Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

  • Christmas Letter 2016 (The Littles)

    Date: 2016.12.29 | Category: Adoption, Family Life, Uncategorized

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    We’ve had an exciting year in the Ellsbury household.

    We receive the miracle of a healed heart for Benjamin.  We were told that there was no hope and now his future is full of hope!  Ben turned eight and is enthralled with soldiers and police officers.  He has learned how to read and loves math and school.  To see our boy filled with energy and no longer blue is a beautiful gift.


    Little Evie has had a wonderful year.  She has grown since her last surgery and continues to do well with her health.  She is a ray of sunshine from the time she wakes up until her little head hits her pillow.  She is everything that is good with the world.


    She was adopted 3 and 1/2 years ago with Elijah.  They continue to be the best of friends.  These two should have their own reality show.  They are a hoot together!  I mean seriously who could resist these sweet, little faces?


    I continue to stand in amazement of Eli.  Every day I am reminded of the miracle of modern medicine.  The amazing fact that he had main branch pulmonary arteries formed out of four collaterals and graft material in a 14 hour surgery just blows my mind.  I stand in awe of our awesome God and the gifts He gives.  It’s hard to take anything for granted when your life is filled with such miracles.


    Big miracles come in all shapes and sizes.  Lainey  has come so far from that sad little girl who never looked you in the eye.  She yells “mama and daddy”.  She hugs with such sweetness.  She gives love pats all day long.  She can not say many words but her love language is loud and clear.  She holds hands.  She hugs.  She loves and all the kids love her.  And the very best news is that now that her seizures are better under control she is actually sleeping for 4-5 hours at a stretch.  This has been very welcome to mama.  She will often sleep for four hours and go back to sleep for another four.  I can certainly live with that.


    Maisey has become quite the little mother.  She is quiet and shy but since she has gotten her BAHA (bone conducting hearing aid) she has become more vocal.  She figured out that she is funny.  She hears so much better and her speech has come so far.  She takes care of everyone.  She loves BIG!  She loves art and drawing and writing.  She has decided she wishes to be a ninja librarian when she grows up.  It’s a job that would suit her well.


    One of the best gifts during this past year is Maisey and Evie’s friendship.  Evie’s personality is BIG and Maisey is quiet so they have always gotten along but Maisey would choose to play by herself a lot.  That has changed this year as they both realize how much fun having a sister is.  It does my heart good to see them play.


    Max also received a BAHA this year.  It has been amazing to see him actually hear and start to understand what conversation is.  His world opened up when he realized he could actually ask for something.  He continues to learn more signs – last count was 300+.  We still have a long ways to go but he has certainly made great leaps this past year.  Probably his biggest step forward was understanding affection.  He asks for hugs and kisses now.  He sits on people’s laps.  It’s one of the hardest things on this mama’s heart to realize your children don’t know what hugs and kisses mean.  It’s a cultural thing as well as an institutional issue but when they finally get it….well, there’s not a whole lot that is better in the world.


    Because of facial issues it’s still hard for him to smile big but his giggle is contagious.  He can barely contain his laughter and it makes the rest of us laugh too.  The boys play pretty well together.  They have their arguments as all siblings do but they really do get along amazingly well.  Their favorite thing to do is to dress up in costumes and play super heroes.  They make the cutest super heroes don’t you think?

    Super Hero Day 2016

    Our seventh little is William, we all refer to him as Liam.  Liam had a harder transition than any of the other littles.  He enjoyed his treatment in China.  He had a case of Little Emperor’s syndrome.  Don’t believe it’s a real thing?  Just google it.  Anyway, it was hard for him to share at first.  He wanted to always be first and when he didn’t get his way he would cry for hours.  He has come so far and has learned what family truly means.  I am proud of the progress he has made in 9 short months.  His whole world was turned upside down and he had to learn how things work here.  We still have moments, but they are few and far between now.  Sometimes adoption brings unknowns that you really couldn’t even foresee being a problem.  I’m glad he feels loved and cared for and that he trusts us.

