Thursday, May 31, 2012

His path...

may not always be straight and smooth but oh my goodness, the journey He takes you on and the blessings along the way are simply incredible.

You just have to take that first step and then just keep stepping and if you ever veer off...

Guess what?

All you have to do is just get back on!

The journey we have been on the past few years has been remarkable.

It has not been easy and has at times been quite full of potholes but the blessings that have come out of this journey have been amazing.

The growth of spirit that I have witnessed in our children, my hubby and myself has been SO worth all the bumps and bruises.

We learned to have joy while we waited on Him

Every now and again we would begin to veer off but He would always find a way to bring us back.

We quickly learned that He is always working for us, even when we don't see it or feel it and that we just have to trust and have that wonderful joy while we wait.

Now, as we look back, we see some of the things that He was doing and even though it is still not always easy, we know to trust and wait and have faith that He is still working for us!

When I think about our newest daughter and all that the Lord orchestrated to bring us to her, I have such a great peace.  Even though we know her needs may be greater than we had ever considered, it does not matter because we know that He will equip us for HER.

Now even though my heart knows all of this, I am still a bit of a control freak planner and I like asking questions and finding the answers.  I like being prepared or at least thinking that I am prepared!

So the other day an opportunity presented itself to us.  Someone was contacting our daughter's hospital and offered to ask a few questions that had not ever been answered.  The most important question to me was if our precious daughter's mouth muscles were tight as I had learned (after asking questions - hehe) that kiddos with CP could have tight mouth muscles making it difficult to feed them.  Now our daughter is TINY and at 8 years old, she is not even on the Chinese charts for a 5 year old, so...

Maybe this was the reason and I wanted to know...

so I asked and guess what?

They did not answer!

Bummer!

However, they did send another video!!!

video

Oh how I love to see our beautiful girl's determined face and it looks like we may have another stuffed animal lover in the fam!

However (and I am SO not complaining cause I do LOVE getting video), I still did not have the answer that I wanted.  I tried to let it go but that was the one question that kept nagging at me.

A couple of days went by and I watched that priceless video, oh about 100 times - hehe - and I went on with work and advocating and the end of the school year and and and!

Until, last night when a wonderful friend asked me to post some of my kiddos in a yahoo group that she belonged to and as it turned out I belonged to as well, thanks to another sweet friend!

So off I went to post.

I introduced myself and our newest daughter and found 2 other families whose waiting children happen to be in the same hospital as our little XM (gotta get a name soon - help).

I found out a bit more about the place that our daughter had spent the last 2 years of her life and as one mom and I continued to talk, she mentioned that she had sent her son a "fruit party" and that she had some video.  She sent me the video so that I could see her sweet child and to see exactly what a "fruit party" looks like:)

So, she sent one of the videos and I played it...

AND I SCREAMED

LOUDLY

There at the fruit party, out of about 180 children, was OUR DAUGHTER and while this was enough of a reason to praise Him, He was not done yet, cause not only was our sweet little girl in this video that this wonderful mom had just happened to send me but...

SHE WAS EATING!!!!

There she sat, one of 3 other children, who were facing the camera and feeding themselves fruit!

She was using a spoon and using it well!!

She was eating and eating with ease!!!

Y'all, think about that for a moment...

There are over a hundred kiddos being cared for there and our little girl ended up in the video that just "happen" to come to me because I just "happen" to post on a group and XM just "happen" to be eating and that just "happen" to answer the one question that never got answered, the one question that continued to nag at me and I just "happen" to, once again, be completely blown away by how much He is in the details and how much He is working for us and how much He loves us!!

WOW
 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Lizzie!!!

My dear, sweet Lizzie, you are 6 years old today and you are SO excited!


The 2 months in between your sister's birthday and your birthday is SO long for you dear girl but you are finally there - you are once again the same age as your sister!!!

When I think back over the last 4 years, I continue to be amazed at your abundant energy and courage, your resilience and your strength, your contagious love for life - your life.  

Even through all the castings and all the surgeries and all the braces and all the treatments, you continue to smile and laugh and love, oh how you love!

I think most of all, your amazing capacity for love and concern for others, inspires me to strive to be a better person.  

After 9 long months of loving you without holding you, I will never ever forget the day we met you.

video

Telling you that I was your Momma and just knowing in my heart that you understood that and knew me on a level that I could not explain, still fills me with awe and thankfulness.

Getting to know you 
and beginning to understand the enormous blessing we had been given...

video


was just the start

video

I remember the first time you told me that you loved me too!

video

the first time you spontaneously gave me a big old kiss

video

The first time you and your partner in crime sister helped me walk the dogs

video

 and the first time you WOWed everyone on the soccer field



There have been lots of firsts and there will be many more but thinking about how far you have come in 4 years, my heart is full and I feel so incredibly lucky to be your Momma!


