Archive for the ‘Evangeline Faith’ Category

  • Evangeline Faith

    Date: 2015.04.08 | Category: Evangeline Faith

    Evangeline Faith is a very big name for such a little girl.

    So instead we call her Evie, Evie Faith or her favorite name…

    Princess Evie.

    Princess Evie turned 4 years old on March 25th.

    Pigtail cuteness

    For most kids turning 4 is a big deal because you start preschool.

    They might get to join a tumbling class or start to learn to dance.

    They learn their ABC’s and 123’s and a whole new world of learning is opened up to them.

    But for Evie turning 4 is a miracle.

    It’s been almost 2 years since we first met Miss Evie.

    She had a mouth full of pearly white teeth

    evie pink

    and a personality that took over any room she was in.

    Evie Gotcha Day

    We knew she was sick.

    26 months old.

    13 pounds.

    Wearing a size 9 month baby sleeper.

    Unable to sit or crawl.

    We knew her sats were high 40’s low 50’s.

    evie hands

    We knew we needed to get her home if she was to have any chance at the act of growing up.

    What we didn’t know what just how precarious the balance between life and death was.

    Her very first heart catherization showed us that she was getting blood through an almost closed PDA.

    One lone trickle of blood was supplying what little oxygen her lungs were receiving.

    It’s no wonder she wasn’t sitting or crawling.

    She was using all the energy she had for living.

    And that’s what little Evie does….

    SHE LIVES.

    SHE LOVES.

    She radiates warmth and goodness and compassion and fun!

    Evie faith

    She rambles.

    She giggles.

    She dances.

    She sings.

    She shouts.

    She pretends.

    She knows those ABC’s and 123’s!

    Sometimes when I look at her face, my heart catches in my throat and I think “what if”.

    What if daddy hadn’t taken her file to look at?

    We shouldn’t have taken it.

    We were already set to adopt two.

    Our agency presented her to us because many families had chosen not to proceed.

    She was waiting and she needed a family now.

    They wondered if maybe we would consider it.

    We were waiting on Eli’s papers.

    We had been waiting for months.

    Maybe they would never make him paper ready.

    Dan read her file and was scared to death.

    He went to bed praying and although he knew every medical reason there was to say “No!”…

    he woke up with the words “why not” on his heart instead.

    Why not take a chance on love?

    Evie 3

    Why not take a chance on life?

    the littles

    Thank God for the words “why not”!

    There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t laugh from something she has done or said.

    There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for the chance she was given.

    Many aren’t as lucky.

    Many still wait.

    What are you waiting for?

    Take a chance.

    LIVE!

    LOVE!

    God likes it when we step out in faith and proclaim why not.

    So shout it out!

    Faith is a beautiful thing.

    I am reminded of that every day when I call out the name Evie Faith!

    Evie & Eli 3

    Hebrews 11:1 – Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

     

  • 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.

    Evie

    And the middles…

    Evie 5

    Evie 4

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

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

    Evie 8

    Evie 7

    Evie 3

    Evie 2

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

    Evie 1

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

    Evie 9

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

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

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

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

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

    Praise be to God!

    We are indeed seriously blessed!!!

  • 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.

    evie

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

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

     

  • Traveling with Evie

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

    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


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Why?

    Date: 2014.05.25 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Faith

    It’s been an interesting month to say the least.  We headed off to Boston ready to complete Evie’s heart cath and surgery only to have her surgery canceled due to a cold that she caught while we were there.  We received wonderful news from the cath and we were okay with waiting if that was what we needed to do.  The next surgery for her requires very healthy lungs and even then you can end up with pleural effusions.  When Hope had her surgery she had a chest tube for months.  We will wait 4-6 weeks for Evie to be well and then try again.

    This past Wednesday, we headed off to Stanford for Eli’s heart cath and surgery only to have his surgery canceled due to concerns over how his back teeth looked.  We knew there were concerns about his teeth, but there was also concern about how well he would do under anethesia.  No one really knew because he hadn’t had a cath since he was 8 months old in China.  He has no main branch pulmonary arteries.  No one knew if he would decompensate under general anesthesia or be able to handle it fine.  This past year has been complicated. We didn’t do a heart cath in Iowa because we had been told that Dr. Hanley would require his own anyway so we waited.  We initially were to be seen in January, then we got bumped and bumped again until we ended up with a final date in the end of May.

