adoption update 5.0 – MATCHED!

On the 15th of October, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of our adoption journey came and went. I posted a “Timehop” screenshot of the status I shared five years ago when we had our initial meeting with a local agency to start the process, along with a note saying I never ever would have imagined that five years later we would still be waiting to adopt. The next day, our agency called with our match from Haiti. WHAT.

We’ve been waiting for that phone call for 26 months, and for the past eight months we’ve had a foster child in our home, so we’ve been distracted from the wait a bit. We’d almost, almost given up on our dream to bring a child home from Haiti. Paperwork necessary for adopting reached their expiry dates. Haiti was plagued with strikes in their government and judicial branches.

Then on the rainy evening of October 16, the call came. “You’re matched!” It’s a boy. He’s almost five years old. He was born just weeks after we decided to pursue adopting (not from Haiti, initially, if you’ve been around long enough to remember the beginning of this crazy adventure!). He’s in one of the most wonderful places a kid in his situation can be. (Huge answer to my deepest prayers: I’ve asked God this whole time that wherever our next child was, that he or she would be safe, loved, fed, and well cared for. He is! and has been for his whole little life.)

We are now in the midst of the flurry of paperwork and invoices for payments (thanks to our generous friends and family and savings, we are able to make the next payment right away) and figuring out childcare for our three plus one to coincide with travel dates to go meet him in Haiti.

THANK YOU, Jesus. We are so excited and grateful to finally know a new, tiny sliver of this story He is writing. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us through to this point. Thank you for partnering with us financially. We would not be here without all the help and love and gifts you’ve given. We still need about $10,000 to bring this kiddo home, and the court process in Haiti takes anywhere from 10-20 months or so from when we meet him. So your prayers and partnership in this endeavor are still so needed! Let’s rejoice together at what God is doing! We can’t wait to go to Haiti and meet this little man soon.


  • What’s his name?
    We can’t share this online until he’s a Puelston. But we can tell you in person and show you his picture, and we’d be very happy to do that!
  • How old is he?
    He’s almost five years old.
  • Why don’t you get to bring him home right away?
    The court process in Haiti doesn’t start until we go down to meet him. That process can take anywhere from 10-20 months, depending on many factors. Haiti is a mystifying country – sometimes you just have to chalk delays and strange things up to “it’s Haiti”!
  • How long will you be in Haiti when you go to meet him?
    We get to stay in Haiti for two weeks, required by Haitian adoption law. We will stay at a guest house near the orphanage (creche, in French), and have time to play with and get to know him each day.
  • Feel free to ask other questions and if we are able to answer them we will!




When my kids’ say something sweet or cute, I try to jot it down on my phone instantly. I keep a running note with these little sound bytes and then a few months later, like to record them all here. I’ve got quite the collection now, so it must be time to dump them out and save them. 🙂



This morning I thanked Jackson for being so helpful. He looked thoughtful and then said, “Having three children is hard. And we’re going to have FOUR and that will be even harder. I like to help.”

“Can I vacuum for you, Mom?” Um, let me think about it, okay. 🙂

Kyle was painting the swingset this summer, and the neighbor girl asked: “Can your dad do that (paint)? Jack said: My dad can do everything! Anything!

Taylor, aka The Princess of Sass

Crunes = prunes.

As she looked at herself in the mirror: “Ta-da!!!”

In the car while driving to the North Shore: “How much longer?” Half an hour. “I don’t yike half an hour!”

“Why does daddy cut his hair?” ‘Cause he likes it short and doesn’t have much hair. BIG SIGH. “I wish him had hair!”

About school: “Can you teach me how to talk words?” (She meant teach me how to read.)

“I need to go vacuum my teeth ‘cause they aren’t so sparkly.”

She overheard me saying that some days it’s just hard to be a mom. “Do you want to be something else today? Like a…grandma? You could be a grandma instead.”

To Jack: “Don’t tell me what to do. Are you the mom??!” (do you think maybe she hears me say that to her and her brother a few times a day, or what?)

She and Jack were arguing about something petty. “Don’t argue with me!”

Newest word added to her vocabulary: “Literally”. What??

Far past her bedtime because she had taken a long nap: “I can’t go to sleep. My eyelids are GLUED open!”


He just says a few words: mom, da, amen (complete with a sign/clap), and signs more and all done. He has also started giving kisses and high fives, which is pretty darn cute.

long overdue adoption update

here’s where we left off –

June – ready to tackle our dossier!
July, August, September – dossier document collecting. Setbacks, mistakes, delays. 😛
October – sent dossier to our agency.
Currently – redoing a couple documents for the dossier.

