John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday 3-29-12

This Week's List:

1. God. I am so thankful for a God who loves me more than I can ever imagine!

2. Jesus. I am so thankful for the friend I have in Jesus. I use to pick up the phone when I was sad or happy and now... that comes second to going straight to Jesus with everything.

3. Friendship. It is so important. I am thankful for the true friendships I have in this life. My daddy told me once that I would be able to count my friends on one hand when I was older. Of course, at that time, I had like 1 million friends and could not believe what he was saying. Now I know, that sadly, that is true. I have recently had to part ways with some people that just drained the life out of me. Sure, I tried being the light in the darkness for them but I just couldn't continue to allow myself to be hurt over and over. With that said, this week I said goodbye to one of my sweet friends, Charlotte. She is with Jesus now. She is now cancer free and in a perfect, healthy body.

4. My family. I love these guys more than anything. They mean so much to me! I am so blessed to have them!

5. My Job. I am so blessed and thankful for my job. I am enjoying spending Spring Break with my boys!

6. Plans and Dreams. While not every single dream and plan we make in life comes to fruition... it is so fun to dream a dream and plan things...even if they may never happen!

7. What I Have. While it is fun to dream a dream and plan things... it is also good to be thankful for what you have. And... I am.

8. New Things. This week we made homemade personal pizzas for the first time. I don't know why I have never put this on our menu before! I cut up ham and pineapple and put out pepperoni and different kinds of cheese and some tomatoes and bacon. We all made out pizzas together on the counter and then we watched them bake. That was fun. Kobe and Sam agreed that they definitely want to do that again!

9. Sale Papers. I actually took advantage on the Courier Journal this week and looked at all the sale ads. I quickly saw that there were some things that I definitely wanted at some really great prices. So I went to the store and was actually impressed at the money I saved.

10. Our DVR. Because of that DVR, I am able to type this blog. The boys LOVE watching Man, Woman, Wild on TV. So, anytime I need to get something done... I just announce that there are episodes of Man, Woman, Wild on and it is like a magnet for at least an hour!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

52 Home---Week 12

Kobe brought this home in his papers from school this week. I thought it was pretty sweet:

Thankful Thursday 03-22-2012

My list for this week:

1. God's Plan. It is perfect. It is sure. It is in His time.

2. Jesus. The lamb that was slain, counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, lifter of my head, Perfect, Holy,Trustworthy, Righteous, Protective, Forgiving, and I could go on and on!

3. Family. My little family is my world. It is that simple.

4. My Job. I was sitting in my car before coming into work this morning just so thankful for this job.

5. Water. I am trying to drink at least a gallon a day... I thought I didn't like water but the more I drink it the more I like it!

6. Dry Erase Calendars. They are so handy when you are a working mom and wife!

7. Party Planning Websites. I love party planning... especially for my little boys! All four guys'  (three little guys and one big guy!) birthdays are within the next two months so I am a party planning maniac!

8. Compassion. It is good to have compassion extended to you when you are really needing it...but it is so much  more rewarding to give compassion to those who need it.

9. Good Parking Places. It isn't a secret that university parking can be difficult. Today I had to leave for lunch and give up my pretty good parking place and I was kind of upset about it! But... when I got back there was an even better one waiting on me! Can we say: God's favor??

10. Spring Break! I am so glad that in less than two hours I will be officially on Spring Break!


Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Official!

We wanted to throw a little party for Kobe since the adoption is finally OFFICIAL. I decided to go with the title "It's Official" and use referee shirts as the invitations. I am so lucky to have such a nifty best friend, Lori. She is so creative and is good with technology so I always get her to make the invitations for our parties! This is the invitation for our Adoption Celebration:

I wanted it to be a surprise and I was able to pull it off. I got everything I could together on Friday night. I made a banner (thank you Pinterest!) that said "It's Official" and also one that had the letters of our last name on it and I put a picture of John and Kobe on each letter. I decorated with sports things and used the red, black, and white color scheme. It turned out so cute. I stayed up until well after midnight trying to get everything hung up and put in just the right place.

Saturday morning I got up extra early to go to Servolution. It was great! Our church does an outreach to our city each month and this particular day we went to Carver Heights and handed out lunch, clothes, and had live music and put on a basketball tournament for the kids that live in the area. One of the most touching moments was when a guy from our church (Brett) was putting up some new nets on the basketball goals and one of the boys asked what he was doing and when told him the little boy asked if he was going to take the nets back with him when we left. Brett told him that we were going to leave them there for them to enjoy. He got so excited and started running around and telling everyone that they were getting new nets. I cried. These kids don't expect anyone to do much for them and that was so exciting to see. I ended up having to leave earlier than I wanted to so I could get some things done for Kobe's party. I love participating in Servolution!

