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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How did we get here?

I am writing this for God to get the glory and for anyone that may question our intentions in this to know how we got here and how hard it was for us as a family to make this decision. Please know that this is straight from my heart.  It is our reality and it was painful for me to write and painful for me to read once I wrote it.  I live on paper.  My heart is opened here. Please keep this in mind if you decide to share with me your thoughts.  Also, know that my son's story will be shared in time, but not right away.  Some of the words on this page could hurt him.  Please let us share his story in our time. When he is ready! 

Going to an orphanage once in your life time is a life changing experience.  I will never be the same.  As I left that day so many years ago, I remember having so many thoughts going through my head.  One was getting my daughter out of there.  I just wanted to get her out and let her know she never had to go back.  I wanted to give her the assurance that this part of her short life was over.  It was not a horrible place.  It was clean and it had wonderful people there, but it had over 500 children.  Five hundred children.  ON THAT DAY FIVE HUNDRED CHILDREN CALLED IT HOME. 

PERSPECTIVE:  My graduating class was 200 plus.  We all had families and friends that came to watch us graduate.

 Of these 500 children only 10% at most will EVER be adopted.  So 9 years later some of them have aged out and find themselves in a world that is not accepting of an orphan.  An adult orphan with no place in society ends up on the street or worse.  I know of one of those 500 that did not get a family.  He died this past summer from cancer.  No family to deal with his life crisis. No Dad or Mom was there by his side or sibling to say we love you and you will be missed - "You counted in this world and we will miss you."  I am grateful that God blessed this young man with a friend that did visit him and asked us adoptive families to pray for him.  All alone in the world .  It sounds like a made for T.V. movie until you realize that the adult orphan was 18.  Only 10 the day I visited the orphanage.  The buddy, also 18, doing everything he can to support his friend in a situation most 18 year olds could never imagine.  Each one of us that have gone on this journey realize that our child could have been this one.  That we could have said no or abandoned the idea of adoption all together.  We have seen the pictures on FB up close and personal.  These kids do exist and they are real and they need families. Ignoring orphans is not part of God's plan. 

How did we get to where we are?

I think we were home a few months when I started visiting the adoption websites again.  The adoption world is a world of its own.  There are blogs and websites, groups and now FB pages that are posted to daily.  Children are found on agency lists in need of families and through this network children are united with forever families.  Some do not find families and it took time for me to truly understand and realize this.  My heart kept telling me I could not forget the faces we left behind.  I just could not forget them.  They were in my soul and they lived there.  Some still do.  AG wanted to bring one little girl home with us besides her sister.  She met her that day at the orphanage and begged her Dad for a year to go back and get Pippa.  We prayed for Pippa forever and many years later at the age of 9 she was finally adopted.  I know that family is blessed.  She and AG spent the afternoon together and there was no language barrier.  They were like best buds.  It broke my heart that we had to leave that day knowing she had to stay.  I know AG felt the same way.  At almost 5, she knew something was not right about leaving her behind. 

I spent hours at night as my family slept looking at children.  Praying for each one to get a family.  Sometimes I would post them on the fridge and we would pray for them.  When they got a family, we would post someone new.  I did this for a long time.  I remember Sean.  I so wanted to adopt Sean. He was a cute boy with Cleft, a beautiful boy.  About six months older than Flo.  We were in debt from the first adoption and deligently trying to pay it off and my dear, sweet husband saw no way that we could adopt again.  Then I lost my job and it just seemed harder and harder to even have him consider it.  So, I just continued to look and pray and hope that I could change his mind.  I would walk away and ignore the sites for months.  I would just delete them from my inbox.  Our other friends would mention their adoptions and I would just ache.  I knew that Sean and whoever was on the fridge still waited.  I had to walk away.  I tried advocating for a while but it became too hard.  I am a person that is emotional and passionate and I my heart simply could not process that many children being without families.  Most of these children were in one country. 

Orphan Sunday is Nov. 2: Remember that today approximately 153 million children are orphans and with each disaster and with each epidemic that number rises way faster than there are families to adopt. When we adopted Flo there were 147 million orphans.  Staggering that in 9 years the number has grown by the millions.

After I lost my job, I decided to refocus my attention on something else.  I got some information on a graduate program and I thought that going back to school and getting my doctorate would give me focus. I also hoped it would get me a job!  I started the paperwork for graduate school and I spent months prepping for the GRE.  I asked God to take adoption off the table and move me toward a better opportunity for our family.  I had lost my job and we just needed to move on with our lives.  I could go to school and be with the girls more since I was no longer working.  I spent hours studying and asking God to help me along the way.  I felt lost at times because I had been out of school for so long.  I spent hours studying math and praying for God to be with me on this new journey.  The day of the GRE arrived and  I was way too early for the test.  I decided to get some coffee and a snack and to pray for God to be with me.  As I was pulling in the parking lot to take the test, I asked God one last time if adoption was completely off the table.  I knew what kind of time was needed for an adoption and the adjustment after and I also knew the time commitment of this graduate program.  Our lives would be completely different for the next 3 years and there was no way an adoption would work into the graduate plan.  I had this small window before more big surgeries were coming for Flo and if this was going to be the plan it had to happen now.  So, I prayed and asked God if adoption was on the table.  As I pulled into the parking lot, God showed me a sweet face of a little boy laying on a shoulder.  He had dark hair and dark skin.  He was indeed a child and he was indeed an answer to my prayer.  So, I gave it the best that I had and I passed but just barely for graduate school and a few weeks later my graduate program went away with budget cuts.  A few weeks later I got a job offer, a part-time job.  I still got to be with my girls, but graduate school went away.  God is awesome the way he figures things out!

