Saturday, October 25, 2014

When love is not enough . . .

I'm not sure how to write this without coming across angry and bitter! I am neither of those things, yet I am deeply sadden and hurt that there are those that would decide the future for our family without really knowing us. 

A panel of highly trained professionals are looking at the numbers, and it seems there are concerns! 

Concerns about me working and not being there enough for the girls, sleeping arrangements, schooling, and what if this "aging out" girl has issues? Would I be able to handle those along with my other responsibilities?

Yes, I have ridiculous work schedule and my days off are few but that does not stop me from leaving work early when the schedule permits, and making time for each of my girls! We get 4 hours of quality time in the car each week as we travel between Dothan and Montgomery. Time to laugh, talk, school and play without the distractions of TV, phones and electronics!

My working has taught the girls that they must help out around the house. Everyone pulls together to get the chores accomplished. I will not apologize for this as helping around the house builds character and a sense of responsibility!

In the last few months we have visited family, celebrated birthdays, decorated pumpkins, and attended a play, in additon to our school work! We have even made time for a few "frozen" treats!

The girls love sharing a bedroom and the plan was to add our next treasure to the room. It helped Eden and Mackinley to share a room with Kendall and Journey and actually it helped them also! Bonding, bonding, bonding! Learning to be sisters just doesn't happen over night!

The coolest thing about the girls sharing rooms is that they look out for one another. If one is sad or not feeling well, I'm quickly notified by one of the "concerned" sisters! They know that I want to know and that I care!

Adding a bed to the room with make things a little snug but not undoable! My girls are big girls and they don't play on the floor. Most of their play which is a lot of arts and crafts are done around the kitchen table. 

Remember the big farm table I just purchased? A great place for all of us to sit and talk, do school work and play! Plus my room has an open floor and the girls often end up in there with me as we watch TV and check our school work.

With a large family comes certain sacrifices, especially when the mom is single! The love and acceptance of family far out weighs the newest trend, and/or gadget! I grew up in a modest home with four sisters. We learned to work for the extra's and to help our family. We all have wonderful values as adults, this is what I want for my children. Values, a moral compass, and a love for God!

Speaking of a love for God, each of the girls, save one has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The one that hasn't prayed the prayer with me is my "biggest" missionary! She tells her foster family on QQ about Jesus each time she talks to them and cried when they didn't want to know more.

These girls have faith and we pray together and trust God to meet our needs. Recently while at a restaurant two of the girls had received their meals before the rest of us, and as I glanced their way they were holding hands and praying!

The girls attend a small group for kids their age every Monday evening. This is a faith based group of kids from our church. Yes, they socialize too!

Adopting teen girls has had its issues none that we haven't worked through. I went into each adoption expecting the worse of adjustment issues and praying for the best! With each additional child comes an adjustment for each child not just the newly adopted child! Lots of love and care and working out the rough spots takes time yet bonding happens a step at a time!

We homeschool for a variety of reason! The school system where we live is not good, especially for the Jr. High age group. Kendall and Journey attended public school one year. Kendall was being passed along and Journey was catching on fairly well.

With the lack of English and the lack of exposure for one child we had to start at square one! The public school refused to give her below grade level work despite the fact she could clearly could not do grade level work! We use a curriculum that offers a Christian world view and the girls are thriving at their various grade levels! No, I am not there 24/7 yet we are getting it done and the girls are doing well! I know that we are doing the right thing for the girls!

Paying for the adoption is another concern for those that decide if I can add my waiting treasure to our family. I admit that I do not have an extra $50,000 laying around but I have a God that does. I'm willing to fund raise and if I have to I'm willing to cash in some of my retirement account. 

If I weren't a single mom, I don't feel that any of these things would be an issue and I've seen married families add far more than 5 children. I understand they want what is best for the girls at home and the waiting treasure, and SO DO I!

I may be old and single but God isn't finished with me nor is he finished with my family. God is just beginning to write the girl's story and I feel this last treasure is part of the story. She asked us to adopt her, she wants to be part of our family and the girls and I want her to be a part of our family!

Not everything that looks good on paper is right, the same holds true when you just look at the numbers and interject your opinions in the mix without knowing us. We are a family of love and despite everything we are strong and have room for one more!

