Archive for the ‘Elijah’ Category

  • God is good!

    Date: 2013.10.27 | Category: Benjamin, Elijah

    Every day I wake up and look at this little face and I feel so blessed.  God worked miracles to get him home to me and I never, ever take a moment of that for granted.


    He is seriously the cutest little thing.  He is the lowest maintenance of any of the kids.  He is happy almost all the time and says thank you for everything.  He’ll eat whatever you put in front of him.  He’s helpful and kind and loving and just so sweet!  He is Evie’s best friend.  I think about what he was like in China sometimes.  He cried A LOT!  I slept standing up because you couldn’t even sit down holding him when he was sleeping.  He refused to eat or drink for the first three days.   We had to force him to swallow fluids off of a spoon.  He whined about everything.  He wouldn’t come to me.  He only wanted Dan for the first day.  It was hard.

    Had I not been so in love with him for so long, I’m not sure what I would have done.  He was a handful.  But I knew he was meant to be my son from the very first moment I saw his face and I knew there was no turning back. Over the past year, I watched as God worked out miracle after miracle for him to join our family and I knew there was a plan…no matter how afraid I was.

    We waited months for his paperwork to become available.  We were sure his paperwork was just not going to become available so we proceeded with Lainey and Evie.  Then China allowed us to add Jasmine because she was going to age out soon.  Eli’s papers became available after we had already agreed to the three girls.  We decided to proceed knowing we may have to turn around and go back to get him after we got home with the girls.  But we had prayed and prayed and every one of those prayers were answered.  First, that they would allow us to get preapproval, then we watched as papers were expedited at every step.  Everything was falling into place.  We could have everything done before we traveled.  Would China allow us to add him so that we didn’t have to turn around and travel again six months later?  They told us the odds were against us.  The chance of them allowing a fourth child during one trip was unheard of.  But the doors opened and we once again got the okay.  There were just so many things that had to happen for him to become our son and every one of them happened.

    God is good.  SO.VERY.GOOD!

    It would have been almost impossible to go back and get Eli with my mom being sick and all the surgeries with Ben and Evie.  I’m not sure with as hard as it has been with Lainey that I would have thought I could handle another child.  But God worked all things out in perfect time and I am forever blessed by being allowed the blessing of being Eli’s mama.

    Right now it is midnight.  In just a few hours we will travel to Boston for Ben’s heart catherization.  It’s been a rough decision and he is not happy about surgery in any way, shape, or form.  He has cried almost every time we have talked about it.  It is hard with a five year old.  You don’t want to just spring it on them, but you are limited by what they can understand.   So you talk to them about the procedures and hope that you haven’t said too much.

    Today a dear friend stopped by with a Superman shirt that is extra awesome and a Hot Wheel dinosaur car.   Ben was thrilled.  It took his mind off of things for a while.  He felt special because she stopped by just for him.  He had to put the shirt on right away and hasn’t taken it off yet.   I told him I should wash it if he is going to wear it tomorrow, but he said “No!”

    There is a home that does daycare on the corner on one of the streets on the way to Mercy Hospital.  We actually stopped there a week ago when they were having a garage sale.  They had a little tykes pirate ship in the yard that Ben has wanted.  Every time we drive by it, he comments about how cool it is.  We have looked on line and couldn’t find the same ship.  I’ve even been checking Ebay and Craigslist.  Nothing! But this afternoon as I was driving by on my way to visit mom, I noticed it was for sale in their yard.  This yard has a ton of Little Tykes play houses and cars and slides, but the only big thing for sale was the pirate ship.  I was in Cassie’s small car so I rolled down my window and asked her if it was indeed for sale and how much it was.  She said $20 and I happily paid it and asked for her to hold it for me.  Later I drove the bus over to pick it up. I asked her why she sold the ship and she said that for some reason she just thought it should be sold.  I then told her about how Ben has driven by her yard for over a year now and has always commented on that ship.  I told her that he was really upset about leaving for surgery tomorrow but the ship had made his night.  All the way home, Ben commented over and over again how this was THE.BEST.DAY.EVER!!!!!   As we drove off, she said she would be praying for him.


    Again I say, “God is good.”

    Ben hasn’t been upset tonight.  He went to bed holding his dinosaur car and talking about what a wonderful, awesome day it was.  I am feeling very blessed tonight and am as ready as I can be for the next step with Benjamin!  How could I not be when God shows himself in even the smallest details of my little boy’s life?

  • Blessings

    Date: 2013.08.21 | Category: Benjamin, Cassie, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Grace, Hope, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae, Maisey, Photos

    Evie is extubated and resting now. It was a very long morning and afternoon where she was uncomfortable and they couldn’t control her pain. This is the first time she has rested comfortably all day long. Counting our blessings one medicine and one tube removed at a time.

    Dan and I were just talking about how at this time last night (7pm), they were rushing her down for an emergency heart cath with ECMO on standby and tonight she is happy and resting and on her way to healing. Can’t get much more blessed than that.

    Yesterday I wrote about some pictures that a friend of Cassie’s took. She came over with her camera and just played with the kids in the backyard. I picked 20 of my favorites to show you. Some good news is always in order. I have been blessed 12 times over….





















  • Updates

    Date: 2013.07.20 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Cassie, Codey, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Grace, Hope, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae, Maisey, Zachary

    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV

    I’ve been hanging on tight to the “do not fear” portion of this verse for the last couple of weeks.

    I will apologize ahead of time that this post is long.  I’ve chosen to post updates on everyone in one blog.  The good news is each paragraph is a story in itself so you can stop and come back and it won’t even matter.  Plus, if you leave and come back it adds another visit to my blog and I am really close to going over the 20,000 visit mark for the year.  Isn’t that unbelievable?  I sometimes forget that there are those, that I don’t even know personally, following our story.  I update for my family and friends who I know are praying for our family and for each of my children and pray that maybe, just maybe, I will reach someone I don’t know and they will be encouraged to do more.  They will be encouraged to follow where God leads them, even if they are afraid.  It just seems amazing to me that our story touches others.  To me, it is just our life.  It’s just my normal.  It can be really, really loud, and really, really busy, but at the end of the day we are just a family.

    If you are one of my readers, which I guess you’d be if you are reading this, thank you.  Truly thank you.  Thank you for caring about my children.  Thank you for covering our family in prayer.  As Christians we are commanded to encourage each other and lift up each other.  You do that for me with your comments.  You do that every time I hear about someone praying for my children.  What a blessing.  It goes without saying that the title of my blog says it all….I am SERIOUSLY blessed!  Thank you!


    Poor Benjamin had been feeling so bad.  He was admitted to the hospital to receive IVIG because his platelets dropped to 12,000.   He had a severe reaction to the IVIG, his temp jumped to 105.1 and his heart rate was well over 190.  When your heart is as overworked as Benjamin’s is already, a very high heart rate for an extended period of time is not a good thing. During his hospital stay, I asked him, “Benjamin, do you know that God loves you?”  and he responded, “Yes!” and then I said, “Benjamin, do you trust me?” and he said, “Yes mama!”  as he snuggled in closer he said, “I’ll be brave.”   He really is the bravest kid.   I wish I had the words to properly convey how humbling and overwhelming it is to watch your child truly trust God.  When said child is only 4, it is just mind blowing.  Benjamin is sweet and gentle and so loving.  Benjamin can not hear sirens without requesting that everyone pray, well commanding it is more like it.  When you pray, you have to pray for the person who is hurting, for their family, for the people driving, and for their safety.  You can’t leave anyone out.

