Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Update on Mia!

BUT, not really...

 because her measurements show she has shrunk 6cm...

and the pictures are from 2010.

To be honest we are thrilled to have these pictures of her from a couple years ago.
All of our children treasure pictures of themselves when they were younger.

She was 8-9 yrs old in these pics.

I hope we are able to get even younger ones than this... 
and recent ones!

I guess while in the adoption process you don't get to pick and choose- you just take what you get!

Once she's home we will be taking plenty of pictures!

We also sent some question!

Mia is smaller than most of the children her age. She is under the 3% in height and weight. We think she is maybe a little bigger than Ava... Ava is 6 yr old, she will be 7 in June. Mia is 10.5... 11 in mid October.
We will be scheduling a visit to the endocrinologist once we are home! It is probably too late to be able to do much for her now but we will give it a try!

She speaks clearly (yay, no speech for this one, hopefully!)
Her Chinese is very good and she knows a few English words!

She is an average student but she learns very fast.
She likes to study Chinese and her favorite activity is dance.
She loves to play with other children. 
That is a good thing, considering the family she is coming home to!

In the pictures it looks like she is sporting some new front teeth!
They said she still had 13 baby teeth-
Hello, unreliable and forgetful tooth fairy!
(that would be me!)

They gave us the name of her best friend!

We look forward to learning more about our new daughter!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Conquering the Beast!

The beast, my friends are the seasonal clothes...

This is a mere fraction of the clothes we have to go through...

Hubby walked upstairs,
He took one look at all the piles,
and said...
"now this is the dark side of adoption..."
"God Bless you honey!"

He asked if there was anything he could do to help?

"Just make a walkway dear!"

With 6 girls and 2 boys there are so many clothes to go through...

four seasons

8 growing children


There is not enough room in the closets to keep all the clothes in there.

So I have to put the off season clothes in boxes under the beds or down in the storage room.

I need to do this twice a year...

Does anyone have any better ideas on how to handle this?

We did find 3 boxes of clothes downstairs for Ava!
She was thrilled and the others were a bit jealous.
She got 5 semi new jammies, endless skirts and tops and enough shorts to last her through the summer!
In fact now she has more summer clothes than there are summer days in MN!

Next year Anna and Abby will have plenty to wear!

And so will...

Oh, I think I will stop there!


Sunday, May 27, 2012


50 Birthday wishes! 
Gals, you out did yourself- THANK YOU!!

You definitely made my day!

Along with this crew!

The weather held out and we were able to go boating!

All of the  children we so excited!!
Especially Abby and Luke- it was their first time on a boat!

Emma volunteered to wear the not as pretty life vest- thank you Emma!
We will get another pretty one soon!

Daddy went fast and all the children giggled and held on tight!

There was a lot of seat switching going on!

We had snacks on the boat!

It was such a delightful outing with the children!

These two newbies are doing so well! I am amazed!
We serve an incredible God!
Abby is beginning to learn her colors and numbers 1-5.  Her fine motor skills are greatly improving!
Luke is running around, climbing and jumping on the tramp now!
He is as smart as can be and he has a great sense of humor.
They are both adorable!

Our blessings are abundant as you can see!

They are both so cute and have found their place in the family!

We went boated to the Fletchers for lunch!
It is a fun restaurant on the lake!

It was the first time the children have been there!

I was a little nervous as the children walked along the dock to the boat.
The other people eating lunch were watching them for entertainment.
I know they expected at least one of them if not more... to fall in the water!

We are always getting questions like-
 What is a dock?
What is a...
They often ask the simplest question, that we take for granted.

I had a very happy birthday!
And a delightful day!
All the big kids that couldn't join us called with birthday wishes!
I miss them and it was so good to hear from them!

Thank you Jesus for a great day and so many blessings!


thank you for your birthday wishes!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's My Birthday!

I know it's completely shameless.
It's like I'm asking for birthday wishes- how embarrassing


I am!

Embarrassing and asking!

  Waking up tomorrow morning to birthday wishes could really make my day!

Good weather so we could do something fun would really be nice too!

I wish we could have birthdays without turning a year older

(I received 50 Happy Birthday Wishes in the comment section! 
Thank you!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Unexpected Journey

When God blessed us with Emma he took us on a journey we never expected to be on.

