Archive for the ‘Maisey’ Category

  • Maisey Meilyn is 3!

    Date: 2013.04.09 | Category: Adoption, Maisey, Photos

    I remember being matched with my little girl. I remember Dan and I praying about it and him giving her the nickname “cupcake”.  I remember him saying that he was ready to be matched as soon as possible.  We had just sent in our papers and they said we would probably be matched in 6 months or so.  They called us to present Maisey the very next day.   We had checked on the “Medical Conditions Checklist” that we would consider a deaf child. Cassie had just taken a year of ASL and thought we could do it.  We agreed to accept this little girl as ours.  I remember a few days later, I was standing in Linda’s kitchen, and realized that it was my little girl’s birthday.  I cried.  She was turning one and we were looking at a whole year before we could go get her.  It was so heartbreaking and unimaginable.  So much happens with a child between the ages of one and two, and we were going to miss it all.  My heart just hurt thinking about it.


    Then the day was finally here, we were going to travel.  Oh, that moment when they first placed her in my arms.  It was March 12th, 2012.  We got her in time to get to celebrate her 2nd birthday with her.   I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I first saw her face.  She was just so quiet and timid.  She walked around with her head hanging down.  She was hesitant…..


    But then we started to get glimpses of who Maisey really was.


    She was sweet and compassionate and loving.  When Maisey decided we were her family, she was all in.  There was no hesitation on her part.  She just decided “Hey, I like this being loved thing” and just went with it.  She knows she’s adored.  She knows she’s loved.  She runs and jumps and climbs absolutely everything.  She has no fear.  She lives life with such gusto.  Everything she does is with great excitement.   She wakes up ready to go every day.  She jumps up with a huge smile on her face.  She runs to you and hugs you like you are the best thing she has ever seen in her whole life.  She loves with great enthusiasm.  She loves with reckless abandon.  She comforts you when you are sad.  She is so empathetic.   She is truly so caring.  Plus, she likes to pretend that she is in charge.  🙂

    Dan thinks this song says it all.  (Listen from the 28 second point until the 2 minute mark.)  She is bouncy and full of life and she believes without a doubt that “I’m yours!”.

    We have been so blessed to be loved by Maisey this year.  We set out to save a little girl without much hope for a future in China.  The future for a deaf child and an orphan in China is very bleak.  We learned after we got home that Maisey weighed 6 pounds at 6 months.  We found out that she was a mini-celebrity.  She was the House of Hope’s 1,000 patient.  She was even listed in the book The House of Hope by Elisabeth Gifford .  Maisey’s name was Chaya in the book.  The Hills saved our little girl.  She is a fighter.  When we got her she had no way to communicate and had a huge bald spot on the back of her head from throwing herself on the floor.  Now she is signing and has her BAHA (bone conducting hearing aid) and her speech has just taken off.  She sings and dances.  She loves tumbling and her tumbling teacher (Cassie).  She loves to slide and run and swing.  She loves books.  She loves babies.  She just loves life.  What a beautiful addition to our family she has been.  One of the best things about Maisey is her love and compassion for Codey, a totally unexpected, beautiful gift.   We all feel blessed to have Maisey run to us, yelling our name,  jumping up, and hugging us as tight as she can. Maisey makes everyone feel loved.

    Happy birthday sweet Maisey!  Looking forward to what the next year has in store for you as you learn and grow.  I can’t wait for you to meet your new siblings and for you to spread your love and sunshine all over them too.  🙂  Mommy loves you so much sweet girl!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you, my sweet, little cupcake!

  • Celebrating Gotcha Day

    Date: 2013.03.12 | Category: Adoption, Benjamin, Maisey

    It doesn’t seem possible that it has been a year since we waited anxiously in the Registration Office for them to show up with our son and daughter.  We had traveled with 12 other families and most of us were in one large room waiting for our little ones to arrive.  Would I recognize Ben and Maisey when they walked in the door?  I had looked at their pictures over and over for a year, but would I know them once they came through that door?  One by one, children were brought in by the directors of the orphanage or the nanny who cared for them.  Most parents cried.  Some children cried, but most of the children were unusually quiet.  It was such a moving experience.  To this day, watching a video of anyone’s gotcha day brings me to tears.  It is such an unbelievable moment.

    Suddenly Maisey was there.  She was bundled in 3 snowsuits and looked so quiet and sad.  The director was gruff.  Hardly said a word to us, threw her in our arms, and was gone.  They didn’t return any of the things we had sent to her.  They didn’t take the pictures with the disposable camera that we had sent.  There was a photo album from the time she had spent in New Hope and we were thankful for her time there, but it was obvious she was not loved while she was in the orphanage at least not by the people who came to drop her off.

