Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Today in my Facebook feed I read this from my friend Maggie.

"I just found out that one of the foster agencies is getting ready to take presents out to foster families and they got virtually no donations for their teens. Depending on the foster family, that could mean these kids don't get a Christmas.
If anyone would like to make donations for the teens, let me know and I'd be happy to pick up! I'm sure gift cards (music, clothes, makeup, mall) would be awesome since we don't know of specific requests. Thanks!"

A little background about Maggie. She is an amazing mom of bio and adopted daughters from foster care.  Despite being in their thirties, her and her husband have decided to again STEP UP and STEP OUT in faith to adopt a teenage girl and soon, she will join their family just in time for the holiday season.

I shared her post on my Facebook feed. It got one "like"

C'mon Christians we can do better!
Can you imagine being a teenager in foster care and seeing your younger foster siblings receiving gifts while you get nothing?
Everyone gets excited about purchasing baby gifts and toys but teenagers aren't "as fun." Can you imagine the sadness during this holiday season? The loneliness?
I know by now most have done their holiday gift shopping. I know budgets are stretched thin, but how can we ignore the least of these? 

Foster Families have little to no "extra." Our ministry was created  because of this need. THESE FAMILIES ARE ALREADY DOING THE HARD STUFF. How hard is it for us to give twenty bucks or more?
Click on the "contact us" button at the top of the page.
We have a paypal account and I can get funds to Maggie. 

Hebrews 13:16

 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

Friday, December 4, 2015

A very personal loss

This is something I don't think I have ever shared online before. It has been very personal, private and somewhat forgotten.
In 1998 I suffered a miscarriage at approximately 12 weeks. The baby would have been our second child. The pregnancy was a surprise. I had undergone infertility services to get pregnant with Summer, our oldest and expected, when we were ready, I would have to undergo the process again.
We were thrilled. My due date was set for July 18, 1998.
But somewhere in January things went wrong. It happened with out warning or explanation. There was not time to prepare. I never had any symptoms, and with the exception of a tiny heart no longer beating, the baby was inside me, just no longer living.
I remember the pain of the time. I remember how each time I heard about a child being born the summer of 1998 I thought of our child. I became obsessed with getting pregnant again because I now knew we could kick the ball past the goalie ourselves!
After Wyatt was born in May of 1999 I finally allowed myself to grieve for the child I had lost. 
As the years went on, the pain became less and eventually a distant memory.
I thought I had escaped ever having to go through this type of experience again.

Until last month.
 The pain of losing Patrick has opened an old wound with feelings very dark and personal. A big black hole. Unlike miscarriage and infant loss, there are no support groups for my kind of loss. It's very unusual. It has changed me. I grieve for two children I will never hold here on earth. 
I think of all the people who loved Patrick and all those who were so blessed to have held him. They too are grieving this child will never be a part of a family here on earth.
This journey has been personal and for the most part very lonely. I had shown Chris pictures and videos of Patrick but for the most part it was the beginning of an adoption journey. I alone carried the videos and pictures on my phone and looked at them daily. It was the first adoption I had connected with the child before I actually met them. I loved him immensely and had planned for him. I had purchased toys for him. Special items. 
I watched his life change from a smiling boy with some special needs to a child who couldn't even be carried properly by his caregivers.
I grieve for the beautiful baby I will never hold, and possibly will not know his fate. At this very moment we believe him to still be alive and hopefully being cared for in a better care facility.
I know the people who were on mission this summer grieve for him as well. They are people who spent an entire week holding him, playing with him, praying over him and loving him. They had the most beautiful experience in caring for him.
I felt old wounds open up this week as I read a blog from a mom who was in China adopting her beautiful little girl from the same orphanage as Patrick. The same bittersweet pain. The joy in a child being united with their family yet at the same time knowing I would never have the same experience. The question of WHY? The immediate realization I would never know the answer this side of heaven.
We have decided as a family we are no longer pursuing adoption of another child.
Despite hating the phrase "We have our hands full", it IS true.
I am now at peace with the decision.
We want Patrick's life to have meaning.
In 2016 there will be many changes.
We are putting into place changes which will hopefully allow me to pursue an opportunity to create a fund to benefit children in China like Patrick. 
We hope to find a permanent place for our foster closet. To make a bigger impact helping local foster families.
Pray for us in our journey.