I left and picked up a few things and made it to my mom's house and had just enough time to complete my to-do list before our friends and family began arriving. My uncle Lee, aunt Carrie, and their granddaughter came in from Atlanta, some lifelong friends of my family, Linda and Cecil came from McKenzie, TN and PawPaw Bruce and Diane came. We had over 65 friends and family members come to join us in celebrating this very special time in our lives. We served Kobe's favorite menu items: Chicken Tenders, fresh fruit tray, fresh vegetable tray, chicken salad and grapes (thanks to Susan Blasingame), pimento cheese, spicy sausage white cheese dip, a bean dip (that Linda made and served with Bugles and it was delicious!), peanuts, and of course Sour Patch Kids. The cake was in the shape of a referee jersey and had a whistle on it. You will just have to imagine how adorable cute it was because I forgot to get a picture. I remembered AFTER I started cutting it. Most of the time when you get ready to cut cake you sing Happy Birthday but we didn't do that... I had Maddie blow a whistle to signal that it was time to come to that area of the house and then she lead us in the following cheer: Give me an "R" (we said R) Give me an "A" (we said A) Give me an "I" (we said I) Give me a "N" (we said N) Give me an "E" (we said E) Give me a "Y" (we said Y) What do ya got? RAINEY! Say it again : RAINEY! She even made little posters with the letters to hold up...she had arm motions too...SO SWEET AND CUTE! I am so glad she did that for us. It was probably my favorite part of the party aside from getting to talk with some great family and friends.

The kids played basketball outside until about 10:30 and then we decided we better get home and get kids bathed since we had to be at church early the next morning. We had Kobe dedicated at church on Sunday as a whole family. t was so nice and sweet. Pastor Bill spoke so nicely and perfectly about our family and gave Kobe a Bible with his new name on it and he and Pastor Deanna wrote the sweetest message inside. They got him an Extreme Sports Bible and he has already shown interest in reading it! It was a very special weekend filled with some very special people and events. You will have to take my word on some of these things because as you all know...I do not do well at getting pictures, however my aunt did take quite a few pictures and so when I get those I will post some here.  We are so blessed!

Food Table

Sign on the Plates and napkin table

Dedication at church

John Callum, Diane, PawPaw Bruce, Kobe and Samuel

Friday, March 16, 2012

52 Home---Week 11

The boys gave this to me after they devoured their kid's meals from Burger King last night. It is now proudly displayed on my desk!

Five on Friday 3-9-2012 (String)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE. I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: String

1. What’s a film that always tugs at your heartstrings? **Facing the Giants. It always gets me when she is leaving the doctor's office and she says "I will still praise you Lord!"**

2. How long would it take you to come up with a six-inch length of string if someone needed it right now? **Probably a while since I would have to go to my car (on level 2 in the parking deck!), drive to a store that sells string, purchase string, get back to the person and cut it! But I would also have to get my ruler out because I am TERRIBLE at estimating measurements!**

3. What are your thoughts on string cheese? **I LOVE it. My family loves it. My kids love it. As a matter of fact, I have a piece in my purse right now!**

4. Among people you know, who’s the best guitar-player? **Obviously, I will be picking JOHN!**

5. What memories do you have of Silly String? **We bought it to play with for Callum's tenth birthday. We had a little party the night before Sam was born (Samuel's birthday is the day after Callum's) and we played with silly string, water balloons, and ate watermelon outside on the front porch...a good Southern family night**

                                                         Guitar on a white background Stock Photo - 6702794

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Want To Be Heaven Minded

As previously stated, I pray for a song to be placed in my heart...this song is one of my favorites and any time that I am feeling unworthy or down...this song ALWAYS lifts me up...

