Archive for October, 2014

  • Jasmine’s Blog – I was Left at the Orphanage

    Date: 2014.10.31 | Category: Jasmine's Blog

    Jasmine writes her blog in Chinese and her friend translates it for her.  The English version is below the Chinese.  I have added a few memories of mine, from the day we met her, below the English translation.   Jasmine wants to share her story in hopes that others will adopt older children and that people will better understand what it means to be labeled an orphan.
    I was left at the orphanage
    I wasn’t an orphan when I was born. My grandma and grandpa took care of me, not my mom dad. My parents visited me once or twice (at my grandparents). My grandma was very nice to me. However, my grandpa liked to drink, and then he would hit me. 
    However, one day my life changed.
    One time when I was in school, my grandma came to get me before the class ended. I thought it was strange. She and the teacher talked a little bit, but I didn’t know what they were talking about.
    When we left, I asked her why we left so early and she said we were going to see my brother. Then I was very happy! I ask her really and she said yes.
    My grandma and me rode a couple of hours to Guiyang. Then there was a man who took us to the office. I didn’t know why they took us to the office. It was still a mystery to me.
    When they finished talking, I was very happy because we were going to see my brother. However, when we got there, what I saw wasn’t my brother, it was a lot of kids. Then my grandma said she would pick me up at Chinese New Year. That’s when I realized that it was an orphanage.
    I cried when I asked my grandma to not to leave me there, but she didn’t look at me at once. Why did she lie to me that we were going to see my brother? I can’t imagine that she lied to me. At that time I was eight years old and I was very scared.
    I don’t understand why she abandoned me. I asked her many times when she left me, but she just left me and then she was gone.
    Mom’s words
    We had brought clothes to donate to the orphanage.  We were just going to give them to the orphanage workers who brought her to meet us but Jasmine really wanted to go back to the orphanage and hand the clothes out herself.   It was a five hour trip both ways to visit her orphanage.  We tried to talk her out of it.  The guide said some of the roads to the orphanage were barely passable and it was in the middle of no where.  But she kept saying, “Please, may I hand out the clothes?”   Dan and I didn’t have the heart to tell her no.   Plus, we wanted to see where she had lived the last six years of her life.
    When we got there we toured the building.  I can not imagine walking in and leaving your child in one of these building.  We saw the room she slept in.  We saw the room where she spent most of her days.  We saw the steps that they had to piggyback her up.  We understood how hard it was for them to move her from floor to floor.   Months later when she told us they dropped her on those stairs, we understood what that meant.  In the end, although it was heartbreaking to see, I am glad we took the time to make the trip.
    We pulled out the two big suitcases and the little children sat in front of her.  Jasmine got to hand them outfits.  She was so happy.  We just stood back and watched her.  I can’t even begin to describe what that moment was like and now looking back after all she has told me, I don’t know how she did it.  I can guess part of the why she did it.  She wanted to show them her family.  She wanted them to know that we did, in fact, want her.  She wanted to be kind to them even after all the things they had said and done to her.  The more I learn about her, the more in awe I am of her.
  • We LOVE Pink!

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

    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.


    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

    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.



  • Jasmine’s Blog – I Want an Education

    Date: 2014.10.24 | Category: Jasmine's Blog

    I want to have an education.
    Although I wasn’t going to school in the orphanage all the time, sometimes the nannies would teach me some stuff (in the orphanage school) and I was very happy. Even though the nannies were not nice to me, but I like when they teach me. I learned how to do math and then learned a lot of Chinese characters. I like learning very much.
    But one day the nannies moved the classroom upstairs. I don’t know why they did that. I was very worried that I can’t go to school anymore, because I like school very much! Why can’t people who can’t walk go to school?
    Sometime I wished I could walk so I could go to school. When people laughed at my disability I was very sad.
    Now I am adopted into American family and they treat me very well. My life in America is very happy, because my teacher is my mom. Now I have a chance to get an education!
    My mom teaches a lot of stuff! I am very thankful about that!
    Thank you, Teacher Mom!
    Thank you, Teacher Mom!
  • Evie Update

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

    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

    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.


