• We LOVE Pink!

    Date: 2014.10.30 | Category: Adoption, Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith | Response: 0

    We got the wonderful news Tuesday that we could head home.

    7 days post-op from open heart surgery and she was ready to go.

    Evie 17

    She was ready in two seconds flat with her cape, sparkly boots, phone, and purse with all her critters.

    Evie 15

    Dr. Marx came to say goodbye and to let us know how pleased he was with her recovery.

    Evie 10

    She could barely contain the giggles in the elevator.

    Evie 11

    Everyone thought she was very stylish!

    Evie 14

    We said our prayers before we took off.

    Evie 12

    She was so happy to be home with the other littles.

    Evie

    And the middles…

    Evie 5

    Evie 4

    And the bigs were happy too.  Although I did not take any pictures to prove this fact.

    It’s hard to tell which little is the happiest to have her home.

    Evie 8

    Evie 7

    Evie 3

    Evie 2

    Trying to get a picture with Lainey proved to be quite the challenge.

    Evie 1

    After 2 1/2 years of having little blue ones in the house, the surgeries are done and everyone is PINK!

    Evie 9

    WE LOVE THE COLOR PINK!  It looks pretty good on our Evie Faith!

    We have been so blessed through the past year with all your prayers.  It started with Evie’s heart cath in August of last year, we had four more heart catherizations and three more open heart surgeries.   Each one of the kids did unbelievably well.  With each of the last three surgeries, the kids were discharged on post op day 7.  Have I told you how much I love the number 7?  Here is the definition for the number 7 in the Bible.

    Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

    Seems pretty appropriate for these little ones who are healing emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

    Thank you again for every prayer said, every word of encouragement uttered, and for standing with us during this busy, busy year.  We can not possibly put into words how much it meant.

    Praise be to God!

    We are indeed seriously blessed!!!

  • Just when I thought I’d heard it all.

    Date: 2014.10.26 | Category: Adoption | Response: 0

    I have blogged a few times about what people have said to us on this adoption journey.   I wrote about the  Top 10 Questions.  Later, I wrote another post about the Questions we’ve been asked.   And most recently I wrote a blog about the Four Types of People we have met.

    I have heard “Boy, you have your hands full.” so many times when I’m out shopping, that I have considered, whenever I am out with the kids, wearing a t-shirt that says, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”

    Believe it or not…

    Yes, I know how it happens.

    Yes, I have time to play with everyone.

    Yes, they are happy.

    Yes, they like each other.

    Yes, they are loved.

    Yes, I am blessed.

    I know that I am not the only person who hears these things.  You-tube is full of funny videos about just this thing.   This Christmas video is one of my favorites.  Believe it or not we have been asked each and every one of these questions.  Although, I don’t think Cassie would approve of the very first answer.  :)

    There are many, many blogs talking about this very subject.  I know it doesn’t just happen to me.  I know most people don’t mean anything by it.  I answer politely and with grace as often as possible.  I can sometimes be blunt when I think it will make a better point to help someone remember not to judge in the future.  For example, when we were flying to Boston for her surgery, Evie asked if she could have a Coke.  I told her yes and when they were handing out drinks I asked the flight attendant for a Coke for Evie.  She asked me if I was really going to give Evie a Coke. Lots of times I just smile and let things go.  But this time she just stared at me with the most obnoxious look on her face and I thought I needed to say something.   I informed her that I was indeed going to give Evie a Coke.  I also told her that Evie was having open heart surgery on Monday and I wasn’t sure if she was going to live or not so today I was okay with her having a Coke.

    I honestly do try to answer politely.  I try to keep a smile on my face.  I know most people are just trying to be funny.  I know most people don’t mean anything by it.  I have even practiced responses to lots of the usual questions so I am better prepared to answer, but sometimes I get asked a question that just throws me for a loop.

    It happened on this trip.  She asked this question right after she had just asked about all of our children.  I thought she was truly interested.

    “Do you think you might have done something wrong in a previous life to deserve this?”

    How do you even answer that?   There aren’t any one or two sentence answers that are going to properly answer it.