My job was such a blessing and I had so much prep time and family time that my time looking at children was very limited.  This again was a God thing.  I did look at sites occasionally and we would pray for some to find little ones to find families.  I remember praying for a particular little guy and I just ached for him to get a family and then one day he vanished.  At first I was upset and then I realized he had to have a family and I was so grateful to God.  I was so happy for him.   We continued to pray for boys.  They were always C boys.  Our current agency was one that I always kept in my inbox.  They would send out updates and I would look and keep up with their waiting kids.  We would pray for certain ones to get families.  As we did this, I saw a trend and changes happening in the adoption world that I was a part of and it was hard to witness.  Less and less children were being adopted and more and more children were waiting longer and longer.  Then at some point many of the agencies no longer had lists of waiting children at all.  Then some agencies just disappeared.  They could no longer qualify to do International adoptions.  The economy was really having an impact on adoptions and agencies.  Then countries closed like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Nepal.  We prayed for families that were stranded with their children in foreign lands and I felt like adoption for us was just going away. 

      We had some crazy extended family stuff during this time.  Mark and I also grew distant over my views of adoption and his.  I begged God to let adoption leave my heart or put it on Mark's.  I had friends that were going through similar things in their own lives.  Each of them having adopted and then wanting to go back and living with a spouse that did not.  It is hard to be in that place.  It was extremely hard for me.  It can be lonely and if you don't let God have it, evil can take hold.  I prayed a lot.  I thanked God daily for my girls and asked Him to get me through this desire to adopt.  I just wanted it to leave me, but I continued to pray for God to make a change in Mark's heart.  I kept getting these books from other people.  I guess since we adopted they thought I would like to read them. I thought Katie Davis was good, but RADICAL was life changing.  I just put it in God's hands.  I would continue to look at faces and pray for kids to get families, but I could not let my desire to adopt ruin our family.  I was just going to let God have it. 

       I saw a little sweet face about four years ago on our agencies website.  I just knew this little guy was from India.  Our agency works with children from India, China, and several African countries as well as the United States.  I was drawn to his little face.  He was so cute. I just knew he would get a family. He was just a cutie.  I would go to his profile and pray for him.  I would look at his little picture and pray he would get a family. I never saw his file and  I never put him on the fridge. Then he vanished.  In the everchanging world of C adoption, agencies only get to keep files for 3 months and then they go back to the large Waiting C list or they move on to the next agency.  I so knew this little guy had a family.  The agency had kept him for six months instead of 3 and I just knew he had his family, finally.  As time went by, I continued to pray for a change of heart in both myself and Mark.  My prayer was always that I would change my heart about adopting or he would change his.
            In a random scan of faces one night, I saw a little guy about 3.  Just a cutie.  He had very minor special needs and I just saw something in his face.  For a few months I would randomly look for him and pray for him to get his forever family.  As I was going through my FB page a few months after I had last seen him, I saw an upsetting post.  An Advocacy group had posted that this cute, minor special need child, had died.  It was sudden and just an odd thing.  It bothered me for a while. How could that happen?  He had no heart issues or anything life threatening, but he was gone. That was when I also found out that the Advocacy group had an angels file.  This was a file for children who were advocated for by the group but were never adopted and had passed away. We lost a child and this was hard for me.  They were one of the millions, but they should count.
          Then a few months later, I saw another child, Sean, at this point he was 7 or 8 and still waiting.  I remember seeing his video so long ago and then he had vanished and I had assumed he vanished because he had been adopted, but there he was now so much older still waiting. Then on the same site I saw another little guy that is still waiting today.  He is now 9.  As the faces came at me I realized that my desire to adopt again was not going to go away because each of these little faces I could not forget and more importantly I remember these kids from photos of them when they were 2.  I remember one little guy that had the cutest smile. I decided to look for him.  Joey was favorite of mine and I prayed for him a lot because he had a severe heart condition and he needed a family desperately. He started out in his baby pics with a smile and now his smile was gone. His lips were once again purple and he really needed heart surgery.  He too continued to get older and continued to wait.  He needed medical help and still waited.   It hit me hard that there could be many others that I thought had vanished because they now had a forever  family, but were just somewhere else, on another page, with another agency, or lost on the ever growing waiting child list.  And as I continued to look at the older child files I found this photo

I could not ignore that face.  That face I had seen so long ago on a list was still waiting.  Why? Why? Why?  Why would that cute little sweet face wait?  That little Indian boy was not Indian at all, you see he was a C boy.  A beautiful C boy.  That little boy went to my fridge because he was already in my heart.  I could not let him be lost.  I could not let him go missing and onto another list.  I had to pray and pray hard that he found his Mama and Baba soon!  He could not turn 7 and then 9 and then 12 and then 14 and age out and not be adoptable.  He would not be that child.  I would not allow that.  I prayed and I prayed hard.  I would not give up.  Honestly, I think God got tired.  Mark must have too.  Because that little boy is going to be my son in the next few months.  Almost a year after he went to the fridge Mark said yes!  You see those eyes, those eyes spoke to my husband's heart too!  They are the most precious eyes in the world and for the first year will probably get away with a lot.  Because my heart ached for this little guy and I prayed for this little guy and I wanted so much for this little guy to have a family of his very own!  I know in my heart God made him wait for Mark to have a change of heart.  Not only did he change his heart, but he opened it up to another son.

