Saturday, December 17, 2011

Her Second Tree....

Last Christmas Tavi was still learning what it meant to be a part of a family. This Christmas, she's got that part under her belt. Now she is learning to really celebrate, and decorating the tree proved to be quite entertaining for her. I think you will see the JOY that radiates from her smiles.

There are times I forget that she is completely blind. I love that. I do not think she will ever lose the JOY she has within. Praise God for protecting her heart for the first 4 years of life! And praise God for letting me share in nuturing this precious heart for the rest of her life!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Many Faces Of Baby Q

Quentin's personality just cracks me up! He makes the funniest faces, so each picture of him turns out a bit different...

To prove my point I thought I would post one of our impromptu photo sessions :).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

3 Months

Quentin turned 3 months old on the 9th.

Where has the time gone?

Life is adjusting to the "new normal". Quentin has become a very happy, and fun baby. He is still a highly sensitive and reactive baby. But I am understanding him better, and he has found that as long as he is held his world is a great place.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday!

6 years ago, a tiny little baby girl was born in Bulgaria weighing just under 1 1/2 lbs. She was born to a mama who couldn't keep her, maybe because she was the 5th mouth to feed or maybe because she was so premature, just 27 weeks, that this mama knew she had to let her go to let her live.

God's plans are perfect, and in His perfect wisdom He helped this tiny little baby girl to fight, and to survive not only such a premature birth in a poor country's hospital, but also 4 1/2 years in an orphanange that was understaffed, underfunded, and under educated on the needs of children with special needs.

Today Miss Tavi John is celebrating her 2nd birthday with her forever family, her 6th anniversary of her birth. The day I met her I knew in my heart that God was right there in the room watching THIS mama meet her little girl for the first time. He was witnessing first hand the the fulfillment of His plan for Tavi to get HER family. As it says in Psalms 68:6 "He sets the lonely in families..."

But that was not the end of Tavi's story. Rather it was just the beginning...
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

We love our little Tavi. She is nutty, stubborn, musically gifted, smart as a tack, and fits in so beautifully with our "little bit crazy" family. I used to worry that bringing a blind child into our chaotic, loud, messy, crazy, big family might be an extremely hard adjustment. I can't imagine living in this household without my sight, but Tavi thrives in our family like she was born to it! And in fact ... SHE WAS. God's perfect plans, His careful attention to detail, He loving hands guiding us each step of the way on our journey to each other... Yes, she was born to be in our family.

Happy Birthday Little Tavi!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Long Must I Wait....

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

It takes just over 46 hrs. to drive from Los Angeles, CA to Portland Maine. The Earth takes a year to go all the way around the sun. An Elephant is pregnant for 22 months. It takes an average for 5 years for a college degree.

How long does it take for a child with Down syndrome, who lived the first 7 1/2 years in an understaffed, under funded orphanage to start acting like a typical almost 8 year old child with Down syndrome?

You can find the answers to a whole lot of "How much time..." questions by using google. But no one can tell me how long it it going to take Yana to reach even simple developmental milestones.

Yana has been home for 16 months. It is hard most days for me to see how far she has come. Progress has been slow. So very, very, very blessed slow!

She definitely has learned some about how to play one on one with another person. That has really helped her personality to shine through. She is willing to explore her surroundings on her own, and to search out a toy. Those are both things she would not do the first few months home. She open doors, climbs on furniture, and makes messes. She will give me "a big hug" or lean in for "kisses". She now makes some consonant sounds, but will not mimic. She has gotten much stronger and moves more purposefully. She has gone from weighing 24 lbs. to 35 lbs. She has been doing these things for a while now.

She seemed to me to have plateaued. And I have found the waiting game, the game where I wonder "Is this all that is in store for her?" to be especially difficult. No one can give me the answer to "IS this it?".

There are days I hate this journey. I love Yana, but I hate some of the issues we deal with in regards to her. I get so frustrated wondering just what expectations I should have for her on a daily basis, let alone for the future.