    Eli

    Eli did great during his heart cath and we were given the great news that he is a wonderful candidate for the unifocalization procedure.  He has four main areas of collaterals each branching off from a single source.  The single sources will be joined together in the unifocalization surgery.  What this means is Eli may be lucky blessed enough to need just one surgery instead of a two or three step surgery process.  Everyone was amazed that he is this old, with his CHD unrepaired, and was still doing relatively well.  His sats are mid to low 70’s.  He regulates himself but is able to play relatively hard unlike Ben who could barely run around the living room without having to sit down.   After the cath, the doctor informed us that a few of Eli’s arteries had grown with him.  She said this doesn’t always happen but that was the reason Eli had been doing so well.  Praises for arteries that grow with little boys.

    Which brings me to the title of this post.  Why?

    When we are in the hospital, we often have the question posed to us.  “Why did you adopt so many children with special needs?”

    We aren’t running around yelling “Do you want to hear about our children?  Did you hear what we did?” blah, blah, blah.  Dan and I both know this is a God thing and all the glory goes to Him.  We know this isn’t about us.  The truth is we didn’t set out to adopt this many children.  We didn’t even have adoption on our radar when the first adoption happened.  As the years have gone by, we have simply been obedient to the call of God.

    This is how they find out, it usually starts out like this.   “Are there any smokers in the house?”  “No.”   “Are there any pets in the house?”  “Yes, two dogs.”  “Are there any siblings in the house?” “Yes, do you need them named or would you like a number?”  “Number is fine.”  “We have twelve children.  Ten are still in the home.”  “YOU HAVE TWELVE CHILDREN!?!?!”  “Yes, we are very blessed.”  “Your house must be crazy and loud.”   “Yes, we have a very loud, loving home.”  “Really?  Twelve children?”  “Really!  “Wow! I could never do that.”

    Usually then what happens is they leave for a bit and come back later to say, “Can I ask you a personal question?”  We never mind answering those personal questions because people are usually just curious as to why.  Our answers vary but the first answer to why is always…

    We are being obedient to God’s calling.  We never set out to do this.  When we got married we didn’t say we are going to adopt this many children. We have just followed where He called us to go.  I can guarantee you when we left to adopt Ben and Maisey we weren’t talking about adopting again.  We were talking about how we had to do all the tours because we would never be in China again.  We wanted to see the culture and know first hand about where our children were born.   I had no clue that God would lead us to four.  I don’t believe anyone starts out thinking they will adopt six children in two years.

    When we started our homestudy a couple months after we got home, we talked about putting four on our homestudy.  I remember laughing because why would we put four?   China only allows two at a time.  There are no sibling groups to adopt, but we felt God was saying four.  So four is what we were allowed to put on that homestudy. We had the most amazing year watching God’s plans unfold.  Who gets the blessing of adopting four children, who aren’t related, all at once?  What a year of miracles it was.

    But this question doesn’t always answer it for people.   If you haven’t ever been obedient to the call of God or if you have never heard Him whisper to your heart and lead you, it is hard to wrap your head around this.

    We let people know what an amazing blessing it is to parent these children.  We don’t feel burdened.  We feel blessed.  We don’t walk around every day in our house thinking about all the special needs our children have.  They are, first and foremost, children.  That is what I see when they run around.  Many times I forget that they have special needs.  When I look at their little faces, I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed with the blessings that I have been allowed to have.

    We tell them a little about institutional life and how every child deserves a family.  We talk about the groups we support that encourage foster homes and group homes with a more family like atmosphere.   We talk about how we continue to learn more and our hearts continue to break for those children who are left behind.  I often mention the books that have helped me understand even more.  (The House of Hope, Wish You a Happy Forever, and Silent Tears)

    We talk about how many children are waiting.  How we wish we could do more.  How if they saw these children’s faces, they would be forever changed.   My life has been forever changed by the faces I have seen both in China and advocated for on other’s blogs and Facebook pages.  David Platt has the best quote about this.  “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.