    We waited and waited for Ben.  His orphanage was 90 minutes away and it seemed like everyone else already had their child.  Dan impatiently paced back and forth searching every car that pulled up for his little boy.  All of a sudden Ben was there.  Dan stood there, looked back at me with tears in his eyes and went to get his boy.  What a moment.  I still get teary eyed thinking about how sad Ben looked and how in love my husband looked.  Not a whimper from Ben.  No words.  No fear.  He just grabbed on to Dan and would not let go.  Dan had been praying all year that God would allow them to dream about us and let them know that we were coming.  It seemed as if Dan got his wish.  Neither of the children were afraid. They wouldn’t get down and play.  They just held on to us for dear life.

    We took them back to the hotel and let them eat what they wanted.  It took some time for them to stop eating.  They were amazed at our drawer full of food.  They ate for a couple hours straight. I was afraid they would get ill from eating so much. I have no clue where they were putting all of it.  Ben held on to food and wanted to sleep with his bowl, spoon, and whatever he had been eating.  If you moved his food, he would have such a panic attack.  Yet, he showed signs of that sweet little soul by sharing his food with Maisey (who he’d never met until that day in the Registration Office).

    I remember undressing them for the first time.  The last pictures we had of Maisey had her looking like any other chubby baby.  We were unaware at the time, but it is customary for children to go back to the orphanage while they are waiting for their family to come.  Our last report said she weighed 23 pounds while at New Hope, we took off those three snow suits to find a 16 pound two year old.  Ben was even worse, at 3 1/2 he weighed in at 23 pounds.  Dan and I both cried tears, heartbreaking tears.  It’s hard to look at your children knowing just how much they were doing without – both food and love.  It’s hard to not be angry knowing that it was the endless paperwork that kept them from you for so long.  We later learned Maisey weighed 6 pounds at 6 months.  How could your heart not ache for all that they had been through?

    As time went on, Ben’s attachment for Dan grew and grew.  They were inseparable.  We still hadn’t heard Ben speak Chinese or even utter a sound.  The end of day 2 had him telling Dan that he loved him and speaking English words like crazy.  It wasn’t what we expected.  The child we were told was deaf, babbled like crazy from the very beginning and the 3 1/2 year old wouldn’t say a word for the better part of the first 2 days.  But soon he was laughing and coming out of his shell – as long as we were in the room.  As soon as we left the room to get on the bus or take a taxi, Ben’s fretful little face would come back.  I wished I had the words to comfort him and say he was ours forever.  To let him know that he was truly our son and just what that meant, but how do you explain family to a child who was abandoned at 9 months and spent almost 3 years in an orphanage?

    There were adjustments while we were in China.  You travel and you are 12 hours behind and naturally tired.  Your children come to you with whatever issues they bring with them from the orphanage as Maisey showed from her bald spot on the back of her head.  No matter how well they are cared for, it is still an institution, and institutions are dehumanizing.  One of the saddest moments in China was Maisey waking up on the bed, and sitting up with her back to Dan.  She sat there and just cried silent, shoulder shaking, tears.  Dan still can’t talk about this without getting upset.  What he saw was an orphan looking utterly and totally alone, crying out to God.  As soon as she saw Dan, she laid her head on him and snuggled.  He held her close and rubbed her back and kissed her little head.  It was the moment I think she understood she wouldn’t be alone, that Daddy would be there to comfort and protect her.  Every little girl needs a daddy and she finally had hers.  She never cried those dejected, heart wrenching tears again.

    This past year has had many doctor’s appointments.  We’ve had wonderful news in the fact that Maisey is not completely deaf.  Her speech and her signing has taken off.  She is full of information that she loves to share.  She even said the prayer last night.  I only caught “Dear Heavenly Father….more words, more words, more words….in Jesus name Amen!”  But she understood.  She counts to 6.  She tries to read everything.  She is blossoming in so many ways.  Her life has been forever changed.

    Benjamin’s diagnosis was more complicated than we thought.  We are still hoping to do surgery to improve his quality of life.  His heart is not fixable at this point but we are hoping to bring his oxygen saturations up.  We found out that Ben has ITP and have been watching his platelets for a year.  His platelets run anywhere from 18,000 to 40,000.  He bruises at the drop of a hat and ends up with marks for something as simple as scratching himself.  It has made things more complicated with surgery and it means we have to watch him extra close, but he is doing well.  He spells his name.  He counts to 11.  He loves Mickey, Spiderman, Jake the pirate, and Thomas the Train.  We have had the privilege of loving this little boy for a year now.  I remember being afraid that he wouldn’t life long enough for me to get to hold him at all and I’ve had 365 wonderful, blessed days.