(I will post the lyrics and the video as well)

Forever and a Day

I was afraid Your love set me free

I was in debt You paid the price for me
I was hurt You took away my pain
I was alone until You called my name
I was broken and You mended me
Before I was You loved me
You healed my body and You made me whole
No matter what I do You don't let go

I will sing to the King, I am the ransomed one
How I love Your holy name
Holy to the Lamb who was slain
When I laugh and when I cry
You are the reason why
How I long to be with you, forever and a day

When I go to bed, You are near
When I wake up, You are there
When I say Your name, You are here
When I walk in faith, You're everywhere
You catch and save every tear I cry
You journal everyday about my life
Your love for me reaches to the sky
I am Yours, You are mine

I was ashamed You called me beautiful
I was ashamed You called me beautiful
And now I'm Yours, You call me beautiful
And now I'm Yours, You call me beautiful
I was ashamed You called me beautiful
I was ashamed You called me beautiful
But now I'm Yours, You call me beautiful
But now I'm Yours...


I say a little prayer each night that God will wake me with a song in my heart... a little melody for the day. I keep this song in my heart quite often and I want to share it with you:

Lincoln Brewster

You dance over me

while I am unaware,
You sing all around,
but I never hear the sound

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You,
how You love me

You paint the morning sky
with miracles in mind
my hope will always stand
for You hold me in Your hand

Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You,
how You love me

How wide...

How deep...

How great...

Is Your love for me

Lord I'm amazed...

Thankful Thursday 3-15-12

My FAVORITE post of the week! This week's "Top Ten" things are:

1. God. He is really putting some dreams into my heart and working on my heart in some different areas. I don't want to go into the details just yet but I am praying that these dreams and desires in my heart will be manifested. I know that He delights in me and so I know he wants to help me fulfill these dreams that He gave me.

2. Jesus. I am really trying to see things and people as Jesus would see them. I am so thankful for the example that Christ set for us all to follow. Wouldn't it be a great world if we all tried to be more Christ-like?

3. John. I am so thankful that God worked our marriage out in His timing. He knew that we were meant for each other. After all, He designed us. He actually MADE us for each other. I now know why our marriage took such an attack during our first years of marriage...we were such a threat to the enemy. The enemy knew that we are powerful together and we intend to keep seeking after God and spreading the the gospel, love, the healing power of Jesus, and forgiveness in all areas of our lives!

4. My boys. What a joy! I was entrusted to raise three boys every day. God must really think I need to work on my patience! I am so honored to be a role model and good example to my sons. They all mean so much to me and in their own special way. It is true that you don't love either one any more or any less... you just love them and God expands our love to abound to each child...just the same.

5. Haley. Although I may not get to see her all that often... I know that God has placed me in her life specifically for a purpose. We may not know exactly what that purpose is just yet... but I believe it is to be a good godly female influence and to be an example to her. I may not see or talk to her very often but my love for her is the same.

6. My Church Family. John and I have made some of the best friends at our church. We enjoy being with them at church...but we also enjoy being with them outside of church too.  We text, meet up for lunch/dinner, chat on the phone, check on each other, encourage one another, pray for each other, and most of all love one another.

7. Promises. There are many promises in the Bible. I am so thankful for the promises of my Heavenly Father.
    1 Peter 24:25      The grass will dry up and flowers will fail but My Word will endure forever.
    Thank you God for your promises!

8. Pretty Days. Today, it is not too hot and not too cold. There is a gentle breeze blowing and I have the outer door to my office open and a nice breeze is blowing through. Today is a really nice day.

9. A Servant's Heart. I am thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a servant's heart. I enjoy serving others in many different areas. I love planning meals for people at our church, I love serving in our three year old class in Little Praisers at church, I love greeting members and guests as they enter church, I love helping others when they can't reach something on a shelf at the store, I love helping others load their things onto the counter at the store, I love helping others pick up things that they have dropped, I love taking/serving food to someone who doesn't have any food and clothes to those who have few or none, I love telling people about what God has done in my life, I love calling to check on others or sending a note or card. I just love simply "being there" for others.

10. Newness. I love things that are new. It makes me feel especially happy to think of ME being NEW in Christ! When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He does a MIGHTY work in us. He makes us NEW. I love my newness! Although it has been ongoing for a couple of years now, God is infinite. He can keep making things new isn't just a one time thing. It is a life time thing.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday 03-08-2012

This Week's Top Ten:

1. God. He never leaves us. People think He is an angry God and that Jesus is the one they run to but don't forget that God sent Jesus to display His love for all of us!

2. Jesus. Our Intercessor. Every time I think of Him sitting at the right hand of the Father praying on my brings me to tears.

3. John. I am so proud to call him my husband. He always goes the extra mile for our family and for others.

4. MY BOYS! I cannot type enough words here to show how much these kids mean to me!

5. Leftovers. I am so happy to announce that this week we have been able to alternate back and forth each night between only TWO meals that I have cooked. The kids seem OK with it and John is fasting for preparation of the N. Al. Men's Encounter so...I am pretty excited about this!