    Everything changed for us the day we saw Ben and Maisey’s faces and held them in our arms.

    As we were flying home with Eli, I thought about this some more.  I remembered that it was the one year anniversary of the last four arriving in the U.S.  I sat there with little Eli on my lap and contemplated how far he had come this year.

    When you adopt, there are many hard, trying and painful things that happen.  Your children come from a very hard place.  A place where food isn’t plentiful.  Many of our children were severely malnourished and have severe teeth decay because of the malnutrition and lack of oral hygiene.  They haven’t been taught the ins and outs of life.  How many times do you redirect your child as they grow?  How many times do you say “No” and redirect them?  How many times do you say “We don’t take toys from other people.”  “We don’t hit other people.” “We eat with our mouths closed.” “We say please.”  and “We say thank you.”  the list could go on and on.

    As our bio children are growing, we praise them so they know we support them.  We encourage our children.  We love them even when they are being naughty and they learn unconditional love.  We hold them.  We lift them up.  We feed them when they are hungry.  We comfort them when they are crying.  We bandage their booboos.   We hold their hands when they are afraid.

    If you are raised in an institution, you don’t have that input.  You don’t understand why.  Many times you are left in your crib or a chair.  You are fed when they say.  You are fed an amount that they dictate.  You don’t decide what you wear or where you go or what you eat.  You are told what to do and when to do it.  Many of these children have a very hard time deciding anything for themselves.

    Recently with Jasmine we had an issue where she didn’t ask to go the bathroom.  I asked her why she didn’t just ask someone.  She told me that she didn’t know.  Then she stated that she didn’t know she could ask someone.  Jasmine spent her life in an orphanage where she was in a wheelchair that she could not move.  She sat in a corner unless someone moved her.  She wasn’t allowed to go to school or eat with the other children because it was on a completely different floor and there is no elevator.  She had one shower a week.  She sometimes forgets she can move her power wheelchair.  What an institution does to a child is so much more than just not being fed.

    You may think you understand but until you see these children’s blank faces I don’t think you can truly grasp what they go through.  Until you see the way they hang their heads with that blank stare, you can’t grasp what institutional life really does to their little souls.  Until you watch them devour food for hours, fall asleep holding food, and cry if you move their food, you can’t grasp how hungry they are.  Until you see them unable to let you hold them and comfort them, can you grasp what their little hearts have been through and the walls they have built for protection.  Until you see them get hurt and not cry, can you grasp the magnitude of what it means to learn that no one cares or will come when you are hurt and cry out.  All of these things broke our hearts for the orphan.  All of these things made us wish we could do more.

    We wish we could do more because the past two years have been amazing. The past two years have shown us what can happen when children receive love, food, and medical care.  Our hearts were filled with love the first time they came to us so we could kiss their booboo.  The first time they finally allowed us to hold them while they fell asleep.  The trust that they have that we will protect them.  The first smile.  The first laugh.  The love they have for each other.

    Every time we have brought these children home they have become family….instantly.  Everyone was welcomed into the family.  Everyone was loved, no matter what your special need.  These are beautiful examples of God’s unconditional love for us.  How He adopts us into His family no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we came from.

    This is why we do it.  Because God called us.  Because by being obedient to his call, He has taken us on a journey that we never would have thought to start on, but one that has blessed us and changed us in ways that we could never put a price on.  I think if you could see what I have seen, if you could feel what my heart has felt, the question wouldn’t be why.  The question would be why not!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Look Up!

    Date: 2014.05.16 | Category: Evangeline Faith, Faith, Thoughts to ponder

    All we wanted to do was just go home.  After Evie’s surgery was cancelled, that’s really all I wanted, to go home and hug my other kids.  I know there are worst things in the world than getting stuck in an airport for two days. (Ben’s Story) Please take a moment and look at this mama’s blog.  Although, it is true that the topic is very sad, her faith and Ben’s life are beautiful things.  Please pray for the family’s peace during this time, especially Ben’s twin, and all the other families going through the same thing without all the social media support. 

