Monday, October 31, 2011

At The Airport!

At the airport with Sam! I'm a bit nervous! Praying my way through every moment!

Sam is doing great but he doesn't quite understand all that is going on.

Our oldest son Matt flew in for JOhnny's game! Johnny's team won and they are going to the State Championship game!! So excited!!

The game is on Thursday- Sam and I will miss it but we will be there in spirit! Hoping to get lots of texts and updates maybe even find it on the computer!?! It's a long shot!

Matt helped Sam and I in the airport- it was so comforting to have him with us! He has now left on a different plane and Sam and I are waiting at our gate.

Okay God - We are ready!!

Let's do this!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Calling... Part 2

Adopting Anna was the most incredible experience. I savored every minute in China- it was such precious time with our new little treasure. We could see God everywhere and I considered it nothing short of a God miracle- after all, I was not the youngest person on the block and yet I was holding a beautiful child that was ours!

Once we arrived home all the older children instantly fell in love with her! 

Anna and I would visit my mother and when we didn't show up we would get calls from her "Where's my little girl- I miss her!" Oh, I mean you too, Jeanie but where is Anna, it's been too long, come and visit me!" (we had only missed a couple days)

We started the adoption process again, 6 months later. We knew we wanted to adopt two children but now something was different. I felt called to adopt an older child. Something we had said we would never do...
The stories were terrible and I didn't want to "ruin" our family. Hubby and I talked about it and he was feeling the same way BUT we needed more time and more prayer.

The new listing of kids finally arrived at our agency and there was no one we felt was ours... well, maybe a few possibilities??

One little girl was 7 1/2 yrs old, she was adorable but she was "old" and we had many fears, we weren't ready to go down that road, yet...

When I showed Hubby the pic of that little girl, he answered right away- "Yes, lets go for it"! I was shocked and immediately asked for her referral. Our agency wasn't so sure about it. That wasn't the original plan we had told them we wanted to do, she changed the birth order (kind of) and they knew we had not read or researched older child adoption. Somehow God worked through me- I am not quick to respond- but this time, I was.... and they were not my words, they were HIS. Two hours later we had her referral!

It was December and I was driving home from our FCC playgroup- everything inside of me said "No, don't do it- it's not sensible, it is not for us, don't take chances... but I could feel God saying "trust ME", don't worry, don't listen to others, only listen to ME!

I went home and wrote an email declining the referral, I pushed send... and my brand new apple laptop wouldn't send it... I pushed send again... nothing... I closed my laptop and I new what was happening...

Oh MY WORD Lord... really??? I talked to hubby that evening and we rewrote the email- this time we accepted the referral. Thank you God! I can't imagine her not being our daughter! Oh, thank you, thank you, dear Lord!

My Mom was excited about our next adoption. She loved seeing pictures of Sarah and hoped that she would someday get to meet her. That did not happen because my sweet Mom passed away on April 26th as we were in the beginning of our adoption process. I know she would have absolutely adored Sarah. I believe she is still experiencing this incredible journey with us but she just has a little different view!

Our son Mark graduated from high school in early June. The graduation speaker was Bishop H*rry Flynn. His speech was incredible. He spoke about serving the Lord. He said find your passion that is in line with the Lord's desires and go for it. We knew God was once again talking to us. It was so clear, so right, so moving.

So why two children? Who decided we should adopt 2 children? Us or HIM? Hmmmmm, that would be us that decided that...
We realized that after all, we have so enjoyed parenting and there are so many children that need a home.
God was calling us to serve Him without our self imposed restrictions. He was calling us to serve him under HIS terms, not ours!

So what is the magic number, God?? No answer... We are still asking... and still... no answer...

Oh My... It looks like we need to have a part 3! 
And it will most like have to be from Cincinnati!
Because tomorrow I pack...
 Johnny's team won their game last Thursday so they play on Monday at 8:00 am!
 And we are leaving on a jet plane to Cincy right after the game!! 

Please pray for us and for Sam's surgery!
I am amazed at God- I am feeling such peace about this excursion to Cincy and about Sam's surgery!
He is such an incredible kid! He is so excited to "get fixed". He does not know all that it entails BUT he knows that he will be like the other kids and "going" like them! 

Yes, we have a long road ahead of us BUT anything is possible with GOD!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Calling...

We have had many people ask us about this... about our calling...about our adoptions. 

Is it a calling?

Why so many?

Why so fast?

Why two at a time?

Isn't this hard to afford?

It's time to answer some questions!

To us, this is a "CALLING".

I have said this before but it happened in such a way that we knew this is what we were to do.

We went through a very tough time about 10 years ago- emotionally and financially. We lost 3 of our parents in 2 years, we over extended ourselves financially and made many bad choices. In many ways we were lost. 