    He is sweet and caring and a natural born leader.  He is charming and very smart.  He loves math and eagerly learns new things.  He loves to help.  We instituted a Leader Day for each little and he eagerly waits for his turn.  Wednesdays are Liam’s favorite days now.


    There is nothing little about our Littles.  The love BIG!  They love life!  Our house is noisy and chaotic and filled with laughter.  There is never a dull moment with them around.  They bring so much to our lives.  Dan and I constantly say, “We could have missed this!” and I’m here to tell you that we would have missed a lot.  Our lives would have been so much duller, quieter maybe, but so much less.  We have been blessed beyond measure to be able to call these children sons and daughters.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t stop in my tracks and think about the miracles that have happened to them with both emotional and physical healing.  I don’t deserve the blessings they bring but I am forever grateful that we get to be a part of their lives.


  • Jessica and William

    Date: 2016.02.22 | Category: Uncategorized

    Hello! Cassie again (tired of me yet?)

    Mom and Dad have Jessica, and she is precious. Her orphanage loved her, they really did. They sent her with money, her stroller, clothes, and a backpack full of toys. They also made Mom and Dad promise to bring Jessica to the orphanage so they could say goodbye. As you can tell by her face, she was hesitant at first…



    This is her timid face. Her disposition instantly turns to this sweet face as soon as she is unsure of the situation.




    She made daddy work for her attention; she really wasn’t sure what to do with him. Give him an hour, some chips, and a backpack full of pretty things, and his daddy powers won her over. 🙂


     wpid-img-20160222-wa0006.jpg         wpid-img-20160222-wa0003.jpg

    Little one is tiny!! Her orphanage called her “little one” instead of her Chinese name. This is her compared to my mom’s standard-sized backpack…


    and her little shoe next to a Coke can.



    Even Liam got in on the glamour and glitter. A little lip gloss goes a long way…


    As you can see, she loved Daddy’s bracelets!!!


    Liam and Jessica have bonded quickly. The Kindle has movies on it, and Big Hero 6 seems to be a favorite.


    Liam loves to draw; he was super excited to see Maisey drawing on one of our Skype calls.





    Daddy made a fort, and they’ve spend all their cuddle times in there.

    wpid-img-20160222-wa0016.jpg    wpid-img_20160222_061050.jpg



    Sweet babies… We can’t wait for you to get home and see just how loved you are…. 😀     




  • We’re Almost to JJ!

    Date: 2016.02.21 | Category: Uncategorized

    Cassie, again. It is Monday morning in China, and my parents will soon be on their way to get Jessica. Their guide has met her, and says she is an absolute doll. She says that she is sweet, kind, and loves to take care of the babies. I think she’ll fit in pretty well. 🙂 JJ








    Mr12754992_10208584075789361_1143013459_o. William is doing splendidly. He loves to play and dance and draw. When we were skyping, he got very excited when he saw that Mei Mei was drawing too! I don’t think he’s going to have any problems fitting in here. 🙂 The kids are all excited, and I constantly hear about all the things that Liam is going to do with them.








    Jasmine and Elyse made Jessica a video for Mom and Dad to show her this afternoon. I don’t remember everything they said, but there are about 15 “I/We love you”s and “Mama and Baba will keep you safe and love you” and “we can’t wait for you to get to America!” I thought you would enjoy. 🙂




  • William!!

    Date: 2016.02.18 | Category: Uncategorized

    Cassie, here. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be posting…. oops! So, quick upload with some cute pictures. 😉


    William is settling in great. He’s been happy and giggly the whole time. He fully recognizes that Mom and Dad are HIS mama and baba. He loves having a family, and seems to be adjusting very well. He loves Hot Wheels, the Kindle, and Big Hero 6.

    Here are a few pictures to hold you over until I get a post from Mom. Make sure you check out the facebook group for all the updates!


