Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thoughts about China

Truth is. I want to go back.

I long to go back.

I can’t wait until the day I can step foot back in China.

I go there you know. I go there by scouring news articles, using Bandu and copy and pasting words into google translator, and using google maps to “fly” around China.

My heart's longing is to see Bo’ai County, Henan... where Grace was born. I regret having never made it there when we were in China. So I’ve used technology to find something, anything that can give me a glimpse. From aerial satellite images through Google Maps I have seen the mountains and the river, buildings and houses from the sky.

But, I want to smell the smells. I want to breathe the smoggy air. I want to walk the roads. I want to hear the tones of the language again all around me.

A bloggy friend, Johanna, just returned from China to adopt her precious little one. You can read all about their travels and family here.

On her last day in China she wrote these words that captured, so perfectly, my feelings about China. Thanks Johanna for your beautiful words.

(I altered the quote slightly to reflect our family but the rest of the words are hers)…

“China is where my [4th] child was born.

Where we first laid eyes on her.

To us, China will always be a magical and incredible place.

A place where faith became sight.

Where God answered prayers

and where [Grace] was finally and miraculously put into our arms.

Nothing will ever compare to China in our minds.

China is forever in our hearts.

and forever a part of us”.

Yep. That just about says it all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The rafters in our house were practically bursting with excitement in anticipation of Christmas.

After quite a whirlwind week with a fair amount of stress, we finally reached Christmas Eve. Thank goodness.

Here are a few pictures... most of which are of Grace, which I'm feeling a little bad about now. But, it WAS her first Christmas home.

The two girls on Christmas Eve.

This little guy has such a sweet heart! :)

Parents of children with cleft palate will appreciate the significance of this photo.

Braden was very excited about his new socks. or maybe not.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011


I look into Grace's deep brown eyes, that seem like they go on forever, and I just can't imagine a day without her.

My friend, who is adopting a little baby boy through domestic adoption, wrote on her blog the other day about what they would have missed if they didn't say yes to adoption.

and man, did it get me thinking and thinking.

What we would have missed if we hadn't taken the risk.

The risk of adoption.

The risk of special needs.

The risk to our finances.

The risk of change.

The risk, that now, looking back, doesn't even seem all that risky. Because when I see Grace I see nothing about risk. I see a nothing but the sweetest little girl that plays, cries, complains, giggles, gives kisses, fights with her brother, and loves. :)

I would never looked deep into brown almond shaped eyes.

I would never heard her sweet voice.

and I would never have known this love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My little girl turned 7.


And lost a tooth.

Her first.

All in two days time.

That's a lot of excitement for a seven year old.

We went to dinner at a restaurant of her choice.

and we ate homemade chocolate cake. Also her choice.

and we painted nails in every color.

She's growing up.

It makes me a little sad to think back and remember how teeny tiny she was.

And how big she is now.

But, I also look forward to finding out who she will become!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be the Difference

Wow. This makes me weep.

What I have learned in the last 10 months.....

the biggest special need these children have is NOT their date of birth (older child) or the medical condition listed on their records.

Their greatest special need....

A family.

I pray more and more families come forward to "Be the Difference".

Are you one of them?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Random thoughts this Christmas Season

  • Not sure how it is already December

  • It really annoys me when I get Christmas Cards right after Thanksgiving… those families just make the rest of us look bad.

  • Same with the people on Facebook that brag they are done shopping.

  • Yeah. Whatever people. Keep it to yourself. :)

  • Can you tell I’m cranky?

  • Members of our family have been sick for over a month.

  • I was sick for two weeks.

  • And Mom’s don’t get a day off.

  • Like Ever.

  • When little ones that have asthma get sick… it gets bad.

  • Asthma is a terrible, terrible chronic disease.

  • We’ve been to way too many doctor’s this past month.

  • None of whom seem to help.

  • Now you know why I am cranky.

  • I'm a total blog slacker.

  • Sorry to let down my loyal followers.

  • But, as you can see... I've got nothing useful to say.

  • We put up our Christmas Tree up on Saturday.

  • Homemade children’s ornaments are the BEST ornaments EVER. I LOVE the ones with their pictures on them from years past.

  • So sweet.

  • I keep listening to “Third Age’s – Merry Christmas” and cry every.single. time… thinking about last year when we were anxiously awaiting traveling to China and missing Grace SO much.