Yana likes to make noises. Throat clearing, tongue clicking or sucking. Spitting "raspberries". Licking a toy or banging it on her teeth. After 10 hours of this each day on her "bad" days, I start feeling a little crazy. I end up so angry at her. WHY? WHY does she do this? EVEN when I sit and play with her she will continue making these noises. I can get her to quit with a firm "NO" or tap her on the mouth and she will stop for a short time only to come back with these noises with a vengeance. It drives every one of us crazy after a bit! Sometimes she goes to bed a lot earlier then the rest of us. There's just nothing else we can do.

I've been at my wits end lately with her. The "plateau" has loomed large and ominous before me for a while. There is some good news though. The last few weeks, baby steps have been made. My almost 9 year old daughter can now:

1. Push large buttons or easy levers to make a toy work.

2. Play pat-a-cake clapping her own hands or "Clap" when asked to as long as I touch her elbows.

3. She can now wave BYE-BYE in response to someone saying it and waving as long as, again, I touch her elbow or arm.

4. She can pat her head when asked "Where is your head?" most of the time. She can also "find" her nose about 70% of the time and can "blow kisses" about as often on command. Again, I have to touch or hold her arm.

Progress has been made. They are all really good developmental steps to have reached... IF she was 1 or 2 or even 3. But she is almost 9. It took her over a year to learn how to clap her hands with me touching her elbows the whole time. OVER A YEAR.

So how long will it take her to be even remotely close to age typical development? At the moment I would take her having all the skills of a 3 year old! Will she ever even reach a 3 year old level in all her skills? I really don't know. But I know that aiming low will not serve her well.

She is my daughter. I try hard to not compare her to others that have come from her background. She seems some days to be alone in her fight... IS anyone out there struggling like my little girl?

How long must we wait for things to turn and start moving more quickly? How long must we wait before she stops acting like she is mentally insane and trapped inside herself just because we go to the grocery store? How long must we wait before people stop assuming she is deaf and or blind because she will not acknowledge them? How long? How long? How long?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? It is just a simple sucker. It's not even that big. How hard can this be to figure out? The best information I could find on Google was between 150 and 411 licks. I guess if they can't figure out an exact number for this question, then I'm not going to find an answer to my question of "How long will it take Yana to ....".

Hope is a beautiful thing. So I hope. Each day I hope, because one day I might just have my answer!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Desire To Say Yes Each Morning....

I always admire the bloggers that can share a peek into their lives with honesty. It is hard to put yourself out there, to let yourself be judged by people that have never met you, and even some of those that have.

I have come to this blog many times in the past month or 2 typing out a post only to turn around and delete it. Honesty is important to me, and I am finding it easier to just smile and say nothing rather than throwing out the general "almost lie" of "it's all good."

Right now life is hard. It's exhausting. And quite frankly for me and my personality, it's mind boggling! I can not wait for my head to hit the pillow at night so that for just a few hours I do not have to think about everything that needs thought of! I would saying I am headed for a mental breakdown, but who has the time for one of those?

Some of the struggles I am facing are just a part of life, of kids growing up, of living in the world today. Some are more unique. I find myself not wanting to share too much. There is no one "safe" to share it with. No one that I know well enough that would really get it. So as a result I find myself desiring God more, turning to God more. HE is my shelter, my protector. I can hide in His shadow as I tell him everything, as I finally let myself have that well deserved mental breakdown.

Strangely enough, or mayhap not so strange, that is a good thing. I NEED to seek God! I NEED God! I know God is not safe, but I know GOD'S HEART IS GOOD! I don't want safe anyway when it comes to GOD. I need someone bigger than safe. I need a fighter, a hero, a savior, a commander, a defender.... No safe is definitely not big enough!

