Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas from our family to yours...

and someday I WILL get a good pic of ALL my kids together! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SPECsifcally cute!

LOOK whats new!

And the biggest surprise of the week is she LIKES them! She will actually leave them on for quite awhile, and she's happy! :)

Seriously, can she look sad or what? :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweet Tavi [Nov. 14th]

God knew. He knew that 5 years ago when a precious baby girl was born that she would be our daughter. The gentle CARE He takes, the LOVE He puts into it, the JOY He finds in it, the SPECIFIC outcome He has designed for us ... the knitting together of a family. It's a GOD thing.

Psalm 139

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.


Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 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.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday/ Saturday at our church

Well, I can't say it was perfect, but I gave our "How did you first enter into adoption?" testimony on Saturday to start off our "Orphan Sunday" sermon.

They even got it on video, which had I known I would have done myself up just a little bit.;) Sometimes, the most I can do is just show up.... moms you know how that is right? :)

Talking in front of a group is so not my thing, I wish it was. I am getting better, and thats kind of scary once you watch ... but the point wasn't how great I was, it was that God has moved in my life in a mighty way and I wanted to be able to share that.

Here is the link, I do my testimony and then Pastor Jeff does his sermon, which btw, is fantastic [as always!]. So if you have the time, listen to it all.

Listen and Watch here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Will needs a family!

This year I am a Christmas Warrior through Reeces Rainbow for Will. He is a little 5 year old boy with Down syndrome. In his write up it says that he is very serious. That just makes me want to hug him and put a lasting smile on his face! The best way I know to do that is to bring him a family.

He is in a country very dear to my heart ;) ..... If you are able, would you please consider donating to help Will get to the $1000 mark by Christmas, or better yet maybe we could get his whole adoption paid for!

Most importantly, pray for Will that his family finds him and starts working to bring him home!

Here is little Will! Don't you want to see that little face break into a sneaky grin?

Heres the link to his information and how you can donate towards his adoption fund. Which if you are interested is tax deductible. :)
Will's adoption fund!

number 6...

6. The adoption tax credit for 2010 is over $13,000! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

4 months home!

I can hardly believe it!!

It's been crazy enough that I can look back and honestly not quite believe we made it through!
Each day presented and continues to present new challenges. 9 kids, diverse beginnings, and 3 of which are teens guarantees that life is neither quiet, peaceful nor boring! And yet I am at peace, my heart overflows, my mind is mush.... Life ain't perfect ;).

Tavi slowly continues to do better each day. She is learning English slowly but surely. She still repeats every phrase we say back to us and holds conversations with herself ;). She tends to think she's quite funny! She loves music. Since I only know a few songs we play those over and over. Give her 6 months and she'll be playing them!

She has an eye appointment on the 11th with a specialist. We will see if she truly has some vision, or is just a miraculously smart and adaptable little girl ( well, she already is.... But it remains to be seen if she can see!)

Now miss Yana is the one who astounds me. Today, just TODAY, 4 months to the day of being home she played for 20 minutes in the bathtub! She has NEVER, EVER played at ALL in the tub before tonight other than dunking her head under. And that just happened a couple days ago! But tonight she was a crazy, happy girl playing, splashing, dunking herself! And she would NOT get out! That in itself is amazing. She is always ready to get out!

I wish I could show the transformation of this little girl! Picture a 7 year old that did not play, did not understand or care about cause and effect, just wanted to be left alone. Now picture a 7 year old awakened for the first time to a life that is fun, a life that she can influence, a life she participates in with thought and wide eyed wonder! She went from being in a daze all day, to being EXCITED to start her day! AND get this! The little bugger did not want to go to bed last night! She wanted to stay up and PLAY and was quite clear about it!

It's nothing short of a miracle! Both of these girls are on the road to being normal kids, that have normal childhoods, a "semi" normal family, and normal hopes and dreams! Over so many miles God gently aced them into our family and we and so many of you have the privilege of seeing them go from "shells of what could have beens" to "mornings gonna stop us nows"!

Before my eyes I am witnessing what Gods love and mercy can do. I always knew it, deep down I knew it, but the world tries so hard to bury it..... In the presence of God impossible is just a word. In the hands of God your body is energized. Within the shelter of Gods love lives are transformed and made new. In the arms of God it is safe to let your heart beat again with joy, courage, wonder, and .... hope!

number 5.....

5. We are told again and again in the bible that God has a heart full of mercy and love for orphans, widows, the "least of these", as we are also told to "be like Christ". Can you think of a better way than through the adoption of a child to have our hearts aligned with GODS HEART AND WILL?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

National Adoption Month .... 30 reasons to adopt

I'll play catch up since it's already the 4th!