  • I am so thankful she is home.

  • With her family.

  • And not there. Alone.

  • I have three friends that will be traveling to China in the next couple months.

  • FOUR less!

  • I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and read their blog posts. I SO can’t wait!!

  • I have to get a shopping list together and split it up between them. Ha!

  • One can never have too many squeaky shoes.

  • Right?

  • I love Worship Service during Advent.

  • It would be even better if I actually could participate in Worship and not just yell at my kids the whole time.

  • I love hearing my kids sing Away in the Manger

  • I also love when they rock out to Go Tell it On the Mountain in our living room.

  • I do wish our lives could slow down a little in order to enjoy the season a little more.

  • All fun stuff - Christmas parties, cookie making, gingerbread houses, and carol sings - but it all ends up adding up to crazy busy-ness.

  • Our Christmas Tree is being held up with fishing line attached to the wall.

  • Not kidding.

  • We have TWO birthday’s in December.

  • Not well planned.

  • At all.

  • An almost 7 year old and an almost 5 year CANNOT WAIT for their birthdays.

  • I, however, can.

  • I think this also means that I have stop blaming my chubby belly on having babies.

  • Since I was last pregnant five years ago.

  • Grace wakes up at night and yells “MA!” “MA!” “MA!” until I come in to get her.

  • I haven’t posted on this blog in several weeks.

  • Now you know why.

  • I’ve got nothing to say.

  • Or actually, it seems I have a lot of nothing to say.

  • Grace has a lot to say these days… 100 words in her vocabulary, and growing every day!

  • “MA!”

  • We are going to change her middle name to “MO!” (Grace’s version of No)

  • We are going to change Devin’s middle name to “I didn’t do anything”

  • My car needs new tires and new brakes.

  • And that just stinks.

  • We are going to Disney in 199 days.

  • I know this because we are doing a count UP paper chain to 100, once we have a 100 links on the chain, we will then count down.

  • The second link on the chain is going up today.

  • This was NOT my idea.

  • Crazy people live in my house.

  • Braden plays Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Jingle Bells on his saxophone.

  • Love.

  • I found Kailey packaging up candy left over from her Halloween stash, and secretly putting the packages of candy in her brothers’ and sister’s stockings.

  • My cheerful giver.

  • Sigh.

  • I’m done I think.

  • For now.

  • Sorry for this post.

  • I really should be banned from blogging.

  • Merry Christmas Season!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Safe Places

Grace fell off our bed and onto the hard wood floor yesterday.

Who knows what she actually did to her mouth. Bit something I guess, but regardless it hurt and it bled. A lot. And she cried. A lot.

I immediately picked her up, realized she was bleeding and started sopping up blood with a towel. She cried and cried. And I gently snuggled her and told her it was ok and did all the things a Mommy should in a situation like this.

After a few minutes she wiggled down from my lap, still crying, still bleeding, and she walked herself down the hall to her bedroom (I followed of course). Then she reached up and, through screams, asked to be put in her crib.

And my heart just sank.

Her crib. Her safe place.

I, reluctantly, placed her gently in her crib. And then I stood over her, rubbed her hair, spoke to her gently and told her I wasn’t leaving. And she stopped crying.

I knew I couldn’t force my comfort on her. She needed her safe place.

Which happened to be her crib and not my arms.

It wasn’t about love. It wasn’t about attachment. For the first 17 months of her life her crib was the place that brought her comfort. Those habits don't just go away.

It was just where she needed to be at that moment. The best I could do for my baby girl was to meet her there.

Her wounds are indeed real. It isn't psychobabble mumbo jumbo. I've seen it first hand.

I can't heal her. Oh how I wish I could. But I can't. I pray that God does.

What I can do is provide her with a safe place to heal and LOVE her right where she, how she is, just as she is.

and oh boy do I ever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A post in honor of National Adoption Month

The Starfish Story
(adapted from The Star Thrower, by Lauren Eisley)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good Morning, May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean".

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean"? asked the somewhat startled wiseman.

To this the young man replied "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die".

Upon hearing this, this wise man commented "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said...

"It made a difference for that one".


My husband often has to remind me that I cannot save the world. I know that. I wish I could. But I can't.

There are 147 million orphans in the world. I certainly can't be a Mom to 147 million orphans. (HA! I don't even do Mom to four very well.)