    12755314_10208561336940904_2086852166_o 12752104_10208561336620896_513279243_o 12752037_10208561335940879_511489249_o 12751998_10208561336900903_1337405930_o 12751927_10208561336500893_1439895609_o 12751901_10208561336540894_1802316554_o 12746572_10208561337140909_1470084665_n 12736760_10208561336420891_1714455643_o 12736557_10208561336820901_1340507919_o 12722536_10208561336700898_1837853810_o

  • National Heart Month

    Date: 2016.02.07 | Category: Uncategorized

    Today is our day to share on the 28 Days of Hearts blog.  We’ve shared for a couple of years now.  I love reading through the stories of faith, love, and adoption.  Day 6 is the story of Rachel, who waited 3 years for a heart.  Rachel got her heart and is living life to the fullest.  Jamie does a great job every year putting these together.  I promise these stories will move you.


  • The First 30 Years

    Date: 2015.11.26 | Category: Uncategorized

    I had just turned 20 and you were 19 on the day we wed.  You were going to be an art teacher and I hoped to be the mother of two or three.


    We were young and naive.  We figured we could handle anything that life threw our way.

    Little did we know how heartbreaking and tough life could really be.


    We survived 14 months in a hospital room with more complications than we even knew were possible.

    photo 4

    We were warned about the statistics of how many marriages failed after the death of a child.  We were warned about the stress on marriages after a prolonged hospitalization, but our faith and our love grew with every new curve life threw our way.

    We were so surprised when we found out we were expecting again.

    Dan & Lisa

    What a blessed surprise little Zachary has been.

    We had our three little boys and I was adamant we were done. But you kept saying wouldn’t having a little girl be so fun?  You reminded me of my dreams of having a daughter of my own.

    Family 2

    Once again you were right.  She’s added so much to our life.  A beautiful little girl both inside and out.  Our family was complete at least that is what we thought.

    You continued through medical school and residency and decided neonatalogy was the perfect fit.

    Our family was settled and the end of training was in sight.  15 years is a long time to to work to achieve your goals but you were almost done.  We used to joke about the light at the end of a tunnel finally being in sight and for once it wasn’t a train.

    But as fate would have it, one fateful night, our life was turned upside down as your heart broke for a little girl fighting for her life in the NICU.  She grabbed your heart and wouldn’t let go.   Most people told us it was crazy, it would tear apart our family, that we shouldn’t do this to our children, but we decided to take a chance.  We named her Hope because it meant trust and faith and on 6/29/99 she became our daughter for life.

    Adoption day

    She would need three surgeries but the surgeon convinced us it was worth a shot.  God had sent her to us so how could we not give her a chance at the life she deserved?  At the very least, she deserved a family and a name.  Everyone was on board to give her love for as many days as God would bless us with.

    She not only survived but she thrived and you finished your training and degree.  You took a job to be closer to family.

    We bought our first house with a couple of acres.  We started to feel settled in our new home.  Your job was going well and you had new opportunities to achieve your dream of making life better for babies.  You started applying your ideas to improve outcomes with clinical and quality improvement in the national company you were part of.

    DSM Register Pic

    About six years later, we decided to try again.  It seemed God was saying to have another child and we eagerly awaited the arrival of another little girl.  Life was good.  Then the unthinkable happened and she was delivered by emergency c-section.  By the grace of God she arrived as healthy as could be.  That is how she got her name Grace and what a blessing she would be.

    One of my favorite family pictures!

    One of my favorite family pictures!

    A few years later you would read a book that rocked you to the core.  Max Lucado’s book Outlive your Life.  He asked the question about what you would tell your children about what you did to help the millions of children starving and waiting for a family.  At the age of 44, you decided we should adopt.  We could help at least one child.  We could give them love and care for them.

    I, however, felt we were too old.  I worried about what the world would say.  I worried about too many things that truly didn’t matter.  Mary Beth Chapman would change my life with her book, Choosing to See, in which her daughter asks “Is it better for an orphan to have an older mother or no mother at all?”

