Archive for June, 2012

  • Fun Friday Photo

    Date: 2012.06.29 | Category: Family Life, Photos

    I thought I’d take an idea from a friend of mine (thanks Lisa) and post a funny photo or two every week.  My topics can be a little serious sometimes so we will lighten it up with fun photos of my kiddos.

    Waiting for her sisters to come back upstairs.

    New beds are the best!

    Playing is hard work!

     

  • Hopey’s Gotcha Day

    Date: 2012.06.29 | Category: Hope

    13 years ago today, Hope’s adoption became final.   We had her from day one and it was a wonderful, unexpected gift.  She has turned into such a beautiful teenager.  As her song says, “Princess Sunshine.  Princess Sunshine.  You’re my light.  My heart’s delight.  You’re everything I hoped for and everything I wished for.  I love you.  Yes, I do.”

    Hope's first birthday pic

    Just got her braces.

    Swinging with baby Mei

    Taking a picture next to the sign. We laugh because her surgery was called the Norwood.

     

     

     

  • Surrounded by miracles

    Date: 2012.06.25 | Category: Benjamin, Codey, Grace, Hope, Maisey

    Many people look at my life and think it’s crazy.  They tell me they could never do it.  They see only the health issues.  I don’t see those things when I look at my children.  I see beautiful, happy children full of life and compassion.  I see miracles all around me.  Here are just a few of them.

    Recently we learned more about Maisey’s story.  We knew her time in the orphanage was rough. We had heard stories of babies who weren’t able to feed right. We knew that the House of Hope had found her, took her to their foster home and nursed her back to health. What we didn’t know is that when they found her she weighed 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) at 6 1/2 months old.  My poor baby was starving.  I hate to think of her lying there crying and not having any comfort. She is so sweet and so funny.  She has brought so much joy to my life.  The miracle that is her life is so amazing to me.

    Becoming an Iowa girl!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had also learned that our sweet Benjamin probably shouldn’t have been put on a list.  They’ve opened up the special needs category a little, but we have been told that China doesn’t put children who have poor prognosis on their adoption lists, but somehow Benjamin found his way onto one. Don’t know how it happened but I’m so blessed that he did.

    He sang "Happy Birthday to me!" all the way through Target.

    We were told numerous times that Codey wouldn’t make it past the week, then a month, then a year.  I don’t know how many times we called family down because they said he wouldn’t make it through the night.  We were told he would be blind (he isn’t), deaf (he isn’t), and in a vegetative state….well, see for yourself.

    He's a happy boy!

    Then there is Hope, whose biological parents lived in the south, came to Iowa to deliver for pre-adoptive parents who lived on the east coast.  I don’t understand it, but I’m so happy that it happened.   On top of that is the miracle that Dan was in the unit and heard her story.  Not to mention the miracle that she  made it through all her open heart surgeries. I am so blessed to have her in my life.

    She is such a pretty girl!

    Or the fact that I just happened to have a routine ultrasound where they picked up my blood vessel rupture with Grace.  I was having no pain and no contractions.  Everything felt fine.  They said just a few more hours and she probably wouldn’t have made it.  Our doctor and Dan’s friend said after he pulled her out, and now that he knew she was all right, he could say that was the most blood he had seen and had a baby come out okay.  Add to that, the fact that I was 40, had my tubes reversed after 12 years and got pregnant the very first month.  The doctor asked if I wanted them tied again to which I replied a resounding YES!  He said good because I don’t know how you got pregnant any way.  One tube is way too scarred and the other doesn’t even look like it’s hooked up.  The GRACE of God is alive and well in my life.

    Grace has the most compassionate heart!

    My life is full of happy, wonderful miracles!  I am so very, very blessed every day to get to be their mama.

  • The best thing that ever happened to me.

    Date: 2012.06.23 | Category: Family Life

    It takes Dan days to read this so I know I will get away with it for at least a little while. 🙂

    On Father’s day I wrote on Facebook and this is what I said:

    “I am lucky enough to be married to my best friend. I am blessed that he is a man after God’s own heart. That he believes in God’s plan for his life. That he believes God has a purpose for our children’s lives and he does all he can to help them achieve that purpose. I love that his job is to care for the sickest of babies and he does it to the best of his God-given abilities. I love that he makes me laugh every day, that he makes me a much better person, that he encourages me in every way, and that I am perfectly content to do absolutely nothing with him and it’s still a great day! Happy Father’s Day sweetheart!”

