BIG LOVE BLOG- Our story of love and family


Friday, October 31, 2008


Check out this Little Hippie posing Diva! How hilarious!
Our little groovy chic got some wardrobe assistance from Grammy B. She tailored this little number to fit her perfectly!

Ready to OD on candy! Momma and Bianca are ready to rumble!!!! Peace Out!

How cute are these two? This is one of our friend's daughter with Bianca..She is soon to be a big sis from Ethiopia also!!!!

Here are 2 crazy ladies! My friend Michelle and myself...I was a rocker/hippie, and she was a scarecrow. Michelle is going to be an Ethiopia momma also!

Trick or Treat "In Action"

Family pic...Did I mention I am married to Brett Micheals from Poison...I don't like to brag about it, so I don't mention it much.

Monday, October 27, 2008


We love fall...And hats!!!!!

Okay so I have been tagged...Not once, not twice, but many many times...I usually ignore the tags, but now I am beginning to feel guilty for not responding so to all of you...First group, Cheri, Vonstroup's, and I think McMurray's..And yes ladies I know it has been many many moons, and now to my new friends Mindy, and Leah.
I feel I must respond. Laziness I guess has kept me from it, and I am not one to follow rules all of the time! ha

So here goes..I am sure it will be riveting!
1. When I told Eric there was nothing weird about me to report, it took him a moment to catch his breath from laughing so hard. ha ha..Here is one he IMMEDIATELY reminded me of:
I am deathly and irrationally afraid of alligators...Like I am worried one could eat me. Do not judge me. I cannot even stand to see them on TV. I freak out.
2. I now and have always talked out loud to myself throughout the day..all day. Never thought the least bit strange until I married Eric and he NEVER has done this...Second thought, he might the odd man out on this one. I have been caught several times talking to myself in my car when I look over and see another person in a neighboring vehicle staring. (now I have an excuse..Bianca!)
3. I am ALL IN or NOTHING....There is no gray area in life for me...With most everything. I am a total DIE HARD, or NO GO on most every major issue. I am extremely passionate and a bit of a dreamer.
4. I lived in Thailand for a summer while Eric was in chiropractic school... LOVED IT! A scooter for transportation, rode in tuk tuks, on elephants, lived among the monks on a monastery tour and hung on for dear life of the back of Thai taxi motorcycles-with little to no understanding of the language.
5. I have spent time in Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, & Morocco, living with locals in orphanages, AIDS havens, Refugee camps.
6. I used to be a shopping addict...I have made great progress in recovery over the past year, but still love a good day at the mall!
7. I am addicted to McAlister's Sweet Tea..I know it is bad. But, anyone who knows me most likely thinks that I have had a McAlister's Tea cup surgically attached to my hand. Every day...And If I am out of town I will find one!!!
*I could listen to the Rolling Stones 24/7...They never get old. Totally committed.
*I am a natural born to be hippy peace lover...It is just who I am.
*I have a tattoo of the omnipeace sign. I LOVE AFRICA
Oh, and as for the 7 I am supposed to TAG, I am NOT going to tag anyone but my friend Michelle...and only her because she is getting her blog up and running and this will get a bunch of people over to see it, and to support her family as they begin their Ethiopian adoption!
Peace & Love-Chantelle

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still #5...and other ramblings!

Well, I know it has been a few weeks since you have had an adoption update so here we go!!!
We have been on the wait list for a baby girl for over one month now. This does not seem like any time to me with all of the good stuff happening in life...DO NOT GET ME WRONG>>>>MOMMA IS READY!!!!!!! We are still #5 as far as I know...Not any movement right now on the wait list for girls..but I know that will change soon. So for now we are happy with good old #5! I am so so so looking toward the day we get to see the face of our little girl.
Some stuff has been happening in my mind lately. I have been challenged...beyond-way beyond my comfort zone. I have been learning about people who do some amazing stuff with life...And I am feeling like I am meant to do more. I am selfish by nature...for those of you who have known me for some time, you know I have had moments of selfishness to the extreme in my life. Bianca has changed a good deal of that, but I feel something once again rising up within me.
More...More...More is on my mind. What can I do MORE of to give back, to make a difference for people in live less for myself and more for what God is challenging within me.
These are all of my own thoughts, but this is a place to get honest, so I am. Does it mean that I need to take on more children this time around? Are we meant to adopt a sibling group, twins, one child, two children...still not sure.
We are beginnning an orphan ministry at our church, and it is going to be awesome. I am going to be as much a part of that as possible. Our church is also going to begin to really support local foster care...I had never considered what these kids go through in the system. It blows my mind. I met a woman at our church who is a foster mom and she is just inspiring. That is what I want more of. I want to surround myself with these people. I want to stretch myself, encourage and support others in adoption, in taking responsibility for children in need, to just STAND UP and STEP UP as a voice for these kids.
I have been meaning to blog about the non-profit we are creating. It is called Room For One More. Created by 3 adoptive moms who are committed to make a difference for orphans around the world. Room For One More was created to inform, counsel, educate, and assist families in funding adoption. We are also committed to inspiring others who may not see adoption in their future to step up and take action for children in need in other tangible ways. I will post more about it over the next few weeks. At this time we are working on the website, information packets, funding (gotta love it!) and just getting our focus. It has been in the works for over a year and just now we are seeing it really begin to take shape.
Life gets by so quickly, I do not want to be lazy and look back at how much I did not do...I want to look back and see what all God was able to use this simple chic to do to help make a difference.
Now let's get to some new Bianca pics. This chic knows how to enjoy life!