    So even though we thought that our family was complete we decided to adopt.

    Family 4

    God lead us to China.  By fate and a friend we would find our agency, CCAI.  We filled out the forms and applied to adopt.  We checked off the boxes on our Medical Conditions Checklist about what we thought we could handle and were matched with a little girl almost immediately.  She was deaf.

    Cassie had begged to take an ASL class in college and now that made sense.  Cassie had almost completed her year which talked about deaf culture and she felt we could handle this so we said “yes!”.   God is most definitely in the details.

    Very first picture we saw of Maisey.

    A new policy had just gone into effect where you could adopt two if the second child had a more complex medical need.   We decided to proceed.  Hope asked to adopt a little boy with a heart condition like hers and we set off to find our little Tigger.

    Ben 11

    We took a chance on losing our hearts again.  We knew he was our son so we stepped out in obedience and faith and took a chance knowing he might not even live long enough for us to get to him.

    In the midst of the paper chase, Gracie got sick.  We couldn’t figure out what was going on.  She had been sick for weeks and just couldn’t get rid of this bug.  We went in to check for mono and left with the diagnosis “possible leukemia”.  We were sent to an oncologist for a bone marrow test.


    It ended up being lupus with kidney nephritis.   Gracie endured chemo and more meds than any little girl should take.  We wondered how we could still adopt but Ben and Maisey were our children.  We could not leave them half a world away.

    It took a year of paperwork and waiting.  But the wait, though painful, was so worth it.

    China trip 2012 086

    We were blown away by these two little people who trusted us so quickly.  Their love for each other was so sweet.  They bonded with us immediately.  It couldn’t have gone better.

    We toured China.  We saw the Forbidden City. We walked the Great Wall.  We put a lock on the railing on the wall signifying our love could never be broken.

    china 2012 041

    Then we walked into an orphanage and our hearts were forever changed looking at all the little faces that were waiting for a forever family.  I knew we’d never be the same.

    China trip 2012 101

    David Platt was right.  “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.”

    Our lives were about to change in amazing ways.

    family 6

    I knew God was telling us that we needed to do more and you agreed.  We felt that God was saying to say four on our new home study.  We had no clue what that meant but our social worker agreed and we waited to be matched.

    The road to the next four was amazing.   Strangers couldn’t understand.  Even our family was unsure at first, but they had seen God in too many details to question it now.  We watched as God opened door after door to allow us to adopt four at once.  It was easy to see God was the one in control.  It was such an amazing journey that year.

    We had agreed to adopt two.

    Here is Lainey Rae named after her paternal grandfather and great grandfather. She will be 2 in December.

    july 25th 2012 019

    We were waiting for paperwork on Eli and our agency sent us another file.  To this day, I have no idea why.  I refused to look at it because I didn’t want to say “No” but you read the file and even though there were a 1,000 reasons to say no, you chose to say, “Why not?” and I will be forever grateful for this fact.

    Evie - we were told she is doing well and is very shy.

    We had preapproval for Lainey and Evangeline.  We were waiting for paperwork to be completed for Eli and I had no idea how any of this would work.  We assumed we would travel again to go get Eli.

    And then we saw her face….

    jasmine 3

    We asked for permission to add a third child and China said “Yes!”.  We were beyond ecstatic.

    As luck would have it or better yet as God had planned, six weeks before we traveled, Elijah’s paperwork was ready. We asked once again for special permission because of his heart defect and China agreed.  How this year had happened was a miracle with too many to list in just this one post.  We stood in awe of all that happened to allow us to travel to get our four children at once.   I will forever feel beyond blessed that God allowed us to take a part in this journey.


    Twelve children.  It had been a dream of mine when I was a little girl.  I had given up on that dream long ago but here I was the mother of 12.  What others thought was crazy I thought was a beautiful gift.

    Once again we said we were done, but Jasmine had other plans.  She begged and pleaded and Gracie chimed in.  We finally had to admit that she was right.  We could do more.  We could love more.

