Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life is a Box of Chocolates

Having a child who is otherwise adorable lacks the desire to learn to communicate makes every day like a box of assorted chocolates. It's just that sometimes you get the yucky pink ones ;-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Doctor's Appointments, Round II (revised)

It's Monday! We have three appointments this week ...and a post-placement home study visit. Revision: Ya'll crack me up! This is like telling a joke and having to explain the punch line (which is the way most of my jokes turn out - lol). We have our first post-placement home study visit this week because as of April 8 Kooper and Kinley are home five months - really? There is no K number 9 on the horizon...yet. But I digress, so back to the original post~
Soon it will be Saturday, right?!?
The boys returned to the ENT today, and this is what we know:

Kaeleb's ears were still full of wax that's been there since-who-knows-when. The doctor removed it and said his ears are full of fluid, also since-who-knows-when. We are going to continue the ear drops and antibiotic and return later in April. If they are still full of fluid...well, we'll go from there.

Kooper has been on allergy meds for ten days and his sinuses are still nearly closed, so in two weeks he goes in for x-rays and an allergy analysis.

Tomorrow is simple, an orthodontist appointment. Wednesday, not so much.
Thank you for your prayers!
And that's where we are...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Krazy Love

If you aren’t a regular over at A Place Called Simplicity, you simply must check it out. You could randomly select any post and know how crazy in love with Jesus and the orphan Linny and DW are!

She’s issued this amazing Crazy Love challenge asking folks to share their needs so the body of Christ can read about them, pray about them, and maybe even meet them, as the Spirit leads. Seriously. Put ‘em out there. That’s a hard one! As one hand is typing, the other wants to delete here. In fact, it’s taken me two days to decide to post this.

Some of you have read of our complete ignorance of adoption and then how God instantly gripped our hearts in late 2003. We praise Him for allowing us to be a voice for those without one ever since. There hasn’t been a time since 2003 that we weren’t in the adoption process. We’ve been home almost five months with our two newest treasures, and we’re still making changes in our household.

We have been incredibly blessed to grow our family by five over the last six years, and what’s truly amazing is that we never had money set aside for any of the adoptions.

We love hearing how God has touched a family’s heart for adoption, the mountains He moves to bring His plans to fruition, and the opportunity to invest in the miraculous journey. We usually hear of a family’s need before the child is home, but I’m going to share our need afterward. Do you have any idea how difficult this is?!?

If you read this post on our blog, you already know that God still performs miracles today! His resources are unlimited, and just because He has provided miraculously already doesn’t mean He won’t do it again…and again…for every family!

In 2003 we jumped out of our comfort zone and followed God with reckless abandon. When we brought our daughter Kayden home in 2004, we still owed $9,000 on the process, but we knew we were supposed to adopt again. Saddled with that burden but armed with faith, we dove into our second process. We applied for grants, made and sold adoption decals, held a garage sale, whittled our budget and applied every extra penny to the process until we traveled for Kambry in 2007, only to realize that God had provided all the funds we needed, not only for the current process, but the first one as well!

Later in 2007 we again knew we were to adopt, and though our past costs were covered, we had nothing left. Again, we held fundraisers and applied for grants, but in the end we were $12,000 short when we brought Kaeleb home in 2008.

Nevertheless, we again recognized God’s voice in 2008 to begin an adoption process that ultimately would grow our family by two! We again applied for grants, held fundraisers, turned off cable, stopped eating out and saved every penny we could. Miraculously, a week before we traveled we had all we needed... until we found out our travel fees were more than expected. Through an amazing series of God-orchestrated events, we received gifts from other families and received an emergency interest-free loan, providing the final $4000 needed to make the trip for Kinley and Kooper!

Last year a water line broke and flooded our home, and while our insurance paid for most of the repairs, we were out of our home for two weeks and unable to work for nearly a month (we’re both self-employed), causing us to use our credit cards to pay bills. Folks, this is NOT how God wants us to live, accumulating debt! In retrospect, we could have probably made some different choices, even under circumstances beyond our control. We are paying the consequences for those.

The bottom line is we still owe the $12,000 from our third journey, $4,000 from our last journey and two months’ worth of bills on our credit cards.

Because our children’s needs are greater than we anticipated, we have had to reduce our work schedules to make sure one of us is always home to meet their needs. Our health insurance just increased to $670 per month with a $5000 deductible, and we have several procedures coming up. We have cashed out our small ‘retirement’ fund to pay toward our adoption costs because we know that everything we have truly belongs to the Lord and He gives us the opportunity to manage it.

