Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Still i forget

18 months home and sometimes i forget.  I forget i didn't give birth to her.  I forget she hasn't always been here. She fills my arms and my heart and i simply forget.  Until she does something that shatters my heart for her again.

Lanie is still sleeping in a crib in our room, b/c of her recent heart surgery and we want to keep an eye on her.  She was going to sleep tonight and i was reading in bed mostly tuning her out.  I heard her breathing even out and she started to snore a bit and it made me smile to myself.  She choked and woke up and i heard her bouncing.  I tuned it out at first but the noise continued and i looked over to make sure she was okay.

She was sitting straight up, bouncing herself.  To soothe herself.  B/c no one ever did.  So she sits and bounces and falls asleep and wakes herself up falling.  B/c she didn't have a mama or a papa to do it for her when she was a baby.  B/c even 18 months of loving her with our whole hearts isn't enough to undo the damage laying in a crib does.  She doesn't even look for us to soothe her in the night most of the time, b/c she simply doesn't remember it's an option.  She soothes herself, b/c that's all she knew when she was alone for so long.

And that shatters me.  Sometimes i think i will never find all the pieces of my heart that raising wounded children has given me.  I gather them close and hope it's enough for them.  I try not to die a little inside each time these things catch me off guard.  I long for the day she cries every single time she is upset or bored or chokes in the middle of the night.  For her to know that we are here and we will make it better.  One day maybe.  I can hope anyway.

I've often said, i don't mourn her diagnosis, b/c she wouldn't be here in this house most likely without it.  But the time spent alone, waiting to be chosen, to be seen, it eats at me. Burns me up and breaks me when i see her soothing herself, or see Jo so fearful to try new things, b/c she was left for so long with nothing new at all, or see Eli still struggle with attachment and try to push us away when he is feeling unsure of something.

 It's why we are doing this thing again.  Bringing more children into the home.  Children who are broken and lost.  Children who may never feel whole again.  B/c they were left for so very long.  There's a song we listen to on the radio a lot that says

 "Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and Ill bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we'll last forever is broken together"

And i think. maybe it's true.  Maybe we can just be broken together. Maybe we can heal each others hearts.  Maybe it's enough.  I might not ever be able to fill in those holes for my children.  Maybe i'm not meant to.  Maybe i'm just supposed to be here, for them, with them.  Loving them as best i know how.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Whatever may come

Jo peed in the potty today.  They've been working on it at school and i decided just to try with her.  She had been sitting for a while and i held my hands up to see if she wanted me to pick her up and she refused and then a minute later peed and then grinned and held her hands up.  It was amazing.  Seriously.  I was typing to tell a friend about it and almost typed God is good.  And he is.  But you know what?  He wouldn't be any less good if she never peed in the potty.  If she never walks or talks or pees in the potty again it won't make him any less good.  It won't make her any less amazing, just the way she is.

I was talking with a friend today about realistic expectations for our kids.  I see differences in the way Jared and i look at our children with disabilities than i see in parents who have bio kiddos with disabilities.  We didn't have an unexpected diagnosis, and i wonder if that makes a difference?  We knew upfront that Jocelyn was very delayed, and we were cool with it.  I think it's a hard thing to have expectations and hopes for our children, i know i certainly did with all of my pregnancies.  We had hopes and dreams for them, still do of course.  I think having those dreams and then having to find a different set of dreams for your child would be one of the hardest things ever to do.  I don't pretend to understand how it feels b/c we have never been in those shoes.  We don't mourn our children's diagnosis's, b/c realistically if they didn't have them they most likely wouldn't be in our house right now.  Anyway, i think we are pretty realistic about the kiddo's in our home who have disabilities.  One will be able to live fairly independently and two will not.  One will be able to hold a job and two most likely will not.

And you know what?  That's totally ok!  I see so many stories in the news about this child with Down syndrome (or other disability) who was prom queen or has his own store or did amazing things and that is GREAT.  But not every kid with a disability is going to go to prom or college or move out or even learn how to use the bathroom.  And that is OK TOO.  I absolutely understand why the media and even families want to promote and see these stories.  But i would love to see stories of kids who one day decided to make eye contact for a second.  And how it filled her mama's heart with such joy.  Stories of how one day he decided  not to rage, and there was peace for a moment.  Stories of children who do their best to escape the house, or tear things up, or rock all day.  Who never speak.  Who never walk.  Who never leave the house.  B/c those children are amazing too.

They fill our hearts with the same love and joy and yes sorrow that our other children do.  Secret time?  Sometimes they fill our hearts even more than our typical kids when they finally meet our eyes.  B/c things don't always come easy to them. Most days it's not easy for them.  I do sometimes look at my children and wonder what will you be?  But i don't despair for them.  I want to see what they will be, who they will be.  Whatever may come, we are ok with it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Lanie had her open heart surgery on the 13th of may.  She did really well during and after surgery.  She ended up getting some fluid on her heart and lungs and we had to stay a couple of extra days but all is well and she is home now.

BUT.  Something pretty amazing happened when we were in the hospital.  She started crying when i would turn out the lights and go lay down at night.  If i got up and sat by her bed she would stop crying.  She has struggled with attachment, Jared and i feel fairly confident that she may have something else going on besides Down Syndrome.  Eye contact is hard for her and truthfully most days she is content to sit on the floor and stim with various toys.  We continue to work with her of course, but have also accepted that her attachment and progress will look different than our other kiddos. That is fine with us, just a different road to take.  For her to cry for me (Jared is undoubtedly her favorite round these parts) was simply amazing.