    That had been the most amazing thing on this unbelievable journey.  You wonder how could you love so many children.  Mainly you wondered because you believed as you love, you gave away a pieces of your heart but that isn’t the truth.  As you love, it multiplies.  There is always room to love more.  There is no set number.  There is no cap to the amount of love you can give.  Your heart contains an infinite amount of love and the more you share, the more you are able to give.

    Your heart was taken by the sweetest little face.


    And we added Max to the mix.

    Max 2

    We traveled across the country for heart surgeries.  We watched blue fingers turn to pink.

    fingers 2

    We watched hearts heal both physical and emotionally.

    We watched our family bond and become friends.

    In just a few short years, we lost your dad, my mom, gramp gramps, aunt Kay, my grandpa (pop), Will and then your brother Rod.  Our hearts mourned for those we lost but we thanked God for the hope we will one day meet again.

    We truly believed our family was complete at 14.  14 means completion and perfection and it all happened in 2014.  I loved that fact.  It seemed a good place to stop our family, but the kids joked about us having 15 in 2015 and 16 in 2016.  They joked about even more and we laughed.  We told them at some point we had to be done adopting.

    Jasmine had a dream.  Her dream was a family for every child and we set out to advocate and support those who were adopting and those children who were waiting.


    We decided to advocate.  We decided to try to help families stay together by supporting them with the surgery their child needs.  You and I joined a wonderful group of people who are trying to make the world a better place – one child at a time.

    group photo

    Our children have learned what it means to give from their hearts.  They have raised money and awareness.  They are truly changed.  They know what is truly important.  They have watched God provide over and over again.  They know the truth and their foundation is secure.

    We have had two weddings.

    family pic Zach & Steph's wedding

    We have changed a lot over the years but one thing has always remained true.  You are my best friend.  I am happy doing anything with you.  I am content to just be by your side.  Our life has been so much more than I could ever have imagined or dreamed.

    It’s about to change again because our children have big dreams.  They prayed and prayed and we finally agreed they were right.  In 2016 we will add two more.

    Jessica William

    I can’t believe this journey we’ve been so graciously allowed to go on but I thank God every day it is you I have been on it with.  Thank you for being obedient to God’s call even when it doesn’t make sense by earthly standards.

    We don’t take fancy trips or drive a fancy car.  In fact, we drive a 16 passenger bus with a wheelchair lift.  We will never have an empty home and it will be forever busy, but that’s ok.

    I pray that we have another 30 years together.  I pray that we are always obedient to His call.   I pray that we never take these blessings for granted and we forever remember that we are seriously blessed.


    I love you sweetheart with all my heart.

    Family 7

  • Jasmine’s Blog – Why Can’t I Walk?

    Date: 2015.08.21 | Category: Uncategorized

    In China, people tell me I can walk.  In China, I see doctor and doctor says I can walk.  The people are lying.  I can’t walk.  The people tell me if I come to America I can walk.  I believe what the people tell me.  I come America. I go see lots of doctors and every doctor see me say I can’t walk.  I have SMA.  (Spinal Muscular Atrophy)

    But sometimes I really want to walk.  I don’t understand why the boss tell me that you come to America then you can walk.  The nannies tell me that no one will want me because people won’t spend money on somebody who doesn’t walk so they say I have to stay in the orphanage.  They say I too heavy, really heavy so no body will want me.   (*FYI – Jasmine weighs 90 pounds.)

    Before I do my back surgery, I thought if I did that surgery, I would be able to walk.  But I still can’t walk after I done with surgery.  I was really sad because I really want to walk.  People always tell me that doctors in America really good and they can help me walk but it is not true.

    When I was 5 my grandma was mad at me for not being able to walk   She was so mad at me because she don’t know why I can’t walk.  When I was little I could walk holding on to the wall but then I can’t do it any more.  My grandma says I am pretending not be able to walk.  So my grandma take a something hot and put it on my leg.  It burned my leg.  But I can’t walk.

