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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dear Birth Mother

Dear Birth Mother:

Tomorrow is Lanie's 4th birthday.  I've been thinking of you all day today.  Were you feeling labor pains 4 years ago today?  Were you eagerly anticipating the birth of your baby?  Were you dreaming of that baby's future?  What you would do with her?  I wonder how you felt when you found out she had Down Syndrome.  When you knew your future dreams for her were not to be.  Did a doctor tell you to leave her?  Were you bullied?  Did your mama heart mourn for her?  Are you thinking of her today?

I look at my biological children and I can pick out who has what feature.   Thomas looks like his Daddy, Luci is a mix, Gwen looks like me. I see us in them.  I don't see us in her. 

When I look at her, I think, you must have been beautiful, because she is too. 

You must have been funny, because she is too. 

You must have had light, straight hair and ever changing eyes, because she does too. 

You  must have had long eyelashes, because hers are impossibly long and lovely. 

I wonder if you had a temper, because she does too. 

When I look at her, I grieve that she waited so long for us.  I grieve for you, because she is amazing.  I get to watch her move and grow and learn.   I hope you know somehow that she is safe.  That she is loved.  I hope your heart can be eased in someway. 

 She stopped crying when I picked her up today.  First time she has done that.  The hard shell she holds so close is cracking slowly.  She is learning to trust that we will be here.  That we will treat her gently.  That something outside herself can be interesting.

She holds my heart, and I am trying my hardest to win hers.  When I rock her and she finally decides to snuggle close, sometimes I just sit and watch her breath.  I think, she is a fighter.  She went through heart failure and open heart surgery and ecmo and she did it alone.  You must have been a fighter too.  One day it will be easier to raise a child with a disability in your country. 

Some promises to you, from one mama to another.  I promise I will love her with all my heart forever.  I promise to hug and kiss her everyday.  I promise to continue to be thankful that you gave her life.  I promise to hold her and encourage her to try her hardest, even when she doesn't want to be pushed forward.  I promise to fight for her.  For medical care and education and whatever she needs.  I will fight with my last breath to do right by her.  From one mama to another, I will fight for both of us, because she is worth it. 

Friday, October 3, 2014


My kids have been watching a lot of Jonah the veggie tales version.  One line that always sticks out to me is when someone asks what compassion is and is told, "compassion is when you see someone who needs help, and you want to help them".  Pretty simple huh.  We could all use a little compassion every now and then. 

Meet Cliff.  Cliff is 6 years old and currently weighs 11 pounds.  Cliff needs some compassion.  Some serious compassion.  Can we all help him come home quickly?  I know personally, that many small donations add up to bring a child home.  To rescue a child forever.  To pay the ransom due to free him from his chains and let him spread his wings and fly free.  I can't imagine what his daily life is like. 

He reminds me of my Jo.  Living with daily issues that we would consider horrific or inhumane.  And he still has a smile on his face.  Her spirit was unbreakable in the end, and I think, his is too.  He is still smiling.  Smiling even though he is starving.  Smiling even though he is probably desperate for someone to hold and snuggle him.  Smiling.  Simply, smiling.  Please go here and drop Cliff some help, together we can bring him home.

Song that makes me think of Cliff <3

Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear

The trouble—it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Come home soon sweet boy!  Your mama and Daddy are waiting for you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


In case we aren't friends on facebook :)  7 months home.  Pretty much speaks for itself!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Adoption is hard.  Adoption is always, ALWAYS born from loss.  Loss on both sides.  Biological parents choosing or being coerced into giving up their children.  Babies, newly born or children home for years loosing their first parents.  There is no way to pretty it up.  Regardless of new families made and second parents filled with joy, it all starts with loss.  This does damage in ways that we may never see the end of. 

All three of my adopted children were given up at birth.  I have no idea of the real reasons they were given up and am fairly certain I never will.  I work on making peace with this.  I work on choosing to let go of MY anger, bc if they hadn't been given up, they wouldn't be sleeping peacefully in my house right now.  No one can tell the future, and I don't know if their first parents would have still chosen to give them up knowing what they would go through waiting for a forever family. 

Jocelyn's referral picture.  15 pounds at age 6. 