    No, I never think that.  I honestly often wonder how I got to be so lucky?  Why am I so blessed?  Why do I get to parent these beautiful children?  It has never crossed my mind that God might be punishing me.

    It’s all about perspective I guess.

    All I know is Seriously Blessed is the name of my blog for a reason.

     

     

  • Evie Update

    Date: 2014.10.23 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith | Response: 0

    Amazingly, two days after having open heart surgery, Evie was discharged to the cardiac floor.

    Evie 5

    Today, post-op day 3, she no longer needs extra oxygen.  She has started eating again and is acting more like her sweet, little self.

    Evie 7

    Yesterday and today have been healing days.

    We have blown bubbles to help us clear our lungs.

    Evie 8

    We’ve dressed up in our pretty jewelry that daddy bought so we can pretend to be a princess.

    Evie 6

    And we’ve taken lots of naps surrounded by our soft, cuddly friends.

    Evie 9

    As Dan and I sat there today looking at her sweet face, we were reminiscing about what she looked like when we first met her on that day in May of 2013.  She was a 26 month old, bald, very blue little girl with oxygen sats in the 50′s, weighing 13 pounds, unable to even sit up by herself,  and able to fit in a 6 month pair of pajamas.

    Even then, as sick as she was, you could see her big personality shining through.

    Evie 4

    Dan and I are feeling very blessed this evening.  What an amazing journey this has been.

  • Today is the Day

    Date: 2014.10.20 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Evangeline Faith | Response: 0

    Today is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Today Evie has her Fontan surgery.  Today Evie gets a chance at a longer life.  Today is a beautiful day!

    For some reason getting ready for Evie’s surgery has been extra difficult.  Ben and Eli both had great results, better than normal results even, but this time there has been a small voice whispering “You’ve had too much good luck!”.

    Evie 1

    I know this isn’t the truth.  It’s not luck.  I have nothing to do with it. It’s not based on rewarding or punishing me.   Evie’s life has been forever known to God.  God did not set out to harm Evie. God did not leave Evie on the side of the road.  Man did that.  I won’t get into debates about whether God made Evie this way or why her parents had to leave her.   I can not even begin to fathom the whys of the world.

    If you know Evie, you know she oozes joy. She is a beautiful soul.  She is full of laughter and light.  She makes friends wherever she goes.  Evie’s plan is most assuredly John 9:1-3.  If you have never heard this verse, here it is…

    As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  John 9:1-3

    I see that with Evie.  I see the works of God displayed in her.  How many of us can say that about our lives?

    Evie 2

    As I was flying to Boston I had lots of time to just look at my girl.  I watched as the flight attendants and people around us interacted with her.  When we landed, the gentlemen in our row told me that he flies all the time and has never, ever seen a child behave so well.   If you had seen us earlier when we arrived at the airport, you’d know what a miracle this was.  We arrived at the airport and Evie refused to get out of the car.  She cried and yelled, “I don’t want to go.”  She knew exactly where we were going.

    As we headed to security, I went over the plans.  We would fly to Boston.  We would have a good night and go to our doctor’s appointment.  The doctor’s appointment would have no big owies.  We would have two days just to hang out and have fun together.  I told her we had three days until surgery.  I told her if she was sad and worried leading up to surgery, she wouldn’t have fun the next three days.  I asked her if she trusted mommy and she said, “YES!”   From that moment on she has done really well.  Whenever we went to radiology, labs, echo, she was nervous, would cry a bit, and I would say,  “Do you trust me?” and she would yell, “YES!” and smile.  I can not even begin to explain what that did to my heart.

    Evie 3

    It was then that I understood why I was so nervous.  Evie was trusting us to do what was best for her.   We are trying to make the best decisions we can with the information we have.  Dr. delNido is skipping the second stage and going straight to the third stage.  This is wonderful because it will save her having another big open heart surgery but it makes it a little more complicated.  We are trusting the doctor’s decisions.  They know so much more than we do and are the best that there is in cardiology.  But the risks are still there…complications, strokes, and death are possible.  Every time you head in for open heart surgery you take a chance.  You are hoping to extend their lives, to give them a better quality of life and a longer life, but the truth is it doesn’t always work that way.

