Sunday, April 26, 2015

VALOR Defined

I know an adoptive mom who calls her child a tiny hero.  She sees her daughter as a warrior and she is a warrior mom.  I really never grasped the concept or understanding of the soldier references until recently.  Her daughter has a heart special need and has been fighting for her life since the day they brought her home.  The fight I understood, but the rest of it I could not understand the reference or relate to it.  I have both grandfathers, uncles, and cousins that were in the military and friends, but my dad was never a soldier.  I thought maybe I was too far removed to understand the reference.

As we have gone through months of doctor appointments and evaluations,  I have wondered if it will ever end.  With each appointment I have learned more about my kids and how amazing they are and most importantly I have learned that they are survivors.  They have fought to survive.  I always referred to Flo as a survivor because she was so malnourished when she arrived at the orphanage.  She fought hard to live not just in that box on a cold September morning, but for 22 months she fought to be seen and heard.  She was the one up front, the one in every photo taken, if she was able to photo bomb she would.  She knew that the ones in all the pictures got to leave.  At 22 months she had skills and cuteness and used it all to be heard and seen.  I have video of her taking down two kids so she could be the center of attention while a parent was video taping for those of us waiting to travel.  I wanted to track these parents down later and apologize for my camera hog.  I am sure they knew as I knew she was fighting for a family.  Skills that she had acquired over time got her to us.
Both of my boys have different stories.  The fact that J is with us at all is amazing.  He too is an amazing survivor and each day I am reminded of how amazing he is.  And L is just as amazing.  No one could imagine what he has lived with his whole life.  I am sure as the months go by he will share with us in his own words what survival looked like for him.  He has behaviors that tell me life was hard for him.  There are wounds we have yet to see. 

A soldier is a skilled warrior.  A warrior is a fighter.  They have skills and at the end of the battle they have wounds.  These wounds leave scars.  But their wounds also bring about valor.  Valor defined as courage or bravery.  All of my kids have courage and go into every part of their being with bravery.  Sometimes I envy how brave they are and wish that I had an ounce of their courage.  On those first days in our family they show what they are truly made of and have more courage than anyone I have ever known. 

My children are my heroes and they are survivors and they are amazing! My children are valor defined!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Surviving China Part I: Nanchang

When we arrived in China we realized quickly that our VPN was sketchy at best. We got to Beijing then traveled on to Guangzhou.  We realized in Guangzhou that we were missing luggage. Making a report about missing luggage is not the easiest thing to do, but when you speak English and the person in charge speaks Chinese it is near impossible.  We did our best and then had our Guangzhou guide call and try to figure out if we did everything we were supposed to do.  I am so glad we remembered to put our guides name and numbers down for point of contact.  We probably would have never seen our luggage again. 

We arrived in Nanchang with one less suitcase.  Mark and I had the funky clothes on our backs we had been wearing for 24 plus hours and a spare in each of our carry-ons.  Thank you LORD for the insight to put a spare in our carry-on along with pajamas.  The girls clothes made it safe and sound as wells as the boys. I was grateful for that.  The first night we had a driver pick us up and we went straight to the hotel.  We did not even eat dinner.  We went straight to our room, took showers, and went to bed.  We were all exhausted.  I remember inquiring about the buffet at the front desk and then we went to our room.  The next morning we ate breakfast and requested our guide take us to Wal-mart to buy some essentials to get us through until our luggage was possibly found.

Our guide met us and took us on a walking adventure.  We went to a central square that had a water show and a monument dedicated to the revolutionaries that fought the communists unsuccessfully.  It was a really neat place and so historical until you see the Wal-mart sign in the background.  Awesome Wal-mart. Kill the historical moment with your capitalist ideals and goofy sign.  Crazy because in reality the revolutionaries did not know it at the time but they were fighting for modern capitalism. As we crossed the pedestrian bridge we saw all types of people selling items.  Some unusual and one man singing with a Karaoke machine for money.  It was a miniature flea market of sorts.  One lady was selling candy and others were selling puppies.  It was strange. 