Now, to place it in God's hands and pray that he will open the doors for us to bring this sweet baby home! I just pray that those that make the decisions will truly hear our heart and not just look at the what if's!

Adoption is not something I take lightly nor is it something that I would ever end just because the going got rough! These girls are my daughter's for life and I am grateful that God allowed me to be part of his plan!

Waiting . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inch by Inch

I have heard from Lifeline, they are reviewing my application and I should be hearing from them in the next 5 to 7 days. 

I wanted to clarify something, this adoption is unique in the fact that Journey and our waiting daughter are already friends and communicated via QQ before the adoption process started. This is not the norm!

We were given permission by the Lifeline China representatives to tell our waiting girl that we wanted to adopt her and for the girls to talk with her. Again this is not the norm!

Some of you have asked about her name. If you are one of the Zhongshon parents you already know her Chinese name. I cannot share her name, and the fact that she is not on an agency's list, she doesn't have a list name for me to share. The girl's and I have decided on her American name!


I can share her photo for those that do not know what our darling treasure looks like! Oh my, I cannot wait to come for you! You have had to wait entirely to long!

Did you know that many of the fine organizations that give grants do not allow single's to apply! I understand the why's but this makes our road as a single a little more challenging! I am thankful that God understands this and that HE knows the need!


I truly believe that God will provide, he loves my waiting daughter and he is making a way for her to come home to a family that will love and care for her. 

To those that think I'm crazy and those that feel that I shouldn't be adopting, let me leave you with this!


While I cannot adopt every child I can make a difference to this child! 

Until next time . . .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It is official!

We, as the girls and I, are submitting our application to Lifeline to adopt a little girl from Journey's orphanage. This is the first step in the long process of adoption, and the first of many waits!

We are totally in love with this child and can't wait for her to join our family! The girls have already sent her messages on QQ telling her that they are excited that she will be their sister.

I sure hope that we are approved, if not there will be five disappointed girls, especially the one in China! This child has watched all her friends leave and has maintained contact with one of her good friends via QQ! On her first QQ chat with Journey she asked if we would adopt her!

She wants a family and she ages out next year, if approved we will have somewhat of a race to complete all the paperwork and home visits before travel.

One of our biggest obstacles will be raising the money for all the adoption, travel and china fees! God has proven himself faithful and we are stepping out and trusting him to open the windows of heaven on behalf of this child.

Yes, we know this looks crazy, but we know that this is God's perfect plan for our family! We are trusting him one more time to bring another wonderful China treasure home!

When accepted the first agency fee will be due! This fee is $3138.75. I do not want to go into debt for this adoption and I want to trust God to provide.  Trusting God for HIS provision.

Nothing is impossible for our God . . .

Friday, October 17, 2014

Appointments and art

We have been on the go, unfortunately I've been too busy to document with photos, until yesterday! Journey handles change and new environments by becoming a little silly! As she waited for her eyes to dilate she decided that she was the "doctor"!





All my girls share a common thread, they hate to wait!

Yes, she is barefooted! Before starting her eye exam she deposited her flip-flops next to my chair! I assume one reads better without shoes! (She does the same thing at the orthodontist).

On the way home the sun was bothering her eyes so I gave her my sunglasses to wear. 



I looked over once and this is what she looked like!




Seriously, this girl cracks me up! Next week, Journey and Mackinley will be fitted for contacts, they needed stronger prescriptions and wanted to give contacts a try. Please pray that both girls can master putting the contacts in, especially Mackinley. The ladies at the office were concerned because Mackinley has only one hand. 

Eden's eyes checked out fine! This sweet girl gets so nervous before any type of exam! She would tell the assistant that she couldn't read the first line place on the screen, they would move it up one row and then she would go on to read it, the original line and two below that! She has the best sight of all the girls!

Last Sunday afternoon we did a little pumpkin art!









I thought their pumpkins turned out rather cute! 

Until next time, trusting Jesus with each decision and provision . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A mother's love

My girls all have something in common, they do not know their birth mother's. We talk about their birth mom's and I assure them of her love for them.