    My grandma take me to the orphanage because she can’t take care of me anymore because I too heavy.  I can’t walk and I really heavy so she can’t take care of me so she took me to the orphanage.  If I could still walk, my grandma would keep me.

    One time in China the nannies say I can walk so they test me put the food over where I can’t reach it.  The nanny says if you can reach it you can eat and if you can not reach it you can not eat it and be hungry.   I try all day and I can’t reach the food.  I really hungry.  The nanny hit me and say, “You can’t reach it and I have to do everything.  You should walk. Why you can not walk?”  I just cry and can’t say anything.

    In the orphanage I sat in the corner all day because I can’t walk.  Everybody that can walk can go downstairs and play and go to school.  They eat downstairs.  There were four floors.  I was on the third floor.  I couldn’t move my wheelchair.  I just watched tv and eating and take a nap.  I can do nothing.  I watch them play and I want to play too but if I ask them to play with me they say you can’t walk so you can’t play.  Because they are running. For a little bit I can move my wheelchair but I am really slow.

    In China, the orphanage I can’t drink because people say I will have to potty lots and they don’t want to take me to the potty because I too heavy.  Sometimes I sit on potty chair all day because they don’t want to take me to the potty.  Sometimes I sleep on the potty chair at night because they don’t want to lift me on the bed because I too heavy.  Sometimes I think I could be not heavy and then everyone can carry me and they won’t be mad at me.  I want to go potty by myself but I can’t.

    Sometimes the nannies won’t take me to bed because they don’t want to carry me.  They just let me sleep on the floor.  They don’t give me blanket or anything.  At night I very cold.  Then everybody sleeping really good but I not sleeping really good because it is cold and the floor is really hard.  They tell me I should come up to bed.  I can’t stand up but they say I can walk.  Sometimes I feel like nobody care about me.  If one day I could walk everything would be so good.  I could walk and do everything and the nannies wouldn’t have to help me.  I wouldn’t get yelled at and the nannies would like me, but I can’t do anything.

    When I come to America I get a power wheelchair.  I feel like I walking.  I can go really fast.  I really like how that feels.  I can go outside and play.  I can do school.  I can go outside and go really fast around the circle.   I really like it.

    Jasmine & Evie

    They say I can’t do anything but that is not true.  I can do lots of things!

    I can cook.


    I can go to Adventureland!

    Jasmine at Adventureland

    I can go to the zoo.


    I can ride in the bus.


    I can feed the ducks.

    dad and kiddos

    I can ride a merry-go-round!


    I can play outside with my siblings.

    Elyse playing

    I can do lots of things.  I don’t have to walk.  I can do lots and lots of stuff and have lots of fun!


    在中国,人们都告诉我,我可以走路。在中国,我看到医生,医生说我可以走。们人在说谎。我不能走。人们告诉我,如果我来美国,我可以走路。我相信人们告诉我。我来美国。我去看到很多医生和每个医生见到我都说我不能走路。我有SMA。 (脊髓性肌萎缩)
    但是有时候我真的好想走路。我不明白为什么老板告诉我说,你来到美国,那么你可以走路。保姆告诉我,没有人会想要我的,因为人们不会把钱花在别人身上不会走路的人所以他们说我要留在孤儿院。他们说我太重了,真的很重,没有人会着想我。 (* 参考 – 茉莉花重量90磅。)
  • 28 Days of Hearts

    Date: 2015.02.08 | Category: Uncategorized

    Today we share our story on 28 Days of Hearts.  Please take a look at the stories of beautiful children adopted from China with congenital heart disease.  Your heart will be moved.