Some days having 2 kids currently requiring almost total care and facing a large number of unknowns in their future,

an almost 6 year old that does not speak conversationally yet even though she's been home 15+ months,

another almost 6 year old that is HYPER all the time and is ultra interested in cuss words, boy/ girl relationships, and back talks like a problem 16 year old,

having my 17 year old son drop out of highschool because he just "can't do it anymore" and convincing/ forcing/ begging him to stick with the GED course he is taking and hating,

my husband being extremely busy and working 12 hour days 6 days a week,

my oldest a freshman in college and me trying to stay involved in her life so that she knows MOM is still there for her and that she will always belong here,

my house is a mess, my yard is a disaster, my laundry pile is breeding, and so on and so on....

Life! It's going to kill me. [But I guess that's that point. :)]

So when I get asked the question "Do you think you guys are going to adopt again?" Instead of a quick "probably" or a "We just finished our Homestudy.", as used to happen, there is a pause as I consider my words carefully. Yes, life is CRAZY. Yes, my mind might explode. Yes, there are inklings [okay, more like nuclear bombs of desire] for the easy road. Yes, I am constantly saying I can not fit one more thing into my days right now. Yes, I might forget that my youngest ones haven't had a bath in over a week. Yes, we might eat McDonalds or Ramen noodles more than I am willing to admit. Yes, there is enough dog hair on my wood floor to warmly stuff a comforter cover for the coldest winter on record. And so on, and so on.... And still the answer that comes out of my YES.

YES! YES! YES! YES! Now, don't get excited. Let me qualify that answer. That YES is for GOD. Not long after we adopted Luke, in talking to God, I promised Him that my answer would always be YES. Whomever the child, whatever the situation, my answer is YES. My home, my heart, my arms will forever remain open. He gave me a mothers heart, and I am so very, very thankful for that.

IN the craziness of life I can lose sight of all that though. Lately the things I am reading, the sermons that I hear, the quotes that I find... they all come back to the fact that GOD called me onto the mission field of being MOM. He is talking to me, He is rejuvenating my tired heart. He is reminding me of bigger pictures and grander plans. I need HIM so much, and He loves me enough to make it obvious. ;).

Trusting Him with the outcome, I say YES each morning.


ON a side note, Quentin is doing fantastic! He is growing so big! He is rolling over. He is sleeping at night like a champ! He is happy and healthy. He brings me an overwhelming amount of joy each day. I could brag about him for hours!

Here he is at about 2 1/2 months old:

He is very strong for 2 months!

His shunt has finally stopped looking like a vienna sausage on his head!

Isn't he just adorable?

A rare smile. He'd rather talk to you then smile at you. And this crooked little half smile? It's going to melt some girls heart someday. It's already melted mine. :)

Here is his back. It is healing slowly but surely.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Number 10!

Wow, talk about a dead blog! Life has just been so busy, I have hardly had time to organize my mind enough for a decent post. Admittedly, I have found Facebook a much quicker and easier way to keep everyone updated [because I know that they wake each day filled with excitement at what my witty or interesting status will be! .... NOT!].

But for those of you that are not on Facebook and have been wondering about my family, I have the best news to share with you! Yes, we have adopted again! A little boy, making our family a mix of 6 boys and 4 girls, currently ages 18 years - 4 weeks. :) NEVER in my life did I think I would say "I have 10 kids!". But I am so happy that I can say that now!

Quentin was adopted domestically. We were matched with him on the 18th of August and he came home on the 31st. He spent his first 3 weeks of life in the hospital because of being born with Spina Bifida. He is home now though, and is doing so well!

Are we intimidated? Yes. But not so that we are staying up all night worrying. I firmly believe God led us to this little boy, and I firmly believe whatever challenges we meet, He will be surrounding us with his strength, love, and compassion.

It's beautiful, God's hands in adoption. I have never been able to, nor do I want to, separate God and adoption. It is the culmination of all the love in His heart! A perfect picture of a perfect love!

There is more to share about how Quentin is a part of our family. But I am not ready to share all of it just yet, I find I am wanting to hold that in my heart and reminisce with my Heavenly Father about it some more. There is much there, and it is worthy of sharing. But not yet...

So here he is! Our little boy!

Quentin Tristen Thomas Mayden

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Come The Spring...