I always start out saying, I do not know the circumstances that lead her to leave you, but I know that she loved you enough to ensure that you would be found. I remind that that if she hadn't of loved you she could have placed you someplace where you would have died before being rescued!

I relate to them that as a mom you never forget about a child you birthed. I feel very strongly that she must think of them and wonder where they are and how they are doing. I assure them that she would be proud of them and what they have accomplished, just as I am!

I want my girls to grow up knowing that sometimes a mom has to do the unthinkable for reasons we will never understand, yet she gave them life and ensured that they would be cared for.

Dear Lord,
I thank you for four moms that gave birth to our beautiful daughters. Bless them and comfort their hearts when they think of their girls. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Stepping out

There is a little girl in China that wants a family. This child is beautiful and perfect, yet she will be overlooked by most! Why you ask? Well, it is because she is an older child, and by older child I am not referring to a child, 5 or 6, no this girl is 13 and she is just months away from being a forever orphan!

This child has watched all her friends leave with their forever families while she was denied the opportunity of adoption due to the circumstances that landed her in the orphanage. What makes this child unique is that she has remained friends with one of her best friends via the technology known as QQ. For those unfamiliar with QQ it is a cross between instant messenger, Skype, and FB. 

Now that she is eligible for adoption she has been begging her friend to find her a family! That's where we come into the story. I received an email asking if I was interested in adopting from my daughter's orphanage? My daughter reestablished contact with this waiting girl and was immediately asked by her if we would adopt her!

My heart says, YES! My girls have it all figured out and they want to bring this sweet girl home. What is the problem?

The problem is the money, it is expensive to adopt! As a single mom, I don't qualify for grants by many of the generous grant giving companies. It is a fact that donations aren't as forthcoming on 2nd/3rd time adoptions, especially when people don't think you should be adopting again in the first place.

There are those that think that I "missed" God when I adopted the last two. I have already had comments, enough, you are killing yourself working to care for the kids you have, are you crazy, God's call doesn't mean you need to adopt again, and you can't "save" them all!

I knew adopting as a single parent wasn't going to be a "cake walk" and I knew that it meant I would have to work longer and harder! Sure, I dream of that day when I can cut back a bit but not at the expense of a child being put out on the streets or ending up without the love of a family and ultimately knowing that Jesus loves them!

Did you know that my girls are witnessing to their foster families in China, and one weeps when they do not want to hear about Jesus. One year ago this child was near aging out and now God is using her to tell those in her homeland about Jesus.

God's plan is greater than mine and I want to always say, yes despite any hardship to myself. You see this isn't about me, it is about being obedient, and trusting God to work out the details no matter how impossible they may seem.

As I take this simple step forward would you join me in praying for a God size miracle to 100% funding to include, travel, in country stay and 6 weeks off work once home. This is huge, but nothing is bigger than what God can do.

Dear Lord, 
Help me to listen to you and your will, let my eyes and heart be focused on your plan and not the words of others. Give me the wisdom to know the difference in Godly advice and other's opinions. Give me the faith to be obedient in all things! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Stepping out in faith . . .

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Surgery, China Guides and my little missionaries

I snapped this photo of Journey prior to leaving for Birmingham, Wednesday morning! She was surprised to find these sweet messages from her sisters before leaving.


We left home just after 3 am for our drive to the hospital! It was the morning of the lunar eclipse that we missed due to the drive!


In the lobby waiting to be called back! We were the first ones there!


Dressed, ready and smiling!


Surgical site "officially" marked, now she's ready to go!

Journey came back to the room enjoying a popsicle!


Success, the skin tag removed!


Journey is healing without complications and with very little pain! 

I am thankful for God's protection as we traveled and his watchful care of my precious child during her procedure and recovery.

The adoption team is more than those in the home office, it also includes a team of "in country" players that work tirelessly to ensure that the adoptive family is well cared for while in country. This care starts at the airport and continues throughout their in country stay. I won't even being to tell you of all the paperwork they must deal with!

We were blessed to visit with our China guides and the girls enjoyed seeing them again. 


Journey and Kendall with their guide from Guangzhou, Rebecca! Rebecca was there for Journey's "Gotcha Day"!


Rebecca with all my girls! Rebecca was in the US when I adopted Eden and Mackinley. Their guide in Guangzhou was Miko!