       That little guy, that we call our son, had a file that came with 6 plus agency names and I can not even tell you how many agencies had or saw his file.  He went from agency to agency and then he would disappear.  Another agency would see his face and ask for the file and then he would be passed on to the next one.

        No more sweet boy!  No more!  You do have a family that loves you and a Mama that has loved you for so long! 

As I write this, I can not imagine what is going through his little mind right now.  What he must be thinking at the age of 5 almost 6?  He has probably seen many children leave with their families and wonder why not me?  I am sure he is hurt and worried and scared.  In his early files it states he was an active boy and now it states  he is shy.  What happened in those four years for his little personality to change? We may never know.  I do know this, he will never be alone in this world again.  He will always have a family that loves him so much we could burst.  God has brought us here for His purpose. Thank you God for this journey!  Thank you God for this Boy!  We praise your name forever!  Sweet boy just give us a little more time!!!!  We will be there very soon!  We love you! You were chosen!  You will no longer be called orphan.  You will be a Dessez!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014



I borrowed this from another adoptive mom - Randi Lanz

Acronyms and Dictionary in order through Adoption Timeline:

  1. HS        Home Study   MARCH 20, 2014 COMPLETED
  2. LOI       Letter of Intent      LUKE - OCT 2013                 JOHN - FEB 2014
  3. PA         Pre-Approval    LUKE- OCT 24, 2014                JOHN- APR 8, 2014
  4. I-800A   Application to USCIS to adopt a child from China  APRIL 4, 2014
  5. I-797-Notice Of Action  I-800A approval  MAY 29, 2014
  6. DTA       Dossier To Agency  FIRST COPY MARCH 24, 2014  ADDENDUM MAY 16,2014
  7. DTC       Dossier to China      JUNE 20, 2014
  8. LID         Logged In Date  JULY 3, 2014
  9. OOT       Out Of Translation - dossier has been translated into Chinese and is "in progress" JULY 17, 2014
  10. Reviewed - with the new database that the CCCWA installed in 2013, there are some new steps that we can track now.  Reviewed shows when your dossier has been, well, reviewed by the staff!  SEPT 29, 2014
  11. Match Reviewed or Soft LOA - this is when your dossier and the child's specific file are given their final review and the LOA is issued.  It shows in the computer system as issued before it actually arrives in its paper form at the agency. SEPT 29, 2014
  12. LOA       Letter Of Acceptance also called LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation) OCT 1, 2014
  13. I-800       Application to adopt a specific child  - in this case, from China OCT 6, 2014
  14. DS-260 Online US Dept of State form to apply for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration on behalf of your child OCT 27, 2014
  15. NVC PDF  Emailed copy of the adoption approval letter sent to the Consulate in Guangzhou China OCT 27, 2014
  16. A 5 or Article  5 Final approval from the U.S & China for the adoption to take place Nov.17th
  17. TA         Travel Approval
  18. Gotcha Day of Forever Family Day - when you receive placement of your child
  19. CA          US Consulate Appointment in China

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Finances of Parenting: Why Fundraise Part I

Thousands of families come together without thought to finances. Parents get married, have children, and the idea of cost never really ever comes into it.  Other parents plan their whole lives for the day they will have a child.  Many times all of that planning does not change anything, but it gave them peace of mind to save and prepare.  As Mark and I embarked on our marriage journey almost 20 years ago we wanted to have a family.  We were not sure how large.  I wanted a large family and he wanted a family with maybe two, three, or maybe four kids.  We knew that once we got married, I would graduate from college and get a job and we would start our family.  Well, we did the first two but we found out that for us the starting the family part was not that easy. 
We went through years of fertility treatments.  In the summer of 2000, I found out I was pregnant.  We were so excited, but in less than six weeks, I had a miscarriage. In September, we decided to go to an adoption information meeting.  We knew that if this next round of treatments did not work we had other options.  In November, we got pregnant once again and in December we found out we were having twins.  Financially, we had been spending almost a paycheck on doctor bills, medicines, lab work and travel to and from Atlanta.  We were thrilled to be pregnant and we never looked at the bills we just paid them with a smile on our faces.  We went through the pregnancy still spending an enormous amount of money on specialists and extra doctor visits because we found out that our William had a heart condition.  We did not even consider the financial expense of this we just paid it.  It never occurred to us not to pay it.  We just wanted our kids healthy and listened to everything the doctors told us and recommended so that our son would live to term.  We knew that the finances for raising him would just increase after he was born and we just did not care.  We never thought, "Ohh, it is going to be so expensive raising a heart baby."  This never, ever went through our minds.
In July, we gave birth to AG and our stillborn son William.  At that point did we again look at the cost of all that we had spent and all that we had gone through and all that we had done for this child that we now had to bury?  Did we look at the financial expense of a burial?  NOOOOO.  None of this ever occurred to us.  Not once did we consider any of that.  We just did what we had to do and prayed that God would get us through his death.  It was overwhelmingly painful and money was not anything we thought about at the time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Father's Day!