    We had been home for a couple days and Ben was still whiny and not eating.  His dentist decided it was time to take out two molars before he has surgery.  One of them was infected and yet Ben wouldn’t really complain.  Benjamin’s surgery is scheduled for August 13th at Mayo.  We have to check in early the morning of the 11th to check his platelets and see what needs to be done to get him ready for surgery.  I am nervous about this surgery, but we know it is his only hope of being pinker and extending his life.  We are trusting in God’s plan and His timing.  We are putting Benjamin in His hands and praying for the best.   Plus, Benjamin has decided that he is SuperBen Ben and he can handle anything!

    Super Ben

    Plus, Gracie has informed me that “it’s a pretty good day for a miracle”.  So we are going to go with that.  It does seem like a pretty good day for a miracle!  🙂


    She has been such a huge help this summer.  She was invaluable in China and continues to be so.  She allows her mama some sleep, some much needed sleep.  I am always amazed at how much she has learned from our life.  She is so far ahead in her walk with Christ than I was at her age.  Here is her latest post that shows exactly what I’m talking about.   Things I Have Learned


    The boy turned 25.  How is that even possible?  I’m barely over 25.  Although, I suppose that makes the fact that I just had my 30th high school reunion a little improbable too.  🙂   Codey has adjusted well to all his siblings.  He doesn’t seem to mind the increased decibels in the house.  It has gone remarkably well.  Better than I could have even hoped for.  He has been healthy and he is a pretty happy guy.


    We now know why it said that he was “charming and handsome” throughout his papers from the orphanage.  This boy will charm the socks off you.  He is sweet and the faces he makes just crack me up.  Last night we hit a wonderful milestone and he melted my heart a little more.  There are many habits that children come with, who are raised in an institution, one of them is not wanting to be held or rocked.  Some, not all, children have this.  They are so used to being alone.  Comforting themselves.  Not crying out when they are in pain because no one responds.  It’s just very, very sad.  Last night Eli had a nightmare and he let me rock him.  He let me hold him and comfort him and he said, “Mama, wuv you.”  Those moments are to be treasured.   Those moments of complete trust and the understanding that you are there for them.  Little tiny steps but every time they happen they just warm your heart.



    This little girl just continues to improve every single day.  She has gained about a pound a week and weighs in at 20 pounds now.  She is sitting, crawling all over, pulling herself up to standing.  She is singing and saying new words every day.  Little Evie’s heart catherization is scheduled for August 6th at the U of I Hospitals.   I am soooooo not ready for this, but she is getting bluer and bluer.  It needs to be done.  I love, love, LOVE this little girl so much!  She has a personality that is just so big!  She steals people’s hearts in a matter of minutes when they meet her.   They are hoping to place a stent in her PDA and increase the blood flow to her very small pulmonary arteries.  Their hope is with increased blood flow, maybe her arteries will grow.  I’ve had others write to me, to encourage us, with stories telling how this has worked for their children.  Praying that there is hope for our little Evie Faith.  Her middle name says it all – we have proceeded in faith and continue to press on in faith.

    Faith makes things possible NOT easy.  Have you heard that saying before?  That’s where I am right now.  It’s easy to love her.  It’s easy to have your heart completely stolen by her.  It’s easy to thank God for the gift of being her mama.  It’s hard to know that I may not ever get to have a birthday cake with her.  How silly is that?  But not being able to celebrate a milestone with her makes me cry.  It really is the little things in life that matter.  It’s hard to think about taking this chance, even though the percentage is low that she won’t make it through the cath, the truth is she might not.  Am I strong enough to take this chance?  How strong is my faith?  Can I truly just turn it over?  Fear Not!  Fear NOT!  FEAR NOT!  Eyes directly on the Lord and counting each and every blessed day I get to spend with her.

    evie stethescope


    She just got a great report from the hospital at her check-up.  She got to drop another medication.  She grew taller, which is a big deal for a child who isn’t growing from being on steroids.  She’s been doing really, really well.  She has also informed me that when she grows up she is adopting 20 kids.  That is just my Gracie’s heart.  She loves more and wants to do more.  She just loves her siblings.   In the picture below she made an early morning picnic for them.  She’s always the one making the forts, playing games, giving baths (with help), having dance parties, etc.


    If you are wondering why Benjamin is in a penguin costume, well, the night before the girls had a fancy dance party complete with big, frilly dresses.  Benjamin thought he should wear a tuxedo and this was as close as he could find.  He then wanted to sleep in it, which I allowed.  There’s just something about not knowing how many days you have that make the little things seem like not such a big deal.  Who cares if he sleeps in a penguin costume?


    Hope is Epic!  Her words not mine.  I was asking her what she wanted me to tell others about her and she jokingly said, “Say I’m epic!” and then rolled on the floor laughing.  So, of course, I have to include those words.  That is just the kind of mom I am. Supportive!  Actually, Hopey is truly epic and is doing really well.  Health wise you’d never have any clue she is missing half her heart.  She recently just had a nasty bout of strep, but other than that she has been remarkably well.


    Oh my goodness, this girl has been busy.  She went to another VBS at a friend’s church.  It was wonderful because they used the same VBS theme that our church did so she already knew all the songs and could sing along.  She is learning more about God every day.  We tell her the basics.  God made everything.  God loves you.  God loves me.  We love God.  God brought us to her.  Today a friend of the family who speaks fluent Mandarin asked her about God and told her a few more things.

    The reward for attending every night of VBS was a ticket to the local amusement part, Adventureland.  Tonight she went with Grace, Hope, Cassie, Zach and Stephanie.  She loved it.  She had a corn dog and a sno-cone.  She tried the teacups, the ferris wheel, and a pretty tame roller coaster.  She played tons and tons of games with Zach and won two small stuffed toys.  She had an old time picture taken in the photo shop.

    She has come so far.  We are still waiting for her neuro appointment and her 2 1/2 hour MRI, which is scheduled for next week.  She had an eye exam this week and it broke my heart.   So many things that orphans feel and are fearful of that we can’t even imagine.  Take for instance the eye exam.  They started showing her letters and all was going well until the letter “H” came up on the screen.  She didn’t know “H” so they handed her a board with four letters on it and asked her to point to the one she saw.  It was then that the tears started. Not just a tear but full-out-sobbing tears.  It broke my heart.  She heard the word “test”, couldn’t say the letters, and just lost it.  When I asked her about it on Google Translate all she would say was that she was “afraid”.  She wouldn’t/couldn’t tell me why.  It just made me sad.  Something as simple as not knowing a letter should not fill you with such fear.

    Adventureland girls

    Today I asked her if she was happy here and her little face just lit up and she said, “Oh yes, Mama!”  Those three little words just made my day.