Nancy was Eden and Mackinley guide in Nanjing! I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy via Skype prior to traveling. Nancy translated my call from Eden. 


Nancy thought Mackinley had changed a lot in the last year and that Eden still looked much the same. It was wonderful seeing Nancy again!


Just to prove I was there!


Next week, the girls have their annual eye exams and semi annual dental appointments! We will also celebrate Jackson's 4th birthday and my uncle's wedding!

Please pray that Eden and Mackinley's foster families. The girls have been sharing about Jesus and Mackinley's sister says she doesn't believe. Mackinley cried when her sister wasn't interested in hearing about Jesus. I pray that their hearts will be softened and that God will begin to woo them by the power of his Holy Spirit. I'm so proud of my girls for wanting to share their faith with their China families!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Love notes

Yesterday, Mackinley went to check the "email"! Before handing me the mail, she slipped in her note, complete with an homemade envelope and addressed to me. 

It looked just like any another piece of mail in the stack! Imagine my surprise as I came across this piece complete with a canceled stamp drawn in the upper right corner and addressed to me.

Inside was a beautiful note, acknowledging many things about me, and our relationship! I would love to share but certain things need to be kept private and this is one of those things. 

In the process of bonding and becoming a family there are ups and downs. The good moments are treasured and the bad attitudes are hard and these moments are addressed! Disrespect is never acceptable!

Love notes are always welcomed and when they arrive as "surprise" mail well my heart is captured yet again!

I thank God for all my treasures!

Until next time . . .

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Reunited . . .

Today, I saw one of the most beautiful ladies on QQ! It was Eden's foster mom! The love she has for Eden, and the joy of reunited communication was evident as they visited. 

Eden's mom has followed my blog via a friend and she has seen all of Eden's photos! What a joy to know that she has seen her daughter from afar this year as Eden and I bonded.



I would be remiss if I did not thank Eden and Mackinley's foster mama's! Two ladies that poured their lives into my girls for twelve years! Thank you for loving and caring for them!


Mackinley's mama had the same joy as she talked with her beloved daughter. Mackinley learned that her foster sister had had a baby and let me say, that baby girl is beautiful!  It is a joy for me to see my girls reestablish ties with their China families!

Then there were three! 




Doesn't she look adorable?

This week will be busy as we head to Children's Hospital for a same day surgical procedure for Journey!

Until next time . . .





Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is God up too?

Two different families have sent me information about two girls aging out! I did not ask for the information nor was I "looking". My heart is open but my purse is empty!

Is God asking me to step-out in faith? Would you join me in prayer as I seek God's perfect plan for these precious treasures and my family!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

A different look

In this world where small look alike families are the norm, my girls and I "stand out" as being different! My son, Matthew says that we can't go anywhere without being noticed! He's right!

I love that God called me to adopt my girls! Each one is a special gift! The real adoption journey begins after the airport! Each new day brings about new opportunities to love, teach, love, grow, and did I say love? With adoption each child has their own set of "triggers" that bring on tantrums, tears, and grief. I have been blessed not to see tantrums, I have seen first hand the tears and grief that comes from being separated from all that you have ever known.

Birthdays are hard for one of my girls! A birthday celebration brings on a quiet reserve, that usually leads to tears before the evening is over. How I wish I could erase the pain that comes to her on these days! This is where love comes in, again and again! I acknowledge her pain, and allow her to talk if she wants, we pray and hug! While she accepts my love she doesn't always talk about the whys! 

Acceptance is a HUGE part of being an adoptive mom! I have to accept the fact that she may never open up to why she is sad, (At this point I think a lot has to do with not having the English words to express herself).
My job is to acknowledge that I know she is hurting, allow her to hurt and love on her through the hurt! I fully trust that in God's timing this pain will be eased and healed by my redeemer, Jesus Christ.

I see so many older girls waiting and my heartaches knowing that many will age out without a family! If God allowed, I would gladly go back for more! I know it seems crazy yet I can't close my eyes and heart to those that wait! Please join me in praying that the hearts of others would be opened up to these beautiful girls!

I praise God for my children, from the oldest to the youngest! I love them with all my heart! God has blessed me indeed!

Until next time . . .