1. All children deserve a loving family.

2. Adoption is beating strong in the heart of God.

3. It's a beautiful option for growing your family.

4. It is a living, tangible, and phenomenal way to show your children
that love does not have rules and boundaries.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just had to share!!!!

Oldest to Youngest... :)




I can't help myself! I LOVE Yanas expression, and yes, this is her MAD face! :)

Are these kiddos adorable, or is it that I'm biased? :)

The Small Stuff....

I found this on a Christian blog, written in 2007. I thought it was worth sharing.

The old adage says, “The devil is in the details” and it is so with adoption. Give me a big problem or hurdle, and shockingly, I do just fine (while holding onto God’s hand, that is!). But I do “sweat the small stuff.” Ask me to chase around little details, and then have something go wrong? That’s a recipe for disaster, and the area Satan knows is best if he wants to trip me up … and you know that’s exactly what he wants!

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Tell me the adoption is being contested, and somehow I actually manage to smile and be civil. I can plan an elaborate one-week stay in a rural local, replete with car-rental, hotel stays, and multiple flight layovers. I can communicate with the credit card company to advise them that there will be unusual activity. I can scour the internet for hours at a time to find the best deals in travel.

But … have the washing machine go all wonky? Have an ant uprising in the entryway? Forget it … I melt like butter on homemade popcorn! Hello, Marie! Satan is paying a house-call!

My mind is completely focused on the big task at hand … so when these “little” issues come, it’s more than my overloaded brain can absorb! So, today’s message (like most of what I write) is for me to sit down and soak in. What to do? Well, I am reminded of a few passages that, if I will allow myself to dwell on them, will help.

It is written: Stay in the word. Study! When Jesus was tempted, His answer to all of Satan’s tricks was, “It is written …” God’s word provides comfort, solace, direction, peace and refuge.

Keep your eyes on Jesus:

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31).

When he wasn’t looking at the storm raging around him, and just narrowed his focus on the Lord, Peter was able to walk on water! But, when he took his eyes off of Jesus, and looked at the wind, he became afraid. Which leads us to our next point …

Peace be still: The Jesus who created the world, also controls it:

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. (Matthew 8:24-26).

I’m struck by many things in this passage, but first and foremost is that the Lord was able to sleep! This indicates a calm mind and trust in God. I’ve been having a hard time shutting my brain off, and just tapping into that inner resource that Jesus had. Secondly, this passage makes me realize that Satan may have a job to do, but ultimately, God controls my life! If I will but listen to Him, I can have that same confidence that allowed the Lord to sleep amidst the raging storm.

I think we underestimate Satan. I hate talking about him or giving him any press, but face it – he’s supernatural and he does try to trip us up. He knows our weaknesses and uses those against us. So, if he knows our weaknesses, it behooves us to always be on the alert. Right now, I know I’m in the danger zone, because I know that little things trip me up, and all I’m dealing with lately, are the little things. Knowing this, I can take the time to read, pray, and meditate on the word. Secondly, and sadly, sometimes I think we underestimate God. Our God made this world just by speaking it into existence! With just a few words, Jesus was able to calm to storm. God is powerful! Our opening verses tell us Satan is on the prowl. But, in closing, let’s look at the key to the victory over him that God gives us in the verses preceding it:

Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

Give it all to God in prayer, and He’ll take care of the “devil in the details.” ----- Marie Stroughter

Monday, October 25, 2010


Just took these this morning. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's working!

So I decided believing is at least 1/2 the battle. Yana does not make letter sounds, doesn't babble, nothing but growling, spitting, throat clearing etc. Well I decided she just lost the know how and needed help getting it back.

She loves music. So about a week or so ago I started singing sings with syllables only. Concentrating on the basic baby ones.... Dada, mama, lala, papa, nana or no no, Yana (her name), baba, and tata. Basic songs like "if you're happy and you know it clap you hands", "jingle bells", "twinkle twinkle little star" and so on.

IT IS WORKING!!!! She is starting to make some of these sounds instead of just gutteral sounds!!! She's doing it!! :)

3 1/2 months home.... NO language to the very beginning of language! 7 1/2 years of not having a voice to a future full of her sweet voice! Simply amazing!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sometimes 100% is the only thing that is acceptable!

Luke 15:1-7

This is the biblical passage that has been on my mind and my heart lately.

Now I realize this story is talking about believers that have wandered away from God, and that it also is addressing the attitudes of the those still following Jesus.

