Saturday, February 28, 2015

One life project

I got an envelope from a super sweet friend today.  The front was labeled "for craft purchases and for your boys" and then when i turned the envelope over, this is what was written on the back.

I started ugly crying as soon as i turned it over.  My  friend had a sibling who made some unfortunate choices, that led to his untimely death.  She used this experience to bring joy to others, in the form of helping adoptive families bring their children home.  I can't explain what it means to have the support from friends (who ALSO happen to be adopting) in such a sweet manner.

One life gone, two lives saved.  Saved from early death, a life alone, a life without family, a life without guidance.  Our boys have waited 9 and almost 7 years for a family to call their own.  I love the idea of this.  What kind of difference could we make if we all became part of the one life project?  What can you do today to make a difference for someone, anyone who needs a hand.  Something to think about.  I know we will be contemplating this in the coming weeks.  How can we pass on this blessing to others?

We got uscis approval today.  Basically means we have preliminary approval to adopt the boys.  We will (hopefully) be submitting our completed dossier this coming week.  Jared will go on first trip and i will go on pick-up with a friend, same as last time.  This way we can keep some consistency for the children that are here.  I am simultaneously excited and scared to death.  I long for them to be home, i worry about the changes it will bring.  Same as every time i am pregnant or adopting actually.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of change.  But they are worth a little fear.  Worth some hard times.  Worth sleepless nights and angry days when they deal with their feelings

Please consider helping us bring them home. We have a tax deductible account here,

and hey, if you don't want to donate to us, make a difference in another child's life.  Some of my favorites below

Cliff is being adopted by a personal friend of mine.  He weighs only 11 pounds at 5 years  Poor kiddo needs to come home asap. 

Beth is another personal friend of mine, single mama who is adopting her third child (second adopted kiddo).  She is amazing and does it all on her own!

Got to meet this amazing family this summer!  They currently have one adopted kiddo and are going back for 2 more!!!

This family is made entirely up of adopted kiddos!  And they are going back for three more!!!

Love this family who is going back for the cutest, squishy baby boy i have seen in a LONG time!

Last but not least, another super sweet boy!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

One Year

One Year.

One year ago today I walked into a large orphanage and was unceremoniously handed Jo.  The worker carried her facing away from her body, like an object she was moving from one place to another.  She was handed to me and i felt....numb truthfully.  I dressed her and tried to snuggle her, she didn't smell all that nice but she seemed happy to be being held.    We made the long drive back and i fell asleep after making sure that Aunt Lindee would keep an eye on her.

The time in country went both slowly and quickly, but that numb feeling didn't really wear off.  I was sad to see her banging her head or rocking, but it was more a sadness for "any" kid that you would feel if you saw them having those behaviors.  The flights home were much easier than i thought, and my heart started to thaw when we were on the long flight.

Jo had a bad reaction to us trying to lay her down for a nap and put a seat belt on her.  She silent cried big fat tears and Lindee and i both cried along with her.  What in the world had been done to her?  What had she been through?  In the customs line a very nice woman asked if the girls were twins and then told me how cute they were.  Unfortunately for her, i then burst into tears and cried onto Deb's shoulder that i was SO glad to be HOME.  Poor lady.

The first weeks and even the months were such a blur. Learning to care for both girls at the same time left me feeling (and looking i'm sure) like a zombie.  Learning that i couldn't "fix" 3 and 7 years of neglect and worse in a month or two was hard.  Intellectually i KNEW that. But my mother's heart yearned to wipe the slate clean and fill in all those holes with my love.  Love isn't always enough to fix every wrong.  

I don't remember exactly when i went from feeling like i was babysitting or still kinda numb to complete and utter adoration for Jo.  She was so desperate for any attention and kind word.  She would have gone home with the mailman if he offered.  Anyone would have done.  Anyone who would hold or seemed nice was fine.  We cocooned and did lots of holding and playing as she would allow.

She is sneaky.  She just climbs into your heart and one day you realize that your morning is complete until she is awake and gives you her "wookie" greeting and a big hard squeeze.  When she is at school sometimes i am so busy that i don't think of her and then when she gets home my heart seems to sigh b/c all the sudden it is complete.