I refused to post a Father's Day reflection until we were DTC.  I had hoped it would be last Friday, but again we must wait on the Lord for He is good!  Today is the day He chose and today is a perfect day!  It is not Friday 13th, but Friday 20th.  I am fine with that.  I know that before we are ready our boys will be with us.  We have all these plans to get painting done and rearrange beds, etc.  We hope to get it all done, but we may travel sooner than later. Hoping for sooner.
We had a wonderful Father's Day.  We spent it with my Dad and future brother in law.  It was a day to be grateful for and one I will treasure.  I think about how many adult children like my Mark miss their Dad on this day.  I know Mark wishes his Dad was with us and I have many friends that miss theirs as well.  I can not imagine a Father's Day without my Dad and it saddens me to think that some day that day will come.  I am also saddened by the fact that my boys have spent many Father's Days without their Dad.
 I want you to know sweet boys, your Daddy is coming, your Baba is coming.  The paperwork is on its way and soon very soon you will no longer be fatherless.  You will know that our Lord in Heaven will not leave you fatherless.  You will have a Baba that loves you and cherishes each moment with you. We know somewhere in this great big world there are two Babas that have lost their sons for unknown circumstances.  We now pray that they will somehow feel comfort knowing that their boys are in the arms of a father that will love them and cherish them for the rest of his life.  Your Daddy loves you boys and he is asking God daily to move mountains to bring you both home.  He is working so hard to bring you home.  We love you so much and we can not wait to have you in our arms.

"Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, ..." Psalm 127:3

Thank you Lord for getting us here.  May your grace and presence be with us throughout this wait.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Our world looked different a year ago today.  We were at Scottish Rite Hospital and our Flo was recovering from Bone Graft surgery for her cleft lip.  She was extremely swollen and very hard to recognize.  Today she is completely recovered and the orthodontist true to his word took her braces off two weeks ago.  She is wearing a retainer at night and her scar on her thigh is starting to fade away.  I remember all of the fears I had a year ago and how God just handled all of it just like He always does.  She will continue to need ortho care for the next few years and a new set of braces may be a part of that, but for right now we are out of the woods for surgery for quite some time.  We are thankful for the wonderful doctors God has blessed us with and the great  insurance we have through Mark's job.  We know that our little John may soon have to go down this same road, but we are hoping and praying it will be without surgery.  Thank you all for your support over this past year and for loving and supporting our sweet Flo.



Two days after surgery 6/12/13

Gotcha Day 5/28/14

Monday, June 2, 2014



We found out over the weekend that little boy adopted a few months ago passed away.  He had no disease or chronic illness.  He died from the effects of months and months and months of neglect.  He was neglected in an orphanage and his little body could not fight it any more.  He lived to have a family.  The one thing that every orphan child wants he got before he died.  His family brought him home with great hopes but even our medical care could not erase the toll of neglect on his precious body.  As a family we read this story and we prayed for our boys.  There is no promises in adoption.  You have no guarantees and it is hard and it hurts and it is painful to imagine after all you have been through to get your baby home that you still may loose your child. Unfortunately, it is reality.  We know very little about either of our boys health. We definitely know less about John than Luke.  John has a huge list of unknowns, but he is our son and we are bringing him home. Please keep this family that has lost a son they longed for and loved in your thoughts in prayers.  We do not know God's reasons, but we know He has a purpose in all things.  

We have joy in our hearts this day.  We are 10 steps closer to our boys and 11 steps away.  Please know that we feel your prayers and appreciate them each and every day.  We are getting closer to bringing them home.  Know that when we announce LOA we will be busting out the photos.  We can not wait to have you all see our beautiful boys!  Can you tell we only have girls?  It should say Handsome boys!  Right?



