Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Prayer request.

This idea came to me yesterday while talking with our social worker...

The area where ZhenAi lives, they aren't known for giving updates during the adoption process.  We would love love love to see a video of our sweet girl.  The idea that came to me...is that perhaps with the knowledge that we are building our house and can easily modify everything to be wheel chair accessible if we knew for sure she needed it to be...but we'd need a video to see how well she walks...and we'd need it quickly.

We are doing wheelchair accessible doors because it's so much more spacious and easier to move furniture but there would be other major modifications to the house plans.

Can you pray with us that this prompts the SWI (social welfare institute) to get us a video our ZhenAi?

Monday, April 27, 2015

The sweetest.

Yesterday we were in Costco with all 10 children and a man came up to us and said "I don't know how to ask this ... but what is your story?"

Oh I love that question.  His beautiful wife and little baby stood nearby and we shared a bit of our story.

We went to eat in the food court of Costco and the sweetest lady came up with her very elderly mother looking on and said "my mother wishes to tell you ... that you win the Mother of the Year award!". She was beaming.  Our children were so impressed there is such an award and want to know if I get a trophy ;)

And the man who looked like he was a little grumpy...who walked up and said "can I just say to you guys...thank you. Thank you for what you have done and what you are doing!" and seeing the looks on our kids' faces.  They just beam.

And the sweet elderly couple who counted to 9 and told us how wonderful we are...(we pointed out #10 who was hiding and they love it).

These sweet comments make my heart smile.

But honestly...taking our 9 year old son on a Mommy date and having him say to me "mommy...you are awesome. You know that...?" that one...that one takes all.

So my advice...speak life. Speak kindness and life into the people you know and the people you don't know.

Yes.  Speak life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paperwork and more.

Paperwork and more paperwork.

This time I promised myself I'd be very organized. Who was I kidding?

Yesterday we had Dean's physical appointment.  Today we both have to go for bloodwork to show we are in good health to adopt.  Monday we have our social worker coming for 5 hours for our home study.

I'm still waiting on child abuse clearances from every place we've ever lived since we were both 18.

Dean has finished the ENORMOUS project of pages and pages and pages talking about his entire life starting from childhood.

Meanwhile we start on our house next week.  Yes, there is that much going on in our life.

Someone commented on the GOFUNDME site that she was so taken back that we would raise money to bring home another child instead of raising money to build our house.  That made me laugh. Then cry.


Honestly if you feel led to support us in building our house, go right ahead. :)  But really...? Rescuing a beautiful child and giving her a forever family to love and nurture her...seems trivial...? For that...I am sorry.  I am sorry for any and all that feel that way.  I would never think of asking for financial help to build our house.  We have worked hard to prepare for this day and building a new house.  Adopting another child wasn't in our plans.

And yet...all along she was definitely in God's plans. We can see His fingerprints all over this story and it's only begun.

The questions are frequent.

How do you feel about this all?

Are you excited?

Do you think #11 is the last one?

Just how many children will you have?

When will you ever stop?

How big will your house be?

What in the world do you drive?

You must have the patience of Job~!


I get it. I do. I see how this looks from the outside.  All I hope is that you take a moment to truly read our story.  See it for what it really is.

Since #7 was the last one...and number 9 was the last one...and definitely number 10...of course I think #11 is the last one :) We would be fools to not see God calling us where we are.  This is HIS story.

Our house will be plenty big. We don't drive a bus.  We drive a beautiful 15 passenger van.

Yes we love children. Yes we are kind of patient people. But just like you ... it's all a choice.  We choose every single day our attitudes.  Patience. Love.  Grace.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oh how He loves...!

The mountain of paperwork on my desk.  The sticky notes all over stacks of it reminding me what is what and where it's going..and what I'm missing...and where I can find it...and what needs to be notarized...and what is just questions ... and...

And in the moment that I lean back in my chair and take a deep breath...I hear ... "Oh how He loves us...".  But instantly my mind switches 'us" to 'her'.  He loves her.  And us.  He loves us.

And yes we stepped out in ridiculous faith...and He meets us here.  Waiting here for us.

All the wonders and beautiful things He's showing us and we've only begun.  My mind cannot even comprehend a small little fundraiser raising now over $8600 in a few days.  It's like the Janice on the inside is full of peace.

When you know you are exactly where you were called.

We followed Him here.  We simply...followed Jesus here.  This is where He goes. To the broken. To the lonely. To the orphan.  To the hurting.  The needy.  The lost.  This is where He goes.  And He's calling us there.

Follow me.  The hardest leap was just opening our hearts and saying "yes".

Yes, Lord...there. I'll follow you there.