The orphan crisis seems insurmountable. The multitude of reasons behind the orphan crisis seem even MORE insurmountable. Poverty. Famine. Disease. It's overwhelming to me.

But, here's what I can rest my aching heart on...maybe I can't change the world. But, I know that my God can.

I have seen how God works in people's lives. I have seen how just ONE orphan turned beloved son or daughter changes the lives of MANY.

How that one innocent child, that one face, that one story, may be just the one that nudges the hearts of another family and they adopt one.

and then how that one innocent child, that one face, that one story, may just be the one that nudges the hearts of another family and they adopt one.

And one by one lives change.

and then maybe before you know it... you look around (as I do every Sunday during church) and you see the faces of several children who are orphans NO LONGER.

and I see siblings of these children. And I hear them talk. They say things that most 12 year old, 10 year old, 7 year old children don't normally say. They think outside of themselves more than the typical. They think of children here in the US. in China. and Ethiopia. Russia. and Uganda.

Adoption changes lives.

and I'm not talking about the lives of the once orphaned children.

Grace has changed me. Forever.

I know every parent says that about their children. But, this is different.She has taught me about faith. love. and hope. I can't even begin to find the words to describe what she has taught me. It sure makes me wonder what lies ahead for us. Is sure seems that Grace entering our's just the beginning.

Do I think every family should adopt. Nope. Not saying that.

But, I do think every family should think about ways they can share love with orphans. THAT I do believe we have an obligation to do as humans living on this earth.


Pray for the 147 million orphans all over the world. That they find families. That they have food, water and an education. That the systems that are put in place to protect them, do indeed protect them, but also allow for them to find loving families.

Provide support, either emotional or financial, to families that have decided to adopt a child (or two).

Perhaps your heart leads you to support relief efforts that directly affect orphans. Providing food, water, education to those in need in this country and around the globe.

Sponsor a child.

Mentor a child.

God puts us on this earth to do His work.

While we alone can't change the world... One starfish at time we CAN make a difference.

And remember, to that ONE starfish, your small (or maybe large) act, whatever it is, DOES make a difference.

Just look at the pictures I have posted of these beautiful children. Their faces prove this oh so much better than any words could.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The seat

It's back.

The potty seat.

I can't believe it.

Do you know what one of things, maybe the only thing, I dreaded most about having another "baby"?

Potty training.

Uhhh! I was done, way done, with potty training after baby number one.

and here we are again for the fourth time.

My girl is a little excited. Even though she has know idea what this is all about. Yet.

She spent about 15 minutes tonight pulling out each and every pair of big girl panties from the packaging.

And she managed to put one cheek on the potty seat. Not both though. Both is a little scary I guess.

It's time.

She tells us when she has to go.

She pulled a "potty book" randomly off the shelf at the library and insisted Daddy bring it home.

And I have learned, three times over, that it is better to do this earlier than later.

Later, they realize they can fight it. Later, it becomes a game of control. Later, it just ends no where good when it comes to a two year old and pee and poop.

So, wish us luck. I've only known Grace for 8 months, but I can tell you... unless we figure out a way to make her think this is what SHE wants to do... this could be difficult. She may win. She usually does.

FIERCELY indendepent, I tell ya.

Here we gooooooo.....

(BTW: Do you think she will forgive me someday for blogging about this?)

Saturday, November 5, 2011


We have survived.


I repeat

SEVEN days of no electricity.

No power.


No heat.

A crazy October 29th snow storm literally snapped and cracked millions of trees and completely destroyed our power system leaving us and 800,000+ state residents power-less. The day after the record breaking snow storm, both in amount of snow and amount of damage, 89% of our town was without power. That meant... pretty much everyone we knew was without power.

Even now, 7 days later, 50% of our town is still without power.

I've always wondered what it was like to live like a pioneer woman. I know longer wonder. Thank you very much.

First and foremost, even though it is only late-fall and not the dead of winter, no electricity means it is darn COLD in the house.

Living without water. Oh my. NOT fun.

Washing dishes and flushing toilets with melted snow water.

I'd prefer to never have to do either of those things again.

I'm not sure how we would have survived without friends with generators who shared their warm homes, hot showers and food with us.
I should qualify. STEVE and the boys survived 7 days without power. I gave up on day 6 when the girls and I were invited up to a cabin in Vermont to get warm. Yes... North to Vermont... to get warm.

