Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inbox Love

This little homey showed up in my inbox today. I needed it. I really needed to see him today - and then there he was.

And man - I LOVE this picture. I love that his family photos are stuck on the wall behind him. He's done some nice decorating at his "crib." Well done Z, well done...

That shirt he is rocking is one we dropped off as a donation while we were there for court. kinda cool to see him wearing something we bought.

FYI Zechie - mommy did some online shopping this week and a bunch of new little clothes showed up here today... BOY'S CLOTHES! All they need is you now dude... and we're working on it. Trust me... we're working on it.

There is SO MUCH love in this house for you already Z...

We're counting the days!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Late Night Welcome

Today was one of those days where I was outta the house early and then our schedules missed each other all day so I was on the verge of not getting to see the girls...

When I called Laura after bible study - she said they were still up - and this is what i got to come home to!

She knows just what to do to make me bust out laughing - no matter what kind of day I have had!

Thanks Meron for the hugs and the smiles and the all-around goofiness!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Meronism: WAY Too Long

A "Meronism" is simply something that comes flying out of Meron's mouth and cracks us up or is deep and profound. I usually share them on Facebook but lately they have been coming at a furious pace so I decided I needed to capture a few of them here. The girl is just funny without even trying to be...

Tonight at the dinner table we asked her:

"Hey Meron - when you get older and want to have kids, are you gonna adopt?"
With ZERO hesitation she screamed:

She was SO emphatic about it too. So we had to ask...
"Wait... why not?"
She was quick to answer:

She makes a pretty solid point though. Tough to argue with that...

Somebody wants her brother home BADLY and this slight delay is kinda shaping her worldview a bit...

Hang in there Meron - he's coming!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Full Circle

Six years ago... in a room in the back of the house - this was going on...

and a whole lot of this was happening...

and eventually these awesome RACING STRIPES adorned the walls of our son's bedroom. All that was left to add was him!

But then Brighton passed away. For reasons i will never fully grasp this side of heaven, his Heavenly Father decided to bring him home at 76 days.

And that room went from an overwhelming spot of joy to a place that was super hard to go in. Or even walk by. Or really even just think about.

Bu then God - in His infinite grace, compassion and faith - gave us this little girl named Meron. Her name literally means "gift from God." And she was.

So we had work to do.

We couldn't bring ourselves to paint over Brighton's room. So we added a few of these to the racing stripe...

Threw a splash of pink here and there...

And ended up with a pretty comfy, cozy room for our little girl to call her own.

But it was never just her own. From Day 1 Brighton's picture adorned her wall - watching over his sister. We've had MANY a late night chat about Brighton and who he is and how big his young life was.

The top drawer to her dresser held all of Brighton's clothes and she never, ever not one time put up a fuss over that. Rather - she embraced it. She loved it. And she loves him.

In May of this year - off of the INCREDIBLE gift from some incredible friends - Meron moved in to sharing a room with Mebbie.

The plan was for us to start getting her old room ready for Zechariah. But some things are easier said than done. Things like transitioning a room that was originally for your son who is now in heaven into a new, inviting room for your next son. That's hard.

And when you allow yourself to almost daily feel the full weight of what God was up to with Brighton - that becomes extraordinarily hard.

But today - while I was out - Laura put in some work. Some really, really hard work. She pulled all of the pink outta that room.

The racing stripe was back!

Pink was all gone. The room was super cleaned and ready for it's new little person.

Save for the watchful eye of Brighton's picture on the wall - it looked just like it did when we had it ready for Brighton to fill it up.

And I can't explain this - but I can look right in Laura's eyes and see she gets it... this is painful and joyful at the same time. It's that crazy thing God did to our hearts with Brighton - that we never, ever stop hurting about. But at the same time - we are overwhelmed with the prospect of the future for this room

Tonight we all gathered in there - held hands, cried and prayed over the room. We thanked God for his incredible faithfulness - his acknowledgement of our desire for a son - and for His compassion and kindness. We prayed for Zechariah - his health, his homecoming... but mostly we thanked God for the last 6 years. Hard as they have been - I am pretty sure we wouldn't trade 'em for anything.

Zechariah - your room is ready buddy!

Ya got two sisters ready, willing and able to rock you, hug you, love on you and probably dress you like a princess. And here's a tip buddy - if the princess dressing gets outta hand - reach for that top drawer... it's still filled with all of Brighton's clothes.

And will be forever.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tell All Face

Maybe it's cuz I know her so well - and I have grown to know her heart so well too... but I feel like you can just see how big and beautiful and awesome and loving and caring and passionate her heart is just by looking at her.

Call me crazy - but her face tells it all...

Love you Mebbie girl!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Sometimes... I simply cannot believe she is about to be 6.

Stay young girl.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

And It Was Good!

I absolutely love this picture. This is Meron and Mebbie digging in to the prototype of my first children's book. Seriously - Meron almost has the whole thing memorized... all 40 pages!

Over the last year (or more) I have been working this thing out. I got to work with an amazingly talented young artist who totally captured what i was looking for with my rhymes (yeah - it's in heroic couplets... what else would it be?!?!)...