Sometimes well meaning people will tell me that Lizzie is so lucky that we "saved" her.


My reply...


We didn't save Lizzie...


Lizzie saved US!


We are in a much better place "after Lizzie" and I thank the Lord every single day for the journey that brought us to you!


Happy Birthday my sweet 6 year old.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Fish Out of Water!

Yes, that would be yours truly!

You see, my dear friend Angie had a small fundraiser last night and I was invited.

OK cool!

I am all up for supporting my wonderful friend as they start the process to bring home their 3rd son in less than a year!

WOW!


Go check it out - The Rylands Family

Anyway, I am pumped and then I find out that it is a Jewelery Show at Angie's house.

OK...

I am not really a jewelery person but hey, I get to hang with my best bud Angie, meet a wonderful adoptive family that I had only known online, eat some goodies and have some of Tom's coffee.

I can handle this, right?

HEH!

So, to back up just a bit, the day had begun with the girls' graduation!!!



They looked so pretty and did so well that when they asked if they could come home with me early, I caved said, yes, of course you can,

BUT...

Mommie has to work when we get home so you will have to be quiet and entertain yourselves until I am done, OK???

Followed by a chorus of sweet "OK Momma" and away we went.

Little did I know that "quiet" would immediately get thrown out the window and "entertain yourselves" would mean having 2 neighborhood friends over, a trip to the corner gas station because apparently their graduation money was burning a hole in their pockets and a screaming game of chase around my kitchen table (aka my desk) - picture the unwitting babysitter as the little troublemakers children, gleefully danced around their captive.

Yep, that was where I was headed.

This summer should be fun - yeah!

So, when Em brought out the Shrinky Dinks, I thought, great this will keep them entertained and QUIET!

So they made Shrinky Dinks with only minimal help from me!

Em even made me a pair of Shrinky Dink earrings that she insisted I put on right then and there.


Do ya see where this is going yet???

Fast forward to my dear friend, Angie's jewelery party

I was running late and didn't even change my clothes as I had actually worn a skirt that morning for graduation instead of my usual "whatever is clean and most comfortable" outfit.

Yep, I was rushing out the door and as soon as I got to Angie's house, I saw all the beautiful jewelery that was displayed.  I mean I know I am just not a big jewelery person but these pieces were shiny and pretty and so out of my league but I am socializing and having a good time, when all of a sudden y'all, I realized that I had come to this really beautiful jewelery party with my dazzling Shrinky Dink earrings still dangling from my ears! 

hehe

I am hopeless!

I did get to visit with some forgiving sweet friends, learn that I have a Bohemian style, eat some yummy treats and have some of Tom's good coffee and this morning when I told Em that I had worn her earrings to the fancy dancy jewelery show, well the look on her face was all I needed to restore this momma's pride:)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The "BIG" Day...

So Friday was the day

the "BIG" day

the day that Lizzie started her growth hormone therapy

It has taken us about 2 years to come to this decision

It has taken tests and doctor appointments and measuring and plotting - lots of measuring and plotting - and listening - lots of listening.

You see, Lizzie is low in the hormone that triggers her brain to release her growth hormone.

She actually has adequate levels of growth hormone but her brain just will not let it go so that the rest of her can grow, so she is little, I mean really little and she is just not growing


We learned by listening to our Pediatric Endocrinologist that this can cause health issues for our Lizzie later in life.

We learned from listening to our Lizzie that being little causes great concern for her right now!

You can ask Lizzie about her hands and feet and without skipping a beat, she will simply tell you that she was just born that way - no biggie.  She actually talks about her hands and feet quite frequently as they are, just her hands and feet - period!

However, tell her that she is little or cute or a baby or not big enough to do something and she just hates it, I mean it really bothers her and as we struggled with this decision that is the one question from the doctor that stuck with me.  The doctor asked if being little bothered Lizzie and that is when it dawned on us that, yes, it did.  More than anything else, Lizzie wanted to grow.

So, this week the supplies arrived


and yesterday the home health nurse arrived

video
 
and Lizzie got her first dose of growth hormone

video

I was worried but I don't know why


Lizzie, as always, was brave and courageous and such an inspiration.  There is a lot of chutzpah packed into that tiny, but hopefully growing little body.

 
After 2 years of prayer and research and discussion and worry, you have shown me what it is to truly trust, even in the face of your fears.


and for a special treat for being so brave, big brother Charlie asked if he could take the girls down to the gas station to pick out some candy and a Slurpee...

 
and once again, all was right in my sweet Lizzie's world, cause push pops and giant slurpees just rule!