I'm now sitting in front of this computer screen EVER so grateful for electricity. and HEAT. and running water.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

my coffee addiction

Full disclosure... I haven't actually contributed to the chip-in over there on the right corner of my screen yet for my friends and their two lovely girls waiting for them.

I WILL. But, I haven't yet.

and then I think... perhaps that is what other people are thinking.

I WILL. Someday. Soon. But, right now I don't have the extra money.

So, hopefully I can inspire a few people to contribute with this post.

We live within a tight budget. There's not a whole lot left over at the end of a week. We find ways of doing fun things... driving on up to Keene, New Hampshire for the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday.

But, we packed snacks so we wouldn't spend gobs of money for food. And it ended up being a almost free evening away and a ton of fun for our kids.

Every part of me wants to hand over every penny we have to families adopting. So, here I am trying to figure how we can tighten our belts some more and give more.

And then I think, if I want to see that fund over there on the right side bar GROW for these girls. I must model some of that giving.

Here's my thought...

I love coffee.

I mean. I REALLY love coffee.

I drink it at home.

I drink it at work.

I drink it in the car.

I like Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

I LOVE Starbucks coffee. OHHH.. what I wouldn't do right now for a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte right now.

With whipped cream.

Thank you very much.

But, my coffee addiction has a draw back...

Coffee costs money.

I make my own at home most of the time. But, I'm ashamed to admit how many times I stop and get coffee to/from work, to/from the grocery story, to/from kids' activities.

Pretty much... to/from anywhere.

I'll find an excuse to get coffee whenever I can.

I have a certain amount "budgeted" for coffee. It's not much. But, it's a little something.

and the fact that I have money budgeted for coffee... but not something budgeted for giving to orphans.

Yea, see I'm all sorts of messed up with my priorities.

So, I'm thinking. Do I NEED to buy coffee to-from everywhere.

The answer is a solid NO!

So, here I am committing to you.... in an effort to spark a little something in my friends out there to consider finding their own coffee-like addiction that they may want to forgo for a couple weeks so they can contribute....

I'm committing to cashing in my bi-weekly coffee fund for something WAY better!

WAY, WAY, WAY better.

and that's sayin' something...because a hot Pumpkin Spice Latte is pretty darn dreamy.

But, these two girls. They need A FAMILY!

a coffee? I don't need a coffee.

So, watch the fund grow as I contribute my coffee fund each week for as long as I need to.

and maybe even longer.

Is there something you'd be willing to "give up" for a couple weeks or months so you can make a contribution?

It sounds ridiculous that I am even considering my coffee-hiatus.... "giving".

It. is. totally. ridiculous.

But, it's what I got right now and I'm tired of sitting back and just saying "soon" I'll contribute.

The time is now.

Maybe next I'll give up my iPhone addiction.

Ok God. I hear you... but now you are pushing it.... my iPhone!? Gasp!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Help Bring TWO Girls Home

Good friends of ours are in the final phases of paperchasing to bring home TWO very special girls in China.

They are 10 and 13 years old. In China, that means... the oldest is close to aging out of system. I shutter to think what would happen to these girls if V and S hadn't stepped out in faith to bring them home.

Thank God, this family does not live in fear. They live in faith.

My dear friend, Jessemyn, wrote about this family so very beautifully, so instead me writing what she writes so much better, I am just going to plagiarize and post her words here. Hope she doesn't mind. You can also read it on Jessemyn's blog HERE!

Please, if this story moves you, consider chipping in to their cause (see top right corner of my blog). ALL the proceeds will go to V, S and their beautiful family to bring their girls home. $15,000 seems like a lot... but I know it's NOTHING for our God.

So, here's Jessemyn, my guest blogger today...

I am so excited to share with you about a very special family. For safety's sake, I've omitted their true names, but I promise....they're real people with a very real need.

Earlier this year, God began to put adoption on my dear friend V's heart.

It made no earthly sense.

They already have two beautiful, well-behaved, easy-going girls. I mean, why mess with that, right?

Their schedule is busy, with S working more than full-time so that V can homeschool their daughters.

Money is tight.

But friends, V pressed forward. Instead of listening to the reasons it seemed crazy, she asked her husband. And his response? "What took you so long?" (Don't you just LOVE that?!)