    She is still not sleeping which makes for some really, really, really long nights.  We have started taking shifts.  Every once in a while, Hopey takes the 10 p.m. to 12 p.m. shift for me, because she likes to play video games and she isn’t able to have alone time during the day.  It’s a win-win situation.  Zach hasn’t been able to take many because of the final push on his video game, but sometimes takes the 1 to 3 shift.   Cassie has been taking the 1 a.m. to 7 a.m.  shift with Dan taking over at 4 a.m. when he is able to.  Cassie is sleeping on and off during those hours, getting bottles left and right, holding a child who doesn’t want to be consoled, and all in all, being a life saver.  I get up around 6:30 a.m. and take over with the crew, since no one, but the older kids, like to sleep past 7.  Cassie then goes back to bed until noon.   We have to find a solution before the end of August because Cassie will be going back to school.  We have recently been approved to try melatonin.  There was some debate on whether you could use it with a child with PKU, but we’ve been given the okay.  Hopefully, this will help our child, who doesn’t want to sleep. sleep.

    On top of that we found out that Lainey is extremely farsighted.  We have been noticing that she grabs at things funny, like she just can’t see it clearly. She takes both hands and kind of starts big and brings them in closer.  She seems to have an issue with depth perception and she is clumsy.  It’s nice that at least there is a reason for this.  We ordered her a pair of glasses.  They are like goggles, completely unbreakable.  This child might make that statement untrue.


    Here she is rocking her compression shirt.  It has really helped her.  When you put the shirt on, she instantly becomes calm.  It is the strangest thing.

    But all in all, if you saw the Lainey we saw on day 1 and compared her to the Lainey you see before you now, things are so much better.  Truly better.  She is happy.  She hugs.  She plays with the kids.  She laughs out loud.  It does a mama’s heart good to know that she knows she is loved.


    Well, little Maisey Mei got herself some glasses.  Fitting glasses on a little Asian nose and not really having ears is a challenge.  These are what we found.  Cute, little, pink wire-rimmed glasses.  We use her hearing aid headband to hold them up and it seems to be working pretty well.  Her speech has just taken off.  She is getting clearer and clearer in the way she says her words.  She is a great big sister to the littles.

    mei glasses


    Mom is back in her own home and feeling better.  She  just had her check-up today.  She is still really weak but is steadily getting better.  Her ejection fraction went from 20% to 35% – so that was wonderful!  We were also told that she would need her carotid surgery done first to allow for proper blood flow to her brain when she is put on bypass.  They said surgery is likely three months after pulmonary emboli are discovered.  That would mean surgery could possibly be in 2 months with her quadruple bypass following 4-6 weeks later.

    I am posting pictures of all the kids so I thought I’d include the picture my sister-in-law recently took of my mom.  She is rocking those Minnie Mouse shades!  Mom won’t care.  Really she won’t.  Have I mentioned that my mom doesn’t own a computer or know how to get on the web to even read my blog?


    (No worries.  I did tell her and she gave me permission.)


    He is busy with his new game that is set to be released at the end of the month.  I say “his” but the truth is, he is the lead programmer for an international company trying to put their first game out.  It’s pretty exciting watching how God has let him use his degree from home, which pretty much everyone said wasn’t possible.  Oh and have I mentioned that he has a girlfriend?   She is very sweet and all of Zachary’s siblings really, really like her.  I won’t out them and put up a picture….yet.  For now, do you hear that Stephanie?  🙂


    Everyone gets along so much better than I could have even hoped for.  Maisey helps Lainey in so many ways.  Maisey seems to have an affinity for helping those who aren’t able to communicate.  She just gets right in their face and directs them.  She makes Lainey hug and hold hands and play.  It is a blessing to watch them play.


    Right now the littles are riding their cozy coupes in circles around the couch.

    cozy coupe

    Life is hectic, busier than I could even ever imagined but it is full of love and laughter.  I couldn’t imagine my life without even one of my blessings.

    Praying life is treating you well friends.  Enjoy your family, your friends, your faith and follow God’s lead without fear!




  • Dr. Joyce Hill

    Date: 2013.06.26 | Category: Elijah, Lainey Rae, Maisey, Thoughts to ponder

    There are people in our lives that change us for the better.  People, who we have never even met, whose words impact us and change the course of our future.  Dr. Joyce Hill is one of those people in my life.  It was by chance that I even learned about her.


    One day I just happened to post on a Show Hope Facebook status, thanking the volunteers for all that they do for the orphans in China.  I don’t often comment on Facebook threads where I don’t know anyone, but that day I felt led to say “thank you”.  At the time, we were waiting to go get Maisey and Benjamin.  Cathy at Show Hope responded to my comment and asked me if they had cared for any of our children.  I told her that I didn’t think so and she asked for their names so she could check.  She told me that they hadn’t cared for Benjamin but they had cared for Maisey.  We exchanged e-mail addresses.  She told me about the wall in her office where she has pictures of children waiting for their forever families and pictures when they get home.  I thought that was very sweet and I told her I would send her a family picture when we all got home.

    Many months later, Cathy wrote me back saying that she remembered that Maisey (Chaya) had been in an earlier newsletter and she thought that I might like to see it.  Through that e-mail we learned that Maisey was the 1,000th baby at The House of Hope in China.  We learned that the Hill’s ran this home and their mission statement was “To comfort always, to relieve often, and to save sometimes.”   We were intrigued and purchased the book that Elisabeth Gifford wrote called “The House of Hope”.  When reading this book, on almost the last page of the book (pg. 216) we read “On 22 October, Chaya, an abandoned baby with huge, trusting eyes, was admitted to New Hope.” This book is an amazing testimony to following God’s calling in your life.  I highly recommend reading this book.  This book will open your eyes to the plight of the orphan and move your heart to do more – whatever your calling may be.


    Dr. Hill has now treated many of the sickest babies in China at the House of Hope.  In Maisey’s case, we learned that they found her in an orphanage weighing 6 pounds at 6 months.  They cared for and loved my Maisey back to health.  Because of their care, we have been blessed with this sweet, little girl.  It’s hard to explain what something like that means to a parent.  To know that your child suffered, that someone saw her worth, and gave her a chance.  And because of that chance, you were blessed with the sweetest little girl with the biggest personality.

    Dr. Hill has also cared for my little Lainey and Elijah.  Eli was cared for at Maria’s Big House of Hope.  He was actually their 500th child admitted.  I saw Eli’s picture in the New Hope Foundation newsletter and fell instantly in love with this little guy.  It’s pretty amazing that we ended up with two of their milestone babies.  Lainey was also cared for by New Hope.  She has required a special formula for her metabolic disease and they were able to provide that for her.



    The Hills influenced Dan and I in one more really big way.  In their book they have a quote, when they were talking about what God was asking of them.  Joyce said, “Rob, I think God is asking us to get into a river and I don’t know where we are going to end up, but I think we should just get in and we should go with it.”   Her husband, Robin, had a well-paying job.  They lived a very comfortable life.  They decided to give it all up and stay in China and care for the very least of these.  Up until that moment, they hadn’t even thought about staying in China and caring for orphans.  They just felt that God was telling them to stay.  God was encouraging them to bring compassion to dying children, to let these children know love no matter how many days they had left.  I can think of no greater calling in life than to care for those that others have discarded or considered unworthy of their time.  When Dan and I felt led by God to adopt four, we felt unprepared and wondered if we could do this.  We prayed about it and decided to do what the Hills had done and jump in and see where God would lead us.  To give up control and to trust in His plan.