Looking totally indepedent in her little Uggs and jean skirt!

Bianca is obsessed with shoes...Typically mine...Heels especially!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Our great friends and surrogate family-The Stroup's, arrived back in the good old USA late last night with Baby Ella! We have all been waiting for her since just after Christmas last year and we are SOOOOO happy for our friends to have her home. We headed up to St. Louis to welcome them home.
Head over to their blog and read the great story about little Ella. She is the second VonStroup child from Guatemala. She has a bio brother from Guatemala who is 2!!! How AWESOME IS GOD????????????
This makes the Stroup group and family of 8! Keep 'em coming we say! We have affectionately named them the VonStroups! Baby Ella is 10 months old.
Here are a few pics.
Sarah (oldest sis), Shari (ultimate Momma), Our great friend Shelly (Also Room for One More Co-creator), and Me...All happy as clams!

Part of the VonStroup family....A few of the kiddos did not make it...Too late for them, but here are the rest of the happy fam.

Monday, October 6, 2008

HOME ONE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can hardly believe it, but Little Hot Stuff has been home for one year already! CRAZY!!!!!!! I have had the time of my life with her this year. So many moments- some of near insanity as I adapted to being a mom and left the "All about me and Loving it" stage of life....Then, so many many moments of pure joy just looking at her and thinking about how much I missed her when we were not together the first year of her life. I feel like I look at life so differently now. I maybe just have a hint of realization about how precious life is when we are able to be with the ones we love. I still look back at her in the car and am brought to tears thinking about how blessed I am to be the momma to this awesome child!
I am so thankful that her loving birth mom made the sacrifice to give Bianca a different life, and I know she must miss her so much. I hope someday we will get to meet her and Bianca will be able to know her if she so chooses. And I am also so thankful for Iris and Hugo, Bianca's foster parents and their great family. They took care of Bianca for almost the full first year of her life and they loved her so much. She will always know them.
I am thankful that we are a family that has really experienced God's love in our lives and we get be a part of that every day.
I love watching Eric be such an amazing dad, and I love seeing how Bianca loves him. I love watching my mom and dad, and Eric's mom with Bianca- and how her little life has changed them so much. She brings so much joy to so many people. It is wild to really capture in words. It blows my mind when I think about how much God has used a little child for so much good in such a short time.
I could never have imagined loving so big! Bianca has made all of our lives so full of laughter and love, and I am so thankful that God would allow us to be her parents. I am humbled by it almost every day. That is why educating people on adoption has become my mission along with caring for orphans. If people and families could only grasp just a little of what we have experienced by having Bianca in our lives, the choice to adopt would feel so different. It is a step of faith, yes, but it is just so much bigger than that. It is not in the least a sacrifice, but instead, the biggest gift I have ever received.
Take a look back at some of our favorite "homecoming" pics one year ago.

This is her last medical check photo we got right before we went to get her.

This is mommy Iris, Bianca's foster mom who loved her so big.

This is our last night all together. Bianca's foster family and us. Our night to celebrate this child. What a great time we had together!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Approved, Officially-The Wait, & The Excitement & Bianca!

Well, several things have happened since our last adoption update so here we go!!!
As you know we have been on the wait list for just a short time now. Since we have been on the wait list, the courts in Ethiopia have been closed...Pretty much from the beginning of August to Oct. 1...So, that means it is open once again. They live life a bit different than the good old "do it all in a day" USA!
When NOT in the middle of the adoption process I have to say that I really appreciate both Guatemala and Ethiopia closing public offices for longer periods of time...Ethiopia was closed for the rainy season...I like that idea. I like to close up shop when it rains also!
Outside of the courts being closed, we had to redo a few fairly simple documents and resubmit them. So, we should be back in action this week with all paperwork being up to date. We also went a few weeks ago to have our fingerprints done once again in STL. And just last week we were approved from the US government to adopt! Wahoo! I guess they think we are okay people!
It is amazing some of the stuff that has to be done to complete all paperwork!
So, we are on the wait list, approved by the US govt., the Ethiopian courts are open once again...AND THE BEST NEWS!!!!!
The director of our adoption agency (IAN) has just returned from Ethiopia with lots of kids to be referred!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Could our daughter be in this group???? I can hardly wrap my head around it!
They are currently not releasing any info until all of the physicals are completed on all of these precious little people. Once they are complete they have said they will be contacting families.
We are, as previously stated, #5 on the wait list for a little girl, so we COULD be part of the OH SO LUCKY group of parents that get their GREAT news soon!
And, if not, that means we are CLOSER than we were before!
We are just so happy and excited about this. And I cannot even imagine what this little girl will do to all of our lives.
I have just been so blown away lately at how big my life has been blessed and just knowing that our daughter is coming soon makes me feel even more humbled by how huge God is!
In the meantime, more Bianca pics!!!
She is still warming up to a new little sis! For now she is loving all of the attention and she is hilarious as ever.
The face says it all!

Last week she was in a sock phase and insisted on wearing one of Erics socks all day!

Is this hilarious or what? Bianca with her 2 cousins, Fisher & Klein and her Uncle Collin!