Right now I am:

  • finalizing the layout for print
  • submitting for copyright protection
  • locking down the first run budget
  • searching out vendors to help with some of the other cool pieces to it
  • setting up and prepping for a Kickstarter campaign
  • thinking ahead about the next book
Man - i may be partial - but this is one of the most fun and creative things I have ever had my hands in. I really love it and believe in it. I simply cannot wait to launch the Kickstarter so we can share just how cool it is... and the Kickstarter campaign will have some real cool rewards too (if you're familiar with how Kickstarter works)...

The publishing industry is CRAZY. Seriously... CRAZY. But we really believe this book needs to see the light of day.

So stay tuned for more info - we'll need all the support we can get as we try to tackle this thing indie style.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Milestone: 2,000

Wow. I just pressed "publish" on my two-thousandth blog post. That's just nutty.

I remember back when I posted #1: China Dossier Done. It seems like forever ago but I clearly recall telling Laura:

"I am not gonna get all caught up in this blogging thing that these adopting families do..."
Ha ha ha. Uh... can someone help me unlodge my foot from the back of my throat?

Then I remember celebrating our 500th post - just a little over a year after Meron got home. And we just haven't stopped...

Somehow... some way... i have managed to post EVERY SINGLE DAY since Meron came home. Some posts have been better than others - but one thing I have tried to do is remain true to the theme - it's about the family - I have tried to keep the girls in almost every post...

Am I ready to call it quits? I don't think so. I have considered tossing in the towel many a time - but I think I got more to say, more pictures to share and more love to try and spread.

And plus - we just end up with the coolest family album ever.

Big thanks to everybody who follows along on the journey and says "hello" every now and then. That's encouraging...

Here's to 2,000 more!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hoffman Sandwich

Praying quite a bit for this little guy tonight...

Praying for:

  • his safety
  • his spirit
  • his health
  • his happiness
  • for him to be used by God right where he is right now
  • for him to know he has a family that is waiting for him
But ya know what were praying the hardest for? For him to come home quickly so we can build us a little Hoffman Sandwich!

We love you Z!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Honor and Respect

Honor your parents. Respect them too. Big things. SUPER big things to God - big enough that He scattered His thoughts on it throughout His word.

But if I was being completely honest - and transparent (and vulnerable and open and fragile...) - then I'd say I struggle with this.

What did God mean?

  • At any cost?
  • No matter what?
  • Regardless of ________________ (fill in the blank)?
Trust me - it's high on the list of things I wanna ask Him over lunch when I get there - right up there with "Why did you make the Red Sox?" and "Talk to me about traffic..." and "Seriously, was humidity necessary?"

And as a parent - like probably all of us - I wonder about this. Will my kids honor and respect me in their lives? Being the pragmatic type of guy I am - I went to the definition of "HONOR" to start with. The noun was defined as this:

Okay - this was starting to make a bit of sense to my admittedly slow brain. So - for me to expect my children to honor and respect me with their lives - I should probably - at bare minimum - display some of these traits that define the word "honor." Right?

But what if I don't? What then? What if I treat their mother disrespectfully in front of them? What if I never show compassion or love to them or their mother? What if - one day after school - they came home to find me gone - forever casting doubt on all the days before and everything I had said or done up to that point? Am I still deemed worthy of honor and respect?

Or - what about their mother? Let's say Laura just decided to never practice patience or tenderness with the girls? What if she chose to use words that were hurtful, malicious and stinging? What if she was mean-spirited most of the time and focused on herself? Would she still be able to cash in an "honor voucher" with her children?

Or - worst yet - what if I made really poor ethical choices in my job, with our family's money and with my life in general? What if I chose to not focus on Jesus - to not make Him a priority in my household - to pay Him lip service when it seemed like it would benefit me? What if I cared nothing about morals and CHOSE to toss them to the wayside in favor of outcomes that favored self? Or - perhaps the worst example I could possibly set for them - what if I chose to degrade God, to cast doubt on His existence, to mock Him and blaspheme Him and to make fun of those who followed Him? Would my girls still be expected to honor me? Would they even be able to? Would honor even be possible for me anymore?

See... I told you. VULNERABLE here people.

So - I looked up the verb definition of this word "HONOR" to see what was expected of me. It's pretty straight forward. It states:
1a : to regard or treat with honor
1b : to give special recognition to : to confer honor on
Well all righty then... to pull off this action verb would mean i would have to be bestowing upon somebody the traits listed in the noun definition of the word. And if myself, or Laura or whomever has not displayed those traits - I think it's kinda fair to say it's not even possible for my child to pull off this task...

And at this point my brain blew up. Or it wanted to at least.

I won't even pretend to know or understand what God was looking for when those words of His were placed in the bible. But I will claim this:
  • our decisions and choices we make matter
  • taming our tongues - the words we use - they do matter
  • LOVE matters
  • how we live our life - that matters
Ultimately - I think the best measuring stick of honor for us from our girls will be how they end up living their lives. They can honor us and respect us as parents by living a life that honors and respects God as their Father and Creator.