And oh...oh how He loves.  He loves us.

ZhenAi.  Treasured Love.  He loves you.

Each precious one in our family. Oh how He loves you.

You.  Your story.  He's calling you to just trust Him.

Oh...oh...how He loves you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beautiful little people.

It's been a busy few days.  Finishing the auction isn't for the faint of heart. I locked myself into a room to finish it...and was there over 3 hours!

Yesterday, at the end of the day, I sat on the couch rather 'done'.  Around the corner came all these little faces of pure joy. You know ... when you know something is up? :)

Tirzah, 11, hands me a card. They are all SO excited.

This is what it was:

Each one of the older kids had paid $1 to give Mommy a gift card of $6.  They work hard for their money. No allowances here :) We go Dave Ramsay style and money is earned. They can earn quite a bit...if they work for it.  But spending is a big deal...b/c we pay them 50% interest on all money they save in the bank!  

Tirzah said "Mommy you work so hard, you deserve it!" 

And my heart smiles. I love these beautiful little people.  Parenting is hard, long, consistent work...but it has to be the most rewarding work ever.  

Raising beautiful little hearts that know how to be thankful in all the little things. Including having a hard working Mommy and Daddy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thank YOU!

Last week I did an adoption fundraiser. It was an auction and you guys...simply amaze me.  Everything was so generously donated and the numbers are still coming in.  So many of you didn't win anything ... but you donated anyway.  The most beautiful thing is watching people fully buy in to what it's all about. It's not about getting a deal...it's about bringing a precious girl to her family.

So many of you have chosen to be a part of her story. This sweet little girl...on the other side of the world...who has no idea the love that's waiting for her. This girl...is blessed to have YOU.  Yes YOU...in her life.

Many of you may never meet her ... but you have chosen to be a part of her story.  A very...very...integral part of her story.

Every one of you that came and even gave $5...from our heart...thank you!  That $5 inspired others to give $5...and you started a movement.

Never ever be afraid to give a little.  Dean and I learned a long time ago...the power of 1.  And the power of 5.  And definitely 10.  Because if everyone gave 10...imagine.

I'll update the total when it's in but for now...thank you. Thank you for spreading the word. Thank you for loving ZhenAi.  Yes...YOU.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Really...really...exciting news!

We are starting on our house!  Ok I know. You were expecting adoption news ... which there won't be for a few weeks. But this is big news for all of us.

We have lived in our rental house now for one year.  The amazing news...? We made it! :) We aren't done yet but the end is in sight.

We met with the builder and we've been getting bids ever since! The well is scheduled to start on the 27th of this month!

I've been in the land of "in between" for a long time.  Our house is cute.  Clean. Nice neighborhood. It's just that it's...2100 square feet.  And ... we are twelve.  And...yah.  You know.

We have the garage turned into our office and school room.  I was on a business call a few days ago and jumped as I heard a mouse in the garage! Seriously! ahhh!

And...then I sat there dreaming.  Dreaming of our new house.

So thankful for this next step in our lives.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Five years.

It's been five years.

 Five years ago these 2 little boys were officially adopted in Zambia, Africa. They were given new names...new identities...and really...a whole new life.

Oh I wouldn't trade those five years for anything.  There were very hard days. Lots of adjustments.  Lots of love.  I hear at least once every several weeks how very thankful they are that God chose them...and that God chose us.  To be a family.  Zunduka says "I'm so glad you obeyed God when He asked you to adopt us".  Chazano wrote me a letter in school the other day.  It was part of his school work.  At the end of the day when I was correcting his work...I sat there with tears.

 I'll write his letter here. There are so many of you that need the hope of '5 years later'.  We, as parents, but especially as adoptive parents...get stuck in the here and now. The hard of today. That we can't see the transformations happening.  It's like physical growth.  You can't see it happening but all of a sudden you look back and see how big your baby has gotten.  Just tonight I pulled up photos of Nazara. From just 6 months ago. And I can't believe it. How has that happened right before our eyes...? And we missed it.  We were so in the moment...that we missed seeing her grow.

If you have recently adopted...you know what I mean.

You have counted down for this day for so long. Your child is finally home. Safe.  Where they belong.

And you...you expected peace.  Love.  To be flooded with mushy, gushy emotions from sun up to sun down.

But your reality...well...it's different.

It's hard.

There's language barriers.  That's...a big deal.  It takes time. But you want it fixed...today.

There's attachment.  Oh. Yah...that.  That thing that either gets so blown out of proportion that we scare every potential adoptive parent away...or gets so under-mentioned that some of us are left with our heads spinning and our hearts completely confused.  Attachment.  I recently read a quote that I loved.  Someone said "every single adoption today...no matter where you adopt from...no matter the age...the health...every adoption is special needs. They all come with attachment issues." And oh...the truth of that.