Truthfully God broke us...
I had always said that I would NEVER look back and thank him for that time. Yes, it was something we had to go through but... thank him? No way!

We had many dreams and they were all taken away from us. We were left with what we thought at that time was NOTHING...

We couldn't have been more WRONG!

God took away our pride, our earthly values, our self esteem that was wrapped up with earthly desires.
Over and over again he HUMBLED us... I didn't want to be humbled... to me it was embarrassing, humiliating and degrading.

Our heads were spinning, we were lost, we thought we had nothing left...

We finally, after quite a fight... gave up...
We couldn't do it anymore. There was nothing left.

I gave up first and I  GAVE EVERYTHING I HAD, TO HIM. In other words I came to him with nothing, nothing at all. I finally realized I wasn't in control. 

Do you know what HE did?

He loved me just as I was, He picked me up and piece by piece He began to put me back together again. 

I didn't know what hubby would do BUT he did the same thing. I was very thankful for that... Slowly he fixed us. 

We liked what what God had done. It felt good! We were free from the chains of the world.
We had different mottos that we lived by-
Love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spend each day doing something good. (Stay away from the negative)
Every day work hard for HIM.
Be nice to each other everyday because ya never know who's not going to be nice to you that day.
We aren't in control, HE is!
Be kind and helpful to others.
Be joyful!

About this time we were broke! Really broke but we were happy!
God blessed me, a previous stay at home Mom with a great job as a school nurse at a Christian school!
Hubby was starting a business adventure... that although didn't pay him anything at first, looked promising!
Our children were doing good and had actually made the adjustments and ridden out the storm quite well (praise God)!

We began to wonder? What did God have in store for us? We knew he had a plan BUT what was it? 

We loved being parents and we did think about adoption. But it was just a thought. We had heard so many "not so good" stories...

God continued to bless us... we were happier than ever. We knew he wasn't doing this so we could once again go back to the way we were. We knew we had a responsibility to serve him and to do "His Will" with  "His Blessings". 

Nothing was truly ours. We came into this world with nothing, we will leave with nothing and we deserved nothing.

So... one day we were in church and it came to me. It was crystal clear what he wanted us to do!
I whispered to hubby "I have to tell you something after church" and he looked at me and said... "I know what your going to say to me!"

And he did!

That was the beginning of "Our Calling"!

We started out planning to adopt healthy children but that was not his choice for us. He calmed our fears regarding special needs and continued to nudge us forward, down the adoption path! Of course our special needs list was small- we just didn't think we could handle anything too difficult.

We had it in our head that we would adopt 2 young little girls probably with cleft lip/cleft palate.

But of course, we all know who the author of this story is... and once again, it was not us!

Every step of the way has been orchestrated by Him. Every twist and turn is HIS. Every child that has entered our home has been Chosen By Him.

It has been quite a ride!! 

So... I haven't answered very many of the questions? It looks like there is a definite need for a part 2!
So stay tuned!

And YES, we do look back now and "Thank Him".


For He so loved us that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believeth in him will not perish but have everlasting life!
John 3:16 (Thank you Susan for correcting me! I didn't take the time to look it up!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Have An Issue...

Well, okay... I have many issues BUT I'm only fessing up to this one right now!

I LOVE to buy jammies for children!
I don't know what it is but they are just so cute and cuddly and precious and and...
I just can't help myself!

I think we have some serious PJ models here!

I like them best from Targuey! That's code for "you know where"!
That's also what we used to call it back in "the day"!
I'd hate to have someone go**gle it and end up here, at my lil ol' blog!

 I guess my models are getting a little tired of posing!

I have bought jammies for Abby and Luke AND thoroughly enjoyed it! Sammy and Luke have many matching jammies! They even have a pair with a cape on it- REALLY, they do! 

Abby and Anna have well, A LOT of jammies since they wear the same size! 

Can't wait to see our two new treasures in their jammies!!

Oh and BTW our article 5 has been picked up! Next is our TA!!! WoooooHoooooo!!!
Come on baby!!
Come to Momma!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ava's VERY Good Day and VERY Bad Day!

Ava came to us like many orphans with a very very short haircut. I am sure it was easy to maintain when there were many children, cooler in the heat and bug free! She still looked adorable but wanted desperately to grow it out!

We were all so excited for her to get her first real girlie haircut!
I really didn't know what they were going to do but I knew it was time to get the shagginess trimmed up!

She loved the whole process! For her it was pampering at it's best!!

And Oh My, we were not disappointed with the results!
She is such a sweet little girl!

And adorable!

BUT then the story changes... Ava went to her Mommy with a loose tooth...
A very very loose and hanging tooth.
The Mommy- I don't know who this woman is ;-)
Decided it should come out! So she, oh. so. gently. pulled it! 
And whoola, the tooth was out!