Friday, May 30, 2014


Since our first Gotcha Day, May 28th, 2006 at 7:01pm China Time, I have been asked what is GOTCHA? Why do you celebrate Gotcha Day? You can honestly ask any mother in most countries around the world when they gave birth to their child and they can tell you.  Many parents that put a child up for adoption could probably even tell you everything there was to know about that day.  For families that adopt and are not present at their child's birth, GOTCHA DAY is the day their child was born in their family.  For families that travel to see their child many times before they get custody it is the finality of it all and for those who just have a picture to look at for 9 months to a year it is the first time we get to hold our little one in our arms.  It is the end of a strenuous process and the beginning of a new life, a new family with someone new.  It is a new day for everyone and it is something to behold.  It is so hard to imagine or explain what it was like.  It is like every emotion you have ever had in your life rolled up into one day, one 24 hour period and honestly you are never the same. Never ever the same.
The birth of our oldest changed me forever and her brother's death made it a weird day for us. We had true sadness with utter joy at the same time and it was not like any feeling I had ever had in my life.  I was lost in grief and I would see AG and I would be found honestly.  God gave me love in my grief.  The adoption experience was totally different.
We arrived in China on Saturday, May 28th, 2006 at 1:30am.  Our flight had been delayed by 3 hours in Nakarita, Japan.  Our guide had waited at the airport for hours on us.  AG was starving and we were like zombies.  I had stayed up for 36 hours straight packing.  I could not sleep on the plane because I was paranoid something might happen.  This time I plan to pray the rosary up to the day we leave so I can sleep on the plane.  Now we all know that sleep is important before you get to China because you get very little in China.  We ate in the middle of the night and then our guide took us to our hotel to sleep for a few hours before we traveled to Xi'an later that day.  We were supposed to arrive in China around 10pm instead of 1:30am, so our time at the hotel ended up being brief.  I tried to sleep, but I was just  swimming in emotions and what it was going to be like.  Mainly I was hyper excited.  We had waited six long months to get our daughter and now it was happening and I just was overjoyed and scarred at the same time.  We woke up around 8am for our buffet breakfast.  We went to the dinning area and there was this huge terrarium.  Literally, it was huge.  AG was amazed and could barely eat.  At one point I had to take her right over to it because there was a giant slug climbing up the wall.  I am always amazed by nature and this thing was like the size of a toilet paper tube. It really was enormous and I wanted to see it too.  We got through breakfast and packed our things back into the suitcases.  Our guide showed up and took half our luggage to store while we were in Xi'an.  We would be back in a week.  He took us to the airport and we were on a plane at 4:00.  AG of course was loving it.  She loved the plane rides and this was going to be really fun because it was short.  We finally got to see China from a plane because it was night time when got their hours earlier.  It was absolutely breathe taking.  Just amazing.  The rice patties and the fields and the mountains in every color you can imagine.  Just amazing.  My eyes were amazed at what God and man together had created.  Just beautiful.  We landed in Xi'an around 6:00pm. As we made our way through the airport our guide informed us that she had been in contact with the orphanage and they knew we were indeed in Xi'an.  I guess she called them as we were getting our luggage.  When we got in the van she told us that we would have Flo that night.  I then went from excitement to being scared to being overjoyed to being overwhelmed.  Our family would change forever in a matter of hours.  We got to the hotel and checked in.  We made our way to the room and I put AG in the tub because we were all icky from the plane ride and just the weather in Guangzhou makes you feel icky- HOT and HUMID in May and June.  As soon as I put her clothes on she went to sleep on the bed.  It had been a long two days for an almost 5 year old.  We left Friday and it was now Sunday and she wanted her day back.  She never did get that day back.  She looked for it and never found it.  So with a day missing and us getting in so late, the little missy was pooped out.  As we both were preparing for who was going to take the next shower our phone rang.  Flo was in the lobby and they were bringing her up.  No showers for the adults this was it.  We got out some toys and the video camera and the camera.  We had everything on standby and just as they were coming down the hall we remembered we still had AG asleep on the bed.  We had to wake her up so she could meet her sister.

I will never forget it.  She came in the door in her red halter top and her too small sandals and bicycle shorts.  She was terrified and curious at the same time.  She was so, so, so tiny.  I just wanted to grab her and touch her and hug her, but every book we read said let them warm up to you.  So, we had a few toys on the table and we just looked at her in amazement.  We were in awe at that moment of where we were and where God had brought us.  We were simply in awe.  She was there and she was healthy and she was beautiful.  She watched AG and she started coming closer to the coffee table where we were and she started playing and I could smell her and I was breathing the same air and I was amazed by this gift God had given us.  I just wanted to look at her and count her fingers and her toes.  I just wanted to look at the blessing God was handing over to us.  I just wanted to be within arms reach of her because a picture is what I had fallen in love with six months before and today I was falling in love with a child, a beautiful child.  I can't describe the emotions I felt, I just can't.  I started mumbling questions to the director because he brought her and I had memorized those questions on the plane.  I had read them over a million times in my head and to this day I am still amazed that I remembered any of them at that moment in time.
As the hour grew on, the Ayi (nanny), guide, and director realized the hand off had to happen and it had to happen soon.  They had to get back to the pink castle, to the actual orphans because our little girl lost that status the minute she walked in that room.  Her orphans days were now over and our family of 3 days were gone forever.  At this point we had to get on with the rest of our lives as a family of four.  We had to get to the reality of having a toddler again.  We had to grieve.  No one prepares an adoptive parent for the grieving their child will go through,  just like no one prepared us for the death of our son.  She cried and I cried with her.  It was sad and painful and just horribly sad.  She was left with strangers to raise her forever.  She was grieving the only life she had ever known and I was grieving it with her.  We both basically cried ourselves to sleep.  Some milk and some goldfish helped, but we still whimpered until we fell asleep.  It was hard and those next two weeks were hard as well, but 8 years later we are a family.
Every year this week we celebrate those early family labor pains and we celebrate the joy of that special day and we celebrate us being a family.  We are so excited to get another GOTCHA this fall.  The idea of having another week to celebrate family and us becoming a family of six is exciting to us.  We can not wait to breathe the air our sons are breathing, to be in arms reach, to hold, to hug, and to love our boys forever.  I know somewhere right now they are both going down for a nap.  There guardian angels will have to kiss them goodnight for me.  They will have to protect them and pray over them until we can get there for the Big GOTCHA DAY!
Why do we celebrate Gotcha Day? Because it is one of our best days every single year!
Last year we spent it at the beach and this year we spent it holding fishing poles.  It does not matter where we are because we always spend it enjoying being a family. Gotcha days are about being a family.  They are a celebration of family.  Thank you Lord for these 8 Gotcha Days and we can't wait for many, many more.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Mother's Day I am GRATEFUL!!!!