    We proceeded in faith and had a year of watching miracle after miracle unfold until we were allowed to adopt four at one time in China.  It hadn’t been done before and they said they wouldn’t make it a precedent, but we were the privileged pair that watched it all miraculously unfold.  What a gift.  What a glorious thing to be a part of.

    Through all of this we learned about Love Without Boundaries, which Dan is now a volunteer for.  Dan and Dr. Hill have corresponded during the past year and have become friends.

    As you can see, the Hills have played a huge part in our lives.  I had always hoped to meet them.  Dr. Hill has been ill for many years.  She has been confined to her bed, flat on her back for way too long now, but she has still continued doing her work from that position.  Unfortunately, we recently learned that Dr. Hill had been in a coma and was not doing well.  She had gone home only to be hospitalized again.   It is posted on their site and you can read about it there.  Hope Foster Home

    Today, however, we learned that Dr. Hill has woken up and surgery is being performed as I write this blog.  There is hope today at the House of Hope.   I ask for prayers for Dr. Hill.  Please pray for her and her family.  Pray for the doctors and nurses who are caring for her.   I pray that her suffering is eased and that there is an end to the endless headaches that she has suffered.  In a world full of celebrity worship and heroes that have very little worth,  I believe Dr. Hill to be a true Hero.   Even though she would be the first to tell you that what they did wasn’t as much brave as it was obedient, Dr. Hill will always have a very special place in my heart.  Because of her care, because of them following God’s lead in their lives, my life has been blessed with three of the most wonderful children you could ever ask for.  That is a priceless gift.  How do you ever thank anyone for something that wonderful? There are not words to convey my feelings for Dr. Hill.  I ask that you continue to lift Dr. Hill up in prayer and I pray that she will be blessed with the same compassion and caring that she has showered on so many others.

    P.S.   If you feel so lead, you can support the Hill’s in their mission on their website.  Hope Foster Home (Babies)  They have a page listing the financial needs they have or you can specifically sponsor a child.  I highly recommend sponsorship because you get updates on how that child is doing. It is a fun way to care for one of the least of these.  We sponsored Lainey who was Ginny Rebecca on the site and we got updates for her along the way.  There are many ways to help both monthly and as a one time gift.


  • 30 days to a better me

    Date: 2013.06.13 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae, Thoughts to ponder

    Hard times and deep truths often come together. If you want the latter, you must be willing to make it through the former.  – unknown

    30 days ago today, our family went from 10 to 14.  30 days ago today, I thought I had been through hard and could handle anything.   30 days ago, I thought I had it all figured out.  30 days ago, I thought my faith was secure. 30 days ago, I knew what God was asking of me and I was ready to proceed with this grand adventure. 30 days ago I was so sure that I could handle anything.  30 days ago – oh man, was I was clueless!

    We showed up the day after Mother’s Day, ready to receive three more blessings.  My blessings would then total 12.  My childhood dream of having 12 children was about to come true.  I was happy. I was nervous. I was feeling so blessed.  I knew two of these blessings had complex heart defects.  I knew Lainey had PKU and there was bound to be issues with her feedings.   We were prepared as we could be….at least that is what I thought.

    But 24 hours later, I was questioning everything.  How could God bring me to this.  This was not  just hard, but realllllyyyyyyy hard?  I was already doing my best with a life that was hard at home.  Not so much hard, but complicated.   I have children with complex medical conditions.  I have a busy household already.  I do g.t. feedings and oral feedings, medications, and lots of appointments, on top of homeschooling and all my usual mommy chores.  How in the world were we going to do any of this?

    All I could see in that first 24 hours was the hard. The fits, the crying, the whining, the refusing to eat, the not sleeping, the more complex diagnoses and the fear. Fear was a very real emotion during those first few days.  How were we going to handle this?  Before we traveled, I was so sure that we could handle it.  But now I doubted everything.

    Well not everything, I still believed with all my heart that God brought me to these children.  These were my children.  But I doubted me.  Maybe that is why this happened.  I mother pretty well.  I mother people who don’t want to be mothered.  I have been known to mother my grown children’s friends.  It’s just in my genetic code.  It is who I am.  When others dreamed of being doctors, nurses, and teachers, I dreamed of being a mom.  I have always believed in my ability to mother.  I don’t do everything right, but I have what I believe to be the most important aspects of mothering and I do those to the best of my abilities.  I believe God brought me, once again, to that place of being so overwhelmed that I knew there was no way in the world I could do this, which placed all that we were doing, even more so, at the base of the throne of my Lord.  Only through Him would we ever be able to do this.  Only with Him would I be able to survive.

    So 30 days later, I praise a God with a plan that is so much bigger and better than mine.  I give all glory to Him and the previous year that brought us to our blessings.  Our wonderful, unbelievable blessings that have made so much progress in just 30 days.

    Evie’s prognosis may not have been what we had hoped, but we have not given up hope.  In 30 days, this little girl has gone from not being able to sit by herself to crawling across the floor at lightning speed.  She is so happy and so loving. She is so very beautiful with her big brown eyes.  She is very blue still with O2 sats in the mid 50’s and low 60’s,but she has already put on four pounds.  This is what a little love and a little food will do for you.


    30 days later, and this handsome little guy has become Mr. Charming.  He was withdrawn, whiny, and refused to eat for days, but now he is so sweet and loving and there isn’t a food he doesn’t like. He is thoughtful and takes care of his sisters.  He is the perfect little guy to end our family.  (Although, Gracie did tell me last night that she wished she could hypnotize me so I would forget how many children we had so we could adopt again.)   🙂


    Shuang Shuang’s smile lights up our house throughout the day.  She laughs, and teases, and is the best big sister.  She holds the kids.  They climb all over her wheelchair.  She even reads to them.  She has been so trusting from day one.   We have been so moved by all the people who have had their lives touched by her.  We have received letters and e-mails.  She received an American Girl doll with a wheelchair from her new pen pals.   She received a birthday present from Spain from a family that had sponsored her while she was in the orphanage.   It has been so moving and we have made new friends.  Her diagnosis was not what we had planned on and her future won’t contain the healing surgery we hoped for, but we are blessed to have had her join our family.

    min 9

    min 10

    Which brings us to little Lainey, she was so very sad those first 48 hours.  She broke my heart and I wondered if I would ever be able to reach her.  Would she ever be happy?  Would she always be in her own little world?  Would this angry, crying, temper tantrum throwing be all that there was?   30 days later and we see a girl who smiles most of the day.  She runs up to all her siblings and loves to chase Codey.  She loves to climb up in your lap and sit.  She plays and she laughs and she is truly happy.  There are still a few outbursts, but they are few and far between and most of them involve wanting her bottle.  She is not magically cured and she still spends a lot of time in her own little world, but there are moments of eye contact with meaning. There is purposeful play.  She runs up and hugs people and kisses them.  She loves to cuddle on your shoulder.

    China 2013 037

    30 days have brought so many changes to our family.  I thought there was no way that I would be able to do any of the usual things that I did with the kids, but….

    This is what we look like going shopping.


    This is what we look like swimming.