But it also tells me that Jesus desires 100% outcomes. That just one child suffering, one child alone and afraid, one child hungry, one child out of MILLIONS without a family is ONE CHILD TOO MANY!

In the adoption community you hear the debate about what exactly is an "orphan". You hear debate about "levels" of suffering and need. Clearly a child with both parents deceased and living in the harsh conditions of Africa can be seen as in desperate need. And that a child living in the US, in the foster care system, presents a stikingly different picture of need.

Most often in foster care physical and medical needs are being met, so you will rarely see a 10 year old weighing just 25 lbs. You will not see a child ravaged by disease, or unable to walk when all that would be required is a fairly simple procedure here in the US. But you do see a child with emotional scars that would make the knees of most adults I know buckle under the pressure. You do see a child that is a confusing mix of maturity and drastic immaturity. You do see a child that ic crying out in every way imaginable for help, and instead gets thrown around from being one families "problem" to the next, and each placement just makes those scars deeper and more permanent. And what scares me the most, what makes the tears fall, what makes me so mad that I shake with it.... EMOTIONAL TRAUMA IS AN ACCEPTED AND EXPECTED PART OF OUR FOSTER CARE SYSTEM! TRAUMA!!!!

All around us kids are being traumatized under the guise of good will and help! Seriously, these kids are the future of the USA, and the best we have to offer them is not going hungry, needed surgeries and medicines and emotional trauma? Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

But then you have the children in other countries in crowded and underfunded orphanages. They are going hungry, suffering with sickness or medical conditions needing treatment, and they are experience emotional trauma as well!


I doubt very much that Jesus evaluates "levels" of suffering or need. I dont' think God doles out grace based on you needing it more than me or vice versa. It isn't in limited supply.

The fact is need is need. And right now there are millions of children all over the world in GREAT meed. God doesn't expect for us to meet 100% of these needs for 100% of these children.


He has said "GO". Help the "least of these". Be the vessel that reflects Gods love in the world.

147 MILLION or 1!? In the USA, or Africa, China, Europe? Newborn or 19 [or 89 for that matter]?

I doubt very much that God wants to hear excuses. He doesnt' want to debate. He doesn't want to specify levels of need.

He wants hearts stirred to action. He wants us to live boldly because of our love and faith in Him. He wants us to TALK with Him and to LISTEN as He directs our paths.

He doesnt' want our leftovers of time, money, resources, or love. He wants 100% of us.


Right now there is a child alone, suffering, sick, scared, without a family, without a future, crying in silence and wasting away. Jesus cares. Do you?




*** change of topic***

My heart is longing to adopt again! I am so trying to think of other things! But it is an overwhelming desire.

I am praying and waiting on God to turn Johns heart. There are things that need to happen to let us adopt again successfully. At this point it isn't the life John wants. He is wanting our family to be complete. I understand that, really, truly I do.

But telling my heart... well that just isn't working. So I am giving this to God and asking him to fix this situation, to fix the balance and to help create/unify the vision for our marriage and family.

I love my husband, love my children, love my life. My heart and my arms long to be open to whatever child God calls us to to bring home.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Little Light of Mine...

When I look at Yana and see her smile, I see a smile that lights up the world. I see JOY, pure and simple. So much a part of her Creator, that I can't help but smile back.

This little light of mine, in my heart she will forever shine. In the heart of her family, she will forever be a shining light.

She is living her life in the arms of a mommy and daddy, and brothers and sisters, and grandmas, aunts and uncles, and cousins, and friends. She MATTERS, and she is LOVED! She is no longer called orphan, but instead a cherished daughter. What once was a bleak, lonely, and desperately sad future is a part of her past. Her life is now spent in the arms of her family, until our Savior calls her home.

Anne Marie was never anyones shining light. She never got to the part about being a cherished daughter, she never knew the security and protection found in her earthly fathers arms. She died an orphan, without a family, without a future.

Her pain, her suffering, her longing to be held are all a part of her past. She is being lovingly held in the arms of Jesus! Her time on earth was too short. This precious little light of Heaven no longer shines for us to see.

Like Anne Marie, the faces of those without forever families to love them are real. And the sad truth is many of them die without anyones life being changed by their passing. They die just as they lived, ALONE. What is wrong with this world?

So many children are in desperate need of a loving, Christian family. All ages, all countries... they all are in need! Live out your faith! ANSWER THE CALL TO BATTLE!
Here are some links to waiting child listings in the US, and other countries.

Reecse Rainbow

US waiting children

Texas waiting children

US waiting children 2

The agency that helped us bring the girls home!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ephesians 2: 10 says "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

[This verse] implies that we should step out in bold obedience. The good works he has prepared beforehand—we should walk in them!