She is naughty.  She delights in throwing things on the floor that you are trying to use and then grins or even laughs outloud  when she does it.  She knows her name and responds when you call for her.  She knows i am mama and prefers me over all others.  She no longer goes to any random person and begs for affection.  She still likes to be affectionate with others but is very firm in her belief that i am mama and that is where she wants to end up.

I often say i have no idea how she survived in that place.  How her sweetness was not just crushed out.  She has so much love to give.  So much joy.  I know others look at her and see how delayed she is, and i guess she is.  But i look at her and see a survivor.  I see a child who never gave up on life.  Who never gave up hope.  Her middle name is hope b/c we knew she held onto hope waiting for a family for 7 long years before we found her.

Happy year anniversary sweet girl.  We are blessed to have you in the family.  Now until forever.

Oh yeah, that sad kid i brought home?  No longer exists.  Tonight she called for mama when I had been playing with her and then went to pick up Lanie.  Take that every single person who didn't see her worth.  Who left her alone and afraid for years.  She is amazing.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

old friend

Hello old friend PTSD.  I was hoping you were gone for good, but alas, it was not to be.   I often forget that these horrible reactions were such a normal thing when the girls first came home, and it always SHOCKS me when they pop up out of no where.  

 One of my girls had a PTSD reaction to me trying to give her a new medicine today. I had put my hand on her mouth to try and get her to open and her eyes flashed fear and she started silent SOBBING and rocking, shaking. In that moment, all i could think was Curse words.  Curse words for every single person who hurt her and made her freak out b/c i touched her mouth and had a spoon in my hand. 

Sadly, when we first brought her home, these reactions were a normal thing.  It hasn't happened in months though, and i just forgot.  I forgot i shouldn't touch her mouth when i have utensils in one of my hands.  B/c she is afraid i will hurt her, or shove food in her mouth.  She just reacted.  She didn't see mama, that person who always holds her gently and never ever EVER forces her to eat or is rough with a spoon.  She saw a spoon coming towards her and felt a hand on her chin (gently) trying to get her to open and i'm guessing she was remembering a time when that happened and didn't end so nicely.  

She cried, i cried.  I know why she was crying, b/c she went through horrible things in her young life.  I cried, b/c she is my baby.  And i wasn't there to protect her.  I didn't do what parents are supposed to do, keep her safe.  It kills me that she went through everything she did.  It makes me feel physically ill to think about it.  And then i FORGOT, and i scared her.  I could not have felt worse.  We cried together and i promised her once again, as we often do, that no one would hurt her anymore.  No one would make her eat if she didn't want to.  No one would be rough with her.  No one would abandon her in a crib for years at a time.  I whispered in her ear that mama and daddy loved her, and we would protect her forever.  

I can't undo the damage that was done.  In that moment, i felt like i couldn't even help her move forward, all i could do was hold her while she cried.  A friend mentioned to me that sometimes we just need to love them in it when there is no through it, and it really hit home.  I don't now if she will ever move "through" that trauma, but i can sit and love her while she is in it. I can show her with words and actions that no one will ever be allowed to treat her like that again.  Maybe it is enough.  Sometimes i feel so inadequate to parent these children that have been so hurt by what life has thrown at them.  I worry that i'm not doing enough, or that i'm doing it wrong, or that someone else could do it so much better.  

When people accuse me of being a "child collector" or ask why i'm not "done" yet well this is why. B/c you know what? My life would be EASIER if i didn't have three disabled kids. Of course it would. We wouldn't have a zillion doc appointments or hauling non-mobile kids around or all day therapy and a million other things i do with them every day. But life wouldn't be easier for THEM and they are who matters. 

I can't undo the damage done. I don't even know if i can make it better. I can only weep with them. I can only promise that no one will ever hurt them again. I can only be there when they need me. I pray most days to just be enough for them.  All i can do is pray to be enough for them.  All of them.  These little lives i have been entrusted with.  The ones i promised to protect and love and help.  I hope it's enough.  I hope they grow up and know we did all we could, all we thought was right.