    This is what we look like hanging at home.

    new normal

    This is what we look like in our car.

    5 in the car

    We can’t all fit in one or even two of our cars, which is why we had to buy a bus….

    mei bus

    Which made Benjamin very, very happy!

    ben bus

    30 days later and although my house is messier and I am definitely more tired, I have had the privilege of watching little ones bloom.  What a miracle to get to be a part of.  30 days later and I trust God even more.  30 days later and I realize that I set my goals too small.  I believe that I can’t when God knows that I can with His help.  We are still getting used to our new normal.  We are still trying to figure out how to run our days as smoothly as we can.  But 30 days later, I have been kissed more, hugged more and loved more than I ever believed possible.  I have heard more laughter and have had more love showered on me than any mama deserves.  30 days later is a very good place to be.

  • It’s amazing what a few days will do….

    Date: 2013.05.20 | Category: China 2013, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae

    Now that I am past the shock of things I wasn’t prepared for and have gotten more than two hours of sleep in a row, things are looking much better.   When you adopt, you know you are not getting the most up-to-date reports and you always take the chance at unforeseen circumstances and diagnoses.  We went into this with our eyes wide open about that and I thought I was prepared for anything that came up, but I obviously wasn’t as prepared as I thought  I was.

    Now that I’ve gotten a week under my belt, I will say right up front that God knows  better than me.  What a statement.  I feel like I should put a “duh” in the middle of that. Obviously God knows better. I have always known this but it still blows my mind everytime I see Him work in my life.  He knows what I can handle.  He knows how to stretch me and challenge me and make my faith grow.  All along,  I have said “I’m too old for an infant.  I couldn’t possibly adopt an older child.  Autism is something I just couldn’t deal with.”  I can’t decide if He is just trying to prove me wrong or not so I have decided to change my new “I couldn’t possibly….” to “I couldn’t possibly handle winning the powerball.”  🙂

    I said, “I couldn’t handle an infant.”  Evie is like a newborn.  She eats every two-three hours.  She isn’t able to sit alone.  She is pretty malnourished and delayed.  We took her in for her medical evaluation yesterday and her oxygen saturations read 53%.  She is very blue and very sick.  Because we have dealt with Ben, it hasn’t been nearly as frightening this time around.  I did say I couldn’t deal with a newborn and guess what?  I can.  Had I avoided this adoption, then I would have missed out on the cutest little girl you have ever seen with the biggest personality.  The first few days she was just so hungry all the time so she cried a lot.  Now that she has been fed continuously for a week, she is already doing so much more.  She is trying to pull herself up to a sitting position.  She can grab on and pull herself up to her knees. She smiles all the time.  It’s funny because people expect her to be an infant and then she smiles at them with all those teeth.  It’s  funny watching their reactions. What a sweet little soul she has.  She charms the socks off of everyone she meets.  I’m glad God knows better because I would have missed out on loving this sweet, little girl.

    I said, “I couldn’t handle an older child.  I said it wouldn’t be a good fit for our family.”  Wow!  Was I wrong.  I wish you could see just how brave Shuang has been.  She has taken this all in stride.  She is all smiles and sweetness.  She had to get her immunizations yesterday and she said it was fine.  She would be brave.  She just wants to get to America and be with her family.  She is so good with the little ones.  She encourages them and shares with them.  She helps them in any way that she can.  She offers you her food.  She tries so hard to be helpful.  When we took her into for her medical appointment yesterday, the doctor started off being so gruff.  Then the doctor’s attitude changed, she talked about how sweet Shuang is.  She talked about how her medical records don’t match with what she has.  We told her we were aware of that.  It’s kind of hard to miss.  By the end of the appointment, the doctor was very kind to Shuang and even walked Dan and Shuang to the elevator and pushed the buttons for them.  Shuang is another sweet soul just looking to be loved.  Everyone has been so moved by her and her story.  No one leaves her presence without being moved.  It is hard for us, in America, to understand what it takes to be disabled in China.  We have had people just stop and glare at her for over 20 minutes.  They yell things at her.  She just smiles and tries so hard to be brave.  I can’t wait to get to America and show her how many people care about her.  To show her that her disability does not make her less than.  She is truly an amazing little girl with the best laugh.  I am so proud to be her mama and it has only been two weeks.  Oh what I would have missed.

    I said, “I couldn’t handle parenting an autistic child.”  The reason for this statement is because I am a very silly, huggy person.  As a matter of fact, the first sentence Shuang learned from us was “mama’s silly”.  It’s a good thing Shuang likes silly.  But the truth is, I was afraid of how I would react to a child that couldn’t show affection back.  That’s not a pretty statement but it’s the truth.  I was afraid of how I would respond as a mother.  I love my biological children and my adopted children the same.  Now we all love our children differently because they are different people.  Nothing in life is even and fair.  I love my children for different reasons because they are different people.  I don’t have favorites though.  That is a totally different thing.  What I was afraid of was the not feeling connected part.  I love spending time with my children.  How would I react to a child that couldn’t show love back.  What I’ve learned is it doesn’t change how you feel as a mother.  It’s unconditional love for a reason.  It’s not based on how they love you back.  It’s based on how much you love them.   Lainey is severely delayed.  Lainey is in her own little world most of the time.  Lainey has triggers that take her into a full blown tantrum very quickly.   We are learning those triggers and have already seen progress in helping her calm quicker and stopping the tantrums before they get full blown.  But Lainey also has a cuddly side.  She doesn’t hug, but she likes to lay her head on your shoulder and just snuggle in.  She laughs and runs and dances and spins.  Lainey has worth and Lainey deserves a family.  I’m glad I get to be her mama.  I know it won’t be easy.  I know we are going to have to make a lot of changes, but I can already see how much she is going to change me as a person.

    God does know better.  God knows what we need to grow as a person and what we can handle.  I will say that without Him I couldn’t handle any of this.  Without His promises to go to time and time again, I would be lost.  I have and will spend many days crying out to Him for strength to get through, but I know His love is constant and His grace is sufficient.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Dan brought me those words to put on the wall in the kid’s room.  It’s a constant reminder of where my eyes should be.

    I would be remiss to not mention little Mr. Eli.  What a charming, handsome boy this boy is.  He is so sweet and soft spoken.  He really does remind me of Zachary when he was little.  God is amazing with how He works.  I am amazed at how He  makes families.  If you know my Zachary, you know what a special boy he has always been.  He has always had a faith that was unbelievable from the time he was little.  He is gentle, smart, observant and the most special kind of boy.  Ben is like that and so is Eli.  It just blows my mind that they are all so alike.  I love that Eli and Ben are going to be such good friends.  I can already see them building things together.  God is so good.

    God has His hands in the smallest of details.  When I stand back and look at how blessed I am to get to be a part of these things, well… is just mind boggling.  I humbly stand in awe of a God that would allow me to get to do these things.  Truly, I am amazed.  When I think of all the things that had to come together for this past year to work, it is just mind blowing.  We started out with these words at Codey’s bedside “Faith makes things possible, not easy!”  Faith in God’s plan.  Faith in God’s promises.  Faith that all things work together for good.  Faith in something that is so much bigger than me.  And to think , had I chosen, I would have missed it.