    I’ve spent today, with tears in my eyes, remembering where we were on day one and just how far we’ve come.  As Dan said the other day, listening to those two just enjoy every moment of their lives has been so worth it.  There have been tears and frustrations, but 80% of the time is filled with joy.  People ask why we are adopting again.  It’s so hard to explain, it is different than it was with our biological kids. When you take a child out of an orphanage, you understand that it isn’t about being able to do everything.  It isn’t about being able to give them everything.  It’s about taking a life and showing them what the love of family means.  It is about showing them about God and His love for them.  It’s about taking a life that had an uncertain, frightening future and giving them hope.  It’s knowing you can do more and love more than you even believed possible.  It’s been an utterly unbelievable year and I feel blessed to be able to set off on that journey again in another month.  I have been blessed in ways I can’t even explain.  I wish I could give you a picture of what it means to rescue a child.  To really give you a picture of what that joy means.  To take a life with very little if any education, no God, no future, no hope, and instead guaranteeing them a life of love from a family that adores them and presenting them with glimpse of an eternity of love with God.  Gifts that have no measure, truly priceless, and I got to be a part of it.  I am one seriously blessed mama.

  • One less….

    Date: 2013.01.30 | Category: Adoption, Maisey, Photos

    I’ve written a lot about adoption.  I’ve repeated over and over my wish for people to come together and make a difference for these children.  I actually have another blog all written out detailing some of the really horrible things going on in orphanages around the world.  I know that there is a time for that blog, but it is not today.  Today I’d like to talk about the littlest member of our household, well, she will be for at least another 2-3 months.

    Today I was thinking about what makes adoption so special.  The reality is, at the beginning,  you wonder “could I love a child that is not my flesh & blood”?  Those thoughts don’t make you a bad person, they just make you human.  You know you aren’t perfect and you wonder, “what if I care less about my adopted child than I do for my biological child”?  What if I somehow treated them differently?  Heaven forbid I made it worse for them (as if having a family could really be worse).  Doubt is there constantly making you second guess what you could and could not do.  Somehow it seems easier when you adopt an infant.  They grow up and all they have known is you.  Pretty easy.  Just the same as having your own baby – but less work in the pushing them out department.

    Our littlest girl, Maisey Meilyn Ellsbury

    The agency calls and they present you with a one year old, who is labeled as deaf.  You pray and ask for guidance but you know from the moment you see her picture, that she is your daughter.

    Now here you are in the Registration Office, you’ve had a year of waiting.  A year of looking lovingly at that picture, dreaming about what her personality might be like. You wonder before they bring her in if you can be enough.  You wonder if she will love you too.  You wonder if you will overwhelm her with all that love you have been holding inside for a year.   You wonder if you will scare her.  You wonder if you can make her see her worth and just how beautiful she is despite the fact that her ears haven’t formed right and her chin is a little crooked.   They bring her in and your tears start.  It. Just. Feels. So. Right!  To hold her, to touch her hair, to whisper how much you love her – it is all so right.  She is your daughter.  You would do anything for her.  It doesn’t take a month, or a year, it happens right away, in truth it happened even before you meet.  But when you finally get to hold her in your arms, your heart literally overflows with love.


    But things aren’t perfect because you were in fact presented with a two year old.  Oh boy – two year olds – they are fun!  Delightful, always happy, ready to go along with anything you present them with.  HA!  Now this two year old doesn’t necessarily have anything against you in particular, they are just being 2 and they do”2″ really well.  Add to that a child who has never been taught how to deal with those emotions and it can be a trying few days until you both come to an understanding.   There will be many discussion on who is truly the boss.

    You still don’t know what her personality will be.  She needs time to grow and feel secure.  It is just like being pregnant.  You dream of what that child will be.  You dream of about their personality without really knowing what they will be like.  Then that sweet baby shows up and you look into that face and your heart is gone.   It doesn’t mean you have it all figured out.  It doesn’t mean every day is rosy.  It doesn’t mean that life won’t have many, many trials.   But what it does mean is you are family.  Your baby is loved.  You will be blessed in ways you can’t even fathom.

    When you adopt a child from an orphanage, things you thought you appreciated will take on new meaning.  The pure joy in watching a child truly discover they are secure is unbelievable.  When they finally realize that there is comfort when they are hurt, you will be amazed.  Everything has greater value to a child who has had nothing.  A meal is not to be taken for granted.  A second bottle leaves her dancing for joy.  Cookies?  Warm blankets and hugs whenever you want one? Well, of course, she”ll take those.  Something as simple as making cupcakes and adding sprinkles, brings on giggles galore.  She talks and she knows she will be heard.  She cries and she knows someone cares.  She slowly grasps just what family means and she blossoms.