    And this is what Cassie said:

    ‘The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother.’ – Elaine S. Dalton
    Thankfully, I have gotten to grow up in a house where this is lived out everyday. Thank you daddy, for not only being the open-hearted, loving daddy that you are, but for openly showing momma love every single day. You two have created one of the most amazing relationships, and I pray that I can have one like it someday.
    I love you daddy! ♥

    I am lucky enough to be loved by a man who tells me every single day over and over again how much he loves me. I am definitely not the prettiest and not the fittest but he makes me feel like I am.  He encourages me with my job and helps me to achieve my goals.  He is my best friend and he is the first person I want to tell everything to.  He makes me laugh.  He holds me up when I’m sad.  He is so on board with all of my dreams.  He loves babies as much as I do.  He gives his all at work and tries his best to care for the sickest babies out there.  He takes his job of Director of Clinical and Quality Improvement for the national company he works for very serious.  He does so many things that others take credit for and he never complains.  The mama bear in me wants to scream and he always tells me. “It’s not about me.  It’s about taking care of the babies.  As long as they get the care they deserve, I don’t care who gets the credit”.  He starts every day with God’s word, asking for the wisdom and the courage to do the right thing.  He takes the time to really talk to parents because he knows what it’s like to be on the other side.  He is so quiet and sometimes I think people miss his funny side and assume that he is quiet and reserved. I often joke that when he retires he could be a comedian.  I love to watch him with our kids.  I love how they run to him and he picks them up to hug them tight. I love how he nicknames them all and let’s them know just how unique and special they are.  I love how he knows that his job is their salvation first and for them to find their purpose second.

    I just want to put it all in writing for him.  I love him so much.  We have been married 27 years now and they have been some of the hardest times but they have always been the best of times because he has been by my side, holding my hand, and trusting a God with a plan that we might not always understand.

    I love you Dan!  You are truly more than I deserve.  You took my broken heart, healed it and helped me find my purpose.  You are my rock and my soft place to fall.  I am a very, very blessed woman to be able to call you my friend and my husband.  I can’t wait for what God brings to us next.

  • Every day is a choice.

    Date: 2012.06.22 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Maisey

    I’ve had an interesting few weeks.  It’s hard to put into words, but I’ll try. Dan and I have both had in depth discussions about our children with others. It’s hard sometimes because even if you just start out saying we have 7  (never 8 unless you are standing in a line at a store and you can safely assume no one will ask you to list your children and their current ages) it usually leads to something more.  A question gets asked and you explain, but that explanation leads into another child and more explanations are needed and it goes on and on and then people just stare at you.  I try hard to keep it short, but that isn’t always easy.

    Dan and I don’t see our family as unusual but others do.  I don’t walk around all day considering their medical issues. I play with them and teach them and love up on them just as much as I can.  But the reality is….

    Kyle is gone and my arms will remain empty.

    Codey has had so many shunt surgeries that they couldn’t place the drainage tube in his abdomen anymore.

    Hope’s ventricle is still gone and she has a major scar down the middle of her chest.

    Gracie’s lupus is not behaving as well as it should be and she’s not very happy about not being able to do the usual summer activities – like play outdoors for hours on end.

    Benjamin has very few, if any options.

    Maisey will always have a hard time hearing and will have to deal with issues from her small chin and misshapen ears.

    Every day I have the choice to wake up and see the condition or the child.  I choose to see the child.  I choose to hear the laughter.  I choose to be happy.  Some days are definitely easier than others, but I always have a choice. Every day I have the choice to turn it over to God and let Him handle it.   I was once told that it was interesting to see the interactions in our house because they knew of all our children’s medical conditions but that we didn’t act like our house was full of sick kids.  That was a nice comment.

    Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

    The issue I am having now is telling others our story.  Last month I bought Benjamin a train at a garage sale.  The lady was talking about how everyone looked at the $30 price tag and wouldn’t pay it.  She was unwilling to come down on the price because there was over $200 worth of train there.  She said she was glad that someone was buying it who understood how much it was worth.  She was so upset about having to sell this train set.  I almost told her that it was going to a little boy who has been in an orphanage for over 3 years and who was very sick.  I stopped though because I hate saying things because I worry that others will think I’m looking for praise.  After I got home and was thinking about it, I realized she probably would have felt better hearing who it was going to.  Plus, by not telling their story, others who might be encouraged to adopt or to pray for or to support an orphan, don’t get to hear the best part – how absolutely wonderful it has been to adopt.  I try hard to make the conversations about how God has worked in our lives.  God placed these children on our hearts.  God brought them to us.  I choose to praise this God for all that He has done.

    Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name … 1 Chronicles 29:13 

    Every day with these guys is a wonderful gift.  Imagine Christmas every single morning.  I just put a brand new sheet on Ben’s crib mattress and he rolled around on it like it was the best thing he had ever seen – laughing and rubbing his hands all over it.  He loves everything – bubbles, trains, chicken nuggets – you name it he loves it.  He is so thankful every time he gets something.   He dances around and sings.  It really is the sweetest thing.  He runs up to you and says thank you over and over again and hugs you so tight.  I am so blessed by being able to love these two (and my other 6).  It is such a sweet gift.

    Every day you have the choice.  What will you choose today?

    This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24


  • To show God’s glory

    Date: 2012.06.21 | Category: Adoption

    I recently heard a woman question whether something she did wrong was the cause for her baby’s birth defect.   I’ve heard many things said about people being disciplined by God.  I’ve heard others talk about why God would be punishing someone as if they could somehow figure out God’s reasoning.  The funny thing is there are many reasons things happen.  It’s not that I don’t believe that God disciplines people – He is referred to as the Father and parents do discipline out of love.  However, it  just doesn’t make sense to me for Codey to be punished for something that I’ve done and what could Codey, himself,  possibly have done to deserve the pain he has had in his life?  That boy has been through more than anyone should ever have to go through.  I believe things happen to turn you to God, sometimes to discipline, to help you grow spiritually, and all the time to show God’s glory.

    John 9: 1-3   As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”  “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

    You can be bitter, negative, angry, judgmental, and hate your life OR you can choose to let it help you grow spiritually and wake up each day praising the day that the Lord has made.  You can choose to see the beauty on the path you are now on.  You can choose to appreciate every step that is made.  In life every day is a choice.  One of my favorite sayings is Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.  I have learned to always trust God and His plan.

    Which leads me to my next little tidbit.  Dan and I are trying to adopt again.  We found a little girl through another agency.   She has the same birth defect as Maisey.  This is a rare birth defect and to find another little Chinese girl with the same defect is crazy.  The way I came across her picture is just so random too.  I saw her sweet face and I just knew.

    We asked the other agency if we could stay with our agency.  The other agency was angry that we wouldn’t switch agencies.  It drives me crazy that this becomes a “money” issue when it should be a “we found a family who wants this child” issue.  We love the agency we went through, CCAI.  They are the number one Chinese adoption agency and they know exactly what to do and they get you exactly where you need to be while in China.  We don’t want to switch agencies.  Believe me we have heard horror stories of other people and their agencies.  I don’t want to be alone in a foreign country trying to figure out what to do.

    We called our agency and they told us that they release papers to other agencies so go ahead and ask nicely and see what the other agency would do.  So we called and nicely asked them to release her paperwork to our agency.    Their response?  That they would do everything in their power to advocate to get her a family in the 90 days they have her papers and if she didn’t have a family then they would release the papers to us.  Really?  She has sat in the system forever and a family wants her and they are going to make them wait 90 days.  So I wait.  I pray and I wait some more.

    In the meantime Dan has come up with her name and her nickname would be Ali-cat.  He nicknames all our babies.  He wants to name her Aliyah.  I’ve had only recently heard the name and I hadn’t told it to him.  Where he got it I don’t know.  It means “ascend to the promised land”.  Another God keeps his promises name. 🙂 So here are my Godcidences the very next day.

    1.)  Dan runs into a little girl with that name.

    2.) Her Chinese last name is AI.  I walk out of my room and The Electric Company has a big, bold AI on the screen because it’s the sound of the day.