  • 2013 China Adventures: Family Update

    Date: 2013.05.17 | Category: Adoption, China 2013, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae

    I should have posted sooner and I apologize that I haven’t. I have lots of excuses for why I haven’t. First off, I can’t get my phone to hook to internet. I can’t get my blog site to pull up at all. I’ve been blocked here in China. You can get wireless hookup in the main lobby but it’s been too hectic to head downstairs. And lastly, I just haven’t been able to post because I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m filled will so many emotions right now – sadness, anger, grief, joy, feeling blessed and so happy to be with my children. I know Cassie has posted pictures on her site – why she hasn’t been blocked is beyond me. Her site, if you missed it from before, is

    I’m not even sure where to start. We have spent days running around for paperwork and today is our first free day which is why I’m trying to post while the kids are napping. Yesterday, we left at 7 a.m. with Evie and Eli. We took a 30 minute taxi ride to the bullet train station, where we walked forever and climbed 3 flights of stairs with a huge bag and a baby waited another 40 minutes and then we took an hour bullet train ride at 300 km/hr to Zumahdian to fill out the paperwork for Evie’s passport. We had time to kill so they took us to her orphanage, which meant another taxi ride. Then it was lunch, another taxi, and run back to the bullet train, up more stairs, another 30 minutes to next stop for Eli’s passport paperwork, more stairs, more taxis, more waiting, crazy women outside of court offices, back in a taxi, more stairs, more walking, one hour and 30 minutes back to our town, one more taxi and then home at 5:00 p.m. and Eli cried frantically every time we were on the train. Overall, that is pretty much how our days are going.

    It is always exhausting when you travel to adopt. Your sleep schedule is messed up. The children come to you with trauma from the orphanage or even if they were well cared for, they have trauma from having to say good-bye. It takes a while for sleep schedules to get worked out, to figure out what they like to eat, and for them to trust. There is a big adjustment period. Though it never fails that they attach themselves to one person and they don’t want much to do with everyone else.

    There is no way to make this short or in a way that makes it one cohesive point so I will finish this and then I am going to write a couple paragraphs about each child. I will tell you ahead of time that this emotional roller coaster has had so many lows – from the unbelievable malnutrition of Evie to the unknown diagnosis of Lainey and Jasmine, to seeing all the children in the orphanage. My heart just hurts, the pain and hurt of knowing what my children will go through and the grief of dreams lost. I know that the will of God will not take me where the grace of God will not provide, but I am having great difficulty understanding all that has happened. I trust His plan and I will continue to trust His plan, but our lives have just gotten ten-fold more complicated than even I thought it was going to be. I will move forward and find a new normal. It will just take some time.

    On Gotcha Day at the Registration Office, I was so angry when they handed Evie to me. Evie turned two on March 25th. Evie is not able to sit alone. She weighs approximately 12 pounds, maybe a smidge more, by Dan’s judgment and he is usually dead on. 12 month clothes fall off her. We had to head to Wal-Mart and buy her those brand new infant shoes that you get for newborns and they are too big. I can’t even begin to adequately express my anger over her malnutrition. Every horrible thought that you could imagine went through my head, but when we showed up at the orphanage it was very apparent that Evie was loved. Her nanny was so happy to see her. It was a nice enough place. The other babies were chubby. They just weren’t feeding her enough to compensate for the extra calories she needs because of her heart defect.

    We even got to see a new friend’s of ours baby, named Meili. Oh man does this girl have personality. She looked so good and was so happy. She showed us her playroom. Meili danced for us and Dan has a video. We can’t wait to get somewhere that it will let us send it to them.

    We also got to see where Evie was abandoned. It was a street corner covered in garbage and I can’t even begin to tell you how that made me feel. I’m just so happy to take my little girl out of here. The good news is this little girl is full of personality. She smiles at the drop of a hat. She sucks her thumb just like Hopey used to. I’ve never seen another child suck their thumb like this – thumb in mouth, pointer finger up over her nose, and her other arm across her face so she can smell her arm. Plus, she kicks her feet just like Codey did when he was little and still in the hospital. She has brought back lots of wonderful memories. She is so very sick but I still feel so very blessed to be her mama.

    Little Mr. Eli has come out of his shell today. He was definitely loved and believes himself to be the emperor or at least a prince. He offers you his forehead to kiss and he dismisses you with this wave of his hand. The wave is like this “no, no that’s beneath me” wave. It makes me laugh every single time.

    He and Evie refused to eat the first few days. We tried bottles, sippy cups, cups, etc. and couldn’t get them to take anything. Cassie finally got the idea to spoon feed them liquid and that worked. Evie eats every 2-3 hours like a newborn so it’s been a tiresome couple of days. Eli is the healthiest out of everyone. How’s that for a kick in the behind? He looks wonderful and reminds me of Zach when he was little. He’s very quiet. He just sits and observes everything. He was the first to call me mama. Until today he wanted me to hold him 24/7. He wouldn’t eat until we went to KFC yesterday. The chicken finally got to him. If you know Dan, you know that is one of his favorite restaurants.

    Eli truly is very, very sweet. The orphanage care giver that dropped him off said he is unbelievably sweet and easy going. He definitely looks as though he has been spoiled. He plays so sweetly with Evie. He includes Jasmine in everything. He even plays well with Lainey. He shares everything and has the cutest voice. He waved good-bye this morning and said, “Bye, bye baba (daddy).” and then blew dan a kiss. He has adjusted well.

    Jasmine or Shuang-Shuang (Sh-wong, Sh-wong) as she was called in the orphanage is the best girl. Everyone who meets her comments on how sweet and well-behaved she is. She has just gone with the flow. She takes everything in stride. Believe me this is a big deal. We showed up expecting a child with a mass on her back. We knew she was in a wheelchair and expected her to be a paraplegic. We were not expecting a child who can do very little for herself. She tries but she just doesn’t have the tone to do it. She can raise her arms a little. She pulls her pant legs to move her legs. She is able to feed herself, brush her teeth, etc, but that is about it. She has scoliosis that almost bends her in two.

    We are assuming she has some form of muscular dystrophy. I’m going to post that even without a diagnosis because it fits with her story. With m.d. you start to lose muscle function when you are 6 or so. She probably got very clumsy and then it got progressively worse and her parents didn’t know what to do with her. When you meet this girl you will understand what I’m saying when I say, I can NOT even fathom what that took to do that. She is an unbelievable child. She loves being a family and that makes me very, very happy.

    That leaves Lainey or LuLu, as Cassie has now started calling her. The reason for my pain and anguish. She is a beautiful little girl but she doesn’t just have PKU with a little brain damage. She is severely delayed with autistic characteristics. If you know me, you know that is one of the things I never thought I could handle. There were two things we did not check on disabilities we were willing to take. Those were hydrocephalus, because we had already been through all of that with Codey and I hate seizures, etc. and the second is autism.

    This little girl is so cuddly, which is a gift considering the level of her disability. I’m sharing this with you because when you meet her it is very apparent. This has been a shock and very painful to both Dan and I. We know that no matter what, family will be what is best for her. We will have to make lots of changes in our lives but she is worth it. Just this morning she ran down the hallway giggling and spinning. She was laughing and playing with Eli. She has the capacity to be happy and no matter what her life will be better by not staying here.