    Ben

    A friend of mine even went so far as to say that maybe God needed us to talk to or touch someone else’s life.  I know that these things are true. I’ve seen it happen too many times to not believe it. Have you ever met someone who was exactly the person you needed to talk to at just the right moment?  Have you ever stopped to wonder when you meet that person, just what it took for that encounter to happen?  One extra stop light, one more delay, and you would have never met.  It always amazes me how orchestrated all those small moments are in our lives.  It just shows God’s hand in the smallest of details.

    As I walked around the Newark Airport, I thought about that. I thought about whose story I might just need to hear. I thought about Ben and Ben’s mom. I thought about how she would give just about anything to be holding Ben and spending hours just walking around an airport.  It is all about perspective.  I could have been angry that I had to spend hours walking in circles holding Evie, but what would that have changed?  So instead I watched people.  I watched people yell, scream, and berate people who had no control over whether or not the planes took off.  I watched many, many, many people text and play games on their devices.  I saw a few people sleep.  I saw a few people reading books.  There were very few people interacting with anyone other than who they traveled with.  If they were alone, they were on a device or sleeping.

    How many conversations do we miss because we refuse to look up?  How many new and wonderful people could we meet if we just said “Hi!”?  How can we ever expect to impact anyone else’s life if we never listen to their stories or share our own stories?   I will admit that I’m just as guilty as the next person.   In an elevator it is easier to stare at your screen than look someone in the eye.  It’s uncomfortable so we avert our eyes and we believe those tiny screens are the perfect excuse.

    I spent over 10 hours each day in the airport, I had lots of time to watch people.  I watched people almost knock Evie over because they wouldn’t look up from their phones.  They never even noticed that they almost hit Evie and then I started to pay attention to who did notice Evie.

    Evie

    Almost everyone we met, who was in a wheelchair, noticed Evie.  They waved and Evie blew them kisses.  We met a  grandma who was going to San Diego to meet her son and then on to Norway and then taking a riverboat down the Danube.  How exciting.  She was almost 80 years old and still actively living her life.  She talked about our adopting.  She talked about teaching children English as a second language.  We discussed many things.  She watched Evie who proceeded to tell this grandma that she was a good girl for throwing away her garbage.  Evie smiled at her and charmed her with all her Evie ways.  Enough so that this 80 year old grandma said, “She could almost make you wish you had more and I was never one to really enjoy being around a lot of children.”

    Evie told workers they did a good job.  People who probably never get a thank you for picking up trash or serving fries.  Evie thanked them and told them good job.  Evie smiled and made faces at countless people. There were a few times Dan and I didn’t even notice that Evie was making silly faces at someone.  We would be eating our meal and look down to see Evie making the fishy face or some other goofy face.  Almost every single time it was an older lady sitting alone at a table.  Evie paid attention to them.  They were no longer invisible in an airport.   These women commented on her over the top personality.  They would stop by our table and say to us,  “Don’t you just smile all day long with her?”  Yes, it is true.  Evie is a beautiful soul.  We are blessed to have her in our lives.

    We rode the moving sidewalks over and over again.  She would giggle and giggle.  As I said, many people never even noticed her.  Many people almost hit her. But many people who were on their phones stopped what they were doing when Evie smiled at them.  They smiled back and they waved.  One young security officer walked past us while texting, he noticed Evie, stopped his texting and said hi.  He stopped about ten feet away and just watched Evie laugh as she rode along.  He looked at me and said, “It really is about the little things in life, isn’t it?”  He just stood there and watched Evie enjoy life.

    Evie 2

    Many people are in a rush.  Many people just look for someone to yell at. I’ve was surprised at the number of truly rude people.  I understand that sometimes you need to rush.  I’ve been the person sprinting through the airport trying to make a connection, but not everyone who was rushing truly needed to be, and there is rarely a time that you truly need to be rude.

    It’s the older people, the people with young ones who have to move just a little bit slower, who have noticed Evie.  I wonder how much we miss in our everyday lives because we are in such a rush or to busy to bring our eyes up from the phone.