Motherhood has never been an easy road in our family.  God chooses our pathway to motherhood and sometimes it is a very hard road and sometimes it is an easy road.  We watched  a few episodes of the Duggars tonight.

Side Note-I just could not get my youngest to get into KnightRider for some reason.  If nothing else I thought she would love Kitt the car.  No such luck.  I am so loving NetFlix. I saw Shawn Cassidy the other night in Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys.  AWESOME!  AG said so lame mom! Definitely not Sherlock!

andSo anyway back to the Duggars.  I am looking at this mother of 19 children.  She is a very gentle soul.  She takes time to discipline her children but in the gentlest way and I am always so impressed in how she never, ever just looses it.  She has had 19 children.  Each one she has given birth to and I am just thinking Lord how is that I struggled and struggled and struggled and this woman just has kids, but if I had been able to have children just like her I would not have experienced the wonderful world of adoption.  I would not have met the families I know and I would not have the beautiful children I have.  I would not have the compassion  and empathy I do for parents that have lost children and I certainly would not know about the 153 million orphans in the world today.  

Many people ask how, how are there so many?  There are 153 million and counting today because people can not feed their children or parents have passed away due to illness or accidents or they simply can only have one child.  There are orphanages and foster homes around the world full of children that have no mother to decorate or draw or purchase cards for this day.  They are all alone in the world. They are hungry, and tired, and possibly ill and they are alone.  But there are nannies and caregivers!  Yes, but there are hundreds of children and few caregivers.  So, 7 children, 10 children, 15 children alone in a room and one wakes up crying and three wake up crying and in the next room there are 4 babies crying and the next one has a 7 year old sick. There are 2 nannies.  Who cries themselves to back to sleep?  Which one gets the nanny? The sick one, the wet baby, the hungry baby, the colicky baby?  Which one gets the attention?  The nanny has to decide, but out of the 9 children only one or two will get attention tonight.  So, the others have no one to help them.  REALITY stinks!  It totally stinks!  And each person that thinks I am a great Momma to do this we are just building our family, but thousands of children wait.  We are following the path that God is leading us on and we hope that others will follow behind us.  Adoption is a gift from one mom to another.

I want to not only be grateful this Mother's Day for my wonderful Momma and my Sis, the Godmother of my children, but for the 3 Moms in China that gave up their children for different circumstances.  Each one had a choice to make.  Abortion may have been an option, but instead they chose something different.  They chose to leave their child in a very public place where they knew someone would find their child and take them to a safe place where they could thrive long enough for me to be their Momma.  Thank you beautiful Asian Moms for your gifts to me.  I am so blessed by our sweet girl and I know that my boys are going to bring wonderful joy to our family.  I am just overwhelmed this Mother's Day by these gifts.

I also am grateful for the day our sweet AG was born.  Although a hard day, it would have been so much harder if I had not had her sweet face next to me.  

"Lord I pray for the mommas on our hospital hall that day that went home empty handed.  I too left the hospital with one baby instead of two, but I took home a sweet and healthy baby and they did not.  This Mother's Day will be painful for them and I pray LORD that you will bring them comfort and comfort to all mothers that have suffered the loss of a child.  Lord thank you for all of my blessings this Mother's Day!"


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Home Schooling Momma

In just one week I will have successfully home schooled my children for an entire school year.  It was hard.  It was tiring, but soooooooooooooo worth it.  I have learned so much about my kids.  So much more than I did a year ago.  They are both amazing girls.  I am so completely blessed.  Just completely and totally blessed.  Some days I was just amazed by there brains.  Some days I wanted to pull my hair out, but most days I was just happy to be with them.  I will say that I cheated a little.  We did a home school hybrid. So we went to an actual building for tutoring 2 days per week and worked at home the rest of the time.  I highly recommend this for new home schooling parents.  It gave us so many things, including structure, curriculum guides, and some social time.  We all enjoyed making new friends and having a support system as we weighed through it all. No regrets at all.  Just love it. And we will be doing it again in the fall with our preschool crew.  I am already dreaming about preschool fun.  Flo may have to be my assistant in all of that.  She loves getting dirty and playing with preschool brothers will make it even better!  My girls have no idea that they will be doing reading logs after next week and some time with the math tutor over the summer.  I won't share that until we get out next week.  I want to thank the LORD for helping me and giving me the strength to get through the really hard days!  I also want to thank Him for the grace to enjoy the really great days!

Proverbs 22:6

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
Train children in the right way,
    and when old, they will not stray.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fun Fundraising!