    As you can see, we’ve had some adjusting to do – more than we expected – and believe me, I was expecting a lot. Even with the kids being as sick as I knew they were, I wasn’t prepared for this. God has blessed me with quite a few of the “least of these” and I will love them with all my heart.

    FAMILY is a wonderful, wonderful blessing! I just want to get home so we can all start working on our new normal.

  • As ready as we can be….

    Date: 2013.05.02 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Lainey Rae, Photos

    Little did I know, over a year ago, when I had that feeling God wasn’t finished with us and adopting, that it would lead to these four beautiful souls.

    babies x 4

    We have filed all our papers and the very last check has been sent to our agency.   We have spent months, upon months, upon months, praying and hoping that all would work out the way we hoped.  We have watched God unfold miracle after miracle on our behalf and we are feeling blessed beyond measure.  We have dreamed and cried and laughed with joy with each new update including the newest picture of Ben’s didi, Eli!  Isn’t he the sweetest little guy?


    We have put together five little booster seats…..


    along with five little beds….

    And before anyone says anything about it looking like an orphanage or wondering why all the beds would be so close together.  I feel the need to say that when Ben and Maisey came home they wanted to be in the same room.  Plus, every time I place the beds in different positions in the room, this is what Ben does.  He pushes them all together and tells me who will sleep where and how he is going to hold everyone’s hands and then he yells, “Mama, this is gonna be so much fun!”  We  have six bedrooms in the house.  There is more than enough room for them all, but this is how we are going to start out…..together, having so much fun!


    We have added a mural to their bedroom wall….


    We have bought three new car seats……  and I have answered “No, I don’t need gift receipts.  Yes, they are mine.  No, I’m not crazy!” more than a few times.  🙂


    We have packed all our suitcases and are hoping we haven’t forgotten anything.


    We have added on Cassie at the very last minute due to our agency’s request.  Believe it or not with a week in which to do it, she got her finals moved and taken, her work covered, her visa, the tickets are bought, and she is packed.

    The siblings are excited….

    excited siblings

    The countdown chart has been made.  Dan told Ben that we were going to China to get our treasures and somehow Ben has decided we are traveling on a pirate ship.


    The have gotten in their bonding time with daddy…..

    bonding time

    Everyone adores Zachary so I know they will be loved and well cared for.

    Jan. 28th 2013 067

    So there is nothing left to do, but bid you all adieu.

    What’s to worry about….earthquakes, nuclear war, bird flu?!?!  Nah, God’s got it covered.

    Thank you so much for all your prayers, well wishes, encouragement, and offers to help while we are gone.

    God bless you all!

    In just two short days, we will be off on our great adventure to bring four more children into our family.  It is our greatest wish to give them a warm place to fall and love for the rest of their lives.

    Ben’s conversation with me today says it best:

    Ben – “Mama, Eli is going to say xie xie (thank you).”
    Me – “Why would Eli say xie xie Ben?”
    Ben – “Cause he gets a mama, mama.”

    Every child, even one who has never had one, understands what a mommy and a daddy are.  Family is a beautiful gift that should be every child’s right.  So we leave the comfort of our home and our children, to head half-way across the world to give that right to four more beautiful souls.  God is good and we are blessed!




  • Miraculous happenings.

    Date: 2013.04.24 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Maisey

    “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

    My Facebook post from today:

    We went ahead and planned our consulate visit for the girls and set our travel based on their schedule. We didn’t want Min to have to wait any longer than necessary since she is so close to aging out of the system. (In China once you hit 14, you are no longer available for adoption.) She will turn 14 on June 1st. We took a chance that they might not be able to get Eli’s Article 5 and travel approval (T.A.) granted in time to have the same consulate appointment as the girls, which would mean extra days in China waiting for his consulate appointment. When we asked the Consulate if they could hold an appointment for him, they told us not without a T.A. So we decided to proceed and left the details up to God. He’s done a pretty good job so far this year. Today we heard that T.A. has been issued and the consulate appointment is the same day as the girls. This has been a year of miraculous happenings all around. Feeling very blessed today. We get to travel and get them all at the same time without delays! If you’ve never adopted you may not understand just how miraculous this is but I can assure you the delays in paperwork are mind boggling sometimes. Believe me this is huge!

    I just thought I’d share an interesting tidbit of our adoption journey.

    Here is an excerpt from the June 2012 newsletter that we read with Eli’s (Warren’s) information.  This is the picture that I fell in love with.

    “This week we ask for prayer for a family for Warren who has a complex heart condition that the surgeons say he may have a chance of some surgeries if he is adopted to the US. Please pray that a family would be willing to adopt sweet Warren to give him the best that life can offer despite his condition.”

    july 25th 2012 019

    And the very next month here is what the newsletter said:

    “Prayer Request for the month:    Last month we asked for prayers for a family for Warren and we rejoice greatly for answered prayers. We hear that a family in the US is very interested in adopting him and we hope that everything will go smoothly and quickly for him.”

    Why did this news change?  Well, because we asked about this sweet, little guy.  I mean seriously….just look at that face.  Would you not fall in love too?  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  When we got the papers from his orphanage, they described him over and over again as handsome and charming.

    And later we read this amazing news in Show Hope’s July newsletter and all the while I was reading it I was thinking “No, you can’t advocate in this newsletter for a family for Warren because his mommy and daddy have been found.”  And then I prayed….a lot!  Hoping that we would be the family that would be allowed to adopt him.  All the while Ben was calling this little boy his didi (little brother), which made absolutely no sense.

    “We ask for prayer that a family will be able to adopt sweet Warren so that he might be able to have the chance of surgery and the best that life can offer him,” shares Dr. Joyce Hill, who oversees the Show Hope Special Care Centers.

    Maria’s Big House of Hope, located in the Henan province, has provided care, love, and medical attention for 500 children with special needs. Within all three Special Care Centers located throughout the province, Show Hope has provided life-giving care for more than 800 children.

    “Warren, as the 500th child to come into care at Maria’s Big House of Hope, signifies the hundreds and thousands of children we hope to care for in the coming years, thanks to the generous support of so many amazing donors and supporters,” shares Scott Hasenbalg, Show Hope’s Executive Director. “We have the amazing opportunity to watch miracles happen as children who had no hope become stronger, healthier and happier children. As more donors join this work, we hope to open even more Special Care Centers as soon as we are able.”   (Show Hope)

    Eli was our own little celebrity.  I find this whole thing ironic.  The reason that I chose to adopt in the first place was that Mary Beth Chapman just happened to write a book.  Choosing to See  I had been wrestling for quite a while with the fact that Dan wanted to adopt again, but I felt like I was too old.  In the book, Mary Beth’s daughter asks her if it is better for an orphan to have an older mother or no mother at all.  I read those words, cried, changed my opinion and we proceeded with our adoption.  This little boy that I fell in love, (Warren/Eli)  had been cared for in Maria’s Big House of Hope, which is named after the Chapman’s daughter Maria who had been killed in a tragic accident.  And then another amazing thing happened  (another sign of God’s humor and His work in all of this).  After we had been home with Maisey for a few months, we learned some information about her.  She was a little celebrity in her own right.   She had been written about in a book.   The House of Hope   Our little Maisey (Chaya) was New Hope Foundation’s (Hope Foster Home ) 1,000th admission.  If you sponsor a child in this home, it goes through Show Hope too.  Coincidence?  A twist of fate?  I choose to believe otherwise.  I know whose hand has been  all over our adoptions.  What are the odds that we would be blessed with being parents to both of these “milestone” children who had been cared for by Show Hope which is helped by the very people (The Chapmans) who sent us on our adoption journey to start with?