    I’ve been bored and I’ve been on my phone, but there’s a difference between checking your phone and not being able to look up from your phone.  It’s like we are so afraid to say “Hi!” to each other.  We use our phones as an excuse to not make eye contact.  I like the people I meet.  I like saying hello.  Dan often teases me about what people will say to me.

    I met another adoptive mom on the bus ride from terminal C to terminal A.  I learned a lot about the frustration of her adoptions.  We talked about all sorts of things and encouraged each other.

    Two different sets of little Asian boys her size ran up to Evie and got right in her face.  In both cases, the parents barely noticed.  Little ones are so ready to make new friends.  It doesn’t matter what color they other person is, how they are dressed, or whether or not they think they have anything in common.  Little ones just want to meet and play.

    Emme & Evie 1 Emme & Evie

    We met a little girl named Emme on our trip.  Evie and Emme became fast friends.  Emme was one of those three year olds with a huge vocabulary.  She told us about her imaginary brothers and sisters.  She shared her stuff with Evie.  They read books, played with their toys, and just chased each other in the airport.  They were instant friends.  When do we lose that as children?  Why do we lose that?  The joy of just making new friends.  The joy of sharing our things and visiting?  There is such joy in those connections so why do we decide it is no longer important?

    I really don’t have any answers.  I just wanted to give you something to think about.  What could you be missing?  Maybe it’s time to slow down and just look up!

     

  • Good News – Bad News

    Date: 2014.05.12 | Category: Evangeline Faith

    Good news – For those of you who have Facebook you can now follow along on the group Seriously Blessed by Adoption.

    Bad news – If you don’t have Facebook, you are out of luck and have to wait for my posts which don’t include nearly as many cute pictures.

    evie 11

    Good news – I have actually had time to blog a couple of times in the past couple of days, including a Mother’s Day post.

    Bad news – I was in Boston and I missed my babies and my mama on Mother’s Day.

    Good news – Evie had a heart cath on Friday and the news was very encouraging.  Both of her pulmonary arteries grew.  The growth of her arteries was so good the surgeons have opted to skip the second surgery, the bidirectional Glenn, and go straight to the Fontan.

    Bad news – Evie was hospitalized the day before her cath for hydration and the night after her cath for a 12 hour heparin drip.  We weren’t expecting these stays at all and she wasn’t very happy about them.  (Except for the car rides.)

    Evie 7

    Good news – We got to meet a very nice mother sharing our room, who had a very sweet baby named Molly.

    Bad news – Not really bad news, but I just thought Molly’s mama could use some prayers.  She has a three year old and five month old triplets.  All of you mamas who just gasped, please say an extra prayer for Molly and her mama.  She had a hard Mother’s Day being away from her other little ones.

    Evie 10

    Bad news – Evie’s surgery was postponed today due to her getting a cold sometime between the heart cath on Friday and Sunday afternoon.  She never really got a fever but she has a runny nose and a wet sounding cough.

    Good news – Evie’s surgery can be rescheduled in 4-6 weeks, which means I can go with Eli for his surgery on the 28th.  It also allows us to get our fingerprints done for immigration.

    Evie 9

    Good news – We got our biometrics appointment letter very quickly.

    Bad news – It’s not scheduled until the last of the month which is way to late.  Please say an extra prayer for us as we try to all walk in for fingerprinting at the immigration office.  Sometimes they allow it, sometimes not.  Hopefully, they will take pity on us.

    Evie 8

    Bad news – We have to have all of our dossier paperwork ready to go by the end of the month.

    Good news – We have many agencies who are working very hard and trying to get this done.

    Bad news – Codey’s fingerprints have been rejected twice and we have to start all over again at square one.

    Good news – Apparently having a pretty, young, female police officer tell him that he is going to be friends with her and do his fingerprints right, actually works.  He even put his own thumbs on the papers.  Who knew?

    Bad news – Waiting six weeks puts us into July, add a couple weeks recovery, and it brings us exceedingly close to when we would have to travel for Kelly and Elyse.