    3.) I want to write to another couple that we met in China about all of this, but I barely talked to them there.  I read their blog and I feel like I know them, but I feel funny e-mailing them.  What happens?  She responds that very same day to my last blog.  Considering no one can figure out how to leave a response on my blog I consider that a small miracle.  🙂

    4.) Her placement letter was signed the day we got the kids this year.

    5.) Her birthday is the same as Dan’s aunt that just passed away last fall and whom all my children miss tremendously.

    6.) And some of my devotions that I get by e-mail talked directly to my heart. 

    A.) Exodus 16:4: …..In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions'” (NIV).

    B.) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9″

    C.)  What are the things in your life that are mere impossibilities?  What are the mountains in your life?  Are these there in order to build your faith in the one who can enable you to ascend the peak?  Once you know that it is His will for you to pursue, do it with faith.  Faith requires action when we know it is He who is leading. 

    D.)  Exodus 14:13-14:  “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still'” (NIV).

    E.)  When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength.

    God is good.  God is in control.  His plan is perfect.  He works all things together for good.  If another family is found, I will believe that they were a better family for her.  But if after 90 days our agency gets her I will be there ready with all my ducks in a row to get my Letter of Intent sent.  I know God is in control and if this works out as I hope it does….I will have another amazing God is so very good story to tell.  If she finds another family it will still be a wonderful story, but I want to be her mommy so I haven’t given up hope yet.

    God’s glory is all around us if we only open our eyes to what He is showing us.  May His glory become ever clearer for you in your walk with Him.  Be open to the Godcidences in your every day life.  I’m constantly amazed by the ones I see in mine.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Prosperity can make you poor

    Date: 2012.06.16 | Category: Family Life

    Sometimes when I stop and truly think about my children and their health issues,  I can barely breathe.  Honestly!  Tears fall and my heart just hurts. I know that they will have an eternity of happiness, but I also know they will not grow old and pain will be a huge part of their lives.  I know there will be medications and tests and blood draws and hospital stays and surgeries.  I know that someday we will be at the end, way before their time, and I will have to stand by and watch and there won’t be anything I can do.  I know this because I have been there before.  I cried tears as they rolled out the white curtain to give us “some privacy” in the NICU.  I don’t know who was around that night or who heard my anguish.  Honestly at that moment I did not care.  I only cared that my baby, who I had so many dreams for, was gone.  It wasn’t fair.  It hurt to watch him die.  It hurt when I had to drive him to the funeral home in Fort Dodge after his autopsy because we couldn’t afford to have them come get him.  It hurt when we picked out a very small white casket.  It hurt because the headstone was yet one more thing that I could not afford and that was NOT what I wanted to be buying anyway.  I wanted to buy cribs and little overalls and tiny tennis shoes.  I had dreams of curly haired little blonde boys happily running through the grass.  I did not want to put my baby in the ground. I hurt as I watched my husband walk over to the hearse and grab his little casket and carry it to the gravesite.  It all hurt. It hurt so unbelievably bad.  I never wanted to have another child.  Coming from someone who wanted 12 when she was a little girl — that was a big deal!

    I understand hospital stays (almost 5 years of them).  I understand surgeries (close to 100 of them).  I understand pain so horrible that your baby cries out, pounding on his head and hitting the gurney because he just wants to go to surgery and have the pain stop.  I’ve prayed that God would just take him.  I’ve cried out for Jesus to rescue him in any way that He could.  I’ve watched my son seize so bad that the only thing touching the bed were his head and his feet.  I’ve had a daughter come back from surgery with her chest wide open because they couldn’t get it closed.  I’ve sat in surgery waiting rooms where we’ve been back for three shunt surgeries in one day and even the receptionist cried with us.  I have had bad news after biopsies.  I’ve been there.  I understand what I’m signing up for and yet I choose to do it again because love is more important than the hurt.  Love is bigger than the hurt. The months or years that I have with them will be worth every moment I spend waiting to be with them again.  I will not hold back my love because I am afraid.  Because I am not afraid of what lies ahead.  I have full confidence in a God that is so much bigger than me.  I have heard the bad news but I know the good news!