    Hope, Benjamin, Evie and Elijah


  • Jasmine’s Blog – Family and Orphanages are Different

    Date: 2015.01.02 | Category: Uncategorized



    Family and Orphanage are Different
    I think family and orphanage really are different, because family have warmness and have love. 
    Our family have 14 people. Sometimes we would be crazy, sometimes we could also be very loud. I had a lot of family members, but I don’t think it’s like an orphanage.   I think family is very blessed.
    In the Orphanage we couldn’t do that. We can only just sit there and couldn’t make any sounds. If we make any sounds, the nannies would scold us. When I was going to be adopted, the nannies said, “You are going to move to another orphanage.” because they said that mama and papa have a lot of kids, and is like an orphanage. However, I don’t think that ways! I think that family have loudness and happiness. However, orphanage doesn’t have loudness and happiness.  Sometimes I don’t understand why the nannies said that to me. Papa and mama love me so much, how this could be an orphanage?

    Jasmine wrote this blog post after she and I had a conversation about my Facebook post about people comparing large families to orphanages.  Jasmine started laughing at my comment and then shared what the nannies had said to her when they saw our family picture.   I asked Jasmine why it didn’t scare her to think that she was going from one orphanage to another orphanage.  Jasmine said it was because we all looked like we loved each other and were happy and that never happens in an orphanage.

  • Even If

    Date: 2014.09.17 | Category: Uncategorized

    We recently bought tickets to go see Jeremy Camp and Kutless with the girls. There’s not many things better in this world than watching Jasmine sing praise songs. It’s fun to take her and the other girls to the local churches when they have concerts. As beautiful as it is to hear the littles sing “Rise and Shine” and “Jesus Loves Me”, it is just as amazing to watch the big girl’s sing out praises to their Lord.

    I know most of Jeremy Camp’s songs, but I wasn’t sure about Kutless. I knew a couple of their songs, but then I came across the song “Even If”.  This song was exactly what my heart needed to hear.  It has been playing on repeat in my head for weeks now.  Every time I have started to worry I would hear the words…

    “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone.  You are God. You are good. Forever faithful.”

    Most days I can just go on and pretend everything is normal but then one of the kids comes to me and says, “Mama, what if Eli doesn’t make it?” Even little Maisey seems to get it this time. All this weekend she has made Eli sit on her lap, stroking his hair, and reading him a book. She has been melancholy and even snuggled in next to him to sleep.

    Mei 6

    I do pretty well until I let my mind go to the “what ifs”.   I see him and Evie playing and I think what if he doesn’t come home? What would she do? They are so close. Her little heart would be broken.  She’s too young to really understand.  They truly are like a set of twins. To watch him and Evie together is….. I don’t even have the words to describe it properly. They love each other so much. She says, “I wuv you Ewi” and he responds with “I wuv you baby.” They hold doors for each other and laugh together. They play and fight and hold each other tight. They make sure they each have a popsicle or a drink. They have a beautiful bond that has been so amazing to watch.

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    My heart hurts to think that their bond might be broken.

    I wonder about the pain it would cause my other children.

    I wonder if I am strong enough to survive it.

    The words of the world start to seep in and I doubt.

    But then these words come across loud and clear….

    ”Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone. You are God.  You are good. Forever faithful one.”

    We have a peace that comes from God.  There is no other way to explain it.  A peace that comes from the complete faith that God led us to Eli.  Many of you know his story but for those who don’t, I will tell his story again.

    Eli 4

    I knew from the instant that I saw Eli’s picture that he was supposed to be our son. We never talked about it much with the rest of the family because we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but Ben brought up his name throughout the day and continued to pray for him and talk about Eli like he was already his brother.   It’s the same with Max this time. Children seem to just know. I wonder if they are more able to hear the Holy Spirit because they don’t let the words of the world crowd Him out.

    We went through so much with Eli as we waited for the orphanage to get his paperwork ready. We had seen his picture in a New Hope newsletter. They said he needed a family. When we inquired about him, we found out he was not paper ready. I was so sure he was our son that I was ready to wait no matter how long it took. Dan agreed and we asked them to get Eli paper ready.

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    As we proceeded with our homestudy, we talked with our social worker about how we felt the Lord was leading us to ask to put four children down in our homestudy.   China only allows two at a time so this was a strange request but she agreed, with all the outside support we had, that we could handle four.