    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

    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








  • Jasmine’s Blog – Coming to America

    Date: 2014.10.17 | Category: Jasmine's Blog














    Coming to America

    When I came to America, I was on the plane for 14 hours. I fell asleep
    sitting on the plane. I’d never been on a plane before, at first I was
    very scared, especially when the plane was descending.
    Then I arrived in America, there were lots and lots of people who came
    to meet us.
    There were lots of people I didn’t know, they were all American and
    spoke English. I had no idea what they were saying.
    When I came to America I was so very scared, because I didn’t know how
    to speak English at all.
    I didn’t understand what they were saying. Back then I couldn’t
    understand anything.
    But baba and mama love me so much, they are so kind, so full of love.
    People in America are very kind and loving!
    They really love me, and I love them too. I love my family and my
    family members.
    Now we are going to adopt two more kids, a 5 year old boy and a 9
    year old girl. They’ll come to America very soon. I hope they won’t be
    afraid because the people here will really love you.
    I hope children who are adopted don’t worry at all about your English,
    you can learn it bit by bit, don’t be scared.
    Your baba and mama will love you a lot!”

  • Jasmine’s Blog – I Want to Have a Family

    Date: 2014.10.08 | Category: Jasmine's Blog













    “I Want to Have a Family

    I once made a wish saying “there’s only one thing I want, I just want
    a family, I really really only want to have a family.” Then I made
    another wish, sadly saying “I really really just want one wish, to
    have a family of my own. Just to have people who care about me, people
    who love me, people who like me.”
    I knew I couldn’t go to the restroom by myself. I also knew I couldn’t
    get into bed and go to sleep by myself. I knew there were many things
    I could not do. I didn’t like it when people hit me or yell at me, I
    felt so very sad when people were yelling at me and scolding me. Some
    people said that I was useless since I couldn’t walk. Hearing someone
    say that made me so sad.
    Sometimes I was really happy when I saw other kids being adopted, I
    was truly happy for them. Sometimes, I would be very very sad thinking
    that I would likely never be adopted. I would feel very very bad.
    But sometimes I would think, it’s a very good thing that there are
    kindhearted people who adopt orphans!
    I was really scared that I would not have a chance anymore once I was
    14 years old. I was afraid that when someone wanted to adopt me it
    would already be too late.
    I didn’t know someone would adopt me, this I really didn’t know?
    Actually sometimes I would wet the bed. Whenever I wet the bed I would
    get hit, I was so scared of being hit.  (I will say more about this at the end. – Jasmine’s mom)
    I didn’t know if there would be anyone who wanted me.
    I also hoped lots of kids would be adopted and would not have to keep
    suffering here. Some kids were so afraid, many kids wanted to be
    adopted. Sometimes I would say, “this is not my home, I want to have a
    family of my own.” I didn’t like being an orphan, I just wanted to
    have a baba and mama who would love me and care about me!”

    (Jasmine’s mom’s words)

    At the beginning of her stay in the orphanage, when she was eight years old, Jasmine said the doctors said she should be able to walk.  When she wasn’t able to get out of her wheelchair, the orphanage would leave her food just out of reach thinking she would give up her little charade and walk to the food.  She says she fell out of her chair many times trying to get the food and they would just let her lie there with the same thought in mind – she would have to quit pretending and get up sooner or later.

    They gave her very little to drink throughout the day so she would only use the restroom in the morning and at night.  When there were occasions that the orphanage couldn’t get to her right away, she would wet herself.  This was very embarrassing to her.  As her punishment, the orphanage workers would allow the other children to hit and kick her.  Jasmine said this made her very sad and she began to believe that she was indeed worthless.

    She says she went to school for a year but then they moved the school to a different floor and she was no longer able to go because she couldn’t climb the stairs and there was no elevator.  She says she dreamed of being able to go to school.  She was left in her chair in front of the t.v. for years with nothing to do but dream of having a family.  Six long years of dreaming…

    And then she received a letter written by her daddy telling her how much he loved her and how beautiful he thought she was.  Jasmine says  this was the first glimpse she had that someone could love her.  Dan prayed over and over again for God to let Jasmine know that we loved her and to give her peace while she waited.

    Somehow Jasmine held on to her sweet, loving personality through everything she went through.  We are blessed to be her forever family.

  • The Flower That Blooms

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

    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.

    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.