My name is Lisa and I started this blog because we have had the pleasure of having many people pray for our family as we adopted. They have continued to cover us in prayer as we proceed through the multiple surgeries and hospitalizations that our children are going through. I wanted a way to share our family’s story with those who have been following. I also wanted a way to journal for my children where I could easily add pictures.
I have 12 children (soon to be 14) – one who is deceased. Out of those 14 children, two are healthy, the rest have/had medical conditions ranging from being deaf to missing a left ventricle. We have adopted 9 – 8 from China and 1 domestically. I have been married for 30 years to my high school sweetheart, Dan, who also just happens to be my best friend. I am lucky enough to be able to home-school my children. I have been through many trials in my life, but I am so blessed. What I want most for people to take away from this blog is just that. I start and end my day praising a God who has blessed my life in ways that I could not even imagine. I am seriously blessed.
Codey (27) is severely mentally and physically handicapped. His three main diagnoses are hydrocephalus, seizure disorder, and cerebral palsy. He has spent close to 5 years in the hospital and has had almost 100 surgeries. That describes his life and what he has gone through but that does not, in any way, describe who he is and how he has impacted my life. He is a joy and makes me laugh everyday. Although, I would, in an instant, take away all the pain he has gone through, I can not do that without taking away all the tests that have shaped my life and made me grow closer in my relationship with Christ. Someday Codey will walk and talk and it will be a glorious day! I can’t help but think that this verse pertains to him. “And so it is, that many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then.” (Matthew 20:16 NLT)
Kyle (passed away at 5 days of age) was Codey’s twin and was born with Beckwith Weidemann Syndrome. What I wouldn’t give to have even one more day with him. Each day that I live brings me one more day closer to seeing him again. He has taught me lessons too numerous to mention, but I will list a few. He taught me to love each day and those I love with my whole heart because you do not know the number of your days. He taught me to forgive and forget. He taught me what grace means and what true faith means. Psalm 139:6 (NIV) Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Zachary (26) has a Master’s in Interactive Entertainment. He worked for EA Sports as a software engineer. He came home to help with the new little ones and has started his own business, Seraphic Software. He also works for a company in Ankeny called SlashWeb Design. After Grace (who he is very close with) was diagnosed with lupus that confirmed his decision. Zachary and I shared many great adventures while his dad was in medical school and residency. He & I continue to have a very close relationship, but Zachary has started on a new adventure in his life as shown by the family picture above. Zachary recently married Stephanie and we all love her very much. Zachary was a gift from God that healed so much of my heartache. Psalm 30:11 (NLT) “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.
Cassandra (22) received her A.A. from DMACC and is pursuing a degree in elementary education at Iowa State University. She will get an elementary education degree after her student teaching this fall. She was the answer to a mom’s prayers. I had always dreamed about having a little girl. I could not have been blessed with a better daughter. She is a joy and one of my best friends. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be happy (in your faith) and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually.
Hope (15) has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She is a fairly healthy 9th grader. She is a sweet, beautiful, artistic, video game loving little girl. We were blessed to adopt her, at birth, while my husband was a Fellow at the Uof I. What a gift that was. My husband called to tell me that there was a little girl, who’s adoptive parents have decided not to adopt her because of her heart defect, and asks how I would feel about adoption. God works in truly miraculous ways. She is a blessing! Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jasmine or Shuang Shuang (15) has muscular dystrophy, we have yet to determine the exact type. She is a sweet soul who is so good with little kids. She has the best smile ever. She lights up the room with that smile. She is happy and easy going. She loves having a big family and is the reason our family has chosen to adopt again.
Kelly (13) – A sweet girl with spina bifida and glaucoma in the right eye. We are in the process of trying to adopt her before she ages on her birthday (8/17/14). We have heard so many wonderful things about her and are looking forward to her joining our family. She is an amazing artist and can play the piano. She may be in a wheelchair but I believe she can do anything. Kelly has chosen to stay in China, but she will always have a place in our hearts.
Grace (9) has Sytemic Lupus Erythematosus with Class IV/V glomerulonephritis. She is in 2nd grade and is doing really well. Grace is an old soul. Her faith in God is unbelievable. She constantly amazes me. Gracie has her very own Facebook page “Hats for Gracie” started by a friend of mine. She loves that people are praying for her and she shares her hats with her “chemo buddies”.
Elyse (8) has spina bifida. We recently saw her picture and fell in love with her drawings and sweet singing. At the end of her video she said, “Hurry mommy and daddy, come quickly and save me.” We are trying sweetheart. We will be there as quick as we can.
Benjamin (6) has a congenital heart defect and ITP. What a wonderful spirit this little boy has. He wouldn’t talk for days when we first got him, he just observed and took everything in. He was so happy from the minute Dan picked him up at the Registration Office. He wouldn’t let Dan put him down. He learned to say Dad within a couple of days and would just giggle as he yelled it at Dan. He played and played and played. He is a very sick little boy, but what a fighter he is. I’m a lucky, lucky mama to be able to love this little guy! Every day is like Christmas morning with Ben. He is just so happy to play and love others. Ben had surgery in November of 2013 to correct his transposition of his great arteries.
Max (5) has bilateral microtia. Our whole family has fallen in love with this little boy on the other side of the world. All the littles are so excited about him joining their crew. We are hoping to travel before the end of the year.
Maisey (4) is profoundly hard of hearing and has bilateral microtia. What a sweet little princess she is. What she lacks in being able to communicate she makes up for in faces. She is the most animated little thing I have ever seen and I have some very animated little girls. She has learned to say over 100 words and signs over 50 words. We recently got her a bone conducting hearing aid. It was a marvelous day watching her face as she heard. She has trusted and loved from the moment she saw us. I can’t believe that a child who has been through as much as she has can just let it go. My heart overflows with love for her.
Lainey (3) has PKU. What a sweet, sweet little girl she is. She loves to cuddle on your shoulder and give you love pats. She has come so far in the short time she has been home.
Evangeline (Evie) (3) has a single ventricle and oxygen saturations in the 50′s. When we got her at the registration office on May 13th, she weighed a whopping 13 pounds and was not able to sit alone. We have had her over a year now and she is non-stoppable. She runs and sings and dances all over the house. She has had one open heart surgery with another to come in October 2014.
Elijah (2) has pulmonary atresia. God has done amazing things this year and Eli was added to our China 2013 trip. Eli’s paperwork from the orphanage said he was “charming and handsome” over and over again and guess what?!?! They were right. He is charming and handsome. What a blessing it was to be able to bring this little boy home. He recently had his heart surgery by Dr. Hanley at Stanford. Dr. Hanley performed a total repair (unifocalization) and Eli has done amazing.
- Chinese Children Adoption International
- Half the Sky Foundation
- Hats for Gracie
- Holt International
- Hope Ministries
- Jessie Joy Rees Foundation (NEGU)
- Lifeline Children Services
- Love Without Boundaries
- New Hope Foundation China
- Samaritan's Purse
- Show Hope
- Smile Train
- World Vision
- China 2013
- Congenital Heart Defect
- Evangeline Faith
- Family Life
- Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)
- Lainey Rae
- Thoughts to ponder