    China & april 2012 034

    And then day after day she does the most amazing thing.  When you pick her up, she just stares at your face.  She places a hand on each cheek and tilts her head slightly.  She rubs her hand up and down and up and down, very slowly, very deliberately, all while staring lovingly into your eyes.  She then says “I wuv you” and lays her head on your shoulder and hugs you as tight as a little two year old can hug.  How can you put a price on that?

    Maisey is joy.  There is no other way to describe her and what she has brought to our family, just joy!  Now I will admit that she is 2 and wants her own way and has been known to take a toy or two away from Ben.  She can stomp her feet and can yell as loud as any other two year old, but more often than not, she is empathy and caring and joy and everything beautiful you’d want your little girl to be.  How lucky am I?  How blessed am I?  By taking a step past my fears, I ended up with blessings too numerous to mention.

    july 6 2012 006

    You can’t save every child, but adoption means “one less”.  One less child without a family.  One less child without the comfort of a home.  One less child abandoned and alone.  One less child questioning their worth.  I believe “one less” is a truly remarkable and unbelievably amazing thing.

  • Maisey Dancing!

    Date: 2013.01.01 | Category: Maisey, Videos

    Posting it so Mema can see Maisey doing her moves. Not my favorite song, but I love to watch her dance. 🙂 I remember being a little sad when we were going to adopt her because she was deaf and wouldn’t be able to dance and sing with the girls. Our girls are constantly in movement and our house often resembles a musical.  I should have known better than to worry at all.   She loves to dance and sing.  She is the most animated little girl.  Being profoundly hard of hearing makes her extra observant – which helps with those complicated dance moves.


  • Why I talk about orphans

    Date: 2012.12.29 | Category: Adoption, Maisey, Thoughts to ponder

    You might wonder why I talk the way I do about orphans?  I have to admit it wasn’t even on my radar a few years ago.  I had no idea the vastness of it all.  147 million orphans?  How is that even possible? I had no idea the conditions orphans were living in.  I had no idea how many children were hurting and alone.  I figure if I had no idea then others probably haven’t heard the numbers either.  I believe when others hear the stories they will be moved to do something too.  There are so many ways to help even if you haven’t been called to personally adopt.

    Now that Dan and I know about the House of Hope, Show Hope, CCAI, and Love Without Boundaries, we want to share what they are doing.  These are organizations that we have dealt with personally and we want to get the word out there to others who may want to help too.   There are many different organizations that no one even hears about.  Take LWB for instance, they have 11,000 likes on their Facebook page.  That is a respectable number but why does something like Skylanders (A video game that my daughter loves – that is why I chose it.) have 347,000 likes?  Because the word is out there.  Because people are talking.  Which brings me back to what I am saying, I believe more people need to talk about this crisis, Christians especially. We need to open people’s eyes to the plight of orphaned children here in this country and around the world.  James 1:27

    We need to spread the word.  I’m blessed to be able to be part of a story like my Maisey’s.  She weighed 6 pounds at 6 months and the Hills took her in and saved her. Maisey is a fighter and a blessing.  I am amazed and so thankful for the work the Hills are doing.  They are bringing comfort to those children who would otherwise have died, alone and afraid.   They are saving those children that they can. You can read more in the book the House of Hope.  Maisey is their 1,000th baby, Chaya.  You will be moved by the Hill’s story and your eyes will be opened.

    LWB is taking children into their healing homes and helping them get their cleft lips fixed and their little hearts fixed in hopes that they will someday find their forever family.  But just in case they don’t find their forever families, LWB is getting these children into foster homes.  LWB is providing schooling.  We take a lot for granted in this country.  We just assume it is the same every where else.  It isn’t!  In some of these countries unless you have the money you don’t get medical care and education is a privilege not a right.

    CCAI, the adoption agency we used, is amazing. They are the number one agency for Chinese adoptions.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  I just read Lily’s story in the book Bound by Love.  It is heart wrenching and a history lesson in China all at the same time.  You turn to the back of this book and see the names of all the children they have helped find forever families.  They are over 10,000 children placed now.

    Maisey is one of the reasons why I’m trying to spread the word.  Because she was abandoned on a stairwell in a building.  She was left because she was a less-than-perfect girl.  Even in the orphanage she wasn’t worth the time it took to feed her properly.  She was abandoned and alone, but the Hills saw her worth.  They took the time to feed her and help her grow and because they did that I get to be greeted everyday by this little face.