    We set out to adopt Eli and Lainey, but Eli’s paperwork was taking forever. In the meantime, our agency presented us with Evie. I wouldn’t even look at her chart because I didn’t want to see the face I would have to say no to, but Dan was overcome and knew that she was supposed to be our daughter. He said there was a million reasons to say no but all he could say is “why not?”.  God gave Dan such a peace about her.

    I trusted Dan and how he was feeling, but couldn’t for the life of me see how it was going to work. We were back to the “Lord, if this is what you want we will proceed, but I don’t see how it’s going to work.”  We sent in LOI for Lainey and for Evie and we waited some more for Eli’s paperwork.

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    In the meantime we saw Jasmine’s picture and knew she was to be our daughter. It was such an overwhelming, bring you to your knees response when we saw her picture. We asked our agency if we could ask to bring home three. I still remember Judy calling and letting me know that we were approved for three. What a moment that was. Tears streamed down my face and my heart was filled with joy. The children jumped up and down. It was a celebration at our house that day!

    We had every intention of going for the three girls and then returning later for Eli. We had been waiting for over six months at this point for Eli’s papers.

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    Every step of Eli’s journey was faith-filled and made with the utmost trust that God was leading. We had stepped out in faith and the most amazing things had occurred. We were set to travel the first part of May and then the unimaginable happened, it was March and Eli’s paperwork became ready. Both Dan and I felt like we were to petition China to be allowed to adopt four at once.   We figured if they said, “No.” we would just return later for him. What’s it hurt to ask, right?

    Our agency said the odds were very slim, but they would send our letter on. We had told them that we firmly believed if God meant for it to be He would open the doors and He did! So while others questioned why we would adopt four at once, we were saying “how could we not?”.   When God was calling us and throwing the doors open to allow it to happen, what else is there to do but proceed in faith?

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    Even though there was an overwhelming joy that they said yes to four at the same time I had a moment of panic. We had just been told that we needed to take a fourth adult with us. How in the world were we going to save that much money in that amount of time? We had maxed credit cards for the travel. How was this even possible?

    It’s amazing as many times as God has provided and been faithful that my first thought is often “how are we ever going to do this”.  I know the reality is that we never, ever do.  HE does!

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    I can still remember sitting in the car with Cassie, my mom and Linda. I had gotten the mail and we were just sitting there talking. I opened an envelope containing a check for Dan from the children’s hospital were he sometimes gets paid a stipend to speak. But instead what did I find? A check for an amount large enough to cover Eli’s fees, his orphanage child rearing fee, and Cassie’s travel. Years prior the University was part of a class action lawsuit about too much FICA being held out during Dan’s medical residency for the years 1995-1998.

    The amount wasn’t large, but the interest they had to pay was. We had no clue this suit was finished. We were in no way expecting this money.  In fact, we figured we’d never see any of it, but God provided. Every single step of the way we trusted and God was faithful.  God has provided for us in amazing ways with Eli’s adoption.  This whole journey with him has been one of waiting, trusting, being faithful and watching God do amazing things.

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    I have given up trying to guess where God is leading. When I feel that nudge, I pray and I follow. The blessings God has allowed us to have for being faithful are overwhelming. I wish I could let you feel for a moment what my heart feels.

    Eli’s whole story is a walk of faith. Every step on his journey has been faith-filled. God has given us an overwhelming peace about his life. That being said I am under no illusions that that means Eli will live a long life. He may or he may not.   The number of his days do not matter as much as the fact that his little life has purpose. If he lives 2 years or 50 years,  It was worth it! Eli has been a joy to love.  He is an unbelievably sweet soul.  He makes friends where ever he goes.  His little voice is adorable. Right now he is sitting beside me singing “A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart” from Veggietales.  Every single tear, heartache, and worry has been worth it.  My heart has been forever changed by one little boy.

    So…. “Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone. You are God. You are good. Forever faithful one”

    God is good.  All the time!!!!!