    I was feeling a little nervous and then I read this devotional.  I have mentioned many times how I love that God brings the words to me that I need to hear when I need to hear them.

    “The truth is that all things belong to God, including our time and our children. Every heartbeat is His gift. This perspective encourages us to make our offerings as true worship because we realize we have no claim on the things of this earth. It is only because of grace that we are able to have fellowship with Him and offer those gifts in the first place.”  – Parenting by Design

    Every heartbeat is a gift.  I truly believe that.  It is only by grace that I have been granted the opportunity to be Evie’s mama.  I am worshiping a God who has graciously granted us 525 days with Evie.  525 of the most beautiful days that you could ever hope to have.  Today I praise a God of possibilities.  I praise a God of second chances.  I praise a God that knows every hair on Evie’s head.   He has always known her and will hold her in His hand.  He loves my girl even more than I do.

    evie

    We arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m.  They took her to the O.R. at 7:30.  They are expecting it to take at least six hours and I will update how it goes in the comment section.

    Please continue to pray for Evie.  Pray for the doctors and for everyone who will come in contact with her.  May they see God’s love and hope in everything that we do.  May Evie’s life continue to be a beacon of light showing all of God’s good works.

     

  • Traveling with Evie

    Date: 2014.10.17 | Category: Adoption, Evangeline Faith, Faith | Response: 0

    There’s an amazing thing that happens when we are traveling and in the hospital.  We are presented time and time again with the opportunity to share our adoption story, this is especially true when you travel with Evie.  We like to joke that Evie may have half a heart but God gave her double the personality.  She is social.  She is a greeter.  She says “Hi!” to everyone she meets.  She is just a beautiful soul.   She notices everyone from the lady sitting by herself on the bench to the little girl in the hot pink wheelchair in the gift shop who everyone else just walked by.  Evie saw her.  Evie said hello to her and blew her a kiss.  The grandmother even mentioned how most little kids are afraid of this little girl, but not Evie.

    evie 2

    Today we had the pre-op appointment getting ready for her Fontan surgery bright and early Monday morning.  All day long she has been practicing saying “How are you?”.  It just cracks me up.  She told the x-ray tech that she was sorry she cried.  She even thanked the phlebotomist for her owie.

    The adoption talk starts when people say how cute she is, how social she is, and then they ask if she has any brothers or sisters.  When I say that she has 13 siblings, there are a variety of ways people respond.  You can usually tell within one or two questions which group they will fall into.

    The Skeptic” – these people believe we must have some ulterior motive – want money, glory, to get a book deal or to be on reality TV, etc.

    The Confused” – Why would you put yourself through this? Why China and not the U.S.?  Are you crazy?

    The Appreciative” – You are so kind, thank you, your kids are so lucky.

    The Curious” – I’ve always thought about adoption or I’d love a large family…

    The skeptics hurt my heart.  I wonder how they could think those things.   Adoption is hard.  How could anyone think you did it for any of those reason?  How many people really get a reality show?  I most certainly don’t want one.  Our house is too loud to be a t.v. show.  I often refer to our house as controlled chaos.  I love children running and laughing out loud.  I love loud, off key singing and dancing.  Plus, it is way too much work to try and be famous.

    Answering the questions of the confused are much harder because I am constantly on defense.  Trying to justify why one child deserves to be adopted is impossible.  The truth is trying to adopt when you are older is tricky.  There were many factors in why we chose to adopt from China.  After we traveled the first time, there were even more reasons why we went back.  None of this can be explained in just a couple of sentences nor will any of it make sense to someone who doesn’t understand what a child living in institutional care goes through.  (Jasmine’s Blog)

    Then there are those who go on and on about what we are doing.  They are the appreciative.  It’s embarrassing.  Honestly anyone who spends a moment with these guys would have to be blind and unfeeling to not understand why we do it.  They are beautiful souls full of life and love.  Their joy is contagious.   I am not special or extra kind or wonderful.  I am blessed, truly blessed to be their mama.

    My favorite moments are with the curious.  I love when people truly, honestly want to know why.  What would lead us to do this?  Why would we open our hearts to pain?  Why would we invest this much time in children that have health issues?   Why would we adopt nine?

