Archive for the ‘Lainey Rae’ Category

  • 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!




  • God is so good!

    Date: 2013.03.22 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Lainey Rae

    Praise the Lord!  Yesterday we were told that China has agreed to us adopting four.   We will leave in 4-8 weeks, hopefully, to get our precious children, Elijah (1), Evie (2 on Monday), Lainey (2), and Min (13).  We are all overwhelmed, ecstatic, and feeling extremely blessed.

    You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will. You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it?    – Hannah Whitall Smith

    DISCLAIMER:  I am hoping everyone understands that we have very unique home circumstances.  We have two adult children living in an apartment on our property ready to help whenever we need it.  My mother-in-law (Linda) and my mom (Marlys) are both retired and willing to help whenever we need it.  My husband, Dan, is a physician specializing in the care of critically ill infants.  Dan works at home during the week doing clinical and quality Improvement for a national company.  He works a 25 hour shift every weekend while the kids are here to help.  There is absolutely no way that we could proceed with this new adventure without all the help and medical training that we have.  This is not going to be a precedent for China and they have graciously agreed to allow Elijah to be adopted on this trip to expedite his care.

    That being said, when Judy called yesterday, tears were flowing.  Well, everyone except Ben, who sat there with his “I told you” look on his face.  This has been such an amazing, faith-filled, miracle producing year.  Maisey and Ben have adjusted remarkably well.  Delays with Eli lead to us proceeding and trying to adopt Min.  I remember sitting in the bathroom and crying when I saw her face.  I questioned God on why He would lay such a thing on my heart when China most certainly wouldn’t allow three at once.  Friends of ours had just learned of a family that was proceeding with adopting three and we got in touch with them.  Their words of wisdom gave us faith to proceed and ask China to allow us to adopt three.  When China allowed three, we were blown away and so thankful.  At that time, we figured we would proceed with returning as quickly as we could to get Eli.  I have known since I first saw his little face that he was my son.  I have never, ever doubted that God had planned for Eli to be with us.  Ben’s absolute certainty that Eli was his brother brought peace to our hearts.   It was so unexplainable how Ben felt about Eli that we have always felt it had to be a God thing.

    When we did our home study we asked our social worker to change it from three to four children, knowing full well that China only allowed two at a time.  Both Dan and I felt that God was saying four.  The home study said four and our provisional I-800 said “allowed to bring four children into the United States”.  We proceeded through our year knowing we were going to get Evie the whole time.  We were waiting on Eli’s papers and it was taking a while so we proceeded with Lainey and Min.  Trusting that God’s plan was perfect.  When Eli’s papers became available, we asked if we could petition China for four.  Everyone said that the chances of it happening were very small.  It had never been done.  It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to us here in the United States but China’s one child policy has led to people believing that you give all your attention to one child and that is the best possible thing for children.  We have had miracle after miracle happen this year so we asked if it would hurt to ask and our agency said no.  The agency had us prepare our Letter of Intent as detailed as possible, they sent it off, and we prayed.  We prayed and so many of our wonderful friends and family prayed.

    We have been overwhelmed with all that the Lord has provided for us during this adoption journey.  We have proceeded with faith that God’s plan and His timing were perfect and we were just along for the ride.  He has shown us some very clear signs and had burdened our hearts with adopting these four children.  We have no clue what the future will hold and I’m sure our lives will change in ways that I can’t even imagine.  When I watch Grace, Hope, Ben and Maisey laughing and consider that I will soon have even more laughter in my house, I am overwhelmed with emotion.  Yes, I know there will be many trying times and sleepless nights ahead.  We have many doctor’s appointments and surgeries in our future.  But the fact that I have been blessed with being able to provide a home and love for these four children absolutely brings me to knees.  I am so blessed and so thankful that God would bless us in such a way.  To God all the glory is given!  Praises upon praises!