What are the things God has prepared for you to do? When did you last reassess God's call on your life? What are those things that God has given you a passion for?

Your courage will rise when you have confidence in the call. *John Piper*

Do you have the courage to reach out to the "least of these"?

He is worth it to God, is he worth it to you?

Do you have confidence in God's call?

Do you have the courage to SEE him? He is blind, he can't see you. Do you see him?


If God has called you, he is with you. Courage doesn't mean that I am not afraid. It means that I fear God more than I fear my environment. It means that I trust in divine resources more than the resources of man.

Philips Brooks: "Don't ask for tasks equal to your powers. Ask for powers equal to your tasks."

Monday, October 4, 2010


Soooo tired of feeling manic! Bonding and attachment suck! I want to feel normal!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good changes in the air....

There was a time when this sweet little girl did not like the wind blowing in her face or her hair....

Now 3 months home, she loves the sun on her face and the wind in her hair!

And this little one was so hard to get to smile, and did not like looking into the camera or even into faces.....

But she is all smiles and giggles now!

And yes, his "BIG" sisters are teaching him bad habits...

Why must they always stick their tongues out for pictures???? :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Specifically Speaking From My Heart

I hear the comment all the time, "My heart has a burden for...". I used to wonder what all the hype was about. And I will admit it was thought by me to be a much overused phrase. But I come to you today telling you that "my heart is indeed heavy with a burden".

There are so many, just so darned many children without a family. So many children who are "nobody to anybody". And as I look around me at all my many blessings of material stuff, I admit I sometimes want to torch it all! [no, this is not anything incriminatory for the FBI as I won't be burning all my things ;)]
I would give it all away in a heartbeat to see another child welcomed into a family, or more aptly, to welcome another child into my heart and my family.

I think of the future that I am leaving for my children, and my grandchildren, and possibly {who knows}, my great grandchildren and I think "HOW?"! HOW can the world be a healthy place, a better place when more and more children are growing up not only in severe poverty, but also in a world where they are literally of no consequence to anyone?! I am living in these times just like all of you and I can NOT even conceive what that means.

Imagine going from infancy or early childhood all the way to adulthood and having NO ONE! I look at my children, ages 4 to 17, but especially my older children and think of all the talks we have had and the advice, or even just a sympathetic ear they have gotten from my husband and I. THEY KNOW we will come through for them, THEY KNOW we are here for them, that we LOVE them unconditionally and still they struggle to make sense of their life and the world around them. I have shed tears with each one of them! My heart has broken for pain I couldn't fix. They have fought boundaries we have put in place for their own good and to teach them to become responsible, loving, compassionate, honest adults. Not a one of them is perfect, except maybe in the eyes of their Grandma Jackie ;). They have everything they need to succeed, all the benefits, all the support, parents teaching them to have what it means to have a personal relationship with God... everything. And yet, THEY MIGHT NOT MAKE IT!

So segway with me if you will to the burden that has been on my heart as of late. The problem children. The children that come with baggage, and issues, and have been someone elses problem for a long time. The children that so many fear welcoming into their home. The ones that no one wants. The ones whose future looks so very bleak, and yet the VERY ONES upon whose back THE FUTURE RESTS! I am talking about the older children, and more specifically TEENAGE BOYS.

I am a huge reader/fan of John Eldrige. I agree so strongly with his statement "Femininity can NOT bestow Masculinity". I also strongly believe that true masculinity is complimented and shines brightest in the presence of femininity. Meaning? Meaning that it takes a MOTHER AND A FATHER, or at the very least a committed man or woman to come alongside the single mother or father, to bring out the best in our sons!

As I am sure you know, teenage boys, especially of African American heritage are the most challenging children to place from our US fostercare system. I can not help but look at my own boys, and my heart just breaks for all the "lost boys" out there. My teenage sons are 13, 14, and 16. I have 4 teenage nephews whom I totally adore. I think of what if it had been a different world for me, and now my own sons were in foster care. Granted they are not AA, but they are still teenage boys full to the brim with testosterone, fight, fixated on the opposite sex, angry, grouchy, rebellious, independent, questioning everything, strong, honest, loving, compassionate, and desperately searching for affirmation of who they are! I think of them being without a strong Christian family behind them who continues lifting them up, cheering them on, guiding them through, working through the latest problem, and so on.

Who would take them in? How big of a "problem" would they look like and would anyone being willing to not only take on someone "else problem", but love them through all the problems that are bound to arise. Problems that are not specific to a boy in foster care, but just the problems of growing up in todays world?