Last photo I have of him.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why referring to us as Brad & Angelina is OFFENSIVE

Yes. I said offensive. 

Here is a little something I have wanted to get off my chest for a while. I have had a blog post brewing in my brain for sometime. Then we got word about Patrick's condition and I have had bigger fish to fry. This is my first time to blog about the subject.

We don't personally know Brad and Angie, but I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they have adopted out of love. Angelina has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts and helped many children. Again, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt on why they adopted.
Personally, I don't pay much attention to what goes on with Hollywood actors and their private lives are none of my business.

But...people seem to think it is "okay" to call those who adopt more than one kid, especially of a different race, "Brad & Angelina." It's not used in a nice way either. I seem to find people use the phrase when they are uncomfortable with our adopting multiple times or flat out think we are nuts.
It's just easier to say "Brad & Angelina" instead of dealing with the subject of WHY we adopt. It's easier to sweep the subject under the rug with the comment to get a laugh or change the subject than actually get to the heart of the matter.

We adopted because




But the number one reason we adopt is BECAUSE JESUS TOLD US TO!

So, next time you think it's okay to call an adoptive family "Brad & Angelina" please remember, 
we aren't adopting to be  cool ,we adopt because it's what God did for us by adopting us as His Children.

James 1:27
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Our Ways are NOT His Ways

Isaiah 55:7-9
…7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…

This verse is what I have been hearing the last two days. MY ways are not your ways.
On Wednesday afternoon, just as I was waiting for Sophie's bus to arrive, I got a call from our agency. I was to get all my questions about baby Patrick and his condition and put them in an email. Our director was in China and was taking a train with in the hour to go see him at his orphanage. I sensed the urgency and concern. I also was very humbled at the personal attention we were getting. I wasn't surprised, our agency has always put families first, but it was really personal this time. I emailed our director and told her we were committed to him. She replied immediately and said to wait for all the information as they were dealing with a "tough situation." At this point, I knew she knew more than she was telling me, and I also knew she would wait until she had solid information to tell me. She told me the best decision was an informed one. I made the choice not to share the news with Chris. He was away hunting and couldn't do anything anyway.  I didn't want to ruin his trip with worry when I did not have any news. I sent a quick text to my friend Martha in Chicago, and then took the little ones and Wyatt to dinner.

I knew I would have to wait at least until the next day. When word didn't come at all on Thursday, I started preparing my heart. I texted Summer. She reminded me of how our journey for our second adoption didn't begin how we had planned, and how it had led us to Isaac.  She told me perhaps this is the same?  I felt reassured by her words, as if she was already accepting the worst outcome.

When Chris arrived home Thursday evening I told him everything I had been told. We waited all night for any word.. Early Friday morning I received an email. Diana wanted me to call her via Facetime. She told me, it was bad news and to call her right away. Through several dropped audio connections via Facetime she shared the details about the baby. I could hear her voice break.

She told me he was very sick. The seizures had damaged his brain so severely he was basically only able to breathe on his own. He no longer recognized caregivers. He no longer smiled. Our baby was no longer really there. I asked if she felt he was in pain and she said she didn't think so.
She was angry and devastated. She had seen this little baby and now she said it "wasn't the same kid."
I know in her mind she was trying to wrap her mind around the horror. She told me she had taken a very long video and it was horrifying.
I asked what would happen to him and she promised me they would have him moved to a care facility and out of the orphanage. Having our family on her heart, knowing we would try to do the impossible, she spent the day working there to find out what facility was available. She told me they had a solution and there was a fund to pay for his care. She said I needed to think of my whole family and I trusted her words.
Chris and I had talked before we got the call, and in the moment I told her we agreed. We would not bring him home.
Looking back now I know God had a different plan for him. He knew he would become sick, most likely not survive to be adopted, and he opened a door for better care here on earth.
He is still my child, and like the one I lost in 1998 I will not see him this side of heaven. I know God's promise and I will see him and hold him one day.
 I feel I can share his photo because I believe his time here on earth will be very short. Pray for this baby I named Patrick from the moment I saw his face.