    The truth of the matter is when everything is going right I rarely have a reason to turn to the Lord.  I spent years, when I was young, showing up at church on Sunday, I prayed, I sang,  I went home and nothing about my week or my life really changed.  I was compulsive about having a perfect body.  I was compulsive about having a clean house.  I know that as a teenager me trying to control these areas was me trying to pretend that I had some control.  After I was molested when I was 11, my life felt out of control.  I was confused and hurting and I controlled the things I could but at an unhealthy level.   My mom and dad divorced and my whole world changed.   As a child, that messes with you. Life is not perfect.   Where is God?   Did He even care?  For years I thought those bad things that happened were my fault.  That I somehow deserved them.

    My life changed forever when Codey and Kyle were born.  I no longer cared if my house was clean.  Well, the reality was, I didn’t have a house or apartment, we lived at the Ronald McDonald House, but still what did I care if there was a dish in the sink. Kyle was gone and Codey was barely hanging on.  I wanted to be at his bedside.   My body I worked so hard to get was gone.  I may have only made it 29 weeks with the boys, but my body took a beating. I went from a 24 inch waist to over 50 inches because I had polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid).  Everything I thought mattered was gone.  The house, the job, the money, my son, a car, my body, everything except Dan, was gone.  I had no control.  I had to turn it over.  It was either that or lose my mind.  I had to believe God was in control and that His plan was perfect.  I had to believe that all things work together for good.

    Those tests and trials changed everything about my life. It was no longer about going to church on Sunday, it was about a relationship with the Lord.  I began purposely praying throughout the day.   I thanked God for everything – trials & blessings.  I realized that there were tests in life and how I responded to them really did matter.   When I started to keep short accounts of my sins & confessed them, I felt better.   We often  think if we aren’t doing anything wrong according to the 10 commandments then we are fine.  We think if we are doing better in most people’s eyes than that guy down the street, well, then we must be doing all right in God’s eyes.  The truth is we are all sinners.  Everyone of us.  It helps you forgive and put bitterness aside when you realize Christ died for all our sins.  Every sin matters – big or small.  The seven deadly sins really are deadly…wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.    Who among can say we don’t do any of these?

    Even when all I had to eat was peanut butter and a loaf of bread, I still had food.  Even when I couldn’t afford to bury my son, I had family that provided.  Even at my worst, living in an apartment with roaches and no freezer and a little, tiny fridge, I had a roof over my head and a comfortable bed to sleep in.  I am blessed because the truth of the matter is “if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.  If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest.  If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people that won’t survive this week.”

    I have wealth.  I have a beautiful home and a nice car.  I have lots and lots of stuff, but when you have lots of stuff you tend to rely on yourself, your job, your bank account, when you are hurt you go to your doctor, when you are hungry you go to the store for groceries.   You rarely turn to God and truly have a relationship with him unless things are bad.   If the only time you go to God is when you need something, then you are spiritually poor.  You may be among the wealthiest in the world, but you are then spiritually poor because you aren’t turning to God.   Every day I wake up knowing just how much I need God in my life.  I look at their faces and I keep my eyes on the Lord.  Then and only then can I truly live in the moment.  I can be Ben’s mommy and just love him. I can hold him and be in the moment.  I don’t have to worry about tomorrow because God has it covered. I don’t have to worry about how many days Ben has left because God knew Ben’s days before he even came to be.  I trust in that plan still to this day.  I may not understand it, but I trust it.

    I just finished reading the book “Kisses from Katie” and it just confirmed everything I have been feeling.  I can’t go through my days and do nothing.  I have so much and so many children are dying of treatable illness and malnutrition.  There has to be a way to fix it.  I realize the world isn’t perfect.  I realize there are big governments and evil people in the way of helping the truly destitute.  But there has to be a way.  Katie has made a difference in so many children’s lives.  It is truly amazing. She is 22 and has 13 children all while living in Uganda and finding sponsors for 400 children to go to school and still she does more.

    Matthew 25:40  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  I have been asking myself that a lot lately.  What more can I do for the least of these?  God is leading….I’m excited to see where it goes.

     

  • 3 months and I couldn’t be happier

    Date: 2012.06.12 | Category: Benjamin

    On the 3 month anniversary of our adoption, I wanted to share a heartwarming story. I took the garbage out tonight and when I came back in Benjamin ran up to me and hugged my leg tight and said, “My Mama! My Mama!” and then proceeded to fold his hands in prayer. He said, “Mamen Mama.” I said, “You want to pray Benjamin?” and he said, “Mamen my Mama.” So I said, “You want to say Amen for your mama?” to which he replied, “Yes, Mamen Mama.” I then said a prayer that went like this, “Thank you Lord for my mama. Amen.” and Benjamin yelled as loud as he could. “Yes. Mamen!” I am so blessed to be loved by this little guy.