    Good news – Evie seems to be extraordinarily pleased that she is not having surgery today and even told her daddy, “I’m so happy daddy.”  We’ve never heard her say that before.  Plus, she has continued to dance around the hotel room since we got back here.  🙂

    Evie 12

    Bad news – We waited in the waiting room for 5 1/2 hours today waiting for someone to confirm what Dan had already told the resident the night before – there was no way Evie could have surgery with her wet cough.  We waited just long enough to miss every flight leaving for the night or the flights were already full.

    Good news – I get to see my babies tomorrow.

    Bad news – I can’t get Elyse’s video to upload into my blog.

    Good news – As soon as I do, I am going to share my little girl’s story.

    Thanks for all your prayers for little Evie.  I know that God’s timing is perfect.  Maybe if we had had surgery we wouldn’t have been able to get the fingerprinting done and we wouldn’t be able to adopt Kelly.   I don’t know why Evie got this cold.  It’s really not horrible, no fever, she looks good.  It was just enough to cancel surgery so there must be a reason.   We shall continue to praise God for all He has done to heal our little girl.  Her heart cath on Friday was unbelievably encouraging.  The words the doctors used was “phenomenal”.  Considering we were told at the beginning they couldn’t even see her pulmonary arteries and weren’t sure she had any, this is beyond amazing.

    God continues to have us walk this road of trust, patience, and faith. Somedays, I admit, I do better than others.  I’m truly not upset about the cancellation just wondering about the logistics of it all, but our God knows what the future holds.   Worry will not change a thing so I will trust this was right, look forward to one more good night of sleep, and hurry on home to my babies.

    Matthew 6:27 – Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Trust and Praise

    Date: 2014.05.07 | Category: Evangeline Faith

    I wrestle with fear and worry.

    I wish my faith was so strong that I never feared.

    That worry was not a word I knew.

    That I never fretted or stewed or shed a tear.

    But that would be a lie.

    Because sometimes I am caught in the moment and I see this face…

    the littles

    Sometimes my heart is filled with so much emotion,

    that I can barely move,

    my breathe is taken away.

    I stand there and watch her play in the sunshine

    with her family that she adores,

    I see the pure joy on her face,

    and think what if this is it?

    What would I do without her silly little walk,

    her running hugs,

    her contagious laugh,

    the silly way she talks?

    Evie 3

    She makes me laugh every day.

    She loves to greet people and make them smile.

    She likes to share her cookies and ask how you are

    as she drives around Fareway with her buddy in her little car.

    Evie & Eli 1

    So I can’t help but think…

    What if we do surgery and she doesn’t survive?

    It crosses my mind from time to time.

    I know everyone tells me that “God’s got this,

    He’s in the business of miracles,

    Look what He did with Ben.”

    Believe me I know that my God is full of miracles.

    I’ve seen them again and again and again,

    but I also know His ways are not my ways

    and His plan is not always what I want.

    That is where my fear lies.

    Not because I don’t trust God.

    Not because I don’t believe His plan is perfect.

    But because even though I expectantly wait,

    my God may still call her home.

    But we said we’d do all that we could to give her a chance.

    But what if that shot shortens her days?

    What if instead of extending them, we are taking days away?

    These are the thoughts that stop me in my tracks.

    I don’t want to let this rambunctious bundle of joy go.

    But we said, “We’d give her a chance.”

    So a chance we will take.

    I trust.

    I trust in a plan that is bigger than her.

    I trust in a God who holds her dear and loves her more than I can fathom.

    I turn it over and I praise.

    I praise a God who would allow me a year full of joy and laughter.

    I praise a God who would and could heal her so.

    I praise a God who has allowed me front row seats to the miracle that is her.

    Her time was limited in China.

    And she’s been granted a year.

    365 days of love and fun and cuddles.

    She has spread her love around for all to feel.

    She is a little ray of sunshine

    that has brightened my days.

    I have been so blessed.

    So I trust and I praise and I give her all of me.