We finally have a fundraising page!  Yeah!  It has taken me months and prayers to decide to do this.  I just did not know if I could ask people to help us.  God is making me humble each day and He is making us all realize that we need prayers on this journey and we need Him.  Also, in the last two weeks He has reminded me that I am not in any way in control of this.  He is in charge period!  Got it LORD!  I will not forget that part of this journey.  We are asking all family and friends that Love us to share our fundraising page with anyone you know. Pin it, share it, tweet it!  We have some serious fees coming due soon and we need to reach some of our goals on our page.  Pray for us please and for our boys.  If you can't financially help us, know that we understand and we would still appreciate your prayers.  They mean a lot to us.  We have come a long way, but we are now half way to the finish line.  We are excited to get our boys and want them today, but we know all things are in God's timing.  We are doing another fundraiser to bring the boys home.  We also have some shirts still available.

Piece of the Puzzle Fundraiser-  If you want to be a piece of the puzzle, we are selling puzzle pieces for $10.00 each.  If you go to our adopt together site and pay, please let us know and we will add your name to a puzzle piece.  This puzzle will go in our boys' room so they will know who helped bring them home.

We love you all!
Our Fundraising Link



Thursday, March 20, 2014


As Catholics Lent is a time of reflection, of prayer, of sacrifice, of suffering and of focus toward God.  As Catholics we do all of these things in different ways all year long, but during those 40 days we spend more time really focusing on all of them at once.  There are so many things I like about Lent and this is just one of them.  As a family we try to spend more time focused on prayer and this time last year our priest challenged us to say the Our Father every night with our families.  We still do that a year later and it is not something I realized until Ash Wednesday.  It is so amazing how we just intertwined that into our nightly routine.  Since we started going to our new Catholic school this year we have also added the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.  Our lives have definitely been better for it and I hope we come up with even more new prayers and ways to spend time together as a family in prayer this Lent.  I am challenging myself this Lent to reflect on ways that our new little one can be a part of all of this even though he is young.  As we pray the Rosary together I count on my hand each time we pray the Hail Mary.  I imagine holding his little hand in my palm and helping him count as we pray one by one.  How tiny it is and how big mine will be next to it.  I think about how beautiful it will be.  Adoption is part of the Lenten reflection for me.  Jesus died on the cross and rose again. As the risen Christ he adopted us as His very own.  I am spending this year reading a daily devotion with Mother Teresa.  It is short and always awesome.  It makes you consider how you treat people you encounter each and everyday and she has a lot to say about the homeless, poverty, fatherless, and lonely.  She says it simply and truthfully.  We as God's children are called to help those who can not help themselves.  It is hard to imagine that a year from now our boy will be snug as a bug in his bed sleeping soundly with no fears.  I can't wait for the day that I will breathe the air with him.  As I write this, he is probably being put down for a nap.  He is laying down with a little something on his belly.  He is probably a little restless because there are screaming kids and babies in the room or at least in earshot.  He does not know as he lays there that across the world there is a momma who is missing him and who is praying that his guardian angel will come down and comfort him until she can hold him.  I lift up my desire to bring him home to God.  Jesus endured so much for us, I too can endure this suffering because at the end of those forty days we rejoice in our risen Lord and in the end of this adoption journey there will be a little boy sitting in his momma's lap in Church praying with little hands in hers.  We love you sweet boy and we are getting closer.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I became a "real" mom this week!  No one can understand how happy that makes me.  I have always wanted to be the real mom. 
Adoption is a weird thing.  It is not anything I can explain to someone who has not adopted.  I went into it blind and I have been very educated in the past 8 years.  Over the past month Mark and I have been taking adoption classes.  I think in all we have spent about 30 plus hours taking classes. As I have sat and taken these classes I have learned a lot about many different aspects of this process. The first time around we had to read books and basically give them a list of what we read.  I think I read about 8 books.  None by the way helped me prepare at all.  This time around it is webinars.  I love a webinar.  Honestly, I do.  You can take them in your jammies with head phones on or not and really take notes comfortably.  What an amazing gift the Internet has given us.  I have learned from these classes that we basically handled Flo's adoption all wrong when it came to attachment and discipline, etc.   We did it all the opposite of what we should have done, but there is always room for improvement.  So here we are eight years later and I am still trying to figure it all out.

Anyway, we have really been talking a lot about Sweet Boy and the adoption and things we can and cannot say to brother.  How to deal with brother and things like that. 
We have been in deep conversations over the past year about biological moms and birth moms and real moms.  That has been a major topic at our house since Flo turned 8.  We have a close friend that put up a child for adoption as a teen and in the past few years she met her daughter and her family and has formed a relationship with her. Our friend shared her story in a religious magazine and since reading that magazine all kinds of questions and answers have come up about that. At the time I had no issue with Flo reading the article.  In hindsight, I should have read it with her the first time instead of  letting her read it and then her asking me questions and then us reading over it again together.  Anyway, she got this idea that her mother in China would be just like my friend.  That everything would work out just like her story and we would all be one happy family.  I have spent months and months trying to explain to her in a way that she would understand that it may just not work out that way. China adoption is different than the United States. Nobody keeps records of biological parents there.  I really just tried every way I knew how to let her know it just might not happen that way. 