Yana was born in winter. It was March 20, 2003, but for her there was no coming thaw. There was no first flower of spring. There were not fresh rains washing the cold and dirt of winter away. There was no warm sunshine on her face, no gentle breeze blowing her hair.

For Yana there were the four walls of a crib. There were bottles hastily shoved into her mouth from out of no where. There was crying out for attention until hope was lost and she was silent. There was no familiar face, there were no recipricated smiles.

There were just the same four walls of a room she very rarely left, most of the time was spent in the same four walls of her crib. There was no variety in her diet, just like there was no variety in her life. It was stale, dark, cold,[or very hot], and silent.

Death permeated the air. The death of hearts that had given up or become hardened. The death of hope as no child's cry was answered. The death of joy as there was nothing to look forward to. The death of little souls as they waited for their savior who sometimes only came in the form of a lonely, and sometimes painful death.

Let's face it, winter sucks for the young when there is no hope of spring, no hope of sunshine on their face, no hope of a gentle snow to cover up all that has died and become stale and ugly.

But there is something amazing that is happening. Yana doesn't live in a winter atmosphere anymore. The ugliness has been replaced. There is sunshine, and gentle breezes, joy and hope, smiling faces that always answer a cry or a need, and there are celebrations all day long!

Spring has sprung, and like the grave could not hold my savior, winters shadows can not hold my Yana.

"Blossom by blossom the spring begins"
Author: Algernon Charles Swinburne

So many blossoms on my beautiful Yana flower!

blossom #1. She constantly seeks attention. You can not sit down w/o Yana crawling over and up into your lap. She then proceeds to make herself comfortable and often is very demanding in you paying attention to her. All this from a child that you had to all but beg to interact with you.... All this from a child that showed no independant thought.

blossom #2. WE have language comprehension!!! Yana literally had NO language, Bulgarian or English. She understood nothing and it meant nothing to her. Now I can definitely say that is not the case. I KNOW she understands at least 7 questions/phrases. I am sure there are more coming, but she is getting it! And I am putting the phrases/questions to actions/signs on her part so she can start to show me what she wants!

blossom #3. She LAYS her head down on my shoulder as I sing her songs before tucking her into bed! I LOVE IT!

blossom #4. She CRIES many mornings when she is awake and will break into smiles and giggles when I come into her room!

blossom #5. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.... it is happening more and more!

blossome #6. She loves to crawl quickly to the door if someone goes out of it and tries to go out herself. :)

blossom #7. She shows a MARKED preference for her family. AND shows an interest in where they go if they leave her.

So many things are happening... she knows so much more than she did just 9 months ago. Within the love of her family, she is aware, alert, interactive, purposeful, and communicative. She is blossoming.

Winter has lost it grip. Spring has come!

I could watch her all day long! Enjoy some spring blossoms with me. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Featured Child....


December 2006
Osteogenesis Imperfecta

From volunteers who met her: This radiant girl lives in a Russian orphanage. She suffers from OI, Group 3. She was bedridden for the most of her life; until she was almost 4 years old she could not sit and could not turn over. She had multiple bones broken by simply moving around in bed. Only one year ago volunteers found her in a cast from head to toe. They have begun raising money for her rehabilitation in the American Medical Center in Moscow. As a result, she is now sitting vertically first time in her life. The first time she was able to look out the window, she saw the bleak Moscow landscape of late November and there was no limit for her joy! She takes such pleasure in being able to see that the street cleaning guy has a “soft” hat and that birds are “fuzzy .” Despite having such a handicapped childhood, Bethany is unbelievably bright. At three and a half she knew all colors, 1 to 10 numbers, could recite many children rhymes, and she has a perfect music pitch! According to the nurses, Bethany radiates positivism and humor to such degree that children from the hospital gather in her room for a good laugh, a song, or a story. When it was time for her to leave the hospital and to part with the nurses, she broke down crying for the first time, despite all the physical pain of the hospital procedures. She desperately wants to belong, to be part of a family.

More information is available for interested families. Potential families must have good medical coverage and be comfortable financially.