Once on the other side we watched the water show.  It was like a fountain that shot our water with music.  We were told by our guide, Alecia, that it was really pretty at night.  When it was over we ventured to Wal-mart.  My thermals were in the missing suitcase so I was hoping to find something to wear under my sweater in my carry-on.  We also were going to see if there was anything else in the store that might fit us overweight Americans.  I also needed formula and rice cereal for our boy.  We got to Wal-mart and it was all decked out for Christmas.  We then headed to other sections of the store.  My favorite part was the Seafood section.  Everything was still alive.  Always cool for me.  We also found some great snacks and of course food for our boy.  We stayed there for a while.  Mark was so hoping to find some undergarments in his size.  He found some, but we aren't sure they were indeed his size.  He wore them for the next few days.

We left there and walked about a block.  Once Mark finished hanging out with his college friends we hailed a cab and went back to the hotel.  We found several good places to go for dinner on our walk to Wal-mart.  We only had 24 hours before we would get our John.  I could hardly wait. 

One thing we did notice about Nanchang was the pollution and the construction.  Sidewalks were ripped up and people just walked across them. We saw men working in the hole on the sidewalk one day and the next day the entire block was dug up and filled in with dirt.  The businesses had put tarps down over the dirt aka construction zone for customers to walk over.  It was nuts.  Some places you had to figure out how to get to them due to the construction menagerie.  It was crazy.  AG was done with the pollution.  She was using her inhaler a lot.  I figured she would.  We purchased her two new ones before we left just in case.

We figured out how to get around and Mark picked up dinner for us and brought it back to the hotel that night.  I was beside myself waiting for our boy.  I did not sleep as great as I thought I would.  The next morning at breakfast a family was there with a baby.  I thought that will be me in the morning and I will need that high chair.  We all ate well and decided to venture out on our own.  I could not sit in the room all day and wait.  I would be crazy. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pampers, Pull-Ups, & Pads Oh My!

When you make the decision to adopt and there is a huge gap between your oldest and youngest this is what it looks like. Due to their special needs our younger two are in Pull-Ups and Pampers. Our teen & tween need big girl stuff as well as me. So as I was packing this was the thought that went through my mind...Pampers, Pull-ups & Pads Oh My! I will say it is a crazy, humorous and wonderful place to be. Traveling with our girls has been amazing. No one totally lost it until we waited 25 plus minutes in line to get on our last plane. Flo had had it. We had been through 5 airports in 24 hours and she lost it. I wanted to cry too. Now I'm just too tired to think so I'll have to fill you  in later on the details.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We'll Be Home For Christmas!!!!!

We'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on us
Please have snow and mistletoe
And meet us with a bus!

 Christmas eve will find us
Sleeping in a China City that gleams
 We'll try to be home for Christmas
And we'll be on the trip of our dreams

 We'll be home this Christmas,
We 'll be coming home to you
And bringing two boys from around the world
And then we'll get on our way.

 We'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on we
Please have snow
And mistletoe
And presents 'neath the tree

Christmas eve will find us
Where the China lights gleam
 We'll be home for Christmas
And we'll be living our dream
We'll be home for Christmas
Till then you'll be waiting on the Dz Crew Team!

Crazy Days!

The clock is ticking and I am so ready to not be paper pregnant anymore.  I am ready to get the move on and still we wait.  Wednesday night we all came to the same conclusion that stuff had to go.  As I have been posting things on online yard sale sites as well as on Craigslist over the past 6 months, things had started collecting in our garage.  I would post them and then we would put them in the garage waiting for that one person to want our junk.  Well, we realized Wednesday night it was now out of hand.  It just had to go.  So, the idea of a yard sale came to mind.  Cold? Yes. Short notice? Yes. Too much going on this weekend?  Yes.  But every dollar made would go to our fund and it would mean less junk we had to get rid of one trip to the Thrift Store at a time.  So, we did it.  We made signs, made coffee, posted on websites and had our big yard sale with a two day notice.  We met some really nice people, made a little money, and saw friends that came by to buy a little and support us.  Awesome!  When we came home after Church, we had so hoped that the stuff we had left would have magically disappeared, but it was still there.  With rain lurking and leering, we decided to box it up and move the furniture inside.  At the end of our driveway, still sat the couch.  It had spent all day on FB as a hot topic.  Everyone wants a couch, but they really don't.  They really want you to deliver a couch to them.  So after our incredibly long day, we all just collapsed on the couch at the end of the driveway.  We all sat and chatted, sang of few lines of the friends them.  We cozied up together on that couch that everyone and no one wanted, not even us.  We just sat there all four of us.  Exhausted and so done, we took a big, long, outside time out on the big ole couch.  We realized that the couch actually did hold 4 people, even though for months we had been complaining about it.  We realized that it really was comfy.  We realized our elderly neighbors walking their dogs in the dark saw us as a little kooky because we were sitting on an old couch at the end of our driveway late at night. We are a little kooky.  There are so many reasons that would be the appropriate word. The fact that we started this process with $1,000.00 in the bank.  We had no idea we would be adopting 2 when we started 14 plus months ago.  The endless support we have had along the way and just the whole process this time.  We are just in awe of it all.  That night we just sat and took a 30 minute time out to absorb it all and realize that our family is about change.  It is about to change forever.  We are so blessed and can not imagine how blessed we are going to be when the boys get here.    Best Crazy day ever!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Mountains Moving--- Tear jerker. Prepare. 

