Amy and Anabelle at Chase Field.

Anabelle having a good time at the game (the actions on the field, girl).

“What? Is it a crime that I’m having fun?”

“Okay, Mommy, they’re getting too loud. Hold me!”

Now she looks out on the field!

“Oh yeah! My Daddy took me to the game and we had fun.”

Last night, we went with our church family to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks lose to the Atlanta Braves (sorry Pastor; that one’s for you Granmother Overton). Two things made it a special time, it was Anabelle’s first baseball game and we sat at the all-you-can-eat section of the ballpark. Which one is more important? You can decide!

After the Braves pounded on the Diamondbacks for seven innings, we decided to call it a game. Amy says we really left because the buffet closed at the seventh-inning stretch. Regardless, the Braves won and both my southern belles were happy about it.

Since we have moved to Arizona we have been blessed to be able to go to professional sporting events. We’ve watched baseball, basketball, and arena football. We have never gone by ourselves (it’s always more fun when you’re with Christian friends rather than a beer guzzling fan) and we have always had a blast! It was a joy to allow Anabelle to experience it as well. This may not seem much to most but to us, we see this as one of the many benefits of serving the Lord in Arizona.

We don’t have much but I am thankful that God allows us the privilege of having these fun things to enjoy. And as Anabelle grows up, we want to teach her that these events are blessings from God. Now, whether she grows up as a Arizona Diamondback fan or as an Atlanta Braves fan, I’ll let everyone else decide!


First Doctor’s Visit

Finally asleep after screaming and having poopy diaper changed.

She is 21 1/2″ long.

The nurse checking her vitals.

Anabelle is sleeping while we wait for the Doctor.

Everything looks good!

She did so well for the doctor.

All done with the exam and dressed again.

My sweet Baby!
Drinking her bottle before her shots.
Getting her first shot.

Getting her second shot!

Her first docotor’s appointment was memorable. We arrive at the office at 2:00. We had to fill out paper work and get copies of all her medical records. Juan started filling out paper work and I was trying to calm Anabelle down. She had been a little fussy in the car seat, so I took her out to hold her. Well she started screaming. I checked her all over and figured out she needed to be changed she had pooped.
I went and changed her in the room. The entire time she was screaming. I could not seem to calm her. I came back in the waiting room and she was still screaming. I knew we had to wake her from her nap to come so I thought she was tired. I tried to get her to sleep but she just screamed louder.
Finally Juan switched with me and he got her to sleep. Then they called us back to weigh her. She now weighs 10 1/2 pounds. Then they measured her 21 1/2 inches long.
The staff was really good to us. They were so excited to finally meet Anabelle. We have been going to our doctor for nine years. They all knew we were adopting and were excited for us.
Our doctor came in and checked her over and said she was perfectly healthy. We were so glad. We asked several questions and then they came in and gave her shots.
She did really well after we got into the exam room. It was a good day and we are praising the Lord for her good health!


She is always making us a laugh with her cute faces!

This is our little Princess in Training. Notice the concentration!
She is giving Daddy tips on how to make Sinigang.
Her favorite time of the day is watching Daddy and Mommy
make dinner.

She enjoys talking to Popa, Grandma, Yaya, and Bebe on the
web cam.
This wave is sent out to Aunt Gina and her friend Theresa.

She likes sitting in her Bumbo. She can see what is going on.
Yes, you’re right. She is like her Momma that way.
She wants to grab her penguin.

Anabelle is now two months old! I can not believe how fast she is growing. We are enjoying every minute of her journey. We are so proud of all of her new achievements. She is now smiling, following us with her eyes, having play time every day, she is alert now, and she is sleeping almost seven hours straight every night.