    I love how often God puts those in our path that have been thinking about adopting.  It happens time and time again.  It is inspiring to talk with those that are in the process of adopting, have adopted, or have gone on mission trips and cared for special needs children.  It’s fun to share notes, encourage others, and learn about new organizations that are helping those in need.

    I enjoy being able to share how God lead us to each of the children.  God has amazingly opened up doors time and time again.  I love to share about the children’s stories because it is not about me or Dan or our family.  It’s all about God.  It is an honor to be able to share their stories, to talk about how far they have come, and what it means to step out in fear, but with trust that God’s plan is perfect!

    It’s hard to contain your joy when you have been allowed to be part of such amazing stories.  I mean really who wouldn’t want to be a part of this girl’s life?

    evie 3

    Just a reminder:

    If you are on Facebook, you can follow along at Seriously Blessed by Adoption.

    The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.  Psalm 28:7  NIV


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Flower That Blooms

    Date: 2014.10.05 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang) | Response: 0

    I just wanted to let everyone know that our daughter, Jasmine, has decided to start a blog too.   She wants to share what it was like to be in an orphanage for six years, almost age out, join a family, and come to America.  She hopes to help other older children who may be afraid by letting them know family is a wonderful thing.

    http://www.flowerthatblooms.com/

    Her first blog is entitled Adoption Day.

    She was such a brave girl. She knew very little English.  She couldn’t run away from us if she had wanted to because of her muscular dystrophy.  Yet, she put a smile on her face and chose to be brave and happy about all that her life could be.  It is truly a blessing to be her mother and I am honored to share her words with you.

     

     

     

  • We’re Home!!!!

    Date: 2014.09.27 | Category: Elijah | Response: 0

    This was on the elevator door in the children’s hospital.  I think it sums up our little guy pretty well.

    Eli 10

    For those of you who haven’t been following along, Eli had a 13 hour surgery on Wednesday, the 17th.  Spent 4 days in the ICU and 4 days on the general floor recuperating.  Everyone who walked into his room from the very first moment he came out of surgery, commented on how kids who have the unifocalization procedure usually have lots of lung issues and his lungs sounded perfectly clear.  Time and time again we heard, “You know this isn’t the norm, right?”   Yes, we know.  We were feeling unbelievably blessed.

    Elijah did amazingly well and was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.   We weren’t sure what time we would be discharged so we spent one more night at the Ronald McDonald House and headed out to the airport on Friday morning.

    We were so happy to finally get home at 6:30 Friday night.   The kids jumped up and down with joy when they saw him.  Evie was so happy to see her buddy.

    Eli 7

    We knew that Ben and Maisey understood much more this trip and their relief at having Eli home was very visible.   Within five minutes, they were all cuddled up together on the couch with their suckers.

    Eli 6

    They spent most of the night sitting together on the couch watching videos and laughing.  It was a wonderful evening and such a blessing!

    We are getting ourselves psyched up for round two on October 20th with Evie in Boston, but for the next couple of weeks we will be lying low and letting Little Guy heal.

    I thought I’d share a few memories of our trip to Stanford.

    Here are the sculpture outside the front of the hospital.  I would love to do these in our yard.

    eli 9

    We would Facetime daily so that Eli could see the kids.  For the first day or two after surgery he would just look at the kids.  He wouldn’t say a word, but the kids loved knowing he was okay.

    Eli 2

    We were lucky enough to get into the Ronald McDonald House this time.  They are expanding because their waiting list is often close to 50 families.  There was a shuttle and it was only a beautiful, tree-lined, 10 minute walk from the hospital.

    Eli 3

    The shuttle made us laugh every time we saw the catch phrase.  We never did find “Hope” there.  :)

    Eli 8

     

    If you ever get the chance to support your local Ronald McDonald House, please do so.

    Across from the Ronald McDonald House there is a mall with a wonderful fresh food market.  We walked and got watermelon and apples quite a few times.  There is also a McDonalds.   Ha!  Imagine that.  It was where Eli wanted to eat the two times we had time to eat out.  There were many cute shops and restaurants.  There was a P. F. Changs and a Flemings Steakhouse.  I tried my hardest to talk him into noodles but he wanted nothing to do with it so we were off to McDonalds again for a happy meal.

