Wednesday, February 29, 2012


More of my thoughts on adoption… sorry if you are getting bored with this.

I LOVE reading adoption blogs. I absolutely rejoice in seeing, once orphaned, now beloved children thrive. I rejoice in the future that has been returned to them. I rejoice in the love they will now experience.

But, I just hate the pain.

My friends (here and here) returned from China and are in the throes of trying to find their “new normal”.

Actually, they are in the throes of jet lag… normal is going to have to wait a few days.

I won’t go into details, because it’s not my family story to tell, but needless to say...this journey… is just is NOT easy.

Last night, I cried. Again.

Because, I HATE to see children hurting.

After an emotional evening witnessing both physical and emotional heart-ache, I came home to find Gracie sitting, ever so sweetly, on her Daddy’s lap. Her beloved blanket in her hands, her Daddy’s arms wrapped around her.

She joyfully says “Hi Mom!” (yes, she calls me MOM, not Mama, not Mommy, but Mom).

She’s just beginning to string two and three words together. It doesn’t happen all that often. So, when the next thing she said was…

“Grace, Daddy, cuddle”

I fell apart in emotion.

Because one year ago, my Gracie was lost. And she was hurting. She was confused. She cried and couldn’t be consoled. She refused comfort on many levels. And she resorted to comfort from her blanket and her crib, rather than her parents. Over and over again.

But last night, it was pretty clear as she cuddled with her Daddy…

She was in her version of heaven. Right there in her Daddy’s lap.

And I was reassured.

These children (adopted last week, adopted tomorrow, adopted a year from now) will have pain ahead of them. But, I was reassured. They will come through these difficult days. Daddy’s lap will someday bring them comfort. And Mom’s soft, gentle hugs will, not only be accepted, but will be welcomed.

But it takes for us to have a real and true understanding and acceptance that their grief is real and deep.

And healing takes time.

And love.

And LOTS of patience.

Is it easy? Oh heck no.

Good things are hardly ever easy.

But man, oh man, is it GOOD.

“Grace, Daddy, Cuddle”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I am honored to have one of my posts "published" on this adoption blog today...

This blog is one of my "every day" reads. It's awesome.

Check it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

One Year - Gotcha Anniversary!

Happy Gotcha Day Miss Gracie!

We can hardly believe a year has past since that chilly day in Zhenghzou when we first saw your face in person. When we first held you. When our hearts burst open with joy.

We love you more than words could ever say. Our family is immeasurably blessed by you!

Posted at 9pm EST, which is 10 am February 21, 2012 Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China.

(Sorry folks, I had some technical difficulties... if you are trying to view this on a mobile phone or an iPad it might not won't work, you'll have to go to a regular computer).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


As you all know... I've spent the better part of every day for the past week stalking my friends in China. :)

I've watched Gotcha Day come and go. Watched orphanage visits come and go. And watched as my friends try to help their little ones go through this very traumatic time.

I go from happy for these little loves and the future they NOW HAVE in front of them.

The future that up until three days ago was dark, at best.

But, now their lives have taken a 180 degree turn and have future that now holds MUCH promise.

But, then I have cried. Ugly cries. Tears streaming, hardly able to catch my breath, type of cries.

When I see the pictures of these sweet little loves who are so hurting so deeply.

They are scared.

They are confused.

They are grieving the loss of their loved ones, their nannies.

I can HEAR in my head the cry of a little four year old adopted on the same day as Grace... it was the deepest gut level scream you can imagine. I will never forget that sound. As his nannies walked out of the building. Oh man. I remember it like it was yesterday.

You see, these children didn't ask for this. They didn't ask for a family. They don't even know what a family is.

We think we know that this is better for them. It is. There are no doubts about that. A life in a an orphanage is NOT a life for any child.

But, adoption is routed in deep and profound loss. Several losses in fact.

and GRIEF.

Grief for everything that has been lost to them.

It is absolutely heart wrenching to watch. To experience.

It is these days that I hate adoption. I hate that this children have to suffer through this. NO CHILD should have to experience this pain.

So, when someone says Grace is "lucky"... I want to scream.

I mean, I know a compliment is being paid, they are merely commenting that she is lucky she now has a family. And maybe they are trying to say that we are "good family".



Grace and others that have come through this journey before her and those that have come after her.... they have suffered more than any child should have to suffer. They have experienced loss like no child should. They have experienced profound pain.

So, next time you want to say the word "lucky" in terms of adoption... give it a quick thought. Maybe there is a better way to say what you mean to say.

and certainly, don't ever. ever. ever. tell one of these children they are lucky. Because, they might not feel so lucky. and saying it to them might make them feel like they SHOULD feel lucky, and that is just unfair.