**** Where is her mommy? I can just imagine the bright light of her soul locked inside a body that is not getting the help it needs? Where is the family that will set her free?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hugs and Kisses

I LOVE this little girl!

NO matter my mood, a hug or kiss from Yana and I am always just a little bit happier.

"The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him."

Pablo Casals

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adoption 101

Spend time teaching your newly adopted kids. It is all to easy to get caught up in the caretaking aspect, and forget the mommy aspect of knowing what makes your kids tick. What they really enjoy, and what they don't.

You need to spend time becoming their mom which means that you are on the floor figuring out what is going on inside their mind and how to get in there. You deserve to know your child better than their therapist, their teachers, their Doctors or specialists, their paras, and so on.

It will take time, and lots of trial and error... but to really feel like and be "mom" you have to be fully committed, fully involved, fully engaged, and then when your 8 year old daughter with Down syndr, who came home not knowing anything but how to survive, touches her nose in response to your question "Where is your nose?" for the first time you will be over the moon happy! You will KNOW that you are beginning to figure her out and that you are her mom because there just isn't anyone as giddy about it as you are in that moment!


And just for fun, here is a pic of my girls, Riley 18, Quincy 11, Yana 8, and Tavi 5.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Heart Hurts....

Boy, Born August 2010

Goog grief, I do not know why they must leave these children left to suffer like this! Maybe they do not feel comfortable enough with their own surgical expertise, but this child needs surgery and a family of his own, and NOW!

From his medical records: hydrocephaly

More photos available, married couples only.

My arms are aching to hold him and bring him the care and help he needs! He is in Eastern Europe. Jesus, please send his family now!

If you are his mama, please visit this link! NATHANIEL

There are no words in me at this moment, only prayer....

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's A Celebration!

My little Yana turned 8 years old yesterday [03/20/2011]. And today is World Down syndrome day! Thank you Jesus for bringing this little one into our lives! Our family is better for her being a part of it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lets Keep It Real....

Honesty? Bleck... I hate keeping it real on this blog. To many people read it that I probably put up a pretty good front for. Well, actually I guess it is not really a front, it is just a matter of only sharing and showing the good stuff. And the good stuff is real, but so is that hard stuff, and that is what I don't like to share.

But sharing the hard stuff is important. It is important because I have found it is all to easy to feel isolated in the struggles one has with raising kids, let alone raising children adopted from orphanges over seas and those same children with disabilities that make progress even harder, and ever sweeter! [Was that a run on sentence? ;)]

The girls have been home from Bulgaria for 8 months now. Lets start with the GOOD, well the FABULOUS really.

Miss Yana is doing amazingly well! I mean, truly, sincerely, completely, and honestly WELL! She has my heart and I feel like I am almost at 100% of having that genuine "mommy" feeling towards her at all times.

I know we all like to think that in adoption, one that we worked so hard to make happen, and waited so long for, that that "mommy feeling" is immediate and overwhelming and solid. Well, are you sitting down? Because I am here to tell you "that ain't the way it is!".

You see, first it starts with a overwhelmingly tender feeling every time you dream of your little one or look at their picture. Then you meet them, and most times you still have the feeling. Then you have them home and it is one moment at a time... sometimes you love them so much it hurts and sometimes you feel like you are babysitting someone else's kid and truth be told, a really strange and unlikeable kid at that! [And that is just the highly condensed version!] [I will add that this was with the adoption of the 3 that were older. Luke, adopted as an infant, took all of about 5 seconds to win 100% of my heart. That is the blessing of newborn adoption. :)]

Relationships take time. Building good memories to get you through the hard moments and days and weeks takes time. Getting to know someone, knowing them in a way that someone else doesn't takes time. Letting love grow from a choice into a genuine feeling takes time. And to make things harder yet, there is no time line for how much time it takes!

Now back to miss Yana. I love this little girl!! Her smiles make me smile, her joy fills my heart with joy, her achievments no matter how small make me want to shout and do the Arsenio Hall "Wuh, wuh, wuh" with my fist.