6. Restoration. God is really working in our lives right now and I am so thankful to HIM for it. I give HIM all the glory and honor.

7. Pandora Radio. It is what gets me through the day!

8. Rainy Nights. Today it is raining. The kids are out of school tomorrow due to a Norovirus breakout...the schools have shut down to try and get it under control. Looks like a Popcorn and Movies kind of night to me!

9. Picking Sam up from Daycare. I love seeing his face light up when I open up his classroom door. I love how proud he is to see me. He is the sweetest boy ever!

10. Getting Kobe from my mom in the afternoons. I hear so much from him and learn so much about his day in that short ten minute drive home.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fun Day Sunday! --A Story of Reunion and Restoration

This past weekend was the best weekend! We had a great couple of days together.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early because Kobe's basketball team made it to the regional tournament and so we had a game that day. The team ended up winning the game and so we were coming back the next day to finish out the tournament.

We left from the game and headed to Huntsville. We went to Bridge Street and shopped around and just hung out together. We ate dinner and then we took the boys to a Huntsville Havoc hockey game. None of the boys had ever been to a hockey game so they were thrilled. They enjoyed the game. Several times throughout the night I asked if they were ready to go and they each were very definite in their answers: NO!

The next morning we got up for church and when we got there Kobe met his Aunt Vonn and cousin Keyshawn for the first time. He seemed to instantly "Click" with both of them and even sat in between them in church! He leaned over when the kids normally leave to go to Children's Church and asked if he could please just sit there. OF course, I let him. After church we went to McDonald's Playplace (Samuel has been DYING to go to the new one) for lunch to let the kids play and just catch up. Kobe immediately asked if he could ride with Aunt Vonn...of course I let him. When we got there, Kobe had another surprise. He got to meet his brothers, Kameron and Karter for the first time. At first, Kameron was a little shy around Kobe but we understood. NOT Karter...he took right up with Kobe and they played and Karter would come up and ask us to each hold him. He was the cutest little boy. He reminded me so much of Kobe. It made me tear up a little because he really looked like Kobe did at age 3. Kameron was so cute. He was walking around with the best manners ever... we would ask him something and he would say, "No, thank you!". It was so sweet. Seeing them play together was such a blessing. One I never thought I would ever see. God can really show out when He wants to. He can restore and renew in a way that we could never imagine! So grateful for a God who love us! All of us really got along well and had a great time hanging out and chatting. The only thing is we wish Harry, Aunt Vonn's fiance lived a little closer! As we said our good-byes Samuel informed us all that he wanted to pretend that Karter and Kameron were his brothers too! We all agreed that we thought that was a great idea. They all hugged and by this time Kameron had really warmed up to Kobe. They each hugged and told each other that they loved one another. I can't wait until we see those precious faces again. I know John and I, as well as the boys, are anxiously awaiting our next visit. Kobe got Keyshawn's number and I had Vonn's so he was happy that he would be able to chat with them some through out the week. As we walked out to the car Kobe looked at me and said, "Before you even ask me...yes I had fun, yes I like them, and yes I want to see them again..and soon!". Beth (Kameron and Karter's mom) later told me that Kameron told her that he thought Kobe was cute and that they were now best friends! I just think that it is so precious how these boys have never met yet they already love eachother. We are so blessed to have each of them placed back into our lives. When God takes away He gives back so much more...and better!

HaHa! I don't think they were ready!

Samuel being...well, Sam!

I don't think they were ready...AGAIN! Nevertheless, they got the picture in front of the horse at PF Changs that they wanted!

In the Ourdoors store...he is ready for a hike!

Karter, Kobe, and Kameron

Aunt Vonn, Kobe, and Cousin Keyshawn

Karter, Kobe, Keyshawn, and Kameron (they are all so happy!)

Aunt Vonn and Kobe

Kobe and Kameron

Kobe and Karter
From there we went to the rest of the basketball tournament. Kobe's team won the first game but lost the second. They still earned themselves a spot at the Finals this coming weekend. He is very excited about this because he gets to play at UNA. As soon as we headed out to the car he couldn't wait until we got home because he wanted to text Vonn and Keyshawn.  We came home to John inviting my parents to stay over for a delicious spaghetti, salad, and cheesy bread dinner with Butterfinger cake for dessert. We had a great weekend with our family and I look forward to many more weekends spent with them all. We are so thankful and so blessed!