My thoughts. My two cents. Maybe you don't agree. Oh well. My blog, my thoughts. Ha!

Over and out.

Friday, February 10, 2012

On abandonmnent

If you have never read Message from and Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran… go and read it.

If you are an adoptive parent of a child born in China. You must.

If you are a family member of a child born in China. You should.

If you are a friend of a child of a child born in China. You should.

It is painful, excruciating actually, to read. But, it is a must.

What I learned from that book is that we cannot, should not and have no right to judge birth mother’s and birth families for their choices. From our vantage point, we simply cannot understand all the history, culture, beliefs, etc. that lead to the abandonment of children in China.

I have encountered many people over the last two years that have expressed anger and disbelief that a mother would abandon their baby.

Heck, there were times when we were in China, that I felt these things.

Anger. Disbelief. They were real feelings for me that I was not expecting.

And I cried for several days in China because of these feelings.

So, I get it.

But, almost a year later from those days in China. A year of processing those feelings, I've come to this....

We must remember that when we try to understand why.... we are using our own culture, beliefs, and biases. These are not the same everywhere and it is simply unfair to judge and condemn.

We may not understand it. But, we cannot or we should not place judgement on that which we do not understand.

I thank God EVERY SINGLE DAY for Grace’s birth mother.

I simply do not know all the circumstances of her life. Or of her family’s life. I cannot, I must not, judge.

I can only pray that someday, in the heavens, I will get a chance to thank her mother to mother.

and I thank God for wrapping Grace in His love and keeping her safe those 17 months while she was in China as He made arrangements for us to be her family.

And I thank Him for choosing us, so completely undeserving of His trust, to care for her.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

There they go!

I had the honor and privilege of driving my friends to the airport this morning to start their long journey to China.

To share in that pre-trip anticipation was so much fun. The wait has finally ended for these friends. and I can't help but be jumping out of my skin in excitement for them.

It all looks so easy to the untrained eye.... "wow, that went fast" people said to us when we traveled, "it seemed so easy".


Months and months of paperwork.

Of questions, some that are answered, some that will ALWAYS remain unanswered.

You just don't just jump into this lightly. So many people read these blogs... and see the happy smiles on the parents' faces as they board planes, or as they arrive at the airport with their newest addition in their arms surrounded by welcoming friends and relatives.

Of smiling, once orphaned, children with bows in their hair and Mickey Mouse on their shirt.

But, what it often unseen, are the weeks and weeks of indecision. The weeks of praying that God shows you that this IS the right step for you. The almost constant voice that runs through your head "ARE WE NUTS"?

Because, adoption is indeed a little nutty.

The questioning eyes of loved ones. The doubts of your own faith. Of your own abilities. The constant wonder (and fear) of how life will change.

What is unseen... the little one, that almost a year after adoption cries in fear at night. Self-soothes during the day. Rummages for food at all hours. Of very real challenges of attachment and bonding. These are very real stories. I feel it's important to make sure people know... it isn't easy. At all. It's darn hard.

All parenting is darn hard. But, adoption parenting, it just adds another layer.

But while you question and wait... a little ones grainy picture pulls you through your doubts and fears. And while you are indeed afraid... you know that this is all in His hands. and His hands are big. and strong. and in His hands you are so completely and totally safe.

and yet, knowing all that I have said above... about how hard this really can be.... as I watched my friends walk away from the car (at 4 am this morning), towing their suitcases behind them, heading toward the next challenge God has laid before them...

I KNOW this is right. I KNOW without a doubt that how ever hard it may be... it will be SO GOOD! So, so, so good.


Adoption rocks.

There's just know other way to put it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reminiscing and now what?

I found myself today reading old email exchanges with friends and family from our days prior to China, our days in China, and our days immediately following China.

As we come upon almost one year from our travel to China and as my friends prepare to leave tomorrow... I just can't help but remember and reminisce about every moment of that trip. and how just plain awesome it was.

Don't get me wrong... there were HARD days. I read an email I wrote to my friends about the our orphanage visit. Painful. Painful. Painful. I still can't and probably never will be able to write about that day. The day God broke my heart wide open for orphans. The day I vowed I would never turn my back on the orphan crisis in this world.

and the jet-lag. Oh the jet-lag. Especially coming home. Whew.