What next? We are moving forward. Our hearts are still open and broken for the fatherless.
Since we have a finished home-study and have applied with our government to adopt from China we are moving ahead to adopt again. Patrick will NOT be simply forgotten he will be a part of our family and it's story.
We will NOT despair. We will go forward. Pray for us in our journey as it takes us back to China.

NOTE 12/16: We have decided not to return to China to adopt at this time. You can follow the journey of our family on this blog in the weeks and months to come .


Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's still not a choice

This morning I received an email I had hoped would never come. The worst case scenario laid out in writing.
We have known for a while a little more about Patrick then we first disclosed. He has cerebral palsy and he might have epilepsy or a seizure disorder. When the mission team visited several months ago he was a happy, smiling energetic baby boy. He did have delays because of his high tone but he was happy.
About six weeks ago we learned he had been hospitalized for a seizure due to a high fever. We have been waiting to get word about his condition. Because of his seizure it has increased his muscle tightness.  There may be brain damage.

As a mother who has experienced pregnancy loss, I can tell you this feels like several things. One being worried the orphanage will deem him not adoptable and will figure no one in their right mind would want this child. I can only liken it to feeling a huge loss all over again. A loss not of being able to bring him home, but knowing he would be left to suffer and eventually die.

Secondly, this feels like being pregnant and told your child will have serious issues. He may not live independently, he may die young. Some might even rationalize we have a choice. A choice to not impact our family, a choice to do hard, messy things. A choice to leave him.

We won't do it. We won't leave OUR CHILD to die. For now we will wait for a medical expedite on his file, have the appropriate specialists review the information, and proceed as fast as the system will allow to bring him home.

I pray we get to him in time.

Please pray for better care for him while we wait, please pray for him not to have any more seizures, and pray for our family as we begin a new journey. This one may not be covered in rainbows but it's what we are called to. I know most will not understand and it's okay if they don't. We only have to answer to God, and we have said "send me."

We are neither amazing nor courageous. We simply are incredibly messed up sinners being equipped for what we need when we need it.

Pray for our son.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Big Announcement

I know, I know. Two blog posts in one day after I haven't posted for weeks. It just so happens we are finally ready to announce publicly our news.


We aren't crazy.
We don't want to be like Brad & Angelina.

We simply
We have found.

Yes, a boy! I have known and loved him since before we traveled for Sophie. I knew in my heart he was ours and God was calling us to once again be obedient and say yes. To once again endure the criticism, endure the economic stretching, and paperwork process. Endure the waiting.

Waiting which we are doing and trying patiently to do. We do not have his file yet from China, which means yes, I could have my heart broken in not being able to bring him home. It is also why we cannot share his photo  or any other info at this time. In most likelihood though we will have a file sometime in November and the process will be official.
For now we are in the process of applying to immigration to be approved to adopt again abroad. We've already completed the process to update our home study.

Please pray for this process. Please pray for us.
We've gotten information from people who visited on a mission trip this summer and this poor baby boy is confined to his crib or a bumbo seat all day. The team  also told me anytime the team picked him up he was happy and smiling.
My heart is breaking for this beautiful boy who will turn two in January.

Earlier in my post I stated I knew he was ours from the moment I learned he was a boy and delayed like Isaac. I composed a letter to Chris expressing everything my heart felt. I am including the letter at the bottom of this page so you can better understand the power in God's calling.

Please pray for this little boy who is all alone.