     

     

  • Blessed Beyond Belief

    Date: 2014.04.01 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Family Life, Grace, Hope, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang), Lainey Rae, Maisey, Photos

    I stood outside in the corner of our walking path and cried tears today.

    out 15

    Maybe it’s because the talk I gave this weekend brought so many memories to mind.  Maybe it’s because I wish my mama could have been there and I miss her so much.  Maybe it’s because we are waiting to hear from sweet Kelly.  Maybe it’s because I keep seeing picture after picture on Facebook of children just wanting a family.  Maybe it’s because the world is so unfair to so many children and I can do so little.

    out 14

    For whatever reason, the tears came but they didn’t diminish the wonderfulness of what my eyes saw.  Happy children playing outside in our big backyard.  I remember a couple of years ago when Dan and I were regretting buying the acreage, with all the upkeep and mowing.  Regretting the remodeling we did on the house and having spent money that we would have never spent knowing what we know today.  My brother, my son, and I (but mostly my brother) put in a 600 foot walking path in our middle acre.  It wasn’t getting much use.  We hadn’t done the tree and flower planting that we should have.  We wondered if God was asking us to sell the house. But selling just didn’t seem right so we stayed and now we know why.

    out 11

    Now the yard is a giant play place where  I get to see the little girl who ten short months ago sat on a floor in China raging, pulling out her hair, so unhappy, with us wondering if she could ever be happy and feel loved, run across the open ground with a look of pure joy on her face as the wind whips her hair.

    out 7

    out 8

    I get to see the little girl who weighed six pounds at six months, thrive!  The little girl presented to us as deaf and unworthy, blossom and grow and blow out of the sky any of the limitations I thought she might have.  She is so much more than any of the descriptions on paper.  She is a fighter and loves with all her heart.  She is a beautiful spirit in a tiny, strong, little body.  She is smart and pretty and helpful and such a little mama.

    out

    And how can I look at Jasmine and not think of where she would be?  I watch her speed around the path, hair flowing in the wind, a huge smile on her face, enjoying every moment of freedom that her hot pink powered chair brings her.  I want to say slow down and then I remember all the limitations others have placed on her, all the pain, the wounds and scars, and I cheer her on instead.

    out 10

    I look at little Miss Evie.  The girl they told us only had a few months left.  I’ve had ten months with this beautiful soul.  Ten months of love and laughter.  There have been tears, fear, and restless nights, but to watch her run and play, to be allowed to be a part of all that is the miracle of her…..I am completely and utterly blown away and so undeserving.

    out

    Which is why the tears flowed.  Why am I so blessed?  Why should I be allowed to call these children mine?

    out 6

    I get to spend time flying kites, getting hugs, and listening to their sweet laughter roll across the wind.

    out 2

    Jasmine is free and happy.  Secure in the love of her family.

    out 13

    My older children are happy.  We’ve had much to celebrate.

    Family Picture

    Photo courtesy of Wunderkind Gallery

    Benjamin!  Where do I even start with Benjamin?  Before his surgery he couldn’t run around our sectional without being winded and now he is doing 5, 6, 7, or more laps around the path.  You can hear his laughter and his little bell ringing around every corner.  Every time he goes past me he yells, “This is so fun mama!”  His little legs pedal faster and faster as he zips around the path trying to catch Jasmine and Gracie.

    out 12

    out

    The joy on their faces is unmistakable.  Maisey and Ben’s bond grows deeper and stronger with every day that passes.

    out 4

    Then there is the little guy.  He is this tiny bundle of rambunctiousness that is just so much FUN!  I don’t know what we will find out in May but he is so worth it all.  I can’t even explain what it is to watch him run and play.  He is the perfect little bundle of boy and my heart overflows with love for him.

    out 3

    Little Lainey secure enough to fall asleep in the sun.

    out 5

    Little Evie running to my arms.

    out 16

    Blessed to have spent over 30 years with the love of my life who shares my dreams.

    ben 3

    Standing in awe of the little bundle that started this whole adoption journey.  A baby.  A gift straight out of no where.  Who gets gifts such as these?

    photo

    Others ask us how can you do this?  Aren’t you tired?  What were you thinking?  What am I thinking?

    I.AM.BLESSED!!!!!

    That is what I am thinking as I stand there with the tears flowing down my cheeks.  Blessed at this family that God has made.  Completely and utterly humbled by the God who would allow me such a blessing just because I was obedient to His call.  What a gift to be given.  How do I do this?  How could I not?

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