Girls - your earthly daddy is a fast-moving trainwreck. But trust me - i think about this stuff!

My prayer tonight God - is simple - help me to live a life of example (and honor) for our kids that would in turn allow them to turn around and live one for theirs.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Her "BooBoo"

His name is Clay Bear. Officially it is "Captain Clayton Baker Hoffman."

But this girl calls him "BooBoo." And she adores the living daylights out of him. And sometimes you can swap the word "annoy" for "adore" in that sentence above.

But one thing is for sure... she LOVES him.

I love that she has a deep-rooted love for dogs. She's definitely a Hoffman...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just One Bean Please...

There once was a young girl named Meron,
For baked beans she just wasn't carin'.

We thought it'd be fun,
To make her eat one.
Cuz we try not to be overbearin'!

She came to the table with haste,
To give that one bean a big taste.

When that bean hit her lips,
She did almost flip!
We gave her no more. We don't waste.

Meron - you're a good sport girl! Thanks for trying just one!

Now we know...

Friday, July 19, 2013

There's That Noise I Love!

All 3 of my girls are back home. And the house is filled with the craziness and noise that I have come to love.

Seriously - WAY too quiet with 'em all gone.

As I type this two little girls are wiped out in their bean bags - scared to sleep in their rooms because of the storm. And one big girl is wiped out in bed - tired from driving all the way home.

And me? I'm just smiling. Happy to have my family all back home!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


So... I asked for a smile. And this is what I got...

Seriously missing this trio of goofballs right now. One more day!

Sidenote: I seriously cannot stop laughing at Meron's face. She is nuts...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Missing 'Em - Part II

Got to talk to all three of my girls on the phone this morning - and that just made me miss 'em worse! This house is too quiet with just me and a 13 year old Golden Retriever.

Ansley's text messages keep me smiling though!

Hope ya had fun today girls - Clay Bear (and daddy) misses ya!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Missing 'Em

I was missing my girls something bad tonight... then i ran across this picture that my niece Ansley had texted me...

It filled the gap nicely!

Counting down the days til you're back guys!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Going Back to Granny's, Granny's, Granny's...

The girls are PRETTY PUMPED about leaving tomorrow with mommy to go visit Granny and PaPa. When I walked in the door from work they grabbed me and pulled me up the steps to show me their already packed suitcases.

I don't get to go. I am bummed. Pretty sure they ain't gonna miss me though...

They'd start walking tonight if we'd let them.

Look out Granny and PaPa - the girls are coming!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

fAnTASTiK Time!

Laura had the girls jump right back in to some of their writing exercises and she asked them to write out something about the time she was gone.

Sidenote: Meron is so exhausted here - even her smile is sleepy...

I'll never, ever get rid of the one Meron wrote. It said:

"i had u fantastik time with Dad! ♥ DAD!"
I love that her spelling of "daddy" is "dad" but pronounced "dah" and then just "d" like how the letter itself is pronounced - so that's how she spells it.

Meron - daddy had a MOST fantastic time with you too - thanks for all of your help!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gorillas, Goats and New Friends

The girls have been begging to go the zoo as a whole family - they wanted me to go since mommy gets to take them a lot...

So what better to do today than to head that way. The weather was good (not too hot, a slight drizzle that actually felt cool) and the crowds were nonexistent!

The girls got some front row viewing of all kinds of good stuff...

Like this crazy silverback gorilla!

And this awesomely dope goat that Meron befriended - and I couldn't stop giggling at (like any true Adam Sandler fan would)...

Not to be outdone - Mebbie won over the friendship of a goat too with an awesome back rub...

Next - we spun around on a carousel for a few minutes... and then ate snacks!

On the way out we heard a:

"Hey! Excuse me!"
I spun around expecting to find something Meron had dropped cuz... well... Meron drops stuff.

Instead we found a smiling woman and her son and she said:
"I read your blog! And you are Meron and Mebrate!"
Already scoring points by pronouncing their names right! What?!?!

So we got to chat with her for a few minutes about mutual friends, blogs, adoption, etc. We absolutely love bumping in to people who have read the blog or heard of Brighton Their World or something. In theory - it could be really weird - but in reality - it never is. Instead it is ALWAYS a big huge confirmation from God that our family mission is on the right path (we pray about that pretty much daily)!

Melanie - it was GREAT to meet you! Thanks for putting an exclamation point on the tale end of our zoo trip today!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Acting Up!

We're part of a cool group of adoption advocates and folks who just generally care about and wanna be part of caring for orphans, widows and supporting families in the adoption process. Love these families that make up the A.C.T. 24:12 crew!

The girls love them all too and they ALWAYS have a great time when we get together with these guys...

Maybe a little TOO great of a time!

Thanks guys for encouraging and inspiring us!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dress Up!

Last week Aunt Stacy blessed these girls by busting out their cousin Ansley's big ole tub of old dance costumes and outfits! They were PUMPED!

I loved sitting back and just watching them jump into an outfit, prance around and then take 'em off as quickly as they put them on so they could get the next outfit on.

Stacy - thanks for what was a seemingly simple thing that brought a butt-load of fun to these girls!