With all of my new found webinar adoption knowledge I have tried to make her understand more and more that this is permanent.  We can't change her circumstances, but when she graduates from High School I will take her on a heritage tour.  When we do that, if she wants to put up posters where she was found I will do that with her.  I will do it for her and for her heart.  I know she really wants to know about her extended family and a part of me really understands it.  Another part of me does not want her to hurt and there is no way to know if that will happen.  It is painful to think about.  I love her so much and I know this pains her heart, but the answers she seeks could be more painful. 

This week we have had several heart-to-heart talks about this topic and brother and his family in China and where he was found etc.  I explained to her what we can and can't discuss with him until he is much, much older.  We were talking about something today and she said my "real" mom.  I said, "Oh".  I then asked her a question about the "real" mom and she said, "You are my real mom!"  And she said it like -Duh, you should know that. It never occurred to me until that moment she was really talking about me.  She has been saying real mom to refer to her biological mom for about a year now.  Each time she said it I never corrected her I just said biological mom or birth mom when I was part of the conversation.  I was taken aback.  I did not know really what to say!  I think she figured that out because she came and hugged me and she told me how much she was glad I was her "real" mom!  I will take that title all day long because it has been a long year and there have been a lot of tears.  I am grateful to God for her and for the words she said today!  She will never know how much that meant to me and I don't care if she ever says it again.  I just needed to hear it once.  I will be whatever mom  she wants me to be for the rest of her life.  I love her with my whole heart and then some. "Thank you Lord for this gift!"

So, no matter how overwhelmed I feel about this process God gives me little boosts to let me know it is for His Glory.  Our son will come home in the end and he will be ours forever.  Maybe just maybe some day I can be his "real mom" too!

Adoption Paperwork is not fun!

I am having an adoption paperwork is not fun day!  It really is a lot of things piling up this week and it is making me a little nuts.  All of this paperwork is crashing down upon us and I feel like I am overbooked and underpaid in the paperwork department.  I just want all of the bulk of it done so I can go around and have everything verified and certified.  We are for the most part getting there, but as we wait a child in another orphanage passed away this week. The cutest little bug you have ever seen.  She never knew the love of a family, but tonight she is cradled in the arms of God.  People may ask, well that couldn't happen to your son? Could it?  Only God truly knows the answer to that. There is no way to know.  Our son is, we believe, healthy, but he could have problems the orphanage does not know about. Our son has a minor urology SN.
 I once followed a little boy who appeared to be completely healthy.  He had a very minor special need and I looked at his picture more than a few times, then out of nowhere it was posted on a blog that he passed away from a seizure in the middle of the night.  No one seems to know why.  If your child had a seizure, you would probably hear something or some way some how get to them in the middle of the night.  In a room full of children, 20-30 there is so much noise and it is amplified because everything in an orphanage is about cleaning.  It is a hospital type environment.  No carpet, nothing to stop noise from bouncing in the room.  This little boy died and no one heard him. Honestly, the Nanny on duty was probably tending to other crying children and got to him too late.  Adoption is not easy to follow or endure.  It is not for the faint at heart.  A baby died this week in a hospital that LWB was taking care of.  She could not recover from a respiratory infection.  I remember praying for her this week. God decided to take her home.  Her little weak body had had enough.  

People get this weird idea that an orphanage is like a preschool.  Nope.  It is like a hospital with tiny little metal beds, metal cribs, metal cots, and some have metal mini bunk beds. When you go there you are amazed at how many can fit in such a small room.  There is a part of the fireman's wife in me that wants to know how they would all get out. It cringes me to think how so few ladies could get so many babies out or so many toddlers or so many 4 and 5 year olds.  I think about these things when we do fire drills at school.  It just comes to me.  How would they get them all out?  God would have to.  I am not even sure they have fire drills.  I just don't know.  I hold these things close to my heart.

Luke 2:19
19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

Have you ever thought about what that meant in the Bible? I have.  I can not erase what I saw in our daughter's orphanage and I am sure our son's orphanage will live with me forever.  I remember reading a book by Kay Warren where she discusses her experiences in Africa when visiting children effected by the aids epidemic there.  She says many times in the book she was ruined.  I am forever ruined by what my heart has seen in China.  I am not the same person nor will I ever be.  So as I ponder these words about Mary I think I understand them in a sense.  I will hold and treasure all of those memories in my heart. These things will not be forgotten.  I will always remember.  I can not adopt every childl but I can pray for them all.  I can ask God to remember them in His Kingdom in Heaven. I can ask for prayers and I can lift them up.
I can treasure these things in my heart. My heart is forever ruined .

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Birthday LUKE!

So our boy is officially 5 years old.  He had a birthday December 19th.  We are working hard to get paperwork done and move this mound of paperwork to China.  We are hoping and praying that we will have everything to China by the end of February, but it will probably be more like March.   I feel like we are in slowmo.  We are currently waiting on forms from our doctors.  We hope to get those this week.  If anyone wants to help us out there please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Our friends moving to Africa always lists their prayer requests and I like that.

Things to pray for:

That we can continue to fund-raise by selling the rest of our shirts and come up with more things to do.
That the paperwork will get done quickly over the next few weeks.
That sweet Luke will stay healthy until we get there.
That all of the people we need to get this done like doctors, state department, secretary of state, and USCIS will move quickly.
That we will not grow weary of all that we have to do to get it done.
That we as a family will give each other strength and support through this process.

Thank you all!