I find it amazing that this little girl, who had NO ONE for 7 1/2 years, who attached to no one, who had no communication besides crying when hungry is following her MAMA ALL OVER THE HOUSE. She wants attention and she wants it now! If mama isn't home, then she will find someone... usually her big sister Quincy who is a sucker like me and picks her up all the time! :)

She is getting so strong. She now will slap our hands to play pat-a-cake and other games. No more wimpy, half hearted attempts. She crawls very quickly and does not seem to tire easily. She is learning to be pulled to a standing position by bending her knees! That is huge! I am trying to teach her to bounce, but she doesn't seem to have the knee muscles yet... She will stand for just a couple of seconds, sometimes as much as 10 if she doesn't realize it :). Her personality is jsut growing by leaps and bounds. She makes eye contact, demands engagement, and knows what she wants. She will crawl to her highcghair when hungry. She will search for a specific toy, even remembering sometimes where she last saw it! She is making many letter sounds, and almost has me convinced she says her name. She did not make any sounds beside hissing and spitting and grunting when she came home except randomly on accident it seemed.

Our little girl who had no personality, no opinion, no autonomy is becoming an assertive, engaging, opinionated ball of joy within the safety and love of HER family! She is alive and loving it!!

She has such a long way to go though. She still only eats from a bottle. She needs to learn to walk. Potty training ... well we don't need to discuss what isn't happening do we? ;) The fact is she is doing great, and while occassionally I still get worn out with all the annoying, and sometimes embarrassing orphange behaviors... She is my daughter in my heart and I find her amazing. It seemed like a long road to this point, but looking back it seems to have flown by.


Now for the hard. Little Miss Tavi. I will start by saying things are going well. And maybe if I didn't have the twin process of Yana to compare it to I would even say things are going great!? But I can't say that for sure.

The thing is Tavi was "supposed" to be able to bond better. At least according to all the text books and articles I read. She did have a special caregiver. She was favored by orphanage staff, adored by some. She received better nutrition, was in a good group of kids, and got around very well.

But she is not bonding well. Her emotions are not engaged. Oh she shows happiness readily enough. She even cries sometimes. But not really when she should. If she gets "yelled at" or "in time out" or some other thing that conveys displeasure she appears clueless.... sometimes she will draw into herself a little bit, but not much. If she gets hurt she will occassionally cry, or laugh, or hit herself and laugh... but that is the exception not the norm.

She appears to LOVE everyone. She is so exicted to be picked up by someone new. She does not like coming back to me. I know that some people take this as she loves them to pieces, and I like to see Tavi happy, but I do get irritated to and want to say "You know, she really doesn't care about you at all..."

I CRAVE a sincere emotion from my 5 year old daughter. I CRAVE REAL interaction from her. My heart is longing for her to see me as more than the constant care taker who represent sameness, boring routine, been there done that kind of things. I dont' care if it is extreme dislike, I just want it to be genuine.

She is still living in her shell, and I am constantly brain storming and searching for a trigger to let her break free. She is a sensory addict. She craves tactile input. She loves to be thrown in the air, spun around, wrestled with, snuggled up tight, rocked, carried around like she's riding a pony and so on.

She is obsessed with that stuff so much, from absolutely anyone, that I am developing an aversion to interacting with her like that. How's that for real? :(

It is such a hard thing to figure out. I know the rules of no holding or hugs except from immediate family... but when you can not see, and your eyes are your other senses, esp. touch... what is the answer?

Part of me knows I just need to give it more time. I really hate that word! How many times do we have to "give it more time" in the adoption world?!

She is a brave and independent little girl. She will roam around most new places securely figuring out her environment. But then, if you put her on the potty, or in a chair or on the floor in a way that conveys "break time" she will sit frozen and I am guessing for HOURS! The most I have given it is 45 minutes! I just want to scream at her sometimes to "be normal". But again, I know to "give it time."

Now just let me say, my heart loves her dearly, but the fact is choosing to love her happens still more often than being overcome with that "mommy feeling" towards her. I don't like it, but that is the way things are.

