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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Number 6

   A few months ago I received a totally random facebook message from a friend.  It was just a picture of a little boy who looked a lot like Lance.  When I finally took the time to ask why she was sending me the picture it propelled me back into the reality of orphans.  We really needed the last two years to focus on Elliott and Lance and getting them to a place of stability in our home and family. During that time I stopped looking on advocacy sites or following others adoption journeys really because I just didn't have the time. We spent A LOT of time at doctors, therapists, hospital stays, and that was my focus.  So a few months ago (about the time that my friend sent this photo) my husband and I sat down, leaned back, and said "I think we've gotten to our new normal."  and we sighed a deep sigh of relief and rest.... so when I got this picture, I thought "That's cute, but we aren't adopting again." ...except I couldn't help but start looking at the seas of faces that are waiting for families and homes one more time.

...and that was a fact. 

We really started searching our hearts and both came to a place of feeling that God was telling us He wanted more from us.  We have such an easy life.  No, not compared to some people, but compared to the majority of the people in the world and compared to EVERY SINGLE orphaned child...our life is so blessed.  I truly cannot fathom walking with plastic bottles tied to the bottoms of my feet in desperation 

or quenching unbearable thirst like this....
I am blessed. I am fortunate. My life is easy. did this lead us to Ava. Well, we considered a few children and started paperwork on them actually and when I went to mail the documents it didn't feel right.  I just couldn't.   I asked my husband if he felt that we were supposed to back up and wait and he (my voice of reason) told me no, he didn't think that. So I kept looking and praying for our child while we started the homestudy process. The day the last of us had our physical (a requirement for both the homestudy and dossier) I came home discouraged and planned to call our homestudy agency to tell them we wanted to put everything on hold until further notice.  I got on the advocacy site just one more time ( ;) Yes, I've said that before) and one little girl's big brown eyes stood out.  I couldn't scroll past her, I couldn't look past this face.  I asked a friend to see if she could find out more about her and a few hours later she messaged me with this:


I just got the first file I am supposed to work on...


You guessed it! It was Ava. (The whole process from seeing her to finding her and committing to her wasn't quite that cut and dried - but those are the highlights) We committed to her ASAP before our placing agency even had a chance to list her as a waiting child so when we finally got to show her picture to the rest of the world, most people hadn't gotten to see her before. This is the first time she has been listed but she's been waiting for 7 years. Have you ever had to lay in a bed for days with nothing on tv or to read and no-one to talk to? It's hard. It's really not fun after the first few hours. This is Ava's life and has been since the moment she took her first breath. She lays in a crib and waits. I have a short video of her laying in her crib and it makes my heart ache. She lays there trying to find the person who she knows has come in the room with her limited abilities. She waits for them to come close to her and after a bit her mouth starts to attempt to eat. She turns her head reflexively like a newborn and tries to eat only there is nothing is going to feed her this time. She's SEVEN YEARS OLD people! She weighs the same as a 5 month old infant. She weighs what Lance did when he came home at 3 years old and had a waist the size of a preemie. Medically, according to her file, she is very similar to Lance. We anticipate her needs to imitate his on many levels and feel so grateful for all that he has taught us and the tools we now have available to be able to help meet her needs and give her the best chance at a joy-filled life.
Thanks so much for taking a minute to read and support us on our journey.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I know, I know...I dropped off the advocacy bandwagon. I will tell you (or maybe show you) exactly why:

I would see a waiting child that would tear at my heart and I would advocate and beg for a family for him/her.  Often times they got families! (Augustin, Sadie, Chad...) Sometimes they only just got to meet their earthly family before going to Heaven.  Sometimes they never found a family or comfort on earth.  It's heart wrenching and emotionally draining.  So I got busy, excuse, excuse, blah, blah, blah...and quit even looking. Until last week when God starting pulling at me again and I LOOKED, once again I looked. Looked at the children, the souls, the lives, that were (ARE) hurting and broken.

I asked -
Why not adopt?
Why not advocate?
Why not sponsor?
Why not?!

