. After I allowed the Lord to take control, this is where Ema came into the picture. I want you to realize that Kirk and I fell in love with this child way back in May of 2006, before we ever had her picture, before we had been blessed to see her face....from the very beginning. I remember when we chose her name. Kirk and I had been to Memphis and we had been talking about what we would name our first child. I had always wanted to use Emily because that is my grandmother's name and she and my grandad adopted my mom. They are the "cornerstone" of my family and I have always been very close to them. Kirk's full name is Lee Kirkland and we decided to use Li after him. This is how we came up with Ema Li Richardson. Being the excited parents that we are we began getting her nursery ready right away. Her room has been our safehaven through it all. Many times Kirk and I would go in her room only to imagine a baby being in the bed. Many times especially in the trying times before the September 1 deadline, I would go in her room and get on my knees and pray for her, for guidance, and for Kirk and me to have patience. Well, here we are two years and 5 months later, and we got the best news of our lives today. Today we were told that we are to be in Vietnam on November 25th. That's right, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Vietnam with the newest member of our family... Ema Li Richardson

Oct 28, 2008

Our trip to Nashville

This weekend we made our final trip to Nashville to have ANOTHER document (I-171H to be exact) state certified. We were told that other couples were having to have theirs certified and that it wasn't clear if we needed to or not, so being the overly prepared, overly anxious, don't want anything to stand in our way of meeting Ema Li soon, kind of couple, we went to Nashville one last time. Kirk and I love Nashville and always jump at the idea of staying the weekend there. We went shopping on Sunday to get Ema some winter clothes. The poor child has got a closet full of summer clothes but no winter clothes. While it may feel like summer all year long in Vietnam, it is already freezing here in Tennessee. Kirk is so excited about Ema and our upcoming trip. He is so excited that all day we shopped and shopped and shopped and he never batted an eye while swiping that debit card. He was so cute, such a proud daddy! He would hold up a little dress and say "this is cute I think Ema needs this." It didn't work for me while in Ann Taylor when I would say.. isn't this cute, I think Emily needs this. I can already tell that she is going to be a daddy's girl. Kate,if you are reading this go ahead and start on a boy for us so I will have someone :)
I posted some pictures of Ema's clothes. (that is Kirk in the background, passed out from shock)

Oct 22, 2008

Nervous Jitters!

Well if you are reading my "family blog" you will know that I think I got food poisoning from a restaurant that I ate at on Friday night. I have been really sick and I am STILL recovering. Well, today I was trying to figure out what is wrong with my stomach because I have always thought that food poisoning reared it's ugly head then left. I began thinking, what could be wrong? Nerves! That could be some of the problem. I am about to be traveling to VIETNAM! Oh my gosh.... VIETNAM. Kirk and I are about to leave our life here for a little while and travel 23 hours on a plane to a place where VERY FEW people speak our language to finally meet Ema. I have known for a long time that this was going to happen eventually but I guess I had gotten into the habit of when someone asked "Have you gotten the baby yet?" saying "No, we are still waiting." Now I am saying actually Yes we should be leaving any day! OH MY GOSH! We will be leaving any day to finally meet Ema! The most scary part is she is 17 months old. We are skipping the part where they eat, sleep, cry, and poop. We are going straight to the active having to be entertained part. Kinda scary! Exciting scary! I am sure that all new mom's get the feeling of, what am I doing, can I do this, can I be a mom? I know that God be with us every step of the way and I know that my mother better be by a computer so that I can communicate with her for advise! Well, our next step is packing our bags, can you believe it, we are FINALLY packing our bags!

Oct 21, 2008

And just like that....

And just like that we were approved to travel to the far away land of Vietnam.
I know to you guys it seems like we are never going to get this baby. But I am here to tell you that this morning (or last night in Vietnam time) God showed us how he is working. We got our approval to travel. What does that mean you ask? That means that the US Embassy in Vietnam has approved us to travel to their country. Your next question is ...when do you go? We did not get a travel date. This comes next. The email that we got was forwarded to Henry. (He lives in Vietnam and is responsible for making things happen for us) We are so encouraged to see that things are at least moving and we hope that you are too. We want to thank each and every one of you for all of your prayers and kind words. You will never know how much it means to us! Keep checking the blog for a travel date!

Kirk and Emily

Oct 18, 2008

Trials in our life...

Well all of you who know me well, patience has never been one of my best qualities. I usually get something on my mind and I run with it. Kirk and I are patiently awaiting our email to let us know when we can come and get Ema. Well I am patiently awaiting Kirk on the other had is NOT. When we found out that Ema was defantly ours, Kirk and I picked a date to see who could get the closest.I chose October 15th and Kirk chose October 31st. Tuesday night (October 15th in Vietnam) I had to go see a patient and had to leave my husband at home alone without supervision with the computer. He decides that it may speed things a long if he EMAILS Vietnam. Well, it was late when I got home and he obviously forgot to tell me that he had done this. Wednesday morning (October 15th in USA), I get up and start my daily routine. I checked my email to see if my prediction was right and there it was an email from HCM adoption. I know my eyes were the size of dinner plates. I just sat there on the couch, shaking in disbelief because my prediction had come true. I clicked on the email and it was a response to Kirks email. I literally could have choked him. I was SO disappointed. Oh well, it will happen in God's time. I know there is a reason for this long wait. It just is not our turn yet and God has the most perfect time planned just for us.