    In life, if you take the time to look, you will see God’s hand in the smallest of details.  Things that we think are unimportant or don’t matter, add up to bigger things down the road.   A book read, a detour in the road, your pain, a delay, they all can be part of a bigger plan, a bigger purpose.  “It’s incredible to realize that what we do each day has meaning in the big picture of God’s plan”  ( Bill Hybels )  Do everything as unto the Lord because you never know which part of your seemingly ordinary day is just waiting for God to make it extraordinary.

  • Adoption Updates, Explanations, and Observations

    Date: 2013.04.03 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Photos, Thoughts to ponder

    babies x 4

    Look at those sweet, sweet faces.   (Top left) Evie (then clockwise) Lainey, Min and Eli.  I can’t wait to hold them and take them home.  We are all just so excited.  Gracie sits and tells stories about what she is going to do with everyone all day long.  She debates who she is going to hug first and who will sit beside her in the car.  Who will like to swim and who will like to read.  Ben lies in bed at night and talks about how much fun this is going to be.  He tells me who will lie where and how he will hold their hands.  I have a special song that I make up for each of my children when they are born.  It is only their song and I sing it every night before they go to bed.  It made perfect sense when there was a couple – now it goes on and on forever.  Ben has been making me practice songs for each new child, so far he has not approved of any of my song choices.  I’m running out of time.  I’d better get working on it.   I love that they are excited about adding to our family.  It’s a wonderful thing for this mama’s heart.


    We are getting so close to the time to travel.  The closer it gets the harder it is to wait.  Yesterday we received Eli’s LOA (Letter of Acceptance) that we need to sign saying we officially want to adopt him.  The next step is our immigration letter and then we will get our travel approval.  We are one step closer in this adoption journey.  We have been informed that we should travel the last week of April or the first week of May – if all goes as planned.  Yay!


    It’s crazy all the steps and acronyms involved with adopting.  You have your LID (Log in date for your dossier, all the paperwork saying you are fit to adopt.  Financial statements, police records, doctors letters about your health, etc.).  Then you send in a LOI (Letter of Intent) stating who the child is, why you want to adopt them and how you can provide for them.  Then you get your PA (Preapproval letter), which just means that they approve of you adopting this child and the child’s file is locked in for you.  Then you get your LOA (Letter of Acceptance) which states that you agree to accept this child.  Then you get your I-800 which allows you to bring them into the country.  And finally…you get your TA (Travel Approval).   There’s more paperwork in the middle of all of this and afterward when you get to China, but you get the picture.  Paperwork, waiting, fees paid, paperwork, waiting, a few more fees, more paperwork, more waiting but then that day gets here and you can barely stand it.  Which is why the day you receive them at the Registration Office (or other meeting place) is such a highly emotional time.  All that waiting is finally over.


    Everyone pretty much thinks we are crazy.  Not that people don’t celebrate what we are doing or think it’s a good thing…..for us, but it’s not for them.  I hear that over and over again.  “Congratulations!  I’m glad it’s you and not me, but congratulations!”

    You only have to look closely at Ben and listen to his out of breath little body after he runs for only a moment, to understand that life is not guaranteed.  Hope, who is almost 14, looked all grown up in her pretty yellow Easter dress, but the truth is evident in that long jagged scar that runs down her chest that she’s been through a lot.  When you look at them it’s easy to just see the special needs – Maisey’s difficulty with hearing, Codey’s limitations both physical and mental, Ben’s blueness is hard to miss, Hope’s scar lies there for all to see and Gracie’s illness has left it’s mark.  But maybe that isn’t what we should be looking at.  Instead when you look at them, maybe the first thing you should see is the miracle of their lives.  The miracle of love.  The miracle of God’s hands working in all their lives.  The beauty of all that they are, not what they aren’t.

    I was born into a country that believes we should strive for the nice car, the perfect body, the nice house, the great job, the vacations, the pension, the retirement.  Well, I can tell you I have most of those material things.  I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking that after all the struggles, the not having money, the doing without, that someday Dan would have a well-paying job, and then that is when life would really begin.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy along the way.  I have always been grateful and felt blessed, but when there was more money, well, then the really good times would begin.  I’d have a nice house.  I’d drive a nice car.  I’d be able to buy clothes that I wanted.  I’d be able to do what I wanted.   Well, guess what?  I have those things and so what?  Who cares?  I wish I’d never bought the big house.  I wish I’d never wasted money on stupid gadgets.  I wish I could have a do over.  I wonder why did it take so long for my eyes to open?  Why? Why? Why?  I’m like a  two year old throwing a tantrum now but it’s at myself.  I could have funded a surgery.  I could have funded adoptions.  I could have helped a child find a family.  I could have fed more people.  I could have dug more wells.  I could have…. I could have… I could have!

    So why you spend time thinking I’ve lost my mind.  Admit it! You’ve thought it.  You think four at once?  What are they thinking?  Well, here is what I am thinking. My time for adopting is running out.  God has brought me to these four children and even though I am afraid, I will do what He asks of me.  I know that these are my children.  I may not be a lot of things, but I am really good at loving children.  I can bring these children here and they will know love.  I know that without a doubt.  They may never go to college.  They may die well before it should be anyone’s time but they will know love.  They will know laughter and love and happiness.  They will understand God’s love for them because they will have a father who shows them unconditional love.  They will know that they were not a mistake.  They will know love in abundance.  They will have their hand held.   They will have a lap to sit on.  They will have a daddy to read them bed time stories and a mommy that sings them their special songs when she tucks them in.  They will know if they wake up afraid that we will be there to comfort them.  These are the things that we take for granted.  These are the things that millions of children will never, ever know.  Simple, simple things that every child should know.  How dare we as Christ’s hands and feet deny that to anyone?

    I talk about these things over and over again because I want you to wake up to the need.  I want you to get it way before I finally did.  Don’t let time pass you by.  Don’t wait for later to help.  Do something today.  Spread the wealth.  Become God’s hands and feet.  Do something that really, truly matters.  Feed a child, help a family out, open your mind to the possibility of adopting.  Who knows where God will lead you.

    Do you know how Dan and I know that this is right?  We know it to our very core because we have such peace about it.  We aren’t freaking out wondering how it will work.  We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God brought us to these children and He will provide for all of our needs.  God has this covered.  What a wonderful thing to get to be a part of.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that lies ahead or that we’re not afraid, but I’m telling you that there is peace about this whole adoption that is truly amazing.  Even though we know that we have every right to be stressed, we have watched God provide over and over again this past year so it is easy to trust in His plan.  I’ve gotten to be part of some amazing, miraculous things this year. What  a beautiful gift that I am so undeserving of.  Blessed, simply blessed is the way that I feel.