It's not a secret that Jocelyn is very, very small, even for a child with Down Syndrome.  We have lots of suspicions about how she was or was not treated in the orphanage.  I do know that when we first brought her home, she would flinch if I moved quickly.  She would always insist on sitting in my lap with her back to my chest.  Never would she willingly face me.  Eye contact was fleeting at best.  She would bite if she got overexcited or we held her facing us. 

Jocelyn on pick up trip.  Sad and scared.  Afraid to trust

We knew going into her adoption that she was very delayed.  We knew she might not ever make progress.  We were ok with that.  She was ours, and we accepted her for who she was.  But oh, how wrong we were.  This child.  This child I am blessed to call mine.  She lived for 7 years in a cold lonely crib.  At a minimum she was ignored, and at a maximum, well, I don't like to think about that.  She shames me with her joy.  When I am frustrated with daily life, she is always filled with love and joy.  She is always ready with a joyful heart to love and be loved. 
Jocelyn filled with joy.  She was waiting to bloom.

I thought I would spend my days helping HER heal, and in truth, she has been healing cracks in my heart that I didn't even know were there.  She follows me around the house, scooting on her butt, and sometimes she is so silent I don't know she is behind me until I feel her teeny hand touching my calf as I cook or clean.  She willingly and lovingly sits facing me know.  She reaches up to touch my face, to bring my attention back to her if she feels I am not paying attention to her. 
Choosing to give and accept love

She offers up her cheek for kisses when I come in close.  Just the last few days, she has started pressing her lips to mine after I kiss her.  She leans in softly, hesitantly, and presses her tiny little lips to mine.  It breaks my heart every single time and fills it beyond imagine every single time.  Sometimes I weep thinking of her so alone for so long, and in the same minute I laugh thinking of her sassy face and her tinkling giggle. 

So healing is coming for us all.  Some faster than others.  Some aren't ready to heal.  Some refuse to accept love because that is just to scary still.  And that is okay.  We will continue to pursue all of are children.  We will offer love and not have any expectations that they "need" to love us back.  That is not why we adopted.  We can offer love and hope that one day they will all accept it.  Until then, we will soak up all the love from this little one!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

As long as they are healthy

I love seeing pregnant mamas.  I loved being pregnant.  One of the things I got asked when I was pregnant was whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and if I had preferences.  I hear this question asked to other people all the time, and you know what the most common response is, "as long as they are healthy, we don't care what the sex is".  I'm not judging people who say that, I know that I have said the same thing in the past. 

But here's the thing.  What does healthy mean?  I have three children with Down Syndrome.   One of them has no health concerns at all.  One has things we need to be watchful for, but is what I would consider healthy.  One of them has a heart condition, but only need yearly monitoring at this point.  So, all of them "I" would consider healthy.  We don't have daily hospital or doctor runs, no equipment needed in the home, no oxygen, no feeding tubes, no trachs, nothing. 

So what do we (including myself bc I used to give the same answer) really mean when we say "as long as they are healthy".  Does it really mean as long as they are typical?  As long as they are normal?  Are children who have disabilities automatically considered not healthy?  Are we really saying we will be happy as long as they are like everyone else? 

And then I wonder, what kind of message does it send to parents of children who have disabilities, to say, we will be happy if they are healthy?  Does that mean they should be unhappy bc their child is not typical, not healthy?  Does it mean that child won't bring them the same joy as a typical child?  Does it mean they won't get into trouble, climb onto tables and out of cribs? Does it mean they won't fill our hearts with such joy that it physically hurts?  Nope.  Pretty sure I have that feeling with all my children, including those with a little something extra.  Does it mean there won't be heartache?  No, but there is that with typical children also. 

I sat with a new friend today, and I saw the heartache that can go with an unexpected diagnosis.  But what I really saw?  I saw beautiful almond shaped eyes.  I saw a contagious grin.  I saw a beautiful baby.  I saw baseball games and friends and staying up late to eat ice cream sandwiches when i stared in his perfect face.  I saw acceptance in his mamas eyes, along with the sadness and I thought, he is perfect.  He is an amazing creation.  He was made exactly the way he was intended to be. 

I hear from parents all the time who had biological babies with down syndrome or other diagnosis, that when their babies were born, people didn't know what to say, or said, "i'm sorry", or things along those line.  Being on the other side, the side who sees what a joy these children can bring, now I think and say, "congratulations!  He/she is beautiful".  Just some things to think about the next time a family member or friends gets an unexpected diagnosis!

Because all children deserve some excitement when they come into the world :)