When I [since I can not speak for my husband ;)] started the journey into the world of adoption I admit I wanted a baby, and at the most I would accept a baby with "minor special needs". That was the level where we both were comfortable. So we adopted Luke as a newborn, who was born with marijuana in his system. VERY minor in the scheme of things. After Lukes adoption in my time with God I assured him my house would be open to whatever child needed a home. Still my mind was fixed on a young child, but maybe wiht more severe special needs.

Along came James, 7 years old, about to be placed in foster care for reasons that were NOT good, needing a home in the same town as his brothers and the town in which I live. So with some apprehension because of his past environment, but with no question on would we, we moved him in as we were becoming licensed foster parents. 2 years later, he was legally our son though he has been my son in my heart since way before!

Next, I felt a very strong pull towards adopting a child with more challenging special needs. Lots of prayer went into each adoption and each step, but this was the biggest leap of faith that we had ever taken. And, praise God, he intricately and specifically knitted each step together from the very beginning! We were gently and assuredly let to and through this journey by the hands of God! Not only was it an international adoption that would cost $20,000, of which we did NOT have, but it was of a child with more special needs than we had ever parented or really even been around for any length of time. And to top it off, early on in the process we felt led to say "YES" to not only 1 little girl, but 2! Both with special needs, both with DIFFERENT special needs. Don't kid yourself, adopting 2 children with special needs is a very BIG deal!!! Bigger than I realized, and much harder too! Oh, and yes, the support we could have used right from the beginning came straight from God. Family and close friends took a while to come around! But many of them did, and we saw GOD work on their hearts. The whole journey to the girls was like our own personal miracle!

So now, 9 kids later, our family should be complete. And you know what it is. To be honest it was complete after the adoption of Luke. 6 kids rounded it off quite nicely. With there being 6 years between my youngest 2, I got my last baby to spoil and cuddle till my heart was content. No majore issues, no health problems, no major behavior problems, pretty much typical if not easy sailing. Who could ask for more?

God could! And GOD did! Is it really ever my decision to be done with fulfilling the desires of God's heart that He has for me? WHO am I to say "YEP, got my perfect little life, and my perfect little family. Thank you Jesus.", pat myself on the back and continue on my way?

Someone once told me, or maybe I read it, that "when the desires of your heart mesh with the worlds greatest needs, that is where God is asking you to step into the "fire"?" My hearts desire is to see all children be in a loving family. To abollish the need for fostercare, or orphanages. A child without a family or in need of a family continues to be something I can not fathom even though I have seen these children, held these children, comforted these children and become a mother to 4 of them.

Children of all ages, from all countries, with all sorts of health conditions, or maybe none at all NEED families RIGHT NOW! God is calling us all to DO SOMETHING! IT doesn't need to be spoken to you. You don't need a message flashing with neon lights to do something. IT IS WRITTEN. That IS GOD"S MESSAGE TO YOU! You may not be in a position to adopt or foster, but you are called to act.

1 John 3:16-18 (New International Version)

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1. James 1:27
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.

I am praying over the burdens on my heart right now. I find it is steering me towards older boys in foster care here in the US. I don't know what the future holds, or where my husbands heart is on the matter. This is just my heart sharing its burden with whoever reads it.

I have NO special skills for this! My boys are not especially well behaved, though I think they are jsut find. :) I don't have any special advice for raising great teenage sons. I just know that I love them to pieces, love to be around them [usually ;)], and love to share the journey of finding themselves. I know that my heart breaks for the young man who has spent to darned long in a system that caters to birth parents, and does not, in my opinion, do enough to protect the heart of the child.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Than Anything....

Sometimes it just overwhelms me.

Sometimes it brings me to tears.

Sometimes it causes my heart to hurt so much I think it will break in two.

Sometimes what I want more than anything in the world is to be able to rock this little boy in my arms when he was just a baby. And tell him how much I LOVE him and that everything is going to be okay. I want him to have had an early childhood that is safe, healthy, and consistently loving. But had that happened, he wouldn't be my son. And I would be so lost and sad without him. Talk about confusing emotions for a mamas heart!

Monday, September 13, 2010

You Want Proof?

They are two of the CUTEST things you will ever encounter in a bathroom! :)

AND Yana finds some TV shows EXTREMELY funny!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I gave in! Faux HAWKS x's 2!

I have to admit I was dreading my beautiful boys looking like alien creatures. But a deal's a deal. Once Luke was always sleeping in big boy undies and staying dry, they could both get faux/mohawks. I gotta admit, they are still pretty darn beautiful!

James 9 years old

Luke 4 years old.