Because "our plate is full" (I have to get up around 6 or 7 a.m and love and tend to children all day and often in the night...i.e they give me kisses and hugs, tell me they love me, and for those that can't they smile and cuddle my shoulder)  Hmm...maybe I should have a second plate! ;)
Because we have no money (Sure, we have internet, a computer, clothes that are clean and fit, new shoes, a running car that is safe, food in the refrigerator and pantry, and a home...oh and did I mention clean water, indoor plumbing, electricity...?)
Because we already adopted 2!  (All I can say here is that I am SOOO grateful that God didn't stop at Adam and Eve and say His work was done because He had saved 2)
Because our other children might not want to. (This is a legitimately good reason! Unless, of course, you've talked to your children and they have told you that they would happily donate their prized possessions if it would help bring another child home)
Because people will think I'm crazy! (They probably already do! But even if that's a new development, do I care enough about what a stranger or acquaintance is going to think about me enough to sacrifice a child's life?)
Because my husband says no. (Well, that IS a deal breaker - in adoption you both have to be ok with the decision because without that support it's impossibly hard for EVERYONE!)

When all else fails go to the Bible, right?  What does God say about it?

  • Proverbs 31:8-9(NIV)

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.9 Speak up and judge fairly;defend the rights of the poor and needy.

  • Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
    • James 1:27 (NIV)

    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.

      Now, I looked and I see THIS child: Al

    Al is  TEN years old and about the size Lance was when we brought him home almost 2 years ago.
    This was Lance at THREE years old

    PLEASE ask yourself the tough questions and decide what you can do to help children like Al.

    Saturday, April 25, 2015

    The other side of the coin

      Alright, so a few years ago I started to really delve into the big wide world of adoption.  I made lots of Facebook friends and started following lots of adoption journeys, both before, during, and post "Gotcha!"  About 6 months in to our commitment to adopt a child with severe neglect and obvious physical needs I started reading all of these blog posts about families who had adopted once, twice, three times or more... These families brought home children from the US, children from foster care, children from orphanages, and some from mental institutions.  They homeschooled their children, some of them cloth diapered, and they would post pictures of a humble home that was essentially spotless. I would sit back at the end of the day, look around my 1500 square foot house that we were renting for our family of 5 and think about the all of the laundry that did NOT get done, do the second or third vinegar rinse of MY cloth diapers for the day, and just wonder HOW?! How on earth do these people do it...and with 3 times as many kids as I have!  
      Well, let me fast forward to today.  We are renting a larger house, but yes - still renting.  I actually, miracle of all miracles, only have one load of laundry left and it is just going through the spin cycle, and my house is clean! (Well, my NEW version of clean)  My daughter is only a week behind where I want her to be in Math, everyone is fed, diapered, bathed, massaged, and have had their second round of range of motion exercises for the day.  I am sitting here with my make up on, hair done, and... yes, still in my pajamas. (It's 3:25 on a Saturday afternoon :/)


    I don't generally stop and take pictures of me shampooing pee out of the carpet, or one of my kids after they threw up all over. I didn't take a picture of the FIRST bath where someone pooped in the tub right after I finished washing their hair (we'll call that a practice round), and I certainly didn't announce on Facebook that I had a temper tantrum and grounded one of my kids. Why not? Because that's not the side I want YOU to see!  I want you to be on my side and think only good things of me and my kids and my family.  I want you to see rainbows and sunshine...not the clouds and the storms that come first.

    Sooo...why am I doing exactly that right now?  BECAUSE YOU NEED TO KNOW! 6 months after your beautiful child comes home, everyone will be busy living THEIR lives, YOU will be living yours and there will be lots of rainy days...days without umbrellas, days without someone patting you on the back or gushing over your beautiful child who may never walk.  You will not have 500 facebook friends offering to sit on your couch for you while your child screams for the second hour in a row for reasons even he does not understand.  You will realize that you probably aren't going to be invited to the same things you used to be because it's just not as "easy" to have your family over to someone else's house.

    I LOVE my life, I ADORE my family, I wouldn't change one minute.  They are my life, they are amazing, smart, creative, precious, maddening, frustrating, mess-making.  They are BEAUTIFUL.  This is the other side of all of those makeovers...yes! They have grown. Yes! They have made incredible improvements. Yes! I LOVE them and at the end of the day, I will not have a perfectly clean house, the laundry will never be ironed, the garage will smell of dirty diapers, and their may be dirty dishes in the sink.  I WILL get up the next day and do it all over again and thank God for giving me this life.