My letter to Chris in April:

To my beloved,
I decided to write everything in my head down because for the last week it has been all I could focus on. I imagine it is somewhat like how you felt when you first felt called to adopt. It was all you could think about but didn’t know where to take it.
Boy, we have sure taken your calling and run with it! I cannot wait for our adventure back to China and our adventure to adopt sweet Sophie. I think she is going to be amazing, but even if our trip is crazy and Sophie hates our guts, God is good all the time.

So back to my heart. Ever since I saw the red haired baby’s picture I couldn’t stop thinking about him/her. When Diana wrote me and said he was a “he” and he was possibly delayed like Isaac I felt more in my heart than if she had told me he was on target.

I know it would be scary financially, but everything else I feel very confident about. We know this baby doesn’t have a chance being a boy, delayed, and in China. Not very many families are moving forward to adopt a boy or a visually impaired, delayed child.

I believe in my heart he is our son. I believe his name is Patrick Louis (for your mom).
I know we can make a difference and can indeed save “one more.”

We don’t have to decide anything now. His file is NOT prepared yet, so we would be able to see how life is with Sophie. We could do an update to our home study when Sara comes at 6 weeks post placement. We could reuse Sophie’s dossier up to a year after her Gotcha date.  

He could stay in the crib in Summer’s room until he was old enough to room with Isaac. We wouldn’t have to repaint because I picked the colors for that room to grow with a boy theme. We’re already going to be at the therapy place a ton because Isaac ages out of EI. and we could just use our insurance for all the therapies at Trish’s clinic. Trish has looked at his video for me and believes he is actually a little better off than Isaac was at that age. He has no flat head, and can lift his head on his stomach and can rotate his trunk. He just needs US!

I believe we were blessed with your job because God has great things planned for us. People already look to what we are doing and God gets the glory In a million years I never thought I could do this but I feel in my heart I can. I feel God transforming me in a way I hadn’t felt before.

I read this last week and I thought it applied here…

The Door God Opens Will Require You to Depend on Him
God is not going to give us something that will alienate us from him or make us believe we no longer need him. He is a God of relationship, and a God who insists upon being first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, if you find yourself saying “I can’t do this unless God goes before me,” or “I can do this, but only with God’s help and leading” I would say, in my personal experience, it’s likely something God is calling you to do. Hebrews 11:6says: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.” Many times an “open door” from God is one that allows our faith to be stretched and strengthened. That, after all, is God’s objective for us: to grow in faith and Christ-likeness.

You can…
·         Still go hunting as much as before
·         Still ride your motorcycle
I feel confident
·         I could travel alone or with Summer or Leann
·         We could hire someone to help with all the kids for while I am gone
·         I can take care of all these kids!
·         God HAS called us to this.

We do not have to decide about him now. We have time. We can talk to Richard in person about him more. I just want you to pray about him.
I love you with all my heart.


Sophie's 4th Birthday

I am going to begin with a confession. I LOVE Hello Kitty. My own birthday is in October. So when it was very apparent Sophie shared my love of Hello Kitty early on, my creative mojo started flowing. Since bringing Sophie home, I spend a good deal of time sitting with her and Ellie as they fall asleep. During this time I would scroll through Pinterest for party ideas. There were so many wonderful ideas and I got to work planning and narrowing down which ideas I would use. I also had many left over supplies from when we hosted a Hello Kitty themed party for Brittany when she turned 19.
Sophie and Isaac attend therapies for an hour and a half each week, which allowed me to search for items for the party. I found many things at Goodwill and Target, but my biggest score was the ceramic figurines including the #4 Birthday girl, at NINETY percent off at a Hallmark store in our mall. To me, ninety percent off is almost FREE!