Kobe waiting on the second game to start on Sunday night

52 Home--Week 10

My little cutie, Samuel

52 Home--Week 9

Kobe meeting hs brothers, Kameron and Karter, for the fist time

Kobe meeting his Aunt Vonn and cousin Keyshawn for the first time

Five on Friday 3-2-2012 (Second Prize is a Set of Steak Knives)

Here is this week's Five on Friday blog! If you would like to start your own Friday5 blog go HERE and get your weekly list and don't forget to link them in your blog and comment on theirs!! If you ever begin wondering or would just like to know "why" I do these blogs take a look at my explanation HERE. I Hope you all have a FABULOUS Friday!!!

This Week's Topic: Second Prize is a set of Steak Knives

1.First prize for winning an Academy Award is a gold statuette named Oscar. What would be a good second prize? **Second prize should definitely be some Peppermint chap stick!**

2.First prize for winning a Presidential election is four years in the White House. What would be a good second prize? **Let them pick which door they would like to reveal and whatever prize is behind...well, it's theirs!**

3.First prize for winning on Survivor is a million dollars. What would be a good second prize? **1/2 a million dollars.**

4.First prize for winning the Indianapolis 500 is chugging a quart of milk in the winner’s circle. What would be a good second prize? **New tires?!**

5.First prize (for the horse) for winning the Kentucky Derby is a blanket of roses. What would be a good second prize? **A Steak Dinner**

Thankful Thursday 3-1-12

This Week's Top Ten:

1. God's Will. He just keeps on showing me new things and developing new things in our lives.

2. Love. Jesus just went after people...the ones normal people wouldn't even talk to! He just wants us to love on people!

3. Menu Planning. I am so glad I got into this. I filled up three weeks on my March calendar with food and sides we already had in our cabinets and freezer! I like looking at the calendar the night before and KNOWING what we are having the next night for dinner instead of stressing out over it each day.

4. Pictures. I love looking at pictures. I am thankful that I am able to have these memories.

5. Quality Time. I love doing something with my husband and kids. They are so very special to me and I thank God for them each and every day.

6. Lazy Days. I haven't had a lot of these lately...but I figure that when I get one I will really appreciate it and be very thankful for lazy time!

7. The number 5. That is how many more daycare checks I have to write. Now, I don't want to rush Samuel's growing up. Believe me, I wish there was a vaccine I could give my kids to keep them at age 4 forever and they wouldn't have to go to school and we could just have cute little kids running around always. BUT that isn't happening so I may as well look on the bright side of this growing up business and one of those is a $500/month raise for my family when we quit paying for daycare.

8. Car Time. I am thankful for the very few minutes I have in the car with my two boys each morning. I learn a lot in that short car ride to drop Kobe off at school. He tells me so much during those precious minutes. Then, once Kobe is out of the is Samuel's turn and he tells me all sorts of interesting things on the way to daycare. I have to makes my mornings.

9. Recipeasy. I found this page on Facebook. I really love it. It has so many, as you may have guessed, easy recipes. They are not generally healthy food choices but they are quick and they are easy. Most of them are dinners that I plan to let the boys help me "cook".

10. Peppermint Chap Stick. I love this little white and red striped stick.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh Happy Rainey Day!-- An Adoption Journey

I had Kobe in April of 2002 and for almost ten years I have been the only custodial parent (according to the State of  Alabama) in his life. Anyone who knows us or has ever been remotely around us knows that Kobe has had another custodial parent in his life since November of 2005 ...and his name is...John. John and I met well before November of 2005 and had hung out and became acquaintances and he had also met and began to adore Kobe. We finally decided to date in November of 2005 and then every single day was spent with John playing in the floor of Kobe's room with dinosaurs and Hot Wheels. Kobe would go where ever John went and wanted to do whatever John did. John loved and adored Kobe and Kobe felt the same right back at John. After we were married we had gone to visit my father in law and over dinner one night Kobe told him that he sure wished he could be a Rainey too. My sweet father in law looked at him and said, "Well, you look like a Rainey to me! So, there you are a Rainey!". We enjoyed our trip with him and that must have really sunk in to Kobe because that first day back to school after our trip I got a call from the Principal's office asking me if Kobe had been adopted. I answered that he had not and he told me that Kobe went to school (1st grade) and told everyone that he had changed his name to Rainey and wanted his teacher to call his name as such! I thought it was sweet but didn't really make a big deal out of it and just let Kobe know that his name had not changed and he would need to continue going by "McCollum" at school.