She is the joy of our lives and we “love her so much”. (Isaac I hope you do not mind that Uncle Juan and I have borrowed your phrase.) We still can not believe at times that she is really ours. She is so beautiful and is a good baby.
Just the past week she seems to want Mommy to go to sleep. I have to tell you that it brings tears to my eyes that she wants me to hold her. That is a dream come true for me.
She loves her Daddy, too. She loves when he whistles to her. Her favorites are the Christmas carols. She also loves playing with her Daddy. No one can get her to smile faster than her Daddy. He is so good with her. I love to watch them together.
I wanted to give you some updates on our little miracle. She is growing way too fast. We are trying to enjoy every moment of this wonderful journey.

She enjoys playing with penguin on her Rainforest Gymn.

She likes to watch and listen to her mobil.


The Zarate Family on their first church picnic together.
Anabelle just found out Grammy and Sommer are leaving!

Does this pacifier sum it up?

Regardless of how much we want Anabelle’s first words to be “Mommy” or “Daddy,” the way our lifestyle is, it’s going to be another word. The word she’ll probably say first is the word “go.” In the car seat to church. On the stroller in Target. In Daddy’s arms at Babies ‘R Us. In Mommy’s new sling (you’ll have to see pictures of that). Anabelle is definitely a baby on the go!

Take this morning for example. She was up by 5 a.m. (after sleeping through the night, by the way) “asking” for her bottle. This morning she was at the airport by 8 a.m. to drop off Grammy and Sommer. After figuring out what time Grammy’s flight was (see twitter post on the sidebar), we enjoyed a good breakfast at Chili’s. While at the airport, Anabelle changed into her church picnic outfit. After saying goodbye, we headed to Discovery Park. There, the “church baby” was passed around (which Anabelle was very good about) as people enjoyed the fruit of their prayers. Mommy wanted to go shopping after the picnic but Daddy quickly vetoed that because both Anabelle and him needed a nap!

We are thankful that we have a baby that does not mind going. My Pastor so wisely put this way in regards to children, “Though they will change your life, remember that they are joining your family. You are the parent and you are commanded of God to train them up. The parent ought to always train the child and not the child train the parent.”

Maybe to help make “Mommy” or “Daddy” still be her first words (it’s going to be Daddy of course), we should take a page out of Uncle Carlos and Benji’s language. Instead of teaching her the word “go” we should say whenever we are going somewhere the word, “venga!” That’ll do the trick!


“Mommy and me trying to take a picture with my squirmy cousin, Sommer.”

Sommer, Anabelle, and their pacifiers.

Since we came home with Anabelle, someone from church has given us a gift every service! Some of them (I won’t mention any names) have given Anabelle multiple gifts. Maybe it’s just because she’s our child but I have never seen a child so loved by so many people before!

Though we are extremely thankful for each gift, there were some that had more sentimental value. Allow me to explain. Have you ever felt closer to someone because of a similar experience in life? God allowed you to connect because He has brought you through a journey much like theirs.

When we announced our decision to adopt, it was amazing for me to see how many people in our church have gone through adoption, both as an adoptive parent or an adopted child. Each one of them gave us wonderful nuggets of truth that helped us on our journey to Anabelle. Sometimes, it was just a simple, “We know what you’re going through and we are specifically praying for you.” Sometimes it was just a hug. Sometimes it was just a look and a nod- we knew what they meant. Our all-knowing God truly led us to Desert Gateway Baptist Church knowing that we will need the support of these specific families. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has been a great support but there is just a different way these adoptive families have been used of God to help us.

So back to the gift. We received a poem, placed in a frame. The author of the poem is unknown (there are so many “author unknown” poems that I’m going to start claiming some of them, just kidding). The poem perfectly describes what we have gone through. Get your kleenex out! This is a definite tear-jerker. Enjoy!

Legacy of An Adopted Child

Once there were two women

Who never knew each other.

One you do not remember,

The other you call mother.

Two different lives shaped your one.

One became your guiding star.

The other became your sun.

The first gave you life,

Ane the second taught you to live in it.

The first gave you the need for love,

And the second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality.

The other gave you a name.