Next steps:

  1. Dossier approved, translated into French and submitted to Haitian social services or IBESR.
  2. Wait. Wait some more. Wait covered waiting with wait filling. Our file will sit on a desk, in a file drawer or in a box (I have no idea how they file dossiers when they arrive – just making this part up) for as long as it takes for it to reach the top of the stack. The front of the queue. The interesting thing is there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who’s file is chosen first, second or third. No centralized, standardized system. So we wait and pray and wait. Probably somewhere between 9-20 months.
    Also in this waiting time, we’re going to learn some basic Creole (the language most commonly spoken in Haiti) and work toward meeting Haitians living here in MN and more families with Haitian children.
  3. MATCH! At some undetermined date, our dossier will be reviewed and chosen to be matched. A child will be chosen for us! The much anticipated, long-awaited and most definitely loved child who will become a Puelston. 🙂
  4. Travel to Haiti to meet our child. Once we are matched, we will make a two-week trip to Haiti to meet and get to know our child. We will be able to take any or all of our kids with us to meet their brother or sister – we’ll decide if that’s a good plan or not when the time comes. This will be an exciting and nerve-wracking trip, hopefully full of good opportunities to love and get to know this little person. Then we have to leave them in Haiti and return to the U.S.A. while their adoption processes through the Haitian legal system. Sad/hard/really tough.
  5. More waiting. We wait again, for an undetermined amount of time, for the court system and social services to go through the necessary steps to make the adoption legal. Hopefully, in this time period we’ll be able to send our child lots of reminders of our love, our family and how excited we are for the day we will be together again. There are LOTS of steps in this process, and it can take anywhere from 9-18 months.
  6. Visa appointment! This is the last step in the long process and once our child has been issued a visa from the U.S., we will travel back to Haiti to bring him or her home.
  7. Home. Hallelujah and pass the bonding/attachment phase. Lots of love, family time and learning how our family works with another, amazing person in it.

So that’s it in a nutshell – we hope and pray that the time frames are shorter, rather than longer, but Haiti is in a time of transition with adoptions and things are slow right now. They could get faster, they could stay slow, they could get slower. We will have ample opportunity to exercise that lesser known beatitude: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape.” And ample opportunity to trust a loving Father with His perfect plan and timing.

Thanks for being part of this journey with your love, thoughts and prayers! We are so grateful for the support, financially/emotionally/prayerfully. This is a bumpy, winding road and we’re so thankful for those who are cheering us on!

a seed of faith

Jackson, tonight I had the incomparable joy of hearing you ask Jesus to save you.

Who knew that a conversation about wildcats in South Carolina would turn into a redemptive conversation that would lead to you wanting to follow Jesus? I sure didn’t anticipate it as I painted the swing set and you sallied back and forth on the red swing below. But Jesus knew. He knew you’d want to know if bears lived in North Carolina and if wildcats lived in South Caroline. He knew I’d tell you about my Pop-pop’s stuffed wild cat that was mounted on his wall when I was a girl. He knew you’d ask if my grandpa was in heaven…Jesus knew it would go like this:

You asked me if I was going to heaven and I said yes. You asked what heaven is like and I told you it was the best thing you can imagine, but better than that because God was there. Then you wondered what hell was like and I explained it’s the worst thing you can imagine, and worse, because God isn’t there. You asked what was in hell I said fire and darkness.

You asked again I was going to heaven and why I was. I answered, “Because I have asked Jesus to save me from my sins and I was sorry and repentant for my sins. I asked Jesus to save me because I knew I wanted to follow him all the days my life.” And then Jack, you said, “Mom, could you help me do that too?” I said, “I would love to.”

So later in the evening you and I prayed together and you asked Jesus to save you. I’m so glad Jack! So glad that God takes conversations about Wildcats and turns them into redemption. So glad that you want to follow Jesus. Dad asked you why you wanted to go to heaven and you said “to be with God.” I can’t think of a better reason, because He wants you to be with Him forever. He made the way for you to be with Him forever!

I love you, Jackson and my deepest prayer is that you will follow Jesus all the days of your life. God has begun a good work in your heart and I know that he will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. I pray that this seed of faith that God has planted in your heart will grow to be a mighty, strong oak with deep roots. Sink yourself deep into Jesus, Jack. He loves you and promises to be with you all along this journey of life. He is FOR you. Chase after Him with every bit of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Love, Mom

Photo by jomegs - Google Chrome 7292014 114601 PM.bmp

a recap – three months and some change

whoa. It’s been a full three months since I’ve touched this blog. 😦 Which makes me sad. Life has been busy, needless to say. Adoption paperwork/stuff, living life, trying to balance myself, our marriage and the joy of three kids. And at the end of the day when I have a few minutes to spare, I don’t tend to write…because BRAIN CELLS.

Brain cells which have been eaten alive by five year old boy questions. Seriously, it’s like the Spanish Inquisition around here EVERY DAY. Which is great, because I am glad he’s so hungry to learn, but some days I feel like handing him Siri to answer the barrage. 😛

But I do really love my life, with all its quirks and hiccups and exhaustion. And coffee. About a month ago I felt like the post-partum fog and blah lifted – praise be! That six month mark…its a beautiful thing.