Aug 30, 2008

Welcoming Ema Home

Well the day has come to prepare for Ema. What a life changing ride this has been for us. Have any of you waited 2 years + for something and had to stay excited about it the entire time? That is basically what we just did in a nut shell. Looking back, I can see how God had his hands in it, especially in the end. I pray EVERYDAY that I never forget 2 weeks ago. I want to remember everything that happened! I am still in awe over it all. I know without a doubt that this has brought us closer to God and we cannot wait to tell her about all the many blessings we received while waiting for her. I feel like I should shout it from the mountaintop I am so greatful to GOD. We cannot thank EVERYONE enough for all of the prayers, encouraging emails, cards, text messages, etc. I have them all saved and will be putting them in her baby book. We are blessed to have such a great family and friends. We love you all and hope that you will all gather at the airport when we get home with Ema. Keep checking the blog for our travel date!!

Kirk and Emily

Aug 21, 2008

Our day has finally come....

One of my favorite songs to sing is "To God be the Glory great things he hath done". You know the rest. God has done many great things in our lives but tonight he has blessed us in the most special way. We received our phone call/email tonight. All we can do is glorify God for this blessing. We know that so many of you have been praying for us and Kirk and I would like to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. We are SO blessed to have such special people surrounding us. I would like to share with everyone how God has blessed me this entire week. Last Friday I had a pretty bad day. I thought about Ema all day and just felt like it was never going to happen. I doubted the adoption and if it was God's will for us, I struggle with the thought that Kirk and I were not meant to have children, I felt that God was punishing us, etc, etc, etc. Sunday, I went to church and was able to LET GO. You know the saying let go and let GOD, well that is what I did. I had peace that I cannot explain come over me. I wrote down scriptures for Kirk and I and we put them on our desk, I put them in my car, and I read them over and over and over again. Throughout the week I would listen to K-Love and the encouraging word on Monday was from Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." I wrote this down and I repeated it out loud all day. A lady spoke on the radio about praying and how she had prayed for many years about a particular thing and after 14 years her prayer was answered. She said…I know that there is someone out there that is praying for something and I would like to say…. keep praying! Don’t give up, God is faithful. I just smiled, thanked God and called Kirk and shared it with him. Tuesday's encouraging word was from Luke 18:27 "What is impossible for people is possible with God." Call me crazy if you want but I really felt like God was speaking directly to me. I pondered on these verses over and over again just praying out loud and telling God why I believe them. I repeated Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Today as I was praying about this scripture it occurred to me that we had already received Ema. We had been blessed with pictures of her not one time but two times. We had received a video of her and all of these were blessings from God. God had already given us Ema we just had to be patient and wait for him to open those doors and give us that email. Well that day has come and Kirk and I are giving all the credit to the LORD.
”Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1” We can NEVER thank all of you enough. We believe that it was your prayers that God heard and we are truly grateful for each and every one of you. Please continue to pray as we prepare to bring baby Ema home. She is such a blessing to us already we cannot imagine what it will be like once we hold her in our arms!

Kirk and Emily

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:8” (This was today’s encouraging word…how true is this?)

Aug 10, 2008

New Outlook:

As all of you know, we are having a really hard time waiting on the email that needs to be sent before September 1st. It seems like it is never going to happen. Well today, I have had a change of attitude. Kirk and I watched Joel Osteen today and like always he didn't step on my toes he STOMPED on them. The title of his message was "Your closer then you think". Wow, what an eye opener. He spoke about how when times are rough and seem like they are never going to get better, this is when GOD has something big in store for you. As Kirk and I watched this we both could not help but think of the adoption. We know that this is our child. We know that she is the one that GOD has chosen for us. If he chose her for us why would he not allow us to get her. We are expecting the email. We have faith that this troubling time is going to pass and we know that once she is placed in our arms that we will not remember any of this. He spoke of the labor pains of a pregnant lady. Troubling times are the labor pains and you have to push through them. We have to push through, not because we have spent our life savings plus some on this child (just kidding) but because Ema needs us and we need her. I have said since the day I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, giving up is not an option and that applies to this situation as well. Please...everyone who is reading this... CONTINUE to pray with us. We are praying and EXPECTING that whatever obstacles are in the way of us getting her will be wiped away and that we will be united with her SOON. I don't have Philippians 4:13 posted all over my house for nothing. I can do ALL things through CHRIST who GIVES ME STRENGTH! We believe that he is total control and that he will allow us to get the email soon!