Psalm 115:1

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Marks wonderful Aunt passed away in March.  She had a stroke in December of 2012.  She was a beautiful person and was such of an encouragement to me in my Catholic Faith.  She told me things about the faith and was thrilled when the girls were Baptized and went through First Communion.  She celebrated in ways my non-Catholic family could.  She knew the importance of these life events for us.  She always had a kind word and was just an amazing woman. 
We grieved our loss when she had her stroke, but it was still just as painful when she passed away in March.  Back in the summer we visited with Mark's family and friends at her home.  It was our last trip there and it was so sad to all of us.  Mark's cousin asked us to choose any memento we might want to remember her by.  We got some books because she had an enormous library of books and we also chose a few personal items.  One was a Chalice that Mark's dad had somehow acquired for her.  I also chose her Brown Scapular.  I was not sure when she last wore it.  It is old and made with real wool and leather.  As the challenges of this adoption has gone on, I have found myself putting on her Brown Scapular and wearing it.  It reminds me to pray for her and her family and our situation as well.  I lost it for a week or so and it showed back up in one of my drawers.  It has wool on it so it can get caught in clothes.  I assume that is what happened.  I decided to wear it today and let her know that I was tired and weary of this adoption process.  I prayed about it and kept it on all day.

 Mark's cousin emailed him about a month ago and told him that once her estate items were settled he would like to send us some money for the adoption.  He knew she would want that.  Mark and I both thought of it as a blessing and were very appreciative. His cousin contacted us today for our home address.
He emailed back later today and shared a story. 
Aunt Lois was known to keep things that might be useful later. She had tons of linens and place settings in her home just in case a party broke out or surprise guests arrived for dinner or someone needed to stay over night.  She was always organized and together. Christmas cards done in November, birthday cards done ahead, things like that.   Her son had found a box of envelopes with stamps on them in her desk months back.  Some had labels on them and some did not. Being raised by a Depression Momma he thought he could put them to use.   He told his wife this morning to grab an envelope from the box, put a check in it for us, and address it.  When she opened the envelope to put the check in it had 150.00 cash in it.  They both were speechless. Mark's cousin said, "She blesses people even now that she is gone."  He told Mark tonight that he is sending all of it.  She obviously wanted us to have it. Out of tons of envelopes this was the one chosen, so it was meant to be ours.  I have always thought that I understood God moving mountains, but as this journey of ours continues, things are happening to us that only God can control. This is one of many stories that I am sure I will share. God will make this happen and as it unfolds He will be glorified in ways we can only imagine. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014



As a verb according to The Free Dictionary  it means all of the following

to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase; mortify.
 to destroy the independence or will of; subdue.
to make meek: to humble one's heart


A noun according to The Free Dictionary meaning 

"The organized activity or an instance of soliciting money or pledges, as for charitable organizations or political campaigns."


Together what these words mean to us. 

To open your life up for the entire world to see.  To say here is our story please support us.
 It means asking those that know us and don't know us to give to a cause they don't truly understand.  To say basically we have the money to support them, we just don't have it to bring them home.  And to open yourself up to ridicule and to have your children there to witness it. To have God work in ways you had not imagined!  To have people who don't even know you support you and pray for you!

This is a hard option and it is one we did not move to easily.  We had hoped for it to be different, but it is what it is and we are about to be parents of two little boys. We know without that humble part it would not be possible.