I hope when the boys get home, that i have learned through parenting my other hurt children, and that i can help them try and heal or just get down on the floor and wallow with them.  Either way really. As long as they know i'm there for them.  

Random fundraiser for the boys :)  We are selling these T-shirts!  World Down Syndrome Day is coming up in May, and both of these shirts would be great for it!  Or awesome for any random day of the week too!  Take a peek and help us bring the boys home!  (unisex shirts, women's shirts, t-shirts, and sweatshirts available at the links!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Better off without them

A sweet friend of mine who has adopted multiple children with special needs today got told that children like hers made this woman (who professed to be Christian mind you) think that abortion was ok.

 I'm gonna let that sink in for a minute.

Picture yourself, out with your beloved children, and some random person telling you that they should have been aborted, and thinking nothing wrong with saying it.  Looking at your heart, laying there in your arms, and telling you flat out, you would be better off without them.  The WORLD would be better off without them.  It makes my heart clench and i feel shaky just thinking about it.

I think any one of us would be horrified by this happening to us.  But you know what, this is what is happening in orphanages all over the world.  These children truly are not seen as human.  I've had so many people ask me, how can they treat the kids so horribly (in the orphanages).  It's the same reason  that the holocaust happened.  They weren't considered worthy.  The world would have been better off without them.  How many people KNEW what was happening and did nothing about it?

It's the reason we are on our third adoption (children 4 and 5) in three years. Once you have SEEN the truth of how these children are treated and considered inhuman, you can never ever unsee it.  Life was easier in many ways before our eyes were opened and our hearts were broken and never quite pieced back in the same way as before.

Before she was "human".  Before she was worthy.  

After she was chosen.  After she was SEEN for who she was.  A lovely, human child who just needed someone to acknowledge that she was a person.  

Before she was a beloved daughter.

Beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend.  Chosen.  Loved.  Perfectly formed.  

 My Jo.  Unloved.  Unworthy.  Un-human.  

My Jo.  Loved.  Worthy.  Chosen.  Seen.  

I could literally post hundreds of these types of pictures.  Nothing spectacular is happening once these kids are brought home.  They are loved and fed and made part of a family.  The changes are astonishing.  

Take a look at this documentary if you don't believe me.  Watch the nanny carry the child like a thing.  Away from her body, by the arm, no care at all or even recognition that they are holding a person being.  

So, what do you think?  Better off without them?  I feel everyday my life is better b/c of my children.  All of my children.  

Monday, December 1, 2014


Not to much to say.  We got our rough draft of our homestudy today, so that is EXCELLENT news.  Once we approve and our agency approves, we can get a final copy and then apply to USCIS.  Thats the USA government that will give us permission to adopt the boys.  Hopefully we get our appointment quickly and can get that done with!  Our dossier should be ready to send off before we get our fingerprints back.  Trucking along!

We are still fundraising.  I am making and selling wooden Montessori toys, that you can see here

A sweet friend started a fundraiser she is calling the love train for us. She bought paper trains that we are selling for $5 a piece.  Once you donate, we are putting your name on a train and then attaching the trains to the wall of the room the boys will sleep in.  I am hoping to cover the entire wall so the boys will be SURROUNDED with love from all the friends who helped them come home!  If you would like your name on a train, please donate $5 on the little tab to the right with the boys names on it, and then let me know!

Will update soon!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

And Again

Here we are again. 

Moved to action by a simple little picture. 