 
I have said it before and will say it again...


YOU ARE AMAZING LIZZIE MAY, AND I AM ONE BLESSED MOMMA!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soccer is DONE!

YAY I mean darn!  

Hehe!

Seriously though, I do LOVE to watch my kiddos play a good game of soccer


but...


by the end of the season


I am ready for some soccer free weekends 


Christian's team won our State Cup by shutting every other team out!


WOW!

 
Charlie's team did well this season too and ended up in second place

 
Sweet Caleb's team didn't fare quite as well this season but it didn't seem to bother him and as long as  there was an occasional snack involved!


Gotta love that boy!

The girlies' team, The Blue Angles...



DOMINATED


and once again, little Miss Lizzie stole the show!





When that 30 pound package of fierceness steps out on to that field....


She draws a crowd and even the other team can't help but cheer for her!


My dear Em didn't seem quite as enthusiastic this season


and as much as she rules when playing with her brothers
  
she just seemed hesitant on the field this year

 
We are trying to understand if it is just a bit of "stage fright" or something more having to do with her little sis.

 
However, she has a powerful kick and 3 big brothers

 
nuf said!

Lizzie is a tough act to follow on that field but we will just keep encouraging sweet Em and hopefully she will find her soccer confidence soon.  If not, we may try basketball for her as she has expressed an interest in shooting hoops:)

Regardless of her reluctance, however, she always seems to have fun and the end of the season party is always looked forward to!


Hubby does such a great job with this program and these kiddos.


He loves it and it shows!

So, what exactly does the end of our season look like???


Shhhhhhhh:)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YES!!!!

We have video!!!!

Video of our precious XM

and measurements and info!

We found out that our sweet girl is not living at her orphanage but is being cared for at a Rehabilitation Hospital for kiddos with cerebral palsy

We suspected this might be the case but are so glad to have confirmation and to know for sure, where she is and that she is receiving therapy.

Apparently she could not sit up, walk or talk when she was sent to the rehab hospital 2 years ago and has made some amazing progress.

She still has a long way to go but just seeing her video tells me that we have another little Lizzie on our hands, in more ways than one!

I can look at the progress that she has made and tell that she has the same determination and courage that our Lizzie has.

I can look at her measurements and tell that she is tiny, just like our little Lizzie!

I can also look at that video and tell that...

she is NOT 8 years old!

No, I am thinking that we might have virtual triplets on our hands!

OH MY!

Hehe!

I can also look at that video and tell that no matter how delayed she is

no matter what therapies lie ahead

no matter how old she is...

she is our beautiful daughter and the Lord will equip us for whatever she may need

As soon as I saw that video and showed it to hubby, a huge wave of peace just washed over me and we have been smiling at each other all day long!

So, are you ready??

May I introduce our precious XM!

Gotta decide on a name - hehe!

video
 
Isn't she wonderful!  
 
Lord, please watch over her and hold her close.  I cannot wait to be able to hold her myself but rest easy knowing that she is in Your arms!

Thank you dear Father for such a beautiful blessing.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Christmas Gift

OK, so remember this post

and this Christmas gift?


the best gift of all...

Well, I did say that, hopefully one day soon I would be able to explain this gift,

this beautiful gift!

So, now I get to explain, even though the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak!

As I have written about before, our family got hit pretty hard a couple of years ago when hubby was out of work for an - extended - period - of - time.

It was a struggle.

The bills piled up

the debt piled up

and we were very afraid of loosing our home.

Through it all, however, the Lord was working on us

IN A BIG WAY

During this time, it became very clear what God was asking me to do

ADVOCATE

It was also very clear that the one thing I wanted so desperately,

the one thing that broke my heart

day in and day out...

had to wait.

As much as I prayed for the Lord to open the financial doors for us to bring home another precious child, it just was not the right time, it was not His time.

so I had to wait and during this wait, I would rejoice every single time another beautiful soul found their forever home.

It soothed my spirit to be able to be even be a small part in that awesomeness! 

There were many times that I would see a sweet face, show hubby and his pat answer would be,

"Oh, he/she is cute"

and that would be the end of it.

However, there were a few precious kiddos who really tugged at my heart

whom I had asked hubby to really pray about

who I was praying might come home to our family

It was not the plan, of course and  the first sweet soul came home to a wonderful family not too long ago.  As I was talking to her new Momma, she told me that
this beautiful child was VERY afraid of dogs!!!

Um, yeah, we have FOUR dogs...

FOUR very loud dogs!!!