  • Baby Update

    Date: 2012.12.31 | Category: Adoption, Evangeline Faith, Lainey Rae, Photos

    Today we received notice that CCAI got our Letters of Acceptance (LOA) for Min and Lainey.  China, unfortunately, forgot to send Faith’s.  We will hopefully receive hers in the next couple days. It will be delayed a little bit because their offices are closed tomorrow too.  Once you have the LOA, it means that you get to travel in the next 11-15 weeks.  It’s the next BIG step and we are very excited.  Looks like, if all goes well, we will travel in late March or early April.  Faith’s 2nd birthday is March 25th.  I’m hoping we get her by then.  I’m not disappointed that it is delayed because God’s timing is always perfect and I believe there must be a reason.

    We are still trying to decide on a name for Min.  She is called by the American name Lauren on LWB’s page but she has not been called that name in her orphanage.  It is much harder choosing a name for a teenager.  We may make her name Jasmine Shuang.  Her Chinese name is Min Shuang.  That way we can call her Min or Shuang or whichever name she chooses.  Jasmine means “gift of God” – which seems very fitting.  I wish she could just tell me whether she wants an American name or to keep her given name.  We are still debating a couple of names.  We have to decide soon because it has to go on her immigration forms.

    On the subject of names, we have been going back and forth on whether to call Faith – Faith Evangeline or Evangeline Faith.  Everyone has started calling her Evie which seems fitting somehow.  It’s funny we started out with Maisey’s name being MeiLyn and then it somehow got changed to Maisey MeiLyn.  I love how names slowly evolve and fit the child.  It’s been a fun process.

    I just wanted to share our good news with everyone.  We are getting closer.  Although, sometimes it seems to be taking forever. I’m trying hard to be patient.  (Not my strongest suit.)

    Here are the newest picture of Min.  In one, she has the teddy bear we sent her and is sharing the candy we gave her to share with the other children.  In the other, it shows her new English tutor helping teach her.  What beautiful pictures.  I can’t wait to meet her and let her know in person how much she is truly loved.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  • Baby update

    Date: 2012.09.30 | Category: Adoption, Elijah, Evangeline Faith, Lainey Rae

    First, I will share a conversation that I had with Gracie the other day. It was my chuckle for the day.

    Gracie – “Mom, are we ever going to fly on a plane again?”
    Mom – “Sure honey after we are done and get all the kids here, I would love to take them to Disney World.”
    Gracie – “So we are never going to fly on a plane again?”
    Mom – “Why would you say that? Didn’t you just hear what I said?”
    Gracie – “I heard you, but how will we ever know when we are done?”

    We have received pre-approval for Faith, a little one year old with a complex heart defect (one ventricle).  We are still waiting on Eli’s papers.  Eli is a one year old with a heart defect.   We have not sent in the papers for Lauren (Min) yet because they think our best hope of getting all three is to present Eli & Lauren at the same time.  I pray that it works.  My heart would hurt to tell her no.  I wish I could get the information to her.  I know she is sitting there thinking her time is running out and here we are waiting to let her know.  She turns 14 on June 1, 2013, after that she is no longer able to be adopted.

    I can’t believe that I am excited to be trying to do 3 at once.  Truth be told there is another little girl and if I could do 4 at once, I would gladly do it.  The other little girl, Lainey, had another family in line in front of us.  We had prayed that she would be adopted by them and had to make a choice to proceed with the others. These decisions are so hard.  It breaks your heart.  There are just so many children who need a family, but these 4 in particular have touched our hearts.  I have not lost the irony of the fact that those 4 would make my dream come true and I would have my 12.  🙂

    I don’t often talk about Dan. Mainly, because he is quiet and doesn’t like me bringing attention to his wonderfulness.  He truly is my soul mate.  He is so on board with all of these adoptions and has, in fact, admitted that he isn’t sure when we will be done.  He is sure God will let us know though.   He is such a blessing to me.  He truly understands my heart. Most men would think their wives have lost their minds, but Dan holds me when I cry and tells me how we will make this work.  We will ask them to approve 3 children and maybe 4.  If they say no, we will pray for those children to be adopted, but if they are still available when we get back, then we will start again. We will bring our babies home.  It will just take longer than I would want it to.  He always has plan A, plan B, and plan C.  I love him for that.  He is my protector, my source of strength, and my comforter.

    Hopefully, we will hear something soon.  Please continue to pray for the process to move forward and for our children to remain safe.  I know God is in control and I try to turn it over all the time, but my heart just hurts waiting.