It is a journey that we do not fully understand and probably will not fully understand...

until HE allows us to understand.

So many parenting decisions that we make for the other children do not apply or are not the correct ones in regards to Emma.

At times I have felt lost in this journey.
Going from Dr to Dr...
each one sends us on our merry way-
without any answers or any direction.

Today we were at the allergist.

Emma often scratches herself until she bleeds.
Her torso is badly scared and when the Dr saw her back he gasped.

He then chose to do the allergy testing on her arms. It only showed a minor allergy to dust. Since Emma mainly scratches at night we will cover her mattress and pillow with special covers.

It still does not explain the severity of her itching...

I had thought that we were going to get concrete answers at the allergist and we would then have a plan to help Emma stop scratching and hopefully allow her body to heal.

My heart sinks when I bathe her and see all the damage done to her beautiful body.

Next is the dermatologist...

I am not feeling hopeful.
I no longer think that a Dr will have a light bulb moment and give me insight into Emma's situation. Or that Emma will be healed, or even helped.

I think that this is not a medical journey.

I think that it is a God journey. God has made us Emma's parents for a reason. I think it is a journey he wants to take us on.

Sometime I fight the "journey"- it requires so much patience, so little progress and so many unanswered questions.
Even when I try to "fix" the situation or think I have found the answer.
It doesn't end up that way.

I believe that Emma is the ultimate "hurt child" and then toss in a very low IQ and it becomes a journey no Dr has ever been on.


There is ONE that can help.

It's God...

He can give me the patience that I need, the answered prayers, the deep love that I need to be on this journey.
Don't misunderstand me- I do love Emma. BUT this journey takes more than my love... it takes love so deep that is beyond me.

I need to rest in HIS peace.

One of the miracles of adoption has been the progress the children have made once they are home.
Progress for Emma has been slow...very, very slow but it also tells me I need to use a different scale for Emma and celebrate the little things.

When Emma stopped doing Karate- some commented on how sad they were for her.

Do not be sad for Emma because Karate means nothing to her, no activity means that much to her.

BUT what really means a lot to her is

running errands with her DADDY
SUCCESS at her level

Do you see how happy she is in the pictures I post. That is where she is happiest and most comfortable- at home with her family!  I am thankful that she has found this within our ever growing family. I bet Emma has never been loved by so many people in her whole life.
The circle is growing sweet girl! And although it is hard for her at first when a new member joins our family, she adjusts quickly.

God is causing me to be even more dependent on HIM.

I'm thinking that's the way HE wants it!

And it is challenging for this "let me take things into my own hands" kinds girl!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Love How They Play!

The children have so much fun together!
As the Momma, it is such a joy to see!
 They are all smiles and giggles!

Yes, we have plenty of tattling and some tears but most of the time they play so well together!
Sometimes one will play alone or two will go off together and play. 
Their is always a friend... a sibling to hang out with!

It brings us so much joy to see how well they are doing!

 One child is not left out because they have a cleft lip, or learning is hard for them or they still wear pull ups or their diagnosis is scary - they are all equal on the playing field!

Praise God for such blessings!

We are excited for Mia to join this crew and praying to God for direction regarding a possible second child!?

I feel like Mia, who will come home at 11 yrs old will have a chance to regain part of her childhood once she is home.

We did get an update and will post about it soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Busy, but in a good way!

May always seems to be a busy month!
This year it is busier than ever for our family!

Katie and I are entrenched in wedding plans! Praise God they are all going well!
There are so many details in planning a wedding and then when we add in 8 wonderful little children...
it makes it even that much more challenging!

Yes, I am aware of my exclamation marks! And, if I wasn't my dear Kate would point them out!

We picked up Anna, Ava and Abby's dresses- they were adorable! Still waiting on Sarah, Emma and Ellie's dresses.
Sam and Luke will need to get mini tuxes and we are waiting for the bride and groom to pick out the style...

Yes, I am hinting to the bride and groom!

Along with all the BIG plans our normal life goes on.
Sam, Anna and Ava are now red stripers and will moving onto the big kids program very soon.