    I often thought what would be enough time to have with Benjamin.  I know a weird question but one I had to ask myself.  During the adoption process I would think about it.  I wasn’t worried.  I was just contemplating. Would I be bitter if it was God’s plan for Benjamin to die before we got him here to America.  Would I trust that it was right no matter what?  I know after only having 5 days with Kyle that I didn’t feel like it was enough.  Maybe because I was so sick and really didn’t get to spend the time I wanted to in the NICU.  Maybe it was because babies aren’t supposed to die and no amount of time would make it okay.  I’m not really sure.  But I wondered what I would feel with Benjamin. I can honestly say that I will be okay no matter what God has planned.  I only had to love this little boy for a couple of days to know that going through with the adoption was the right thing.  He feels as if he has been my son forever.  God’s plan is perfect.  God’s timing is perfect.  I love Benjamin so much.  I can’t imagine not having him here with me, but I can’t imagine a life where I would have never met him.  He is such a special little boy.  My heart will break.  My heart will hurt until we are together again, but I am so happy that we took the chance.  I am so blessed!

  • The greatest of these is love….

    Date: 2012.06.07 | Category: Family Life

    I started this blog after my husband encouraged me to put my words down in writing.  I sat and debated a blog for months because I wasn’t sure I wanted to put my feelings out there for others to read.  He reminded me that if I don’t tell the kid’s story then I don’t let God’s glory shine either.  The truth is hard to hide from and God places things on your heart and then you must pay attention.  I wanted a blog that said something about being blessed.  On blogspot there weren’t many of those “blessed” blogs left.  I guess there are lots of people who feel blessed – praises all around for that!  Zach then said that he could start me a website of my own if I would just come up with a name.  All of my children and other family members gave me ideas.  Those ideas all played on the fact that I use the word “seriously”….a lot. Way too much!  So it became my site and every time I type it in it makes me smile.  Because I am truly and utterly seriously blessed.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have troubles or tests or trials.  I just choose to see them for what they are, an opportunity to trust God, to turn everything over to Him, to place my faith where it should have been to start with because I was never in control anyway.

    Zach initially made it hard to leave a response.  Mainly because he was afraid of random people spamming me or criticizing me.  I recently came across a quote that said “man’s criticism’s make it possible for you to stay humble while hearing man’s praise”.   I don’t want to hear the praise because the reality is I don’t feel like I’ve done anything all that remarkable   I have heard from a couple of people this week and it is as if God was saying it’s okay, listen to what they have to say.  They are hearing that it is about Me and not about you.  For that reason, I had him make it easier to leave a response although it still seems difficult to figure it out.  I talked Linda through it just the other day to make sure that it worked.  Directions for leaving a response:  just click on the heading and it will open that post by itself and at the bottom of the page there should be a place for replying.

    I know there are people who will read my blog and think I am boasting.  I’m not.  I know that I am but a speck in a great big sea.  I have had life knock me to my knees more times than I care to mention.  I know what is truly important in life and I’m humbled every day by the gifts I have been given.  I have a husband who is my best friend, who loves me and tells me just how much every day.  I have children who I cherish and I love to spend time with.  I have been blessed enough to be able to adopt 3 children who have changed my lives in ways too numerous to mention.  I get to see so many firsts and my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude to a God that made this possible.

    I hear people talk all the time about how expensive adoption is and I know that is true.  I maxed out a credit card, drained a savings account and still had to borrow a little bit more. It’s not easy even if your spouse makes a very good living.  But if God places this on your heart you have to trust Him that it will be doable.  I’ve seen people have garage sales, bake sales, auctions, put out jars in stores, just about anything you can imagine.  There are ways to make it happen.  There are organizations that give grants.  It should not cost so much to take in an abandoned baby, but that is another talk for another day.  What you will receive in return is a hundred fold more important and wonderful than those few dollars that you will spend.  Besides it was never my money anyway…it’s always been Gods!