    When your daddy makes fun nugget animals all the time, where else would you want to eat?

    Eli 5

    The two words used to describe Eli on the trip were cute and charming.  He really is a pretty mellow guy most of the time.  On both of our long flights we had people comment about how he is the best little traveler they had ever seen.  The gentlemen in front of me went on and on about how he tries to encourage mothers who are doing a good job.  He commented on Eli being so good and I told him I could not take credit for Eli’s mellowness.  He is just an easy going guy.  The gentlemen who was very nice just keep gushing on.  I just couldn’t do it, mainly because to take credit for Eli being a good traveler meant I would have to take the blame for Evie when she travels and gets tired of the whole deal, which usually happens about hour two in the air.  Evie is a beautiful soul with a over the top personality.  She just gets a little cranky about hour two in the air.  :)

    One of the sweetest memories came after one of the most traumatic for Eli.  They were getting ready to take out his three chest tubes.  There were six nurses standing around his bed to be able to pull them at the same time.  They had to cut the strings first and get everything ready.  After you pull the chest tube, you pull the strings really tight and suture shut the openings.   He was afraid of everyone around his bed and was crying.  The nurses pulled the tubes, Eli looks up at them, and in the sweetest little voice Eli says, “Thank you!”

    He really is the sweetest little guy.  What a blessing it is to have more time with him.   Thank you prayer warriors for your prayers.  We appreciate them more than we could ever put into words.

     

     

     

  • Little Guy Updates

    Date: 2014.09.22 | Category: Congenital Heart Defect, Elijah | Response: 0

    Little guy was extubated on Friday.  He is doing remarkably well. Everyone says his lungs are the best they have ever seen after a unifocalization.

    Every single one of our heart children from China have required unbelievable amounts of sedation to keep them comfortable and knocked out while on the ventilator.  I don’t know why this is, but it’s hard to watch while the doctors try to find the perfect number to keep them under and comfortable.  Every time we go in we comment on this fact as the doctors keep going up on the narcotics.  At one point, the doctor stopped and said, “I can’t believe this.  I’m pretty sure this amount would keep three adults asleep.”  I don’t know if that is true or not, but it is still a large amount.

    Because it takes so much to keep them sedated and comfortable, it takes them even longer to fully wake up.  Eli was still pretty out of it all day Friday but Saturday morning when I walked in the room, he was with it enough to look right at me.  It was so good to see my boy and hear him whisper mama, but it broke my heart when he said, “mama up”.  There were still too many tubes to be able to hold him.

    Eli 5

    By the end of the day he was doing much better.  He even smiled a couple of times.

    Eli 6

    Isn’t it amazing what they can do? Here is a 3-D animation of the procedure.

    Unifocalization

    Dr. Hanley took Eli’s collaterals, spliced them open and then built him pulmonary arteries. Absolutely mind blowing and amazing!!!!!  He then put a conduit in Eli’s heart and added a valve.  And then to top things off he stood for three hours and tried to get rid of all the small little tiny vessels that Eli’s lungs were growing while they were trying to get some oxygen.  They had to get rid of those vessels and make sure they weren’t still bleeding.  It’s a time consuming job.

    How do you thank someone for that?  I look at Eli and can’t believe it.  In China he was deemed inoperable, terminal and here he has a second chance at life.

    He spent his weekend eating popsicles, watching Veggietales, and…

    Eli 4

    recuperating.

    Eli 3

    Saturday night the nurse tried to convince me to go get some sleep.  Unlike most of the other hospitals we have stayed in, there are no sleeping areas in the ICU rooms here.  I was okay sleeping when he was stable and completely out, but not when he could wake up and need me.  We worked really hard to earn Elijah’s trust during his first year home.  The last thing I wanted to do was have him wake up afraid and not be able to find me.

    She told me that she could comfort him all I had to do was tell her what makes him comfortable.  A stuffed animal?  A blanket?  A special song?  Nope…..