What am I asking for? Simply that you would pray! Please pray that we would be good stewards of God’s provision, that we would give only Him the praise, and that we would not allow our present circumstances to hinder our listening to His call.

We are members of an amazing church (First Baptist Church Ringwood). Our church family has supported us through prayer and giving, and the number of adoptive families in our small church continues to grow, praise the Lord!

We have always tithed, but five months ago we were convicted to tithe from our gross proceeds rather than the amount after self-employment taxes and expenses. God has so blessed that decision! In fact, the morning after we made the decision to obey in tithing, we received an unexpected gift of $1000 toward our adoption process!

We love our church family and enjoy serving as: a Deacon family, part of the volunteer youth staff, youth Sunday school teachers, adoption ministry and bus maintenance :)

As much as we want to pay off our past adoption expenses, we have only been able to apply minimally.
But God…
Is our Provision;
Is in control;
Provides all we need;
Is teaching us to depend solely on Him;
Blesses our obedience;
Teaches us in the Khaos of daily life;
Extends His unending grace;
Doesn’t expect us to journey without Him!

We love answering questions about our adoption miracles, and you may contact us here. Thank you for praying for our family!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mighty Warriors for God!

This picture was taken in fun, but it's perfect for what I want to say about him. We are proud of all our boys, but he's our oldest...you know, the 'trial run,' the one you apologize to for not knowing what you were doing in raising him. I'm happy to say that despite our parenting, he's an incredible young man.

We only saw him one day over spring break because he was at an evangelism training conference in Colorado (hence, the picture). He is a young man after God's heart. He is open to God's call. He doesn't just study the Word; he lives it. God has given him a love for people and a broken heart for the lost. He realizes he must be a 'missionary' in his Jerusalem before he can serve anywhere else (because simply crossing over saltwater does not make us missionaries).

God has placed a specific friend on his heart, and he asked us to pray for opportunity. Well friends, opportunity has come, and now he's asking us to pray for the Spirit to lead. You know, it's always hardest talking to family and close friends, but Kuyler is committed to obedience. Please join us in praying for Kuyler and other young mighty warriors!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Week ~ Another Doctor

I'm so proud of this little peanut! We met her cleft surgeon today, and she wasn't the least bit afraid. This is what we learned:
Since her soft palate is complete, she won't have her bone graft until she's between 7 and 9. At that time there will be some kind of scan to determine if her muscles formed properly and whether she will need further surgery and speech therapy. Next winter we will possibly perform her lip revision since her scar protrudes and scabs over regularly.
Nothing like sharing a kiss in the exam chair!


If God the Father loves me so much (and He does!) that He lives inside me as God the Spirit (John 14:17-21), then why do I struggle so much to look like God the Son?!?

Oh, Father, may Your Spirit be seen in me today, even in the mundane tasks, the simple conversations and immediate plans. Please set me aside and magnify Yourself. In Jesus' name.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring What?

Since we became a family 'unplugged' many months ago, our kids have gotten very creative. It especially makes my heart smile when they do things together, like drawing vehicles....
...and reading.
And since this is what we woke up to, I'm sure they'll be playing in it! Oh, Springtime, where art thou????

Friday, March 19, 2010

Older Child Adoption, Part V

I think that's where I left off :) Some thoughts have been rolling around in my mind, but I haven't had time to write them so I'm sort of going to cop out and link to a post on Linny's blog which I agree with. This doesn't just deal with older child adoption but adoption in general and the isolation that is often involved.

Some of you may have incredibly supportive family and friends who 'get it,' and that is awesome! But some of us do not, and we finally come to a place where we must choose to obey God or try to please family or 'fit the mold' of our societal standards.

Last April when our dossier went to China we were waiting for our referral and God shared several messages with me. One was the necessity to always choose Him over man. We can never, nor should we, try to please man over God. It's comforting to have 'skin-on' support in His plans, but that does not always happen. In fact, some may turn completely away from us because we choose to obey. I won't even go into the reasons for this, but the point is that serving Him faithfully may lead to periods of isolation.

Of course, the weeks following confirmed the reason the Lord so clearly spoke this message into my heart when on April 13 He revealed His plans that we adopt an aging-out child. This did not bode well with family, generally.

The isolation comes in the journey and the 'real life' following. There were so many times we were going through horrible trials that I wanted to call family members I love and just cry on their shoulder. Instead, our immediate family grew closer and relied on the Almighty Comforter.