They fell in love with a 10 year old girl with cerebral palsy that the world had given up on.

and quickly learned that her best friend was also waiting for a family. Together, they would soon be past the legal age for adoption in China (14)...aging alone in a country where physical deformities are shamed and love is withheld.

How did the H's respond? They filed paperwork to adopt them BOTH!

You see, this family doesn't live in fear. They know that God is bigger. And those reasons that seem to say the idea of adopting is crazy? God showed them that they were some of the very ways God has PREPARED them for this journey.

Instead of worrying that their amazing daughters will be hurt, they choose to think their daughters will be fabulous role models and wonderful friends for their new sisters.

Because V is already an at-home mom, these girls that are developmentally delayed will have the benefit of one on one instruction and the blessing of growing as slowly or quickly as they need.

And money being tight? This family already knows how to pinch a penny. It's been amazing to see how God has honored their faithful walk, by providing much of the needed expenses for their adoption already.

But they still need more help. The cost to adopt both of the girls will be over $40,000! God has provided nearly $25,000 already. Yeah, God! But their adoption will be finalized soon and they still need $15,000. Let's help raise the last $15,000!

If their story moves your heart,
If you can't adopt but feel a burden to help others who can,
If you want to offer hope to some of the least of these,

Click the ChipIN Button at the top right of the page.

Who do you know who might also be moved to help? Your friends? Your church? A MOMS club? A book group?

Join in! Every little bit will help!

Thank you isn't enough...but really...I know these girls will thank you...

just as soon as we get them home!

Friday, October 14, 2011

In the weeds

I'd love to say that we have life under control. I'd love to say our house is clean. That the laundry is done. We make every appointment and we are never late. And there are no dirty dishes in our sink.

I'd love to say all these things.

The truth is....
We are in the WEEDS!!!!

If you ever have been a waiter or waitress you probably know what I'm talking about.

For those of you that have never heard the saying "I'm in the weeds", let me explain...

Being in the weeds is when you can't think past the moment you are in. If you do think past the moment, all the stuff that lies ahead causes your brain to spin out of control and you can't make any sense out of it. It is when you feel an extraordinary amount of stress to keep up. And even more stress KNOWING that you are NOT keeping up. When you disappoint people that are counting on you. When you barely get to the things you HAVE to get done, never mind the things you want to do... like send a get well card, or a cook a friend a dinner.

There are moments when you are in the weeds, when you really, really, really want to just run out the front door and leave the weeds behind.

Being in the weeds isn't a whole heck of a lot of fun.

But, lately it's where we are. Actually, maybe it is where I am. Luckily, Steve handles the weeds better than me. Always has.

If you could SEE my kitchen right now. If you could have heard me SCREAM at the top of my lungs (to the point of my throat hurting) "ENOUGH!!!!!!" when my kids were bickering this morning.

These are things I am not proud of. But, I feel like I should share... life isn't all roses. It never is. For anyone.

Then we have this whole other thing that causes our weeds to be a bit thicker. Balancing work and life. HA!

I'd love to meet someone that does this balance well. Actually, I think I have but it's certainly not me. I fail at it often. It seems the scales are constantly tipping from one side to the other.

When the kids are sick for several days in a row. Life wins.

And then there are times when I become a bit obsessed with a project at work, or the emails that come through my phone. Work wins.

And this too causes stress. And more of a feeling of living life in the weeds.

I guess I don't have much of a moral to this story except to make sure I keep it real with my friends in bloggy world that I SO don't have it all together.


At. All.


I'll even share a little secret.... sshhhh.... you don't have to have it all together to adopt a child!!!!!! Nope... not even a prerequisite. The social worker when doing your homestudy does NOT ask how clean you bathroom is! Crazy huh?!

But, although I fully admit there are times when I would LIKE to run out the front door and away from the weeds.

I won't.

Some may say "well, your crazy life... you kind of brought this all on yourself".

Four kids. Yup. We did.

But even when I'm living life in the weeds instead of a rose garden.

I wouldn't change a single thing.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beauty in all things.

Vermont. Beauty.

Children. Beauty.

Family. Beauty.

Friends. Beauty.

All different versions of beauty. Each of these picture show's God's handy work in our lives.

As you can see we had a BEAUTIFUL weekend with our friends L, S, and Z. We are blessed with much beauty in our lives. Including these very special people.