    Eli 7

    It would be just too hard to leave my hand there.  When Eli is afraid at night, which doesn’t happen very often anymore, all he does is cry out “mama” and reach for my hand.  All he needs to know is that I am there.  There is no way in the world that I wasn’t going to be there when he needed me the most.

    Sunday afternoon we were moved to a private room on the general floor.  He is down to one i.v., three chest tubes and a smidge of oxygen.  He is doing amazingly well.  We have been told this fact over and over again.  He is still a little sad and his stomach hurts but all in all he is doing well.

    Praising God for the chance that was given to our little guy.  Blessings beyond measure for sure!  Thank you again for all the prayers.

     

  • Eli Update

    Date: 2014.09.18 | Category: Elijah | Response: 0

    image

     

    For those of you who don’t have Facebook to follow our Seriously Blessed by Adoption group, I thought I should give a quick update. Elijah’s surgery took 13 1/2 hours. He did amazingly well. There were some bleeding issues at first, but those were controlled and they were able to close his chest and he is resting comfortably. He is so pink and it’s a beautiful sight. The team says for a unifocalization he looks better than most. Hopefully they will try to get him off the vent tomorrow. Thank you for all your prayers and support.

  • Even If

    Date: 2014.09.17 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    We recently bought tickets to go see Jeremy Camp and Kutless with the girls. There’s not many things better in this world than watching Jasmine sing praise songs. It’s fun to take her and the other girls to the local churches when they have concerts. As beautiful as it is to hear the littles sing “Rise and Shine” and “Jesus Loves Me”, it is just as amazing to watch the big girl’s sing out praises to their Lord.

    I know most of Jeremy Camp’s songs, but I wasn’t sure about Kutless. I knew a couple of their songs, but then I came across the song “Even If”.  This song was exactly what my heart needed to hear.  It has been playing on repeat in my head for weeks now.  Every time I have started to worry I would hear the words…

    “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone.  You are God. You are good. Forever faithful.”

    Most days I can just go on and pretend everything is normal but then one of the kids comes to me and says, “Mama, what if Eli doesn’t make it?” Even little Maisey seems to get it this time. All this weekend she has made Eli sit on her lap, stroking his hair, and reading him a book. She has been melancholy and even snuggled in next to him to sleep.

    Mei 6

    I do pretty well until I let my mind go to the “what ifs”.   I see him and Evie playing and I think what if he doesn’t come home? What would she do? They are so close. Her little heart would be broken.  She’s too young to really understand.  They truly are like a set of twins. To watch him and Evie together is….. I don’t even have the words to describe it properly. They love each other so much. She says, “I wuv you Ewi” and he responds with “I wuv you baby.” They hold doors for each other and laugh together. They play and fight and hold each other tight. They make sure they each have a popsicle or a drink. They have a beautiful bond that has been so amazing to watch.

    eli 5

    My heart hurts to think that their bond might be broken.

    I wonder about the pain it would cause my other children.

    I wonder if I am strong enough to survive it.

    The words of the world start to seep in and I doubt.

    But then these words come across loud and clear….

    ”Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone. You are God.  You are good. Forever faithful one.”

    We have a peace that comes from God.  There is no other way to explain it.  A peace that comes from the complete faith that God led us to Eli.  Many of you know his story but for those who don’t, I will tell his story again.

    Eli 4

    I knew from the instant that I saw Eli’s picture that he was supposed to be our son. We never talked about it much with the rest of the family because we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but Ben brought up his name throughout the day and continued to pray for him and talk about Eli like he was already his brother.   It’s the same with Max this time. Children seem to just know. I wonder if they are more able to hear the Holy Spirit because they don’t let the words of the world crowd Him out.

    We went through so much with Eli as we waited for the orphanage to get his paperwork ready. We had seen his picture in a New Hope newsletter. They said he needed a family. When we inquired about him, we found out he was not paper ready. I was so sure he was our son that I was ready to wait no matter how long it took. Dan agreed and we asked them to get Eli paper ready.