Luke and Abby are expressing an interest in karate.
When they first came home they wanted nothing to do with it.
I feel like it is a sign of improved health, confidence and bonding.
It is so cute watching them practice and teach each other!

Luke is 6 plus weeks post op and doing fantastic!
He is running around, climbing and commenting on how fast he is!
We will hopefully get them started in karate after the wedding.

We never have been big karate people but it has been so good for our newly adopted children.
It helps with muscle development, self control, respect and brian development (memory with coordination) as they learn and put together the moves. It is not overly competitive or threatening to them in any way.
So for now it is working for us and them!

PLUS, they are just so cute!
and proud of their accomplishments!

Sarah is in advanced blue belt and Ellie is a blue belt.

We went to the play "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon".
It was more advanced for the children but they still loved it!!
We had purchased the book and intended to read it but... I lost it and it is nowhere to be found!
No worries, I put it in a very special place! AND we will figure out where that special place is A.W.

that means "after the wedding"!

Another big event is Johnny's graduation!
I have been doing fine with it until I heard the song "Forever Young" and pictured our boy as a kindergartener. 
The tears came...
They grow up way to fast as far as I am concerned...

Today was the baccalaureate mass and it was wonderful!
In two weeks will be the graduation ceremony.

After the mass we went to Johnny's friend grad party.
He has the nicest friends!
We have been blessed by these wonderful big kids!
They love our new little children!

We had a few rules before we arrived!
No hovering over the food.
When you see Carter say, "Congratulations Carter"!

(they asked, WHY? So cute!)

No running around, use your best manners!

The kids were GREAT!


Sarah and Hubby went to the last cotillion gathering.
They had so much fun together and they even danced!

God has been so good to us!
It is a busy time of our lives and HE has provided us peace!
I pray my way through each day and I know who is in control!

I am so thankful to HIM!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Older Child Adoption

Recently, a few others have spoken out about older child adoption. It is a topic that needs to be discussed so families that are considering older child adoption can go into it with their eyes wide open. 

Often times there is a push to adopt the waiting older child. The one that is about to age out... Often times families agree to bring this child home with an open heart and hope for success. But much more than hope is needed in this situation.  

Our friend Vickie wrote about it on her blog and I really encourage anyone who is considering older child adoption or adopting an aging out child to read her blog post. Click on the link and it should take you there.


I am not by any means discouraging anyone from adopting older BUT instead encouraging anyone who is considering it to do so with an arsenal of reading (books on the issue) and support behind them!

Mia will be our oldest child adoption. She will be 11yrs and about 5 months when she comes home.
Sarah was 8 yrs and 9 months when she came home. We were a little shocked but because we had done our homework we believe we were prepared. Sarah responded well and within 6-9 months was a delightful young girl. She came to us with many unknowns, many fears, defense mechanisms and control issues. Over time she was able to adjust to family life and the walls came down.

We have no regrets and we feel like the results- a lovely daughter, were well worth the challenging journey.

We were tough and we had to be. We had to show our new daughter who was running the family. We had to show her that we were competent to do the job and we had to show her... her place as a family member.

I had done most of the reading and had to give hubby on the job training. Praise God he was a fast learner and in time could see the underlying control issues that our new daughter had... She was trying to divide us instead of uniting as a family. One by one she attempted to draw each family member to her "side" but we had already talked to the older children so they were aware of what was happening. 

The older kids showed their support for their parents and all sibling- she learned so much from how they handled it.

It was not wrong of her to do this... she had lived in survival mode for 8 plus years. This is all she knew.

Other older adopted children may exhibit different behavior but no matter what they do it is all an attempt to survive. 

Now Sarah is lovely and a blessing beyond belief! We cannot imagine our life without her!

Emma and Ellie came home a day before they turned 8 and 10. Emma was a challenge that we never anticipated in China. We actually considered not going through with her adoption, but God was so present and we put our trust in HIM. We are thankful we did... however Emma presents challenges that we were not aware of and did not anticipate. Still she is a blessing to us.

Many families had adopted children that are close to aging out. At 12-13 yrs old they are considered teenagers and often have hormones that can add to the challenge. I actually think adopting at this age is different than adopting at the 8-11 age- but we will see AND I will let you know when Mia comes home!