And let's face it, if you have more than two or three kids, nobody wants to invite you over :) We don't get a lot of invitations (except for a few very gracious friends!), but hey, we're a pretty good-sized crowd here! It's true that I can't share our journey with most family members and expect encouragement; in fact, some family would rather we never come around. That saddens my heart, but I am not having a pity party over it because they have no idea what they're missing! Our lives are full. Our vocabulary doesn't include the word 'retirement' (and where is that in the Bible anyway???), but we are surrendered to His plans, whatever that looks like.

We don't choose the Jesus smorgasbord: 'give me a heap of blessing; hold the suffering; let me hang onto that habit (cuz everybody else is doing it); I'll take a little prayer; I'll have some obedience when it fits my schedule.'

We're certainly not ALL THAT; we're just a work in progress, but we have finally come to understand that this life is not at all about us and is ALL about Him.

So our new motto is ~ even if we aren't blessed to have that supportive family, let's BE THAT FAMILY!

And once and for all I will answer the question we always get: Are you done yet?
I don't know; I doubt it; as long as we are living and breathing we are not DONE!

Doctor's Visits, Round I

Yesterday Kaeleb and Kooper had their ENT visit, and I'm happy to say it was better news than we expected! Not as much for Kaeleb ~ his ears are full of hard, flaky wax. His tonsils are very large, but until we remove the wax we don't know if his middle ear is full of fluid which could be contributing to his hearing issues and delayed speech (such technical terms - lol). So ear drops for him and back in two weeks.

Kooper's ears were not as bad and the doctor was able to clean them. His tonsils are small so no problem there. He took a hearing test and has perfect hearing! Dude, gonna have to find a new excuse for ignoring me cranking your MP3 and my computer volume! Doctor prescribed an allergy med and nasal spray for all the stuff in his sinuses and will also see him in two weeks.
He allowed me to take this picture for posting! He's so ticklish even the nasal spray gets him...

My three babies have been battling the crud this week. They've had a cough and fever for much of the week but are getting better. Some spring break!

Next week it's Kinley's cleft surgeon and Kenzie's dentist...and some sense of routine (Oh, how I love routine!!!!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Company Comes...

...Mamas get to act like kids.
...Kids get to act like themselves.
...Girls (and boys) get to plaster on fake smiles and play with Barbies.
...Two Kenzies get to meet!

...Daddies get to take the day off and act like one of the kids play.
...Mamas realize they are not insane ~ the rest of the world maybe, but not us :)
...and at the end of the day, ya' got nothin' left!
We were so blessed to be visited by Jodi and her kiddos. Our two Kenzies are so much alike: shy, outdoorsy, awesome big sisters. Our boys are alike too: rambunctious! And let's not forget the princesses (with attitude)!
I don't think we ever completed a single conversation, but we laughed a lot! We didn't solve the problems of the world...but we tried :)
Jodi and Bryan are in the process to bring home a son from Ethiopia, and they are holding a fundraiser. Check out their blog!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dreaming v. Doing

Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong.

If we are quietly waiting before God and He has said - "Come ye yourselves apart," then that is meditation before God in order to get at the line He wants; but always beware of giving over to mere dreaming when once God has spoken.

Leave Him to be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said.

Dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.
~Oswald Chambers~

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It's Mom...and she's got the camera and Kool-Aid!
Here we come!
You have exactly 10 seconds to take a still shot....

...cuz our trikes are waiting!!!
Hope your weekend is just as joyful!

Look at This!

My friend Stacy and her husband are raising funds to bring home their precious son, Solomon! You won't believe what Stacy and her children have designed for the fundraiser ~ fabulous! Go check 'em out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Adopt a Teen?

I just read an article written by Amy Eldridge of Love Without Boundaries, and I can't help but share about it!

We have read comments such as, "Kids would be better off left in their native country," or "Why would you take a child away from the only 'family' he has ever known?"

And I have to tell ya', there was one day in China after we had both Kooper and Kinley that I wondered the same thing *sigh*. Kinley was completely shut down and Kooper was finding it difficult to keep up the facade of being a well-behaved 13 year old who wanted to come to the USA with his family. For a few short hours I seriously thought my two children might be better off with those they had considered family since shortly after birth. It didn't take me long to realize these were lies from the Enemy because he hates families! After praying and pleading for intercession from others, I realized that God had planned all along to redeem Kooper and Kinley from their brokenness by placing them in our family.