She was afraid and found comfort in me.  It sounds like such a simple thing.  Something i certainly took for granted before i had internationally adopted kids.  Watching Eli cry on the floor and refuse to be comforted was hard when he first got home, but helped prepare me for Jocelyn's flat out angry refusals to be comforted when she was upset.  Lanie has never really cared one way or another if we comfort her or not.  She will lay passively in our arms if we try and soothe her, or she will soothe herself if we don't.  I admit to feeling super tired one night and sort of laughing that this was the moment she would decide she wanted another person to soothe her, but seriously, what an amazing blessing to get to be the one who does life with this child.  I get to hold her and soothe her and grow with her.

She also decided that she really loves Hillsong kids songs, thanks to a super amazing friend who stayed with us for three weeks during vacation and surgery.  This is also AMAZING friends.  She stops fussing and listens and smiles when we turn on the music.  She fusses when the commercials come on.  She is making a CHOICE to listen to a specific set of songs, and shows displeasure when the songs go off.  I just feel like she is growing all the sudden, and i'm crazy excited to see where she will go next.

Side note:  Jared leaves to go to Bulgaria VERY soon to meet our new boys!!!  The excitement is high in this house!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

First trip

Quick note to say we have travel dates and Jared will be traveling to meet the boys in Early June!  We are super duper thrilled to tell the boys that they have a forever family!  I will be staying home with the other kids and then i will go on pickup trip with a friend.  We are down to needed less than 6k to be fully funded to ransom these two boys forever!

On another note, our Lanie is having heart surgery on this coming Wed.  I am feeling crazy anxiety about them cutting open my baby's chest, so please pray for her and for me if you have a spare one!

Just a quick update today, lots to do before surgery!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

rocks and tantrums

At church on Easter, the pastor gave us all a box.  Inside the box were several things, one of them being a rock.  He told us to take the rock out and feel the weight of it.  Then he asked us to text him (yes at church LOL) one burden that was weighing us down like the weight of the rock.  I went back in forth in my head, but decided on Lanie's upcoming heart surgery.  It was between that and being able to bring the boys home, but Lanie's surgery is a constant heavy weight on me.

I posted a mini tantrum on facebook, saying that i was hoping that Jared could travel before Lanie's surgery and how disappointed i was that it wasn't going to happen. I am nervous about being alone with Lanie quickly after her surgery, she doesn't have a great history after surgery.  In the days that followed, i've gotten no less than three offers from friends who want to come hold her and keep her upright at night, two out of town friends who are offering to drop everything and come stay with me if Jared needs to go and i'm nervous, we got chosen to be part of a multi-family grant opportunity, and another sweet friend is splitting all her proceeds between her family and ours, even though SHE herself is fundraising to bring home a very sick little boy, and another friend is doing an avon fundraiser for us.  Overwhelming to say the least.

And so the weight is being lifted.  Dear friend who WANT to take off work and sit with you while your baby is being cut open.  Friends who want to have sleepless nights holding YOUR child so you can feel ok about your husband leaving the country.  Friends who want to drive hundreds of miles to hold your hand.  Friends who want to give up money THEY rightly need for their own children.  One by one by one the offers poured in and lifted the weight off my shoulder, lifted the heavy burden off of my heart.  So i'm casting my cares away, and being lifted and held in return.

What burden are you holding friends?  Can you cast it away?    You might be surprised at what happens when you do <3

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crazy Awesome NEW Fundraising opportunity for the boys

Nab Amazon bestselling YA Fantasy novel Thorn by Intisar Khanani for 99 cents April 1- 7 and help bring these two young brothers home. Described as "unflinching and exquisite," Thorn is a story of choice and betrayal, justice and compassion. Recommended for fans of Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey.
About Thorn

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed. Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future. But powerful men have powerful enemies—and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust yourself.
About Evan & Raymond
brothers2                                                                                                                     This sale is also about Intisar's good friend, Jamie, and  the two little boys she and her husband are in the process of trying to adopt. Evan (age 7) and Raymond (age 9) are biological brothers, both born with Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome--a condition that results in brain damage if left untreated. They were each given up at birth, and were unable to receive treatment for their condition. These brothers have lived in an orphanage in Eastern Europe their whole lives. As boys who are older and struggle with developmental disabilities, it's almost impossible to find adoptive families for them. But Jamie has her heart set on bringing them home, and this sale is about helping that happen.

All of the proceeds from Thorn's 99 cent sale are going towards that adoption. Our goal is to raise $2,000 over the course of the week. International adoption is prohibitively expensive (often over $20,000), so every dollar makes a difference... You can find out more about the boys and Jamie, and link to their blog, here:
And today, your help can make this goal a reality. Please share, tweet, and/or re-blog this post, and buy and give "Thorn" as a gift to friends and family! You can also invite your friends to the "Thorn Flash Sale" event on Facebook. Help us bring Evan and Raymond home.
Thorn is currently on sale for only 99 cents at all of these e-retailers:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21st is world Down Syndrome Day!!!     Down Syndrome occurs when a person has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.  As you know, we have three adopted children with Down Syndrome that make our lives extra great!  This year the kids and i are doing a community outreach project where we take a treat and handmade card to local community organizations in honor of 3/21.  So if you are here following a link off our treats, welcome and feel free to look around!  Hoping to upload pics of the kids delivering the treats in the next couple of days!