Which made Ava- very very very mad!
She never wanted to lose her tooth... E.V.E.R!
In fact she had previously announced to the whole family that "said tooth", was going nowhere!

If you look closely you can see the steam coming out of her ears!

There were many tears...

It took a lot of conversation and many hugs and kisses for Ava to forgive her mother!

BUT then the nighttime came and everyone was so excited for the tooth fairy- Lil miss Ava forgot all about being mad at her Momma!!

Both Anna and Ava had teeth to put under the pillow!
It was a very exciting night!

They had it all planned out!! Sam was going to stay up all night and catch the tooth fairy!
He is a very sneaky kind of guy!

And very cute, too!
He failed... sleep overcame him...
 and well once again the very beautiful and wise tooth fairy got away ;-)

There she is with her missing tooth! She has already come to her mean ol' Mom once again with 2 more loose teeth!!
Better run Ava- you know what I do with loose teeth!

The tooth fairy did arrive (thank goodness we remembered this time)! And everyone was very happy with their earnings!! $2- all to themselves!!
Anna's teeth were from her surgery!

She forgot to tell her Momma that her teeth had been under her pillow for a week... and couldn't figure out why that silly tooth fairy didn't show up! Hmmmm?

Then they asked me- "What does the tooth fairy do with the teeth?"


Hello, can ya help me out here!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On to the STATE TOURNAMENT and Mr. S*ccer!!

Oh My! Johnny's high school team won the sections!

Hubby and I have watched many soccer games and our team seems to lose this game every year ;-(

BUT this year was different and we are doing the Happy Dance!

Johnny made the "All State Team"! Along with 3 other teammates!

BUT, then we were and he was surprised!

Our Little Boy- was named "Mr. S*ccer"!

He is carrying a very large trophy that he gets to have at home for a short while and then it will go to his school!

He is very blessed to have some awesome friends and teammates!

It just so happened that his team was there because they won the sections!
This is truly a great group of kids!!

We hope they go "all the way" and win the state tournament!

Once we got home the little children got to enjoy the very large trophy!

They are very proud of their big brother!!

And well- I went to the banquet feeling like I was lookin... pretty good! Oh yea!
And I had my nylon socks on and was dressed "nice casual"!
Except of course the nylon socks kept falling down which made me feel like I was back in grade school when my knee highs would always fall down!
Some things n.e.v.e.r change!

And "IF" you happen to be a fan in the stands you might just get malled by some very cute little kids!
Along with some karate moves and a headlock!
FYI- there is a candy jar AND the kids love to have many treats from it!!

Needless to say everyone loves going to go the games!
Sometimes we get a sitter and enjoy the games w/o the kids- usually it's because it is cold, dark and late.

Thank you Jesus for this time -
 to enjoy watching Johnny play soccer
to be with the kids in the stands
and for the candy jar!

Now- Let's go Red Knights!!
(we'll let you know what happens!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Had A Dream Last Night-

It was so clear, so wonderful, so real!

It wasn't a regular dream, it was a God dream... it was a gift! A confirmation that His Will, will be done!

I was holding Luke and felt such joy! He was all smiles and as happy as can be! 
He was active and moving all around!
It was so incredible!

I felt such deep, deep love and happiness!

My heart was so at peace. It was as it should be- our dear boy will be coming home soon!

We are so grateful to God to bring him home AND to bring home his sweet sister Abby!

AND then of course I woke up to - Mom? Mom?
Hi Sarah!
Mom, it's 8:00 
oops! Yes, it is! oops!

It just happened to be one of those dream that you just don't want to end!!

8am... or not!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things are moving along... fast!

Things seem to be happening fast!
It's a little scary and yet it's a good thing!

Anna is healing up nicely- it is still red and has some scar tissue but each day it is looking better! She has already been cleared for all activities- karate, dance and gymnastics!

(this was taken only 6 days after surgery- it looks much better now!)

Sam and I leave for Cincy 2 weeks from today! We will be gone for 5-6 days. I will be staying in the hospital with him during that time so if you are in the area and would like to visit us- we would love it and will do what we can to have it work out! Of course it does depend on how he is doing but a short break at the coffee shop would be heavenly! Please email me (email address is on the side bar!) We go back for 3-4 days in mid November.

We have received our I800 approval and our NVC letter! Our Art 5 will be picked up on October 25th!

Then we wait for our TA! Which could arrive anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Obviously we are hoping for the 2 week wait!!

This would mean we would leave for China in the end of November! 
Gulp! That's only 6 weeks away! Oh my we have quite a list of things to get done before then!