And today Kinley Grace is so well-adjusted that the screaming baby I first held a few months ago is only a memory brought on by looking at photos. Kooper has passed through so many phases over the last few months, I can't even remember all of them. He was once a selfish, distant child with little restraint and no desire to be challenged. Today he is more empathetic, more caring, finally desiring to communicate and s.l.o.w.l.y. accepting challenges. We are all growing!

I'm just going to highlight the bullet points in Amy's article, but I would encourage you to read it for yourself. While every child and every institution is different, our son would not have survived succeeded in China! Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing plans!

1) Many people do not realize the deep and ingrained stigma that an orphaned child often faces in Chinese society.
2) Some people might ask how anyone would know you were an orphan after you left the institution. Couldn't you just keep it quiet?
3) Almost everything in Chinese society revolves around the family, and great reverence is given to one's ancestors and lineage.
4) Many people worry that the older children being adopted don't really want to leave their home country.
5) Another question that is frequently asked is why are we hearing about so many kids about ready to age out now when there were so few over the last ten years?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You Can Help!

My friend Adeye and her husband Anthony are hosting an auction to raise the final $3,000 needed to bring their two precious daughters home. You can check out their amazing on-line auction here. Their family is a testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness, and you can read their story here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Help Bring Drew and His Brother Home!

My friend Mandi and her husband Matt have stepped out in faith! They are awaiting TA for their son Drew and have just been granted permission to bring home
an older boy who ages out May 1! They still need to raise travel funds to bring both boys home quickly. Please check out their blog and be blessed!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


A baptism!
Sleeping babies.
And college kids coming home for the weekend (thank you, David, for updating our 'hands' shot).

And then there's the every day run-of-the-mill Khaos:)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Waiting Rooms

Okay, so they won't all look like this familiar sight, but we are in for a lot of time in the waiting room!

Kaeleb and Kooper have been referred to an ENT and will likely get their tonsils removed soon.

Kinley's cleft consult has been rescheduled for later this month.

Kolton's braces will be coming off soon...

...just in time for two more teenagers to get theirs on. If only I could find something to do - lol!

They Say "It" Will Come

Language, that is. Some days I feel like I'm spinning my wheels when it comes to teaching English. We speak it, but can we teach it?!? I've listed the words that Kooper knows and uses frequently, and they total 39. That's a far cry from the 600 or so we need to carry on conversation.

Maybe my perspective is off, but it seems like four months of R*setta Stone and being surrounded by 9 highly verbal people would produce better results. I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal, so I think I'm going to start keeping a journal of all the words he uses regularly...and we'll celebrate the victories, no matter how small. I don't know when, but "IT" will surely come!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kaeleb's 2nd Gotcha Anniversary!

Oh, Kaeleb Jon, how you have blessed your mommy! I love you, sweet boy. It's hard to believe 24 months ago we were a family of 7 ...and now we're 10. God is so good!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Since we are a few days shy of being home four months (seriously???), we're still learning to mesh as a ginormous growing family and we're being contacted by several families inquiring about older child and duo adoption, we've decided to unlock our travel site. We've experienced so much in the last four months that I can't possibly remember all the transitions we've gone through, especially the three weeks in China with two incredible Gotcha Days!
I shared my heart on the site, including the good, the bad and the ugly, but I pray it will be a blessing and encouragement. If you have a minute, please let us know you stopped by because we love hearing from you!

Impossible, Really?

"Watch how we limit the Lord by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past: I always failed there,and I always shall; consequently we do not ask for what we want. If it is an impossibility, it is the thing we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. God will do the absolutely impossible.

When once we see Jesus, He does the impossible thing as naturally as breathing. Our agony comes through the wilful stupidity of our own heart. We won't believe, we won't cut the shore line, we prefer to worry on."
~Oswald Chambers~

Monday, March 1, 2010

More Progress!

Just a quick post to report that we've seen some amazing things happen this past week!

Kinley is now doling out hugs to almost everyone. She's so much more secure these days! She's saying some things in sentences, and if we ask her where any member of the family is, she points and says, "Right deh."

Kooper is becoming less loud and is learning to relate better to his siblings. He's using more full sentences. Considering we're just shy of four months home, I'm expecting great strides in language the next two months. He's also becoming more obedient and respectful. And he plays a pretty mean game of checkers (and has become a more graceful winner and loser) :)

Thank you, Jesus!

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