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrations!

Sunday was Eden's 15th birthday and her first US celebration. Last year we celebrated in Guangzhou just days after her "Gotcha Day". Eden is a delight to my heart, a precious daughter, and a wonderful sister!

Her morning started in Dothan! I ran by the Mac Shack to get her the breakfast of her choice. I ended up ordering for everyone but her! Major mom fail! She ate her hash brown and Kendall's and was satisfied! I offered to go by and get her choice but she said she was okay. See, she is sweet!

Once home we jumped into action and prepared for the delivery of our new breakfast room table! At eleven we loaded into the van and headed to lunch! We didn't look our best but at this point we didn't let that stop us!

Eden had requested Chinese dumplings for lunch. I had planned to buy some but without a table I thought it best to go out! We had a wonderful lunch and picked up our moon cake for the mid-autumn moon festival!


The birthday girl enjoying her dumplings!


We held up on the birthday cake while we waited for our new table! We were all looking forward to a bigger better table that fit better into our space and one that would enable the girls to sit together to school! Isn't it beautiful!



Due to some unforeseen delays the table delivery was rescheduled for Monday evening! We moved on with Eden's cake and gifts!




Eden selected this cake because it had all her sister's favor colors!

Monday we had a mini Mid-Autumn Moon festival celebration!

I know the above photo is dark, sorry! A quick photo of the girls with the moon in the background! Then they came into enjoy their moon cakes. We had four and cut them into fourths as each was a different flavor.


On Monday evening the girls went to their small group meeting for girls their age. They had a good time and look forward to going back next week. 

After enjoying their moon cakes they quickly went into action to set the table up for their school work.



We have several appointments and surgeries coming up over the next couple of months! I thank God that step by step we are making progress on our health care issues!

It's been a great week and I thank God for his love, care and provision!

**I'm looking for the mom that contacted me when I was in China and again once home, your daughter knows Eden, Xu Yun and she wanted to talk with her. I thought I had responded to your email however I can't find it! I told Eden and she would love to talk to your daughter. Please contact me again if your daughter is still interested! Thanks **

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Called to adopt

Called to adopt! For those that have followed my blog know that I was called to adopt later in life than most!  I feel that adoption is a calling, it was and is a deep desire that God placed within my heart! For me it was for older girls, those close to "aging out".

I strongly feel and know that God led me to each of my girls. I knew the moment I saw their photo that they were to be mine. Adoption is more than reading a file and shopping for the most "perfect" child!

Adoption is putting your faith and hope in God and allowing Him to lead you to the child he wants for you and your family, trusting Him to equip you for the calling of being that child's parent.

Yes, I looked at many children and files and as badly as I wanted to want them, I didn't! Then it happened, I was sent a video of this little girl dancing in a director's office and my heart was clearly moved and I knew before reading her file that she was "the one"!

It happened again when I was sent my second child's photos. My heart leaped within me and clearly she was "the one"! I have her referral photo hanging with her sister's and I will never forget that first moment when I saw my daughter's picture.

I realize that God works differently in each adoption story, the thing I want to say is TRUST GOD to lead you to your child! Many of the medical files are wrong, some for the good and some are far worse than could ever be imagined! I personally believe that God leads you to a child for a particular reason and He will equip you for your child's needs.

All four on my girls are considered special needs, they range from delays far more than I expected to medical issues that have and will require multiple surgeries to help correct. I cannot thank God enough for putting my girls together and for blending us into a family.

Just as Jesus loved me in my broken sinful state, that is how I am to love my child. Love and acceptance for who they are yet slowly guiding and teaching them how to handle their feelings, how to behave in new situations, and what is expected of them. Giving lots of grace and acceptance along the way!

When I adopted the second time, I again trusted God to put the perfect daughters and sisters together! I had to look past what I thought I wanted to where God was leading and directing! He is not to be out done, no sir! Once again I was blessed with two wonderful girls.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is look at the medical but please don't let that keep you for pursuing a child that you feel led to, TRUST God. He knows what he's doing and that child you think you can't handle due to their "special" need may be just the right fit for you and your family.

Praying that God will lead you to his perfect match for you and your family!

Until next time . . .