    Maisey is beautiful and animated and such a joy to have as a daughter. She is full of energy and adventure. I am blessed everyday to be greeted by her huge hugs and her joyous laughter all because someone else saw her worth.   Why wouldn’t I want to share a story like that?

    Please won’t you consider opening your heart to an orphan?  Sponsor a child in foster care.  Sponsor a child’s surgery or schooling.  You can go to the links on the right hand side of the home page on my blog to learn more.

    Help a family that you know who is adopting.  It is a serious leap of faith to go into the unknown and it is so expensive.  What if everyone in your church donated $10 towards a family in your church that you knew was adopting?  What a difference we could all make just a few dollars at a time.  Don’t close your eyes.  Don’t pretend that you haven’t heard.  Make a difference.  Open your heart and change the world – one child at a time!  I can guarantee you you will not regret helping a child in need.

  • Fun Friday Photo or Silly Saturday Scenes….

    Date: 2012.10.06 | Category: Benjamin, Maisey, Photos

    I haven’t posted any new silly pics of the kiddos lately.

    Everyone loves Zachary!

    How to tell when you are loved! Siblings wait in line to be held.


    The new loooonnnnnggggg table. Now we can all sit together.

    Love this face. Who wouldn’t love to just snuggle on the couch when you get to hear his laughter?

    Maisey and her BIG hat taking care of her BIG family (there’s 5 babies in that buggy).

    Cutest dog pile ever!

    Ben does not like sand or corn for that matter touching his feet.

    This is what happens when you let Gracie do your hair. 🙂


  • Fun Friday Photo (mini’s edition)

    Date: 2012.07.27 | Category: Benjamin, Maisey, Photos

    Learning rock, paper, scissors

    Finally need new clothes & I LOVE them!

    Have I mentioned just how silly Ben is?

    Too cute!

    Going for a drive!

    Photo bomb from Hope. Mei loves the noodles!

    "Don't go Hopey!"

    Yay for Hopey!!!!!

  • Things you never imagine happening….

    Date: 2012.07.21 | Category: Benjamin, Codey, Family Life, Maisey

    For those of you who don’t know my son Codey, he is 25, severely physically and mentally challenged. One of his favorite things to do is open his window and listen to the cars go by and the birds sing. He has his big, fake leather, comfy chair parked right there under the window.  He would sit there for hours if I would let him. We actually partially unscrew the screw in the lock to keep him from being able to unlock it and open the window even when it’s 100 out.

    I admit that I worried about Codey and how our new kids would do with him. He doesn’t like to share toys. He doesn’t like change. He doesn’t like his wheelchair so he gets around our house by scooting on his bottom.  He growls when he’s upset and can yell very, very loud.  How do you explain that behavior to a child who is mostly deaf but can hear really loud noises or a child who 4 months ago only spoke Mandarin?  It’s one thing to adopt a baby and have them grow up around it.  It is a completely different set of issues to take a 2 and 3 year old and introduce them to him.

    I’m sure you’ve heard me mention before that you should never worry because the things you worry about often don’t come to be and you couldn’t even possibly imagine what might come to be.  (Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. – Corrie ten Boom.)  I’m not a worrier by nature, but thoughts do cross your mind – no matter who you are and how strong your faith is.  You think “How am I gonna handle this if….”.  It’s just human nature.   I wondered about whether they would get along.  What if they didn’t like each other.  What if Benjamin and Maisey were afraid of him.    Codey is a very tenderhearted, sweet, affectionate, loving little boy.  He may be 25 but he is a small child mentally.  What if their behavior made Codey sad?

    It seems I had nothing to worry about.  The other day, I found Codey trying to help Maisey on to his chair. There was no growling involved.  No yelling whatsoever.  Just secret laughs and quiet whisperings of who knows what.  Codey was politely helping Maisey up on the arm of his chair and what does she have in her hand? A SCREWDRIVER! How does a 2 year old deaf girl communicate with a 25 year old non-verbal boy? I’m pretty sure I never even considered this happening. Needless to say, I worried for nothing.   AGAIN!  They are the best of friends and I am one blessed mama.  Codey shares his toys with them.  Codey shares his food with them.  I don’t know how Codey knows that they were hurting souls, but he did.  God is good!


  • Fun Friday Video

    Date: 2012.07.13 | Category: Benjamin, Grace, Maisey

  • Fun Friday Photo

    Date: 2012.07.06 | Category: Benjamin, Cassie, Grace, Maisey, Photos