But, those days in China were simply magical. I just can't wait to watch the trip from the "outside" looking in as I read their blogs and exchange emails with them. I can't wait to experience the highs and lows with them. For there are SURE to be both.

and here we are almost one-year post adoption and I think we are finally at "normal" here. Normal being... sort of monotonous. I must say.

Don't get me wrong... we are BUSY. VERY busy actually. and the kids are GREAT. Fun and great!

But, no more China to look forward to. and no more "newness" of being a family of six. It's just NORMAL.

I realized last night, that it has been at this moment after the birth of each baby, a year or so removed and we hit "normal", that Steve and I would decide it was time for another baby... or to adopt.

and here we are... no babies in the future. and no adoptions.

So, now what?

It's a lot to wrestle with. All while appreciating the ups and downs of "normal" life and providing for our four with every ounce of love we have.

Has anyone else experienced the "Now what" feeling? cause it's sort of hitting me hard.

Not to say that life isn't full enough. But, it's been 10 years of always anticipated the next big thing.... the addition of a family member to our family. so, now what? What's the plan God? Could you fill me in? Cause it's sort of bugging me. :)

Anyway. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say these next few weeks as I watch my friends experience China.

Right now... I'm remembering.... the nervous anticipation I felt. The million thoughts swimming through my head. The brain that was such mush that it was difficult stringing a sentence together. The sadness of saying goodnight to my kids the night before we left... knowing we wouldn't see them again for more than two weeks. The brain that would NOT shut off. No sleep, prior to, during and after China. The unknowns... of China, of adoption, of Grace, of long-haul travel.

So much anticipation. and yet, so good.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The BIG catch-up post

Holy Moly. How did the entire month go by without me having one thing to say?

I've been getting a fair amount of harassment from blog followers wondering where on earth I went to.

My excuse...I just couldn't think of anything profound to say.

But, then again... that's never stopped me before. :)

So, here it is. The big catch up post.


First, the bad mom I am didn't document one little guy's birthday.

December 29th... yes, that would over a month ago I know.... Devin, our funny guy, turned FIVE.

Man, he counted the days down for this one. Because five. Well, five is a BIG ONE.

We celebrated our Devin with dinner (his choice of course) and chocolate cake.

and he was loving every minute of it.

Poor guy totally gets the bum deal with a birthday four days after Christmas. But, it didn't seem to bother him.

Five... that's not really a baby anymore is it?



We had a little mini-reunion at the beginning of January with two little Chinese children (and their families) we love so dearly.

We met these two kids on the same day we met Grace. We traveled with their families for those unforgettable two weeks in China.

These children and their families will ALWAYS have a very, very special place in our hearts.

I can't wait until the day we can get our whole travel group together... maybe in July!


I had BIG plans of having a Chinese New Year celebration at our house this year. Big plans.

But, then the first day of Chinese New Year came and went. And I failed.

Next year. Next year. I keep telling myself.


Aside from that big snow in October that left us without power for a week!

(this picture from October)

we only have had one small snow storm this winter.

And I have to say, I'm really not complaining. Last year, is still fresh in my mind and I'd be perfectly happy if we just skipped right over winter and went to spring.

Our backyard turned into the sledding hill and the kids were out there a lot... until the snow disappeared a couple days later.

We dressed Grace all up in her snow pants, boots, hats, mittens and coat.

Our little snow bunny.

Too bad she wouldn't even let us put her down. Even being held caused a fair amount of anxiety. Actually standing in the snow... BIG TEARS.

It was a very similar to the reaction she had to the beach last year.


We had an AWESOME event at our church last week. I mean AWESOME!

Our church, and some 500 community volunteers, packed 252,000 meals to send to the hungry in Kenya. It was an amazing experience.

Big and small participated. We packed rice, lentils for protein, dehydrated vegetables with minerals and Himalayan salt into bags, weighed and sealed the bags and packed them in boxes.

The small... sent love to kids in Kenya by coloring the boxes the meals were packed in.

Check out if you want to work with an awesome organization to host a packing event in your location. They have packing events big and small and they travel around the country.

This is the final product... all 252,000 meals all ready for the container that will ship them to Kenya.


And last but, certainly not least, on Wednesday... TWO families I love dearly will be leaving for China to adopt two beautiful children. Oh my. I can't wait!!!

I just wish I could go. I keep trying to convince them that they really NEED me there. I mean, I could be a great water boiler, luggage carrier, picture taker, etc. Don't ya think?! But, instead I'll stay here and wake up at 5 am to check their blogs to see the latest update. You can follow them too... I assure you, you won't want to miss this!

Introducing my friends...

Follow along and send them a note of support along the way. I know they'd appreciate it!