May brought SPRING, our first niece/cousin, Jack’s last day of preschool and his first success at reading, and Jack’s first t-ball game. June held my birthday (32-what?!), Kyle running the Grandma’s Marathon in under 4 hours, and our sixth Backyard Bible Club. July has flown by with family get-together’s, the Fourth, a boat excursion, Jack’s birthday, and a quick trip to Duluth for the Park Point 5-Miler and Walk. August is upon us in days!


Jackson turned five on the 17th and I can’t believe we’ll start kindergarten in a few weeks. I have one…exactly one item of curricula ready. Er, purchased. But not really ready. Yeah. Need to get on that.

Taylor is just a riot. Every day she makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face with the things she says and the ideas she has. Her favorite things lately have been riding her new pink bike that our kind neighbors passed along from their daughter, and popsicles. Oh and fruit snacks.

Grant is quite simply our Mr. Sunshine. His smile (sporting two teeth and two more on their way!) lights up every corner of every room. I can’t get enough of his roly-poly legs and his fat, dimpled elbows. He has tan lines in his arm and wrist fat rolls. I mean, REALLY?! It’s just too much. He’s juuuust starting to scootch around and be mobile. I foresee crawling and pulling up being not far away.

On the adoption front…we’re THIS close to being done assembling our dossier! Just waiting on some paperwork from our doctor’s office and a revision of our home study before we apply to USCIS and send our dossier to be translated. I hope by September, our dossier will be filed in that beautiful country called Haiti. Then we wait. For a time period only God knows the length of…patience and resting in His promise of knowing what’s best for us will be the name of the waiting game.

So that’s a quick recap…I hope it’s not three months before I open this page and thoughts spill out onto the keys and into words on this page.




My Kids Say Funny Stuff 4.0

He Said

“Push-ups are good for my body.”

Jackson likes to watch the news on an app on the iPad while he eats breakfast. We obviously only let him watch age appropriate news stories, but he’s right there seeing screen shots while we choose the ones he can watch. One particular story’s photo was of a certain medicinal plant. Jack said, “Oh Mom, let’s watch the one about marijuana.” Jaw drop. Then I realized that he’s been paying attention when Kyle has shown people video clips and photos of the very large marijuana grow his SWAT team helped dismantle last summer. Cop kids. :-O

We have tiger lilies growing in our front garden bed and Jackson has called them “Lion lilies” after asking me what they are called. Presh.

After a discussion about a nearby town called Taylors Falls and how it has the same name as Taylor, Jackson remarked, “I wish Jackson, MIssissippi was closer to us.”

He pointed to a picture of missionaries on our refrigerator and asked, “Where do those Christian-airies live again?”

We recently went to our favorite place in Minnesota, Duluth. and our cabin stay in a North Shore town called Lutsen is coming up in this week. As we left the shore of Lake Superior and headed south to our home on our recent visit, Jackson sighed and said wistfully, “I want to live in Dulutsen.” So do I, buddy!

She Said

After swimming in a hotel pool, shivering and needing to go potty, Taylor got big eyes when she sat on the toilet: “I have hot pee!”

Earlier this spring, Taylor’s Aunt Anna and future Uncle Tyler asked our family to be in their wedding (which is only a few weeks away now). Taylor was so excited to be the flower girl. She had a little conversation with Kyle about wedding roles: “I’m duh fwower dirl, you da fwower boy?”

“I’m two, How much you be?”

She had some especially stinky and serious gas – “Mom! I have fire in my butt!”

Taylor is Miss Independent these days. “I do it maself,” she says daily.

As she pulls her t-shirt down to reveal her shoulders: “See my big muffles?” Translated: Muscles.

Sweetest question ever: “Tan I div you a butterfwy tiss?”

On our way into one of our favorite river towns nearby, Taylor got so excited. “We’re almost to Taylors Falls! MY falls! I match.”

Jackson got some handcuffs for his birthday last week. Taylor asked him if she could play with his “lockers”, which is only slightly less funny than when she asked him for his “hookers”.

Jackson is Five!



What day is today, Jackson?: My birthday!

How old are you? Five.

Who made you? God did.

Where do you live? in North Branch

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?  Go play at the playground.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Go to the store.

What is your favorite thing to do with Taylor? Play babies.

Who is your best friend? Reegan.

What is your favorite book? Trusty the Train

What character in a book do you like best? Thomas the Train

What is your favorite Bible Story? David and Goliath

What is your favorite thing to build? Towers

What is your favorite food to eat? Apples

What is your favorite thing to play? Hide and seek

Where do you love to visit? North Carolina

What song do you like to sing the most? Glory to God

If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? Spiderman

What is your favorite animal? Horses

If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? I would buy a toy house for Reegan.

What would you like to be when you grow up? A police officer.

What do you enjoy doing outside? Playing football.

What holiday do you love celebrating? Fourth of July

What is your favorite work to do at school? Painting

What is your favorite restaurant? McDonalds

What is your favorite special treat? Popsicles

What do you love most about being a big brother? Taking care of Taylor and my brother

What do you want to do today on your birthday? Play mini-golf and eat at the Drive-In!

What was your favorite thing about being four? Going to the beach

What are you most excited about in turning five?! Playing with my friends.