I had seen the little one when he was listed before.  Thought he was cute and moved on.  A family committed and discovered he had an older brother, and were determined to keep them together.  So they leapt for both of the boys, fighting to get their files together.  Unfortunately, after they had first trip they were unable to continue with the boys adoption. 
Thomas has been after us to adopt more "brothers", and we always kinda laughed and said some day.  Then our agency listed the boys again.  And my heart caught.  I saw my sons.  I saw my son's brothers.  I begged for videos from our agency and watched them over and over and over.  I sent them to Jared and pleaded with him to just watch and think about it.  He wasn't sure he was ready. I understood but my heart wouldn't let go. I waited for the "no" I was sure would come from Jared.  Much to my surprise, Jared's heart was also moved.  He said yes.  He knew they were his sons too. 
I was scared to be honest.  Not of bringing more children into our homes.  That I knew we could handle.  Scared of the reaction we would get.  So I debated.  Should we not tell anyone?  Should we be an anonymous family?  In the end, after some gentle encouragement from the hubby, we went public.  We've gotten all kinds of reactions.  We are either crazy people or amazing depending on who we talk too.  Truthfully, we are neither.  Not saints or nuts.  We get frustrated and yell too. We have great days and awful days.  Just a normal family. 
The difference?  We have seen the children who don't have families.  We have had children literally scale our bodies and beg, beg us to be their mama and papa.  I don't think I will ever be the same after our first trip when we adopted Eli.  His orphanage was a nice place.  There were still issues of course.  But the nicest place can't replace a family.
  One little girl in particular would come up to me and ever so sweetly kiss my hand, b/c she saw me kiss Eli's hand the first day we met him.  She was so silent, so patient.  She would wait until I wasn't paying attention and then I would feel the softest little mouth on my hand, gently kissing.  Oh how I wept when I left her.  I was so afraid of what would happen to her when she was transferred.  She was so gentle.  So quiet.  I knew what that could mean.  Thankfully she is being brought home now by someone who has turned into a dear friend, but that transfer?  It wasn't good for her.  She didn't fare well, just as a I feared.  I don't think I will breathe easy until she in in her mama's arms forever, which thankfully will be soon!  She is one of the lucky ones.  Even with a bad transfer, she is still being rescued.  She will have a mama and papa to help her heal.  Most of the kids?  They won't ever get their happily ever after.
Most people don't want older kids.  Especially older children who are disabled.  And older, disabled boys?  Well they are the least wanted of all.  Our boys are 8 and 6.  Disabled, health issues, cognitive issues, medical issues.  People aren't beating down the door to adopt kids like this.  But I remember.  I remember the "older" kids in Eli's orphanage.  The ones who still had hope.  The ones who begged to be held, or just climbed up us b/c they knew we wouldn't say no.  They knew we were "soft", unlike the nannies who didn't have time to sit and cuddle b/c they had so many children to care for.  They knew we would have a kind word and a gentle touch.  Amazing how they didn't need to speak our language to understand love. 
And love them we did. I whispered love in so many ears that 10 days we spent in his orphanage.  Over and over again.  How I loved them.  How I prayed my whispered words would help them hold on a little longer.  I prayed for families to come for each of them.  To see their worth too.  I won't know what happened to most of them.  I won't be able to follow their stories b/c most of them have been transferred at this point.  I can only remember them.  I won't forget them.  They had meaning to me. 
So we aren't afraid of adopting "older" children.  I won't be afraid of what people think of our family anymore either.  Love us or hate us.  It's all ok. We are doing what we think is right.  We will claim these two as our beloved sons too, and we will rejoice with those who rejoice with us.  Hopefully others will come alongside and cheer, but it's okay if they won't either.  We will follow along on our little path, with our not so little family cartwheeling behind us. 
It all happens for a reason.  If the first family hadn't committed to both of the boys, then our older son might have been separated and transferred at this point.  B/c they are together still, our adoption process will be a little smoother (hopefully). 
So, here we are. Leaping again.  Joyfully rushing towards our new children.  Our new sons.  Won't you rejoice with us?  With them?  For them?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Metcha month

Happy Metcha month sweet dude.  Your picture rocked our world and you haven't stopped since.

Heard this song while I was folding laundry today, it always makes me smile and think of you. 

I'm saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I'll leave myself behind
And follow You
I'll walk the narrow road
'cause it leads me to You
I'll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I've counted up the cost
Oh I've counted up the cost
Yes I've counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety
As much as I need You
You're dangerous
But Lord You're beautiful
I'll chase You through the pain
I'll carry my cross
'cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed
Take my all
Take my everything

 I've counted up the cost
And You're worth everything