Sophie understood all the party prep, and she would get excited anytime I worked on a craft or printable. She would exclaim "my party" almost as if asking a question. I knew she had never celebrated her birthday in a big way with a party and could hardly wait for party day. Her special day.
We were especially excited to not only celebrate her birthday, but the home coming of her foster sister, Gabi. Gabi and Sophie spent nearly their entire lives together in China, either in the orphanage or in their foster home. They shared a close bond. I always wanted to contact my agency and request they place Gabi with a family near us in Illinois, but I also knew I didn't need to try and do God's work for Him! My only prayer was I would be able to know where Gabi ended up, and how we could always keep in touch. Several months ago we found out Gabi was being adopted in Illinois and she would be living less than an hour away! God is so gracious!

Gabi was able to attend the party and reunite with Sophie. Having only been home with her family a couple of weeks, Gabi was overwhelmed at first. Sophie seemed a bit confused, but by cake time she was bossing her "mei mei" around like I am sure she did when they lived in China.
Gabi's mom excitedly texted me on their way home to let me know Gabi had shouted out "Wo Ay Ni Sophie" (I love you Sophie), as if she had made the connection. We plan to always keep in touch and get the girls together many times a year as they grow up. It's an important connection and we are so blessed to be able to do this.

Sophie loved every aspect of her party and she loved being the center of attention. 
While not every party will be this extravagant, her birthday from now on will always be special.

Sophie and her "Mei Mei" reunited!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UPDATE Sophie is home!

Wow. This is a long overdue update.  Poor Sophie, she’s not the “first” so the blog update was not a top priority.
Chris, Sophie and I arrived home after two weeks in China on June 4, 2015.  Her “Gotcha” day on May 25, 2015 had went well with just a few tears. The time spent in China went well and she was calling us “Mama” and “Baba” (daddy) early on. Several days into our trip she was telling us “I love you” in Chinese and picking up English words daily. We got to visit her orphanage and what an eye opening experience it was! The conditions were deplorable. Our guide with her Chinese accent told us “thank goodness for Love without Boundaries.” Our Sophie was in a foster family with a foster sister and a foster grandmother. She was well loved and cared for.
When we arrived in Guangzhou, the second part of our trip, our guide was anxious to know how we handled her tantrums. We told him she behaved well and had no issues. Richard, our guide had met Sophie earlier in the year and the grandmother made sure he understood she was very stubborn and had “little tempers.”
We had no idea!
Upon arriving home we settled in to a nice routine. We had a few days of Sophie learning to sleep in her own bed, and a few early mornings due to the time change mix up. Over all, I was able to return to a normal routine fairly quickly. We soon discovered taking three children anywhere was much more challenging than taking two. Not wanting to be trapped in the house, I learned to adapt pretty quickly to transporting three kids various places.
About two weeks at home Sophie decided it was time to show us her “little tempers.”
Whenever she didn’t get her way, or she was corrected for taking a toy, she would flop herself down and scream at the top of her lungs! If I tried to take her gently by the hand to correct her she would go limp, and has earned herself the nickname “Noodle.”
After nearly three months home, she has come to understand, for the most part what is expected of her. She’s gone from many, many tantrums a day to just a few. She mostly has meltdowns later in the day when she is tired. She is very independent, and has learned English so quickly. She completely understands when we talk to her and is helpful when asked to do chores such as putting away her pj’s or bringing her dinner plate to the sink. It’s hard to believe she is only going to turn four in October.  She can already sing her ABC’s and knows colors and shapes. Her vision seems pretty good. She doesn’t even seem impaired unless she is looking at a book and then she holds it pretty close to her face. We were unable to get her an appointment with the eye specialist until September and we are anxious to know how well she can actually use her vision.
Sophie receives occupational therapy to help her (and us!) learn to regulate and handle her emotions better.
By October we sure hope this little smartie pants get to go to preschool!
Ellie is doing great! She started kindergarten and has been getting good reports from school. She loves taking her lunch and riding the bus home from school. She also adores completing her math homework! Ellie continues to work on understanding her emotions and when she is embarrassed or sad/angry. Ellie goes to occupational therapy twice a month.
Isaac started preschool! He is in a specialized class with two teachers and eight children. Our little guy rides a bus to and from school. His bus comes directly to the house to pick him up and drop him off. He receives therapies in school and outside of class we also have him in occupational and speech therapy. His communication is really taking off and so his frustration level is diminishing. It’s such a joy when he is able to communicate with out screaming and us guessing what he needs.