That must have bugged him because at the end of the second grade he began to ask us some really tough questions, that quite honestly, I wasn't really ready to answer. John and I decided that we would answer all of his questions honestly but on his level and that we would leave out all the ugly details. So, one night after church while sitting on our front porch he asked us to make him a Rainey. It took a couple of months to get everything together and when it was time I filed the paperwork.

On July 24th, 2010 I walked into our attorney's office and filed necessary paperwork to began an adoption. The child already lived with me. It seemed strange to "fight" for what I already had but I was willing to pay whatever price and do whatever I had to to insure this child's safety and well being.

I won't go into all of the details but it started off with what seemed like a fairly easy and straight forward case and ended up as anything but that...but I wouldn't have it any other way. We had to serve Kobe's natural father (court's terminology) by way of publication. We tried having him served several times but I wasn't sure of where he lived and had zero contact information so each time it came back to us. The court ruled that we were to notify him by publication. We placed an ad in the local paper and it ran for a month. We then went back to court...where I came face to face with Kobe's natural father for the first time in a very long time. I guess about 9 years. It was shocking to me. I felt a lot of anger stir up inside me because of some of the things that I had gone through as a single mom (before John). Immediately I began to pray and the Lord told me that it was all OK and that I needed to forgive him. After our court hearing that day we ended up in a private (off the record in the court room) conversation (my attorney was present). I was able to look him in the face and tell him whatever was on my mind. I had practiced for this moment for almost a decade. I was more than prepared. I had screamed out in anger and disappointment and hurt many,many times and I had thought up hundreds of conversations that I would have with him and things I would say one day. I have to say, it is true that God makes everything new. I am a new person. I couldn't say those things. They didn't really even come to mind. I looked him in the eyes and asked for his forgiveness. I apologized to him and I immediately felt like I was on cloud nine. Although, I was shocked to see him there, I am so glad that God made a divine appointment for me to be able to walk in forgiveness.

Over the next few months we would go through sessions with an attorney we were required to hire for Kobe (an attorney to look out for his best interest), court sessions, and more appointments with our attorneys. It seemed so long and on going but I knew that eventually we would see an end. We finally had a hearing in December where we were to testify and give our accounts of "the true story" of what was my life. I was there early and a little nervous. I wasn't nervous about telling the truth or speaking out loud but I was nervous that I would cry. Some of the things that I was being asked and some of my testimony was hard to get through. Some things just aren't always pretty. I prayed for boldness and confidence... and God gave them to me! Our friends Lori and Aaron came to support us along with my parents, our pastors (Pastors Bill and Deanna), and Charles and Jan Curtis (a spiritual father and mother to us). We all prayed before court began and I went in to give my testimony. John was called in to speak about his desire to adopt Kobe and tell snippets about their relationship. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be... Kobe's natural father did not come back to court that day. A week or so later we were informed that Kobe's natural father's rights had been terminated. That meant that we could move forward with adoption.

Tuesday, February 28th we had court and in that court room the judge said that he saw it in Kobe's best interest for John to adopt him. John has always been referred to as "dad" by Kobe and has always had a father/son relationship with Kobe. So, this was really just to make it legal because the relationship was already there. The judge ordered our adoption final and we are waiting for Kobe's new birth certificate any day now. His name was changed to Kobe Rainey. His legal name is Kobe Isaiah Dale McCollum Rainey. We chose to keep McCollum in there because that has been his identity his whole life and has sentimental value with our family. He has been asking me for months when he can start writing his name as "Kobe Rainey" at school. I have had to tell him "not now" so many times that I couldn't wait to see him on Tuesday to tell him the news. I have found notebook paper where he has been practicing writing his "new" name! I explained to him what had happened that day and he just looked at me and said, "So, nothing is really changing...just my last name?". I cried. It is true. Nothing changed. John has always stepped up to be his dad and will continue in that role. John is called dad by him and he is called son by John. It is just legal now. I am so happy that this journey is behind us. I have prayed and waited on this day to come for so long and now that it is here ... it almost seems unreal. I can't wait to get our order from the court so that I have it in physical form!

Everything stayed the same. The sense of family. The father/son relationship. The laughing together. The hanging out together. Except...Kobe now has a dad on paper that has been and is there for every single game, every single scrape or cut, every doctor's appointment, every practice, and every single day. Kobe is now a Rainey.

After running in the McBride Mile together

After an early morning run... 2 miles!