Monday, September 1, 2014

A look back

August 30th
I can hardly believe that one year ago I was on a flight to China! 


It was a long flight yet each step of the way I witnessed first hand the favor of God! At just the right moment there would be someone in line that spoke English that helped me find my way. Only God!

September 1st

It was Sunday and I had one day to rest before Gotcha! I was staying in an older hotel, yet it was perfect for me! My favorite "go to" restaurant was next door and just off the lobby a coffee shop! In 24 hours I would meet my two new daughters. What must they be thinking and feeling?


Having welcomed two new girls into the family just 15 months earlier I was all two familiar with my feelings! There was an excitement of being so close after the months of paper chasing and there was concern for the girls and for what they were thinking and feeling. The change they were about make is truly indescribable! 


My two girls had each other and didn't have to make the transition alone! Look as those beautiful faces, so brave! Eden on the left was moved back to her orphanage prior to my arrival and Mackinley was allowed to stay with her foster family up until she came to meet me. God's hand clearly upon them as that is exactly what each girl needed!


After our first night together, I knew that they would sign their adoption paper work! God had blessed me again with two wonderful girls. While alike in so many ways this experience was totally different as these two girls had a maturity about them that came from being in good foster care.

My experience with older child adoption is unlike most! My girls have not had tantrums, sleep or eating issues. They have had lots of tears and grief yet each is working through these times in a non-aggressive manner. What is most obvious to me is their use of English has been slower as there are four at home that speak Mandarin.

God's hand was clearly evident in the selection of each of my girls. Four strangers coming to live together as forever sisters! The trouble with girls is that they sometimes form a "click" and someone is left out! Including everyone is an ongoing process, some days are better than others.

I had a difficult time with one of my girls when she first came home. It was all me, it seemed everything she did got on my last nerve. Again, God intervened and gave me a love for this child that is second to none! I cannot praise his name enough for this heart change in me!

I am thankful that God called me to adopt and that he opened the door for me to have and love each of my girls! I am especially thankful for Amy H, Karla, Mallory and Sherry from Lifeline Children's Services! This team of ladies went above and beyond to make it possible for this "old woman" to bring home her girls.

I love that God had a plan and purpose for my life that included my girls! I have already begun to see his hand of each of these special treasures as their faith and trust in him grows.

As I reflect back on this past year, I choose to remember the good times and the progress we have made, I choose to learn from my mistakes and move forward. I choose to thank God for blessing me with two (four) of the most beautiful girls. I choose to be thankful for what each as taught me through their joy and grief. Life is choice and I can focus on the negatives or I can focus on all that is right, leaving the rest in God's hands for him to handle in his timing! My choice is to honor God for his faithfulness each and every step along this journey as an adoptive mom.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fun with family and a new friend!

Tuesday we visited Jordan and Jimmy after my dental appointment. Kendall snapped this photo and of course I closed my eyes!


Jackson loves Thomas! Jackson turns 4 in October, and he is such a love!



Jimmy and Kayte! Kayte will be 1 next month! She's so cute as she waves!



Mackinley's turn to hold Kayte! She's a live baby doll and the girl's love her. Jordan is so sweet to let them hold and love on her precious daughter.


Wednesday, our Lifeline Social Worker visited for Mackinley and Eden's one year post placement visit! The girls talked with Sherry and were interested in the process and interview.



I took this photo of the girls as they waited for our next visitor. Journey and Eden were the patients. They had hearing test, speech evaluations, genetic consult and finally the visit with Dr. Grant.

The good news for Journey, her ear bud/skin tag on her right ear is scheduled to be removed October 8th. We have several options to consider for her left ear.


The disappointing news for Eden is that she must wait before getting any type of work done. We are probably looking at more than a year wait. This is not what Eden wanted to hear!

After catching a quick lunch we went to visit our new friend, Yong Li! I was so impressed with Yong Li's english and she has the most beautiful smile.

The girls enjoyed swimming with Yong Li and her mom, Jennifer!




















I loved my visit with Jennifer and I am amazed at how much we are alike, although she is much more gifted! This mama enjoyed her day out too!

I admire these older girls, they all left everything they knew, truly they stepped into a whole new world. I think each is a hero and I applaud their bravery!

Until next time . . .