Friday, January 23, 2015

New Season!!

Jailyn begins her 3rd season of Team gymnastics!!!


Saturday is her first meet of the season!!


She has gone through some ups and downs this year -


but is ready to take this season on with strength and grace!


I am so proud of our little peanut -
who gives her 110% every time she touches the mats!!!


Jailyn, we love you and know that you 
will soar!!!


And inspire others as you do your thang'!!

Photos by Watermelon Photography by Laura

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"the school called..."

No body wants to hear that the school called.

Especially, the momma who,
when the phone rings looks at the caller ID,
praying and praying that it 
doesn't say a certain school room.

But yesterday,
I got an email.
An email is not as scary as a phone call -
but still this momma
was a little nervous to open it.
And I still go into my hyper vigilant mode,
wondering what I am going to have to fix,
and going through my plan of how to best help Elijah 
through this episode.

The first sentence took my worries away!

I am so PROUD!! 

ohhhhh thank you Jesus!!
and the email continued!

He went to Mrs. Kersch's class this morning around 8:45.
  He hesitated at the door and then I reminded him that it was a good place 
and she had a desk waiting for him. 
 He went in and sat down and pulled a binder out of the desk 
and started doing the work the other kids were doing. 
 He stayed in there until 9:40 when they went to specials. 
 I had to leave and go to an ARD but Ms. S went in. 
 He walked with his class to music, participated in music, 
and then went to lunch with his class.   
It brought tears to my eyes. 
 I wanted to take pictures like a proud mother
 but then I didn't want to disturb the class LOL.  

Ohhh Wow!!!! 
We are so proud of Elijah!!! 
Soooo very proud!!! 
and so very thankful for his amazing teacher 
who truly loves my boy!! 


He is learning trust!!
He is learning that it's okay to step out of his comfort zone!
He is learning that it feels good to be in control 
of his situation.
He is learning to regulate himself
even in uncomfortable situations!!
He is learning that he has a voice - 
if the situation lends itself to Elijah staying with mom or dad-
and that is where he is most comfortable -
then that is what we do.
He is learning that he is LOVED!!!!!


3 1/2 years of hard, hard, hard stuff!!!
And we are able to talk him through his fears,
and his concerns.
He comes to us and tells us situations that happened at school.
He is able now to tell me fun things that happens at school.
He is able to open up a little about his past -
and trust that he does not live in 
those hard times any more. 

There is always hope!! 
And though some may see this as baby steps -
they are huge steps for my boy!!!
With bigger steps to come!! 
But I will never let go!!


We are so very, very proud of him!
and I am blessed beyond measure to call you son!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Not a bad photo!!!

There are just some people who can't take a bad photo...
and this boy is one of them!!!


While walking around downtown today,
Griggs came up with story after story 
about his surroundings!!

I just love this boys imagination!!!


He is so clever


and 


just so stinkin' cute!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

anyone ever tell you...

It seems that every where I turn people,
who have never adopted,
 are always telling horror stories about adoption.

You know,
"my friends, cousins, brother-in-law, 
adopted a child from some where in Africa.
That child was horrible,
he tore the family apart.
He wouldn't respect his parents from day one!
They should have seen the signs before 
they even paid for him."

Oh, yes!!! 
You get it!!!

This just hurts me so deeply!!

 Children who have never lived in a US average American family -
should not be expected to understand how to live in an average 
American family from day one!

They may not understand how to actually respond to unconditional love -
for a loooooooong time!!!!

Unfortunately, 
we do have our expectations.
Expectations that because we want them with us,
and we have longed to hold them for so long -
they should some how know this,
and respond appropriately!

But, you know what that is not how it works!!!

When we announced that we were adopting from Ethiopia,
people thought we were incredibly nuts!

Our first few years with Jorja home were not as easy 
as the first years with Jailyn.
But, you know, everyone has their own personality,
and their own history that needs to be worked through 
and not swept under the rug. 

As we continued through our paperwork for Ethiopia,
Jorja began to understand how long the paperwork process works.
When we saw the photos of our boys for the first time -
and started asking questions...

"I wonder what their giggles sound like?"
"I wonder if they will want to play soccer?"
"Will they like us?"

She understood that we did the same for her,
we cried for her to be home,
and we prayed and prayed for her.

There was so much healing in Jorja during our wait 
to bring home Donovan and Elijah!!!
Only God could use this wait to help Jorja heal.

I am putting a plead out there for y'all!!
If you meet an adoptive family,
or someone in the process,
or even someone thinking about adoption - 
please don't tell them horror stories,
be there to listen to them.
Listen to their concerns, fears, excitement
and encourage them to get connected to an Adoption Community
that can help them.
There is a lot of help out there -
it's just hard to look sometimes when you are in deep!

I don't believe that every one is called to adopt,
but everyone is called to care for the orphan!!
This is one way that you can care for the orphan and
for the entire family. 

I am so thankful to so many friends of ours who walk through 
this crazy life with us,
and don't judge us,
but instead encourage, and listen to all of my stories, concerns and fears.


Friday, January 9, 2015

I believe in miracles!!!

Sometimes God asks us to do things that we 
feel that we are totally not equipped to carry out for HIM.

But, you know what?

It's not really about us!
HE knows what HE is doing!!

We had been told that our daughter,
who just turned 5 years old,
was not able to walk unassisted.
We were told that she couldn't feed herself.
We were told that she is not able to learn.

Ohhhh my God is soooo much bigger than all of this!!!

Look at our little girl!!! 


video



We can't wait to get her home and love on our sweet girl!!

She will be ALL that God has 
intended her to be!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

His sweet heart...

I know that people think we are crazy,
in fact I have been told it many times.
Especially from people who help us with Elijah...
seriously we were told by 
highly educated people,
"You should never adopt again."

Well,
don't tell Elijah that because he would be heart broken!


Elijah knows that we are adopting again,
he knows who his new sister and brother look like,
he knows how old they are,
he knows that Miles will be little like Hagan,
and that for some reason Maklayne is not walking on her own.

Elijah has been so obsessed with his little brother and sister 
coming home,
every time I left the house he would ask if I was going to China 
"to bring home his little brother and sister."

I told him, months ago, that we wouldn't travel until 
after Christmas.  
And for a few months Elijah was content with that answer.

Up until December 26th.
This sweet boy,
brought me my overnight bag and said,
"Momma, it's after Christmas, 
you can go get my brother and sister now."


Ohhh sweet boy!! 
We worry about leaving him for this upcoming trip,
being without mom and dad is very hard on him,
but God is already working in his heart.

"I be ready for dem when you get home wid