Wyatt got his driver’s license, a car (thanks to his grandparents) and a job! He began his junior year of high school and is interested using his singing talents once again. He learned to play the ukulele over the summer and can perfrom a great version of “somewhere over the rainbow.”

Summer turns 19 next week! She left for Western Illniois University last week to begin her sophomore year of college. Over the summer she also attended Depaul University where she taught classes to special needs children in one of the Chicago school districts. She came home with all kinds of new skills and even taught us a thing or two how to parent more effectively.

We’ve settled into a nice school routine and fall is really my favorite time of year.
I hope to be able to blog weekly about where we are as a family. Raising special needs kids along with a teenager in high school and one half grown kid in college isn’t easy. No one promised us easy. God is faithful to those who obey. I usually fall short daily.
Thank goodness for daily grace!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Long overdue THANK YOU!

Back in March we were unexpectedly blessed. I still am in such shock over the blessings!
Long story short..we were blessed by so many! First a woman I have never met named Melanie contacted me after she had heard our story from another adoptive mom. Melanie is a 31 distributor from North Carolina who told me she wanted to bless an adoptive family and had chosen us! She hosted an online party and so many people ordered products. (THANK YOU TO MY FAMILY , FRIENDS AND FOLKS I HAVE NEVER EVEN MET) Typically for a fundraiser the hostess receives either the profit from the consultant OR the hostess products. Melanie took NO profit AND gave us the hostess awards too! I was able to order over 300$ worth of product most of which I am using for when we travel to China. I was even able to order Sophie her own bag, a grey drawstring backpack with "LOVED" embroidered on it. Then in the first week of April, Melanie mailed us a check for 250$! Truly an unselfish gift for strangers she had never met.
Please support Melanie by visiting her website here:

Sophie's bag

But it gets better! The same day Melanie contacted me my good friend Kim from Pennsylvania  texted me and told me about her efforts to raise money for our journey. She had asked permission earlier in the month to share details about Sophie's adoption for her blog. I never in a million years guessed what she was planning. For starters, Kim and her husband Merle, were facing a very difficult surgery of their daughter Lucy on May 18th of this year. We call Lucy Ellie's twin because the girls look so much alike and are from the same province!
Can you tell who's who?

Lucy, just one day after her fifth birthday would have a complicated surgery to fix her leg. Not only was the surgery complicated but Lucy would have to wear a huge metal bracket from hip to toe! I can't imagine even focusing on anyone else during such a difficult time but Kim had been planning a huge surprise! She wrote a blog and asked everyone to send Lucy a birthday card and a donation for two adoptive families. She told of our story and about Sophie and then she sat back and watched God in action. Kim and Merle raised over ONE THOUSAND dollars shared between us and another family! Earlier this month we received the check for just a little over FIVE HUNDRED dollars! God is so good! All the time! Lucy is doing well in her contraption but still has a few months to go, and is never far from my mind. Kim and Merle are truly doing the hard things for a little girl who was once an orphan.
You can read the amazing blog post here....

Friendship alone is gift enough!

I can't even begin to tell you how God has confirmed our journey. I know some will shake their heads at a third adoption in such a short time, but they don't understand HIS story. We don't ourselves know the full story He has planned. We are only trying to be obedient to His will and have been blessed for it.
The thing with gifts is you can never thank someone enough for such an undeserved gift. I will never feel just one THANK YOU is enough for these amazing people.
God's grace is the same. We can never pay or work for his amazing gift in saving us from an eternity separated from Him. The best we can do is live to bring Him glory.
We are so close to bringing Sophie home and covet your prayers. We hope to travel by mid-May, really just a few weeks!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pray for our hearts

This past week has been full of surprises and blessings. On Monday I received word a total stranger wanted to bless me. Then my dear friend Kim shared our story on her blog along with a challenge to her readers to bless two adoptive families, ours being one of them.