We also adopted our older daughters when our birth children were significantly older. In our opinion, it made it a lot easier. Our birth children did not ride the roller coaster that our new daughters were on... and actually wanted everyone in the home to be on. Being a bit older than average parents also helped, we were able to see what was happening and we (the parents) hopped off the roller coaster asap! 

We do not regret any of our older child adoptions. If we did, we wouldn't be doing it again!

BUT, it was very challenging. Our family situation seemed to be a good fit for it. NOT all family situations are a good fit for bringing home an older child. If a family decides it is in the best interest of the child and the family to re-home... who are we to judge?

Honestly, sometimes it just doesn't work out and re-homing is the best option.

Please read the post I have linked to- it is a good one. 

Before rushing in to adopt an older child please pray, pray pray about it and educate yourself as much as possible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Twist...

Abby's Hematologist called this morning.
After looking closer at her previous bone marrow biopsy and consulting with other doctors they are beginning to have new thoughts...

Other possibilities, more questions, possible options...

It is God at work. 
Some thing inside of me feels hopeful and momentarily giddy.

It may not change her need for a bone marrow transplant BUT it may give us the time we need to heal her liver and rid her body of as much iron as possible.

Abby situation is not textbook by any means.
It is rare and may be unprecedented-
meaning the research is being done...

in Boston...

I don't understand it all and at the time of the phone call I couldn't even think of any descent questions.

It didn't seem like the time for questions.

It seems like the time for prayers.

And more answers will come

in time.

for now I am feeling hopeful for her, for us,
for her future.

We will be sending more blood to Boston for more genetic testing and for research.

They mentioned high doses of vitamin B6 and continued chelation and possible future bone marrow transplant. 

Please say prayers!
HE hears you!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I love this holiday!
I can't help myself!
These sweet dear children are such a blessing!

Hubby and I visited over coffee this morning. The children had a light breakfast and then we-

We went out for brunch! 
Our favorite BKF restaurant is one mile from our home! It was 2 miles but they just relocated!

 (I wanted to make it easy for hubby and well, for me too!!)

The kids were so cute! They were so excited about this day!
They wished me Happy Mothers Day every 2 minutes... 

Yesterday they went shopping with Dad and loved every minute of it!
Ellie ended up getting stitches. 
She fell off her scooter and had a one inch slice underneath her chin.
The stitches went well- she was such a trooper!

These were my only two big kids in town!
Johnny joined us for brunch and Billy joined us for present opening and visiting at home.
(Yes, he is shaving tomorrow!)

Matt, Katie(& Andrew) and Mark called.

I am so thankful for ALL our children!
Each one is so unique and special!

By the end of the day I had been wished Happy Mother's Day 998,765 times...

So, I'm good until next year!


Hoping YOU had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Are We Adopting Again?

It's a very good question!

I am guessing a few people have wondered that...

Most likely I will not give a response that would satisfy everyone.

I could say that things are going so well that we feel like we can adopt again...
But does that mean we will adopt until they don't go well and then the whole family will fall apart?
No, it doesn't mean that...

I could say that we love children and that is obviously true but everyone who loves children does not adopt... or continue to adopt.

We have been asked "How do you differ from an orphanage?"
(that was in China).

We are completely different-
We are two parents that actually parent our children.
One home with everyone in it,
full time!
We have a sitter sometimes- 
for many of our medical appts, Wednesday afternoons (my time) and when we need to travel.
Faith in God, prayer, thankful hearts, love and laughter are the weapons of choice in our family!

For whatever answer we give there could be a "not so positive" counter response.

It is impossible for us to truly explain and try to have everyone understand that what we are doing is what we (hubby and I) were meant to do...

I remember when I was a child saying-
Why am I here God?
What is my purpose?

And then 40 years later at one of our children's graduation the Bishop said-
If your passion is consistent with God's will-
then pursue it! 

WE BELIEVE that our passion is constant with God's will for us.
We believe that God is calling us to care for his children.
We believe that serving HIM in this manor is what HE desires of us.

It is something WE CAN DO!

Others are called to live in a foreign country and serve there. 