Aug 6, 2008

Prayer Request :

I wish I were posting this to tell you that we got our email that we have been waiting for. I am posting asking that everyone PRAY! We have only a few weeks until the dreaded September 1st is here and we are anxiously waiting for that email to come. For all of you who are reading who have a child of your own...please hug them and tell them you love them for me. I would do anything at this moment to be able to hug Ema. My heart is literally tired of loving her so much and not being able to get that feeling you get when a child loves you back. The emotional roller coaster that Kirk and I are riding on is horrible. Some days we are so positive about this and feel that it is going to be any day that we hear something and some days we are at rock bottom and feel that we are doing something wrong and this wait has to be our punishment or something. I thought that running everyday would help a little, and don't get me wrong, it is but I still cannot function some days without thinking of her every moment. Today has been one of those days. Please pray with us and ask that the email will come and that we will be united with Ema soon. Pray that God is preparing her for us and that we will be able to bring her home soon.

Jul 17, 2008

New Pictures !!

Breaking News!!

That's right MORE pictures !! I know what everyone is thinking....have you heard anything? Nope, not yet. Still waiting....the story of our lives! Right now it is 11:51 AM (11:51 PM our time) in Vietnam and it has offically been 3 months since they found out that we want the beautiful baby girl in these pictures. I know you are wondering what I am doing up at this hour typing on this blog. Well. I am so excited to get these pictures out to everyone I can't sleep. (and the Nyte Quil has not quite kicked in yet) We are still praying for that email to give us a date. I will keep you posted! For now enjoy the pictures!!

Jul 14, 2008

My personal goal

Every now and then I try to set a goal for myself just to see if I have the discipline to stick to it. One day while running in the neighborhood, I was thinking about how long this adoption thing was taking. I decided that I need something to make the time go by faster, some kind of distraction. I decided that I will try to run a 5K (3.1 miles) every day until I get Ema. If I miss a day I have to make it up. Sounds like a lot of fun doesn't it. Well, if you know me at all, you know that I am very determined and will do whatever I have to do to complete my personal goal. So far I am doing great. Hopefully it will not be long....

To see how I am doing so far check out "My Running Calendar"

Jul 9, 2008

Still Waiting.....

When we received your beautiful picture, we were told that it would probably be 3-5 months before we heard anything regarding a travel date. Well, 3 months will be next week (July 15th to be exact). Not that we are counting or anything. Since we have seen your picture, the emotional roller coaster has been quite a ride. Staying excited for this long is EXHAUSTING but I believe that GOD has something very special in store for us.

Some exciting things that have happened since my last post...
We have become friends with a couple that has a baby girl from your orphanage. We hope to stay in touch with them and maybe even visit them once we are home and settled. I would love for you girls to grow up knowing each other.
We finally got your room completed and just the way we want it. It is beautiful! We go in it often and just dream of you in the baby bed or playing with some of your toys.

Camille came to visit last week and she is so excited about you. She wants to be called Aunt Camille. I am sure you will look up to her as you grow up. She's a pretty amazing kid in our book! (love ya Camille)

We have so many people praying for you and for this adoption to speed up. We are so anxious to see you. We were talking last night that we can almost see you running around our living room. We love you so much and cannot wait to see you!


Jun 11, 2008

A Video of Ema Li (click here)

This video was taken by a family that has just traveled to Vietnam to get their adorable baby girl and are now back home. We were able to contact them to get helpful information about traveling to Vietnam. They had actually taken some pictures of Ema and posted this video to help us with the long wait. Patience is not one of our best traits, but we are trusting in God that he will make time go by fast and that we will be united with Ema soon.

Jun 5, 2008


Today you are 1 year old! Happy Birthday baby girl!! We cannot stand not being able to see you on this special day. We pray everyday that the Lord allows us to travel soon. This wait is absolute torture!

Daddy's work had a surprise birthday party for you today and you got lots of toys, money for your savings account, and a pretty little dress. They had pizza and cake. Ema just a little longer and we will be there to get you. We can't wait!

We love you and hope you had an awesome birthday!
Mommy and Daddy

May 14, 2008

As I sit here wondering when I am going to be able to meet you, I cannot help but smile. I look at your picture and I cannot believe you are the child the Lord picked for me. You are the most BEAUTIFUL child I have ever seen. I am so blessed to have you. I pray for you everyday. I pray for your safety and for your health. I pray for the ladies that are taking care of you in the orphanage, and I pray that the Lord protects you comforts you everyday until your dad and I are able to get you. Ema, the love that I have for you in my heart is indescribable. It gives me chills just thinking about it. I cannot wait to watch you grow and to see what the Lord has planned for you. I am so happy that his plan for me and your dad was to adopt a baby. I cannot imagine a more perfect plan. Just a little longer Ema and I will be there to get you and I promise that I will always love you no matter what. I hope it won't be long until I am able to see your beautiful face and your sweet smile.