On Friday we received word from our agency our Letter of Approval was "in the mail" by China and hopefully the hard copy would be received at our agency by the following week. This is the single most important paper in adoption from China. It's the document which states "she's yours" and after a couple more steps you can come get her!

Late last night a dear friend sent me a message on Facebook inquiring if the child on an advocacy page was our Sophie? I was doubtful as I hadn't seen it, but I had been super busy this week to scroll through everything in my news feed. When I arrived at the post, I wasn't quite sure she was our child. She has changed so much! She has grown and looks so much older. If she wasn't wearing the sunglasses we had sent her for her birthday I might still have my doubts. But after staring at her photo for a long time, I realized it was HER!

It was a strange mix of emotions. Normally an adoptive family can find photos of their child online. Usually they are on advocacy pages designed to make aware the need for the child to be adopted. When we started the process for Sophie a mom sent me photos of her as an infant. The woman had visited the orphanage and had taken photos. We've received photos from our agency during the process several times, but there was something about this particular photo that brought about a lot of fear and a sense I did not have control over anything in this process. (Did I mention I was a control freak?)

Perhaps it was the caption included with the photo which read in part Sophie was starting preschool and she was particularly close to her foster mother. This stung a little. Both Ellie and Isaac were in institutional settings and hadn't seemed to bond or grieve the loss of a caretaker.. Both are fiercely attached to me as their mom. It's a strange feeling knowing someone else loves your child and someone else has been there before you. Sophie has been with the same family since she was ten months old and is a little over three now. We adopted Isaac at eleven months and he will be three in June. I cannot imagine him being ripped from my arms and given to a stranger and taken to a foreign land!
My heart grieves for her, it grieves for myself in a selfish way. I've had the adoptions of rainbows and unicorns as my friend Jill tells it. I haven't experienced hard. I haven't experienced rejection.

The reality is, more than likely we will be traveling in less than ten weeks. We will be leaving our little ones in the care of their older sister, brother and close friends and family.
I know God has this and I know to pray for peace. I know I will receive it but I'm sitting here in my bucket of anxiety for just a few more moments.
Will you take the time to pray for us, for Sophie's heart, for our kiddos staying home? Pray for safe and uneventful travels? I covet your prayers during this time more than anything else.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Updates and Blessings!

Lots of exciting things have been happening here at our house! It's been a crazy time because Chris went back to work unexpectedly in January. This has been quite a blessing because he works from home most days and we will be able to pay for a ton of adoption debt much sooner.

Summer made the Dean's list her first semester of college and has been nominated as a Golden Apple scholorship. We will learn either this month or next whether she was chosen for the program.
Summer has also graciously volunteered to take care of the little ones and allow Chris and I both to travel when we adopt Sophie.

Wyatt is doing a LOT of guitar playing and has been our go to guy for help with the little ones now big sister has a lot of college studying to do.He has been learning to drive and hopefully will get his license at the end of the summer.

Ellie is continuing to thrive in Pre-K and has managed to accomplish a lot despite her disability. She learned how to zip her own winter coat this winter, something I didn't think was possible. She is looking forward to Sophie coming home.

Isaac is CLIMBING everywhere and because of this, we decided to forgo any more physical therapy. We have many therapists coming and going during the week and I had grown quite weary of the schedule. Dropping one therapy he had mastered seemed like the right choice. We doubled speech therapy to twice a week and he continues to make progress and is at about a nine month old for speech development.

Chris and I celebrated our TWENTY-FIFTH wedding anniversary on Tuesday 2/24. Chris' parents treated us to a delicious dinner and we may take an overnight trip to Chicago this weekend, weather permitting.