I have been moving all the clothes around into the right closets. In Mn we have distinct seasons and as we approach winter there is no need to have summer clothes in your closet(or sadly anywhere nearby) especially when you share a closet with 2 other sisters! So we are trying clothes on, moving them around from child to child because my goodness these children have grown!

Sarah, Emma and Ellie are now sharing a room and a closet! Ava, Abby and Anna will be sharing a closet. Sam and Luke will share a closet but will be sleeping with Ava, Abby and Anna in the beginning because as Sam said "I would be scared"! 

Good sleep habits are so important for all of us, especially for us not so young parents! Of course if anyone is having trouble sleeping they are welcome to join Babba and Momma! FYI Babba snores big time and Momma... well, I've never heard a peep outta her ;-)

The boys will move to their room when they are ready!!

We are so excited to go to China and get Abby and Luke!! I have made all their Dr appts for when we arrive home.

Abby will be going to the hematologist/oncologist group here in town. After receiving the records they immediately scheduled her with the oncologist. I was surprised- I shouldn't be but I was...
Abby was diagnosed with MDS-RAS but that is a disease that is common among 60 yr old men NOT 5 yr old Asian girls...
On the flip side Ch*na seems to be correct with many of their diagnosis?
So we will take it one day at a time and do all that we can to help our sweet little girl!!

When we decided to adopt Abby- God impressed upon our hearts "she needs to come home". We were already smitten with her so when we both separately came to that conclusion we new we had/ wanted to bring her home!! Now the time is so close! Praise God she will come home, her diagnosis will be confirmed and she will get the help she needs!

Within 6 weeks we will leave for China to get this dear little boy that has waited so long for his forever family. Two years ago I heard God say to me "He is your son"! It was such a shock but so very clear! We put our faith and trust in HIM. Knowing that if it was meant to be- it would be! I am in awe that we are finally nearing the time that it all will come true!  Praising HIM!! To us this is nothing short of a miracle! God's promise will soon be fulfilled!

There is so much to do at home and yet there is nothing that is more important than going to China to get our dear children!! 

(Well ya- going to Cincy, too and... and... and...)

So, so, so THANKFUL to GOD!

New Picture for the Blog!

I just changed our blog picture!
It has become impossible to get everyone together, to get a picture  and to get them smiling at the same time.
Our last family pic was during Sam's birthday- August 25th!
Matt and Caitlin were in Colorado and Abby and Luke are waiting for us in China.

Pic #1 below

Everyone did their best BUT taking family pics can be a painful process!

Pic #2 below

I am famous for saying "Just one more"!
And almost every time I say it... I'm lying!

Pic #3 below

They are so on to me and start making faces and stop smiling...
Which makes the process even longer!

Pic #4 below

I need to be thankful for the pics we got!

Pic # 5 below

Billy is a trouble maker!
The little lose interest...

Pic# 6 below

The others boys like to join in the fun...
While Mom goes crazy!

Pic #7 below

The photographer is JOhnny's friend!
He thinks we're crazy! And funny and a little odd!
But he got a steak dinner out of it so he's okay!

Pic #8 below

Things are certainly beginning to fall apart!
I'm in mid sentence telling everyone...
Just one more!

Pic #9 below

We've lost big brother Mark...

Pic #10 below

Oh shame on all of you big kids!

Let me know if you have a favorite... and don't pick #10!!

We hope to photo shop in the missing people BUT we will see if we have time to get that done!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What do ya think and a common occurrence at our house?!

As I write this Emma is doing my hair!
Life is good! 
I love it when the kids comb my hair!

Today Emma's gymnastic teacher told me it was not working having her in the class.
She is not able to keep up and do what the teacher asks.
I have A LOT of feelings about this. Not sure if I should accept it or fight back?
Not sure what is in her best interest?
She loves doing what the other kids do but it is obvious she cannot really do what they do...
Need a little more time to pray and contemplate...
Feel free to give me your opinion.

It seems that we are always having a birthday around here!
And this time is was my baby boy's birthday!

No, not Sam...
No, not Luke...
It's Johnny!
He turned 18... ouch! 18, really?
Where did the time go?

Honestly we just have so much fun when we are all together!
Sometimes we are all chatting and other times we break off into little groups and read stories, play on the computer, help in the kitchen, etc!
It's all good!

Once again it thrills me to have this crew together!
Littles and bigs!
We were missing our two Colorado boys ;-(

With temps in the 70's and 80's we decided to barbecue!
Dad had lots of helpers!

After Dinner it was time for the "cake picture"
Thank you Jesus!!

And just as Johnny inhaled to blow out HIS candles!

Everyone else beat him!
By the time Johnny tried to blow them out... the job was done!
He thought it was hysterical!

HaPpY 18tH bIrThDaY

And I'll end this with another Thank YOU Jesus!