And I am confident that time will work things out. I have been praying about the relationship Tavi and I have often lately. I am confident that God is not only listening, but working things out for the good of my family!

I am her mommy. She has me for life.
I guess you could say she "had me at hello". She will find herself someday. She will have her whole family behind her every step of the way!

Love is growing, it is just still under construction. The paint is still wet. The Lord just isn't finished yet.

Being confident of the outcome can still leave me quite emotionally spent in the process though. So in an effort to encourage others, in an effort to encourage international adoption, in an effort to communicate real struggles I decided to share a bit of my heart.

But even with all my scattered emotions, Tavi John still does amaze me! So here is another piano concert for you all to enjoy! :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

You can't keep him tied down....

Luke is my free spirit. My go getter. My child without an off button. He has been this way since he was born. He has got to move, sitting still just doesn't agree with him.

He turned 5 on February 28th. I really don't know where the time has gone. It seems to have moved as fast as he does.

He is the spoiled little brother of many older siblings. We are all guilty of it. We just couldn't help ourselves. :)

But he is a mighty little boy, and each night he has me pray for him to have good dreams, and to ask God to help him become a mighty man of God who is bold in his love for God.

Watch out world... Luke is coming!

Friday, February 25, 2011

How Did I Miss The Point?!

If you have a couple minutes, please read. Forgive me God, I thought it was about spiritual and tangible gifts, selfishness, greed.... I didn't understand you were showing me your hearts desire!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adopting 2!!!

Nope, not us... not yet anyway :).

But my friend, Catherine, just committed to adopt to adorable little ones from EE! Please take a moment and visit her blog to offer congratulations and support!

Catherines Blog


Friday, February 18, 2011

A Joyful Noise!

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:
make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Sing unto the LORD with the harp;
with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
With trumpets and sound of cornet
make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

--- Psalm 98: 4-6

Now, I know this isn't a song. And try as I might, she just was not going to play "Silent Night" for me while I held the video camera. BUT, she is so dang cute playing the piano, and if you listen and watch you can tell she isn't just pounding for fun, but working it all our in her head. Enjoy. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Meet Dimitriy. He just turned 5 years old in December. What a great birthday it was for him. He was taken from the only home and family he had ever known {an orphanage} and put into an adult mental institution.

Oh wait, it gets better. He was placed in a "bedridden" room. That means he will essentially never leave his bed. After all, he IS blind. And no one can afford the time it takes to keep a 5 year old blind little boy safe in an institution for adults with all kinds of varied disabilities.

With any luck at all, his mind will quickly shut itself down completely. Learning will cease, a desire for more will cease, a desire to survive will cease. If not, if he keeps his will to live, to learn, to desire more out of life, this little 5 year old will suffer unspeakable heartache and pain. Much more than he has even up to this point in life. He will lose weight, but continue to grow minimally. He will cease having any thought outside of rocking himself back and forth or pulling his hair out, poking at his eyes till they bruise or bleed, or banging his head on the side of the crib... that is of course unless they tie him down to prevent self injury or attempts at escape.

This is not a dramatization. THIS is Dimitriys reality. Happy 5th Birthday kiddo. Jesus loves you.


Feel like throwing up yet? I do.


Dimitriy has $161.05 in his grant donation account. He has been listed on Reeces Rainbow for 3 years! I gave him $45 of that $161 just about a year ago.


I wonder why he is being overlooked? My 5 year old thought he looked scary with just one white eye, that is until I took a couple of minutes to explain why he looks that way. Luke understands being blind. He has a 5 year old sister, who just came home this past July, who is blind. Maybe the mamas and daddys out there think he looks scary too?

Or maybe they are scared of bringing home a blind child? Especially one who has been institutionalized for 5 years. I don't know why. Tavi, my daughter who is 5 and blind, is thriving and just brings us so much joy. Her courage, her love, her laughter, her resolve to learn is amazing to us. She is a typical and very normal little girl. She just happens to be a typical and very normal little girl who is blind.