Food issues.  Either refusal to eat or stealing and hoarding food.  We weren't prepared for that.  For the fact that for three years post adoption...we never served the bowls of food on the table.  We pre-plated the food.  We found that if they saw the extra food...they swallowed their food whole to get more.  They were trained that way.  No...no one taught them that.  They just learned it.  Survival.  When you see food...eat all you can. Because you don't know when you will see it again.

Fears.  Oh the fears.  The day I went into the hospital to have Izrael...and Chazano and Zunduka sat in the back yard and had tear stains down their face all day. They wouldn't talk. That wouldn't play. They just silently cried. Years later...as they opened up...they told us they thought I was going to die.  When people go to the hospital in Africa...they are really really sick.

The attachment.  Yes I'm talking about this again because it surfaces over and over.  When we went to China for 23 days in 2012...we returned to a sobbing Chazano in the airport. As in...really, loudy...sobbing. We took him aside and he quickly said "I don't want you to come home...this is my new family!!".  He then got in the back of the van and sobbed all the way home. Once we got home...we couldn't find Chazano.  Now ... we are grossly sleep deprived. A 16 hour layover. I'm puking my guts up pregnant with Nazara. Taizi and Zihao are still totally traumatized...and Chazano...who has been adopted for 3 years...is in a fetal position hiding in his room.  When I go in he is sobbing. Wailing.  "I have a new family now!!! Why did you come back? I don't understand!!".  Talk about a lump in your throat.  Have we loved for 3 years...for this...? But no...we didn't go there. We just loved him through it.  And about a year later he came to me at bedtime and said something so personal.  He was so vulnerable in that moment.  He was teary and said "Mommy...? Remember that time you came home from China and I cried and cried and cried and didn't want you home? I wanted to tell you I'm sorry for that.  I'm really sorry.  That must have made you sad.  I wanted to tell you the truth.  The truth is ... every night that you were gone...I'd look out the window and see the moon and the stars and I'd think 'what if they never come home?'. 'What if their plane crashes?'.  'What if I never see them again?'.  And just in case that happened...because I was so scared...I started to pretend this was my new family.  I'm really sorry Mommy."   Well...woah.  This was such a vulnerable moment.  My heart hurt for Chazano.  So many fears. So many abandonment issues.  So scared.

The spiritual baggage.  Yes. Sorry if that offends you.  But woah.  There were crazy things. Crazy things.  From all the kids screaming at the same time in the middle of the night in all different rooms...where Dean and I would RUN down the hallway with goosebumps up and down our necks just praying out loud for whatever was in our house to leave. Now.     To my sweet boy, Zunduka having the same "dream without being asleep every single night".  You know. That crazy night I blogged about around a year and a half ago...? That night where all the kids were sleeping in our master bedroom (it was massive) as a sleepover and Zunduka sat up in the middle of the night screaming the loudest I had ever heard him. SCREAMING.  He was wide awake and he was seeing something. He kept saying "the hand...the hand!!!" and pointing to it right in front of his face.  I will never ever ever ever forget that night.  How instantly I jumped out of bed and I knew. I knew what was happening. I could feel it in the room. It was dark. It was heavy. And it was real.  I instantly started praying out loud.  Dean jumped up right behind me and was doing the same. We grabbed him and his entire body was shaking. He was terrified.  As we brought him into bed with us we read the Bible out loud and play worship music on the phone.  But it wasn't over.  No. We are all wide awake just laying silently when Zunduka screams again that it was right over my head.  We jumped up and started praying and commanding it to leave.  And truly...honestly...it left. We felt it leave.  He has told us since that he has seen that hand for YEARS. Years.  We just didn't know.  Heartbreaking.

In the days...the nights...the moments...we were just moment by moment. Day by day.  We couldn't see five years later...then.

But today...it's been five years.  Five years...that have changed us for the better.

Five years of Grace.  Five years of learning how to love...without conditions.  Five years of moments of beauty. Sometimes they were small...but they were always there.  Grace. Often given in the form of a gift...to simply get through another day.  Always Grace.

And this is the letter that Chazano wrote me in school.  I hope this brings hope to your heart.  My advice...? Just keep loving.  Love them through all the hard.  The more they fight it...they more you need to love.  Because here we are today...five years later...and it was all worth it.

Dear Mommy,

Thank you for adopting me and Zunduka.  I am so glad you adopted us.  Because of you, I know Jesus.  I'm so happy that you love Jesus too. 

Thank you,



April 4, 2010