Now, I know that she will most likely overcome that fear but for me, it felt like a little sign from the Lord that it was going to be OK, that His plan is always the best plan, even though it is not always our plan.

I believe that we were meant to hold on to this beautiful child so that her true family could get ready and get ready, they did!!

Right after this, our financial situation got worse and the dream of bringing home another child got dimmer and dimmer.  As much as the Lord had moved hubby's heart for another, the struggles we were going through, made it very obvious to him that we had to wait but God kept placing these kids on my heart - for a purpose.

The next little one who completely stole my heart was a child who had been waiting a very long time, a child whose needs were great but whose sweet spirit was greater.

However, as much as I prayed about her, it was a struggle and the Lord never made that path clear.

I so remember the first time I spoke to her forever family about her

I knew instantly that this child was their child

The love they had for her was obvious even during our very first conversation and even when the road got rough, they fought like crazy to stay on the path that they knew the Lord has laid out before them.  This was their child!

I know, now, that the Lord had to truly break my heart for her to be able to bring her family to her, the family that He had chosen for her.

The next child that the Lord laid on my heart was another child whose needs were far more than hubby and I had ever talked about.

Her needs were scary but her determination reminded us of our Lizzie and little by little, this child became intrenched in my heart.  I asked hubby to pray about her.  I never pushed but I would remind him to pray.  I promised to advocate hard for her - and did...

and - still - no - one - came - forward

she waited and waited and waited

Right before Christmas a dear friend of mine suggested that I ask hubby to pray with me very specifically about this child.

I asked him to pray that if this child was meant to be our child, that the Lord might send us the money we needed to start our home study.

We asked the Lord to send us $2000 so that we could start the process to bring her home, so that hubby would have confirmation that this child was indeed our child.

Well, about a week later, guess what???

It came!

We very unexpectedly received a gift of, yep, $2000 - exactly!

EXACTLY!

I was elated and hubby was shocked but ready to follow through to bring this child home.

However, there was another plan, another path and the very same day that we received what we thought was confirmation, we got the word that another family, a wonderful family, a family whom I had been talking to about this child, a family who had fallen in love with her the minute they saw her on my site, had decided to bring this child home.

As I read the email telling me of their wonderful decision, I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me.

As sure as I had been just seconds before, now I was filled with doubt and questions and "why's."

As before, I had talked to this family and knew that this family loved this child, knew this family saw the same determination and sparkle within her

and as much as my heart was breaking, somehow I felt as if I had known all along that she would not be our daughter and that this family - was - her - family and had always been her family.

This time, however, the Lord was working on hubby's heart, paving the way, making His path for us clear and even though hubby knew all along that this child was not our child, the Lord used this child to ready hubby's heart for the child who was coming...

OUR CHILD

So, as I threw myself into getting ready for Christmas, hubby was getting ready too.

His heart had been moved and he knew exactly what he wanted to give me for Christmas, despite our continued struggles.

I hadn't expected much as we just couldn't afford much but boy was I in for a shock.

As I opened his gift, I saw that it was an envelope and I did not understand.

As I opened the envelope, I saw that it was a bank account

a bank account with $250 in it.

OK, so I still did not understand what this account was for and had no idea where hubby had found $250 to put in it...

and then he told me...

he told me that it was an account so that we could save for our next adoption!!!!!  

Hubby was ready and I was then the one in shock!!  Hehe!

At that moment, I knew that God was working for us and had been working for us, even though we didn't always see it...

After hubby's heart was committed and His time was here, everything else seemed to just fall into place and our daughter, the child whom He had chosen for us, just fell right in our laps and right into our hearts...

BOTH of our hearts!

It didn't take months of prayer for us to know...

We just knew and we knew with a conviction that only He could have placed in our hearts...

BOTH of our hearts!

Soooooo, there ya have it!

The story of the gift, the very best Christmas gift ever!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

3 Boys...

and 2 girls


I knew something was missing


cannot wait to see our sweet XM's precious face 


right in the mix


the girl mix


that is!


Yep, 3 boys and 3 girls

Good place to stop, right!

Sigh, this job should come with a free set of blinders or at least a warning label!

"WARNING - cute kid ahead - DO NOT look - back away from the computer slowly and make no sudden commitments" 

Hehe!

My dear sweet amazing friend Tammy is still holding her fundraiser for our sweet XM.

100% of her proceeds goes to US!  

WOW!!!

She has opened up her entire product line for this and I am just blown away by her beautiful heart!

You can go here to take a peak at her GORGEOUS jewelry and help bring our precious XM home!!!!

Another HUGE thank you to all who have donated and purchased on our behalf!  We feel so blessed by each and every one of you!!!

THANK YOU!!!