It gets crazy here quite a lot! Ellie and Isaac have developed their own personalities and squabble quite a bit. I know I will have my hands full when Sophie comes home. I am looking forward and also cringing thinking about the chaos! Chris has been so great indulging my nesting behavior. We converted Ellie's room into a shared bedroom for two little girls. I had been pouring over Pottery Barn Kids catalogs but in the end, our budget really couldn't dream that big. My friend Martha told me about some cute beds she was ordering for her girls (she's adopting too!) and they were right up our alley, bargained priced at Ellie was quite helpful, handing Daddy tools and holding the parts to the bed. JCpenney had an incredible sale on cute bedding and we painted the room a light grey.

I have been worried a lot with three kiddos and all needing mama at the same time, I wouldn't be able to do everything I need to do to run a household. Chris put new shelves in the pantry so we could be better organized in the kitchen. Summer was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and so all of my cooking must be from scratch and gluten free. The days of just calling for a pizza when mom is tired are somewhat behind us. I find myself worrying a lot about cooking and how I will accomplish all this once I have a child home who will have been ripped away from everything she knows and unlike Ellie and Isaac won't be a baby when she comes home.

But then God calms my fears and lets me know this IS His plan. This week we received notice our paperwork was in review and our Letter of Approval should be very close! How close is anyone's guess but we home in the next couple of weeks. If this happens we should be on target for late May or early June travel!
We got new pictures of Sophie last month and she is thriving and looks big for her age!

This morning I woke up to a message on Facebook from my friend Courtney who lives in Nashville Illinois. I have never met Courtney in person however, we were introduced on Facebook as she was in the early days of adopting and a bit frustrated. My dear friend Jill and I in many messages were able to convey to her how amazing our agency was. Long story short, her and her husband adopted the sweetest little girl from China and she is thriving! No longer an orphan!
This morning's message from Courtney was asking my permission to give my name and info to a friend of hers who really wanted to bless an adoptive family. An adoptive mom herself, she wanted to give back by hosting an online 31 Products party and donating her profits towards adoption fees. Courtney had shared our story with her.. Even though I was not looking to fund raise with any thing other than our car decals, I just felt this was such a blessing coming to me especially by way of "organizing". I have never even met Melanie personally, yet this morning felt such a connection to her.
Our 31 fundraiser will run for one week. Today March 3-Monday March 9. It's short and sweet so you can get your products faster! So if you are a 31 fan and need a product, please follow the link and directions on the right side bar. If you are viewing this blog on a mobile device you will have to click "view full site" at the bottom of the page before being able to click the link.

I hope to be able to report very SOON our Letter of Approval has arrived!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Always an Adventure

I'm a bit late with Chinese New Year pics of the kiddos. I have felt like such a failure! I've seen dozens of cute little Chinese children all dressed in their China silks in beautiful photos posted all over social media. 
Finally, on Friday I had some free (ha!) time. I moved the couch in our bedroom so it would face the window to get the perfect natural light. As a bonus I found our missing bedroom TV remote! It had been missing for over six weeks.
I snapped many decent pics of Isaac and decided to get Ellie dressed in her silk China dress to shoot a few shots of her. That was a little easier said than done. After finally coaxing her upstairs, changing her clothes, and brushing her hair she settled into posing for me. I was so engaged in capturing the perfect shot I didn't notice Doodle our pug had creeped upstairs and deposited five large piles of doggy doo on the new carpet! To make matters worse, Isaac was standing there IN it and also was squishing it between his fingers! I froze for moment, then grabbed the brand new comforter which was on the floor and millimeters from one of the "piles." With one hand I held the comforter and the other I held Isaac's hand to keep him from moving! I urged Ellie to quickly "go get Daddy" in the basement because I knew he couldn't hear me from upstairs. When Chris arrived we put Isaac in the tub, the clothes in the laundry and I got to work cleaning up the carpet. I was thinking how smart we had been choosing "dog poop brown" as our carpet color! 
After everyone was bathed and fed lunch and the carpet cleaned I finally had time to upload and edit my photos.
Enjoy! Happy Lunar New Year!