    Eli 3

    As we proceeded with our homestudy, we talked with our social worker about how we felt the Lord was leading us to ask to put four children down in our homestudy.   China only allows two at a time so this was a strange request but she agreed, with all the outside support we had, that we could handle four.

    We set out to adopt Eli and Lainey, but Eli’s paperwork was taking forever. In the meantime, our agency presented us with Evie. I wouldn’t even look at her chart because I didn’t want to see the face I would have to say no to, but Dan was overcome and knew that she was supposed to be our daughter. He said there was a million reasons to say no but all he could say is “why not?”.  God gave Dan such a peace about her.

    I trusted Dan and how he was feeling, but couldn’t for the life of me see how it was going to work. We were back to the “Lord, if this is what you want we will proceed, but I don’t see how it’s going to work.”  We sent in LOI for Lainey and for Evie and we waited some more for Eli’s paperwork.

    eli 6

    In the meantime we saw Jasmine’s picture and knew she was to be our daughter. It was such an overwhelming, bring you to your knees response when we saw her picture. We asked our agency if we could ask to bring home three. I still remember Judy calling and letting me know that we were approved for three. What a moment that was. Tears streamed down my face and my heart was filled with joy. The children jumped up and down. It was a celebration at our house that day!

    We had every intention of going for the three girls and then returning later for Eli. We had been waiting for over six months at this point for Eli’s papers.

    eli 7

    Every step of Eli’s journey was faith-filled and made with the utmost trust that God was leading. We had stepped out in faith and the most amazing things had occurred. We were set to travel the first part of May and then the unimaginable happened, it was March and Eli’s paperwork became ready. Both Dan and I felt like we were to petition China to be allowed to adopt four at once.   We figured if they said, “No.” we would just return later for him. What’s it hurt to ask, right?

    Our agency said the odds were very slim, but they would send our letter on. We had told them that we firmly believed if God meant for it to be He would open the doors and He did! So while others questioned why we would adopt four at once, we were saying “how could we not?”.   When God was calling us and throwing the doors open to allow it to happen, what else is there to do but proceed in faith?

    eli 8

    Even though there was an overwhelming joy that they said yes to four at the same time I had a moment of panic. We had just been told that we needed to take a fourth adult with us. How in the world were we going to save that much money in that amount of time? We had maxed credit cards for the travel. How was this even possible?

    It’s amazing as many times as God has provided and been faithful that my first thought is often “how are we ever going to do this”.  I know the reality is that we never, ever do.  HE does!

    eli 9

    I can still remember sitting in the car with Cassie, my mom and Linda. I had gotten the mail and we were just sitting there talking. I opened an envelope containing a check for Dan from the children’s hospital were he sometimes gets paid a stipend to speak. But instead what did I find? A check for an amount large enough to cover Eli’s fees, his orphanage child rearing fee, and Cassie’s travel. Years prior the University was part of a class action lawsuit about too much FICA being held out during Dan’s medical residency for the years 1995-1998.

    The amount wasn’t large, but the interest they had to pay was. We had no clue this suit was finished. We were in no way expecting this money.  In fact, we figured we’d never see any of it, but God provided. Every single step of the way we trusted and God was faithful.  God has provided for us in amazing ways with Eli’s adoption.  This whole journey with him has been one of waiting, trusting, being faithful and watching God do amazing things.

    eli 10

    I have given up trying to guess where God is leading. When I feel that nudge, I pray and I follow. The blessings God has allowed us to have for being faithful are overwhelming. I wish I could let you feel for a moment what my heart feels.

    Eli’s whole story is a walk of faith. Every step on his journey has been faith-filled. God has given us an overwhelming peace about his life. That being said I am under no illusions that that means Eli will live a long life. He may or he may not.   The number of his days do not matter as much as the fact that his little life has purpose. If he lives 2 years or 50 years,  It was worth it! Eli has been a joy to love.  He is an unbelievably sweet soul.  He makes friends where ever he goes.  His little voice is adorable. Right now he is sitting beside me singing “A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart” from Veggietales.  Every single tear, heartache, and worry has been worth it.  My heart has been forever changed by one little boy.

    So…. “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone. You are God. You are good. Forever faithful one”

    God is good.  All the time!!!!!