If I moved to another country to serve God... I'd be moving without my husband. He is a wonderful guy BUT that is where he draws the line.
I deeply admire the families that do this...

Some are called to preach to the people and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
That is not my strength. I believe in HIM, I love HIM but words often fail me.

Our family is beyond being different... 
We know that most people will not be happy for us but will instead question our decision, our sanity, our motives, our ability to raise so many, our finances, or whatever else they can find to question.

To us...
that doesn't matter.
To us,
 it doesn't matter if we have
 6, 8, 10, 12, adopted children
it does matter to that child... to the children...

To the one that has no parents, no home, no family, no Jesus, no love and no one that really cares about them...

And then we can go on and include, no medical care, very little nutritious food, no dental care, no education...

To us our children are like flowers blossoming.

It is and continues to be a miracle that is happening right before our very eyes and right in our very own home.
Everyday we are blessed by these children.

I wouldn't want to miss this for ANYTHING!

Not for any vacations, any luxuries we may otherwise have had, any coffee parties or any evenings out with who's who and what's what... 

This is exactly where God wants us and this is where we want to be...

with HIS children!

(Okay... sometimes hubby wants to be on the golf course- so we make sure he goes out and golfs with the older boys!)

What we are doing is what we were called to do...
In our minds everything about it is 

right and good.

Thank you JESUS!

Thursday, May 10, 2012



Yes! You all were right!
We are bringing home a little 10 yr old girl (11 yrs old when she gets home)!
We had planned to wait but when we saw her face... 
our plan went out the window!

We still have the doggy issue but we are already calling her(the dog) Mimi (sorry Auntie Mimi) and she (the dog) seems to be adjusting well to her modified name! Our other puppy dog is Missy so Mimi and Missy really works!

I had another name for her(our new daughter) but the hubby vetoed it and wanted Mia.

I'm thrilled!
I love the name and I think she looks like a "Mia"!

We are excited to welcome her to our family!
We have just requested an update! Can't wait! I will post more pics when we get them!

Thank you Jesus for this blessing!

(I am having internet issues... in fact I think at this moment I am stealing access from one of our neighbors! Hoping to have ours working soon!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good News Regarding a Donor!

Anna went with us to Abby's transfusion appt today.
(She had a speech appt right before it because we are trying to figure out which surgery she needs to improve her speech.)
The girls were excited about going together.
It actually made a fun situation out of a not so fun situation.

Abby has really been looking worn out since last Thursday- at least from a Momma's point of view.
Her skin was yellowed and her lips had lost their pink tone.
We found out her HGB was... gulp 5.2
Oh my dear child that is so low...
Normal is 11-15.
We are trying to go as long as possible between transfusions so we can get as much iron as possible out of her body and help her prepare for her bone marrow transplant.

Abby is so used to running on empty she doesn't even know it when she is feeling ... well, rotten.
God Bless this sweet little girl!

They played the ipad, playdoh, watched TV, had snacks then dinner and colored together!

We were very happy to hear that they have found a 5 of 6 point cord blood match for Abby!
I wanted to have a little celebration right then and there for our girl!
They will continue to search for a 6 of 6 point match for her but if they don't find one they feel good about this match.

Cord blood cells are so young they are often able to adapt to the bone marrow and end up being s great fit/ match.

The problem is... Abby's liver is so unhealthy that IF they begin the transplant too soon her liver may not be able to handle the heavy duty chemo drugs.

So the timing of her bone marrow transplant is very much up in the air.
The oncologist would like to do it asap.
The hematologist would like to wait for more/much of the iron to be out of her body.
Abby has struggled with memory as far as learning her colors and recognizing her numbers- this could very well be due to the iron overload in her body.
The iron could be also stored in her brain as well as her liver.

They both got a token for a little present when Abby was done with the transfusion and hooked up to the Chelation.
 Anna said to Abby- "This was the best day!"
Abby agreed!


They are amazing!

YEP, honeys it was an awesome day!

Once her transfusion was done- her lips were pink again!

(I promise to spill soon!)

Please pray for Abby!
Pray that they find just the match that God has planned for her!
That the iron miraculously leaves her body and that her body is ready for the bone marrow transplant...

You see there is a problem...

We LOVE her!