One gave you the seed of talent,

The other gave you an aim.

One gave you emotions.

The other calmed your fears.

One saw your first sweet smile.

The other dried your tears.

One gave you up- it was all she could do.

The other prayed for a child.

And God led her to you.

And now you ask me through your tears,

The age-old question through the years.

Heredity or environment- which are you a product of?

Neither, my Darling, neither.

Just two different kinds of love!


A testimony to our church family’s generosity. This is the second time they’ve filled up our vehicle with gifts.

Aunt Amy and Sommer

“Daddy and I are just tuckered out!”

What’s a shower without cake?

Words cannot completely express our gratefulness for our church family. We knew, as much as our people have prayed for us, that Anabelle was going to be loved. But have you ever had God go beyond your expectations? I know that this should not surprise me as many times God has proven Himself to us. We are extremely blessed to be a part of a modern-day miracle! And yet, God continues to shower us with His exceeding great goodness.

A very good friend of ours, Amanda May, hosted a baby shower for Anabelle today. It was an Open House style shower- come when you want, leave when you want. I did not get a count of the attendees but I do remember thinking at one time, “How many people can we fit in this house?” I felt like I was back in college trying to cram a dozen guys into a compact car! What was even more amazing was all the different ages that came, from toddlers to senior saints. They all were excited about Anabelle.

It is at these very moments that I begin to ponder in my heart all that God has in store for Anabelle. Think about it, before Anabelle’s life is over, she would have been saved twice- once before she was born and once as she is born again! The joy God has given people through Anabelle’s short life story is unbelievable. She already has a sphere of influence!

I don’t know what plans God has for Anabelle. I would like to say that I would not be surprised but that can have a measure of pride in it that could jeopardize my family’s usefulness for God. I do not want to give the impression that God “owes us” His blessings. Instead, I will humbly wait and submit to God’s plan for me as a father, a husband, and a preacher. In so doing, I pray that Anabelle will reach her full potential for God.


Growing up in the Philippines and in the state of Washington has caused me to believe that I have seen enough rain in my lifetime. In the Philippines in rained half of the year and in Washington, well let’s just say there’s a reason it is called “The Evergreen State.”

When I was younger, the rain did not seem to bother me as much. We would go out and play basketball in the rain, ride our bikes, and do all sorts of things. But when I got older, playing in puddles just didn’t seem quite as fun. Rain became a nuisance to me. Yes, rain is important for the environment and all but I longed for it to stop so that I can resume my normal activities.

I remember as a teenager in Washington, looking forward to the end of a rainy day when the sun would peek itself through the clouds. I would grab my basketball, call my friends, and head to the park! We can come out and play again! We all returned to a measure of normalcy in our lives.

This past week has been somewhat “rainy” for my family. Amy has been battling some infections, I haven’t been feeling well, and Anabelle is trying to “understand” why Mommy and Daddy act so tired all the time. It has been a struggle! And as most “rainy seasons,” it seems as if things have a tendency to pile upon you. I think the president declared a “state of emergency” upon my office! On top of that, we are expecting more guests to come in the next few days (which we gladly welcome but you know how we all want to prepare for them). It has been a crazy, hectic week and the weekend doesn’t seem to be too promising either in regards to rest and recuperation.

But today, God chose to allow a little sunshine to come into our lives. As I shifted from a mentally-heavy task to the mindless job of opening mail, God provided a little ray of hope that has served as my own little “power boost.”

Today, we received in the mail Anabelle’s birth certificate. To most this may not seem like a big deal but as Amy and I read our names where it says “father” and “mother,” our eyes just began to fill with tears as we were reminded once again of how good God is to us. It has really been a hard week but with this document, God has given me the strength to keep going- to grab my basketball and go out to play!

No matter what storms you may find yourself in, rest easy knowing that storms are not intended to last forever. The Son will always shine through and bring the light that you need for your life!

Anabelle’s Birth Certificate