    For those dollars that were spent, I’ve had the joy of watching a sweet little 2 year old blossom.  When we got her that day in the registration office, to say she was quiet and sad would be an understatement.  We stripped her out of her clothes when we got to the hotel and both Dan and I cried.  She was starving with little tiny arms and legs and a distended belly.   Because of the bumps on her ribs and her bowed wrists and legs, Dan guessed she had rickets and this was later confirmed.  She had a bald spot on the back of her little head because the instant she got mad, she would throw herself to the floor and rub her head back and forth as she cried.  This happened over and over again those first few days.  She didn’t understand “no”.  She was sad when the food got moved.  I’m not sure anyone had ever tried to communicate with her which is sad because she can hear even without her BAHA.  I held her.  I rocked her.  I comforted her and it stopped.  It didn’t take very long and there was more and more time between each incident.  I can’t remember the last time she threw herself to the ground – not since we left China.  All of this changed because of love.   Because we took the time to hold her and comfort her and care.  That is all it took – well, that and a lot of noodles. 🙂  Now she runs through my house giggling, laughing, and throwing herself at your legs with great big bear hugs.

    Probably the saddest thing was if they got hurt neither of the kids cried.  If they hit their head hard or fell down, they didn’t cry tears.  It took me a bit to even realize that was happening.  It was as if it didn’t matter.  They knew no one would comfort them so the tears never came.  I can’t even explain how that feels as a mother.  Sometimes when I think of what they have gone through my heart just hurts.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t understand this world.  I don’t understand abandoning a baby.  I don’t understand so much and the world seems so evil and really what can I possibly do?  I can’t fix poverty or starvation or HIV or cancer or war.  But what I can do is take one life and turn it around.  One life at a time.  It’s all any of us can do. I’ve now had the privilege of doing that with 3 lives.  What a gift that is.  You can’t put a price on how that will change your life.  I have regretted many things that I have done in my past.  I have regretted things that I have said out of anger.  I’ve regretted things I should have said but chose not to out of embarrassment or lost opportunity.  BUT I have never ever regretted helping someone, saying something that would brighten their day, telling someone that I love them or encouraging someone in some way.

    I think that is each of our challenges, to seek God with all your heart and allow His glory to shine.  Your testimony is your life.  You can preach.  You can quote the Bible.  You can criticize and lecture and judge, but those things won’t bring anyone closer to God.  I don’t want to be in the way of someone seeing God’s glory.  I want others to see in my life the faith I have in a God and a plan that I can’t possibly understand.  I have had the privilege of watching a little life turn around.  I have had the great honor of bringing joy to a sad little boy and girl.  I can give Benjamin years of joy, but that joy will never, ever compare to the joy he will feel in heaven.  In the end, that will be my greatest gift to him, to show him the love of God and show him the way to salvation.  I want to help him understand we are all waiting to be adopted.  We are all longing to be loved for who we are.  We are all looking for that one person who won’t let us down.  No one on earth can do that for us because man is not perfect.  Only God can do those things. Go to God.  Talk to God.  Ask Him what you can do for one person.  Ask Him to open your eyes to the hurt that He sees.  You will be amazed at the peace that comes from trusting a God who has it all under control even though His ways are so far beyond our understanding.  Spread a little love to your loved ones and to those that are hurting around you.  I guarantee you that you will never regret having done something out of love.

    1 Corinthians 13:13     And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

     


  • Sharing cuteness today…

    Date: 2012.06.06 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Maisey

    We usually say prayers as a group with the little ones and Grace, but last night I had Ben just say his prayer by himself. He folded his little hands and at the end he said “Amen”. He then looked at me and said, “Mama, Mei Mei Amen.” He had to make sure Maisey was included. Maisey yells and throws her hands in the air at the end. She’s pretty emphatic about her amens. 🙂

    Today I was sitting copying Facebook posts about Ben to his journal. I was listening to Casting Crowns So Far To Find You and Maisey climbed up into my lap. A second or two later Ben climbs up in my lap and grabs Maisey’s hand and my hand and lays his head on my shoulder and says, “love you mama”. I’m a sap. I cried. I feel like those are the moments that God gives us as a gift for trusting Him. I don’t know any other way to describe just how much they touch this mama’s heart.

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