Maybe it is the fact that services in small communities can be harder to access or find. I know all about that. It is taking some learning and creativity and searching on our part to figure out and get Tavi what she needs. Her life is worth that and so much more! Being blind just isn't THAT big of deal in the big scheme of things. And no, we has no previous experience with people that are blind. All we had was experience in what it means to love GOD, say YES to God, and to love a child. That was enough to get the ball rolling.

Maybe it is that Dimitriy is a boy. They are often harder to place in and adoption than girls. Each year that he gets older, he will be that much harder to find a family for. We adopted James through foster care when he was 9, he moved in with us when he was 7. I know the feelings, the anxieties, the questions and uncertainties that pop up when bringing an older child into your home. It's been a year since his adoption was final, and we still have uncertainty, anxiety, emotions, questions... but they are about OUR SON now, not about someone elses son. We pray, we talk, and we fight for him. He is ours. Our gift of a son, woven intricately into our family by our Fathers hands. He is worth fighting for!


I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see Dimitriys grant grow. $24,000 will bring him home. Such a big amount... big for us, but not for GOD! Big for a car, but not for a CHILD!

Who wants to be BOLD for GOD today, and say "I WILL! PICK ME! SEND ME!" to bring Dimitriy home? Who of you wants to be a part of Dimitriys story? Who of you wants to be a part of a bigger story? Who of you "doesn't need a voice, when you have a verse"?

James 1:27 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.


Go HERE and donate! Let's immobilize the body of Christ to bring Dimitriy HOME! He needs his mama to "show him the world, to hold his hand, to be his mom for as long as she can"!

I can't help but picture Tavi lost in the darkness of a new environment and NO ONE taking the time to explain to her what is going on, no one holding her or reassuring her. HE CAN"T SEE! EVERY SINGLE THING that was familiar to him [sounds, smells, routine] is LOST TO HIM FOREVER NOW. And no one gives a damn!

He's just one little boy. He's just one orphan. He's just one more lost soul. He's just one more forgotten child. He's just one more child waiting to die now. He's just one more orphan suffering is silence. He's just not worth anyones love, time, sacrifice or trouble.

Don't let the world or the devil play that mind game on you! God has made him visible. God has made him beautifully in HIS own image. GOD has given him life, and HE is calling upon the Christians of this world to SEE HIM!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Feeling Insignificant?

One of the great diseases of our day is trifling. The things with which most people spend their time are trivial. And what makes this a disease is that we were meant to live for *MAGNIFICENT CAUSES. ..... Our souls will not be satisfied with trifles. .... WE live in a perpetual and hopeless struggle to satisfy our longings on trifles. So our souls shrivel. Our lives become trivial. And our capacity for *MAGINIFICENT CAUSES AND GREAT WORSHIP dies.

The book of Ruth wants to teach us that God's purpose for his people is to connect us to something far greater than ourselves. God wants us to know that when we follow him, our lives always mean more than we think they do. .... For the Christian there is always a connection between the ordinary events of life and the stupendous work of God in history.

Everything we do in obedience to God, no matter how small, is significant. It is part of a cosmic mosaic that God is painting to display the greatness of his power and wisdom to the world and to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephisians 3:10).

--John Piper A Sweet & Bitter Providence

*emphasis mine

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Rainbow of colors....

I love the differences in my children. Out of our 9 kiddos, we have 3 with blond hair, 3 with brown hair, 2 with black hair and 1 with red. As for texture, 3 have stick straight hair, 1 has semi curly, 2 have loose curls, and 2 have tight curls. It's fun to see them all together in a picture, NOT that that EVER happens! ;)

When Cale was born [13 years ago], his dad said "Oh no, is that red hair?". Let me tell you, it is red hair. Gorgeous, thick, straight red hair that I would LOVE to have!

And to make it even better, Cale really is as sweet as he looks!

Look how her hair is growing! I LOVE her hair. Dark, soft, curly ... [static does seem to eliminate the curls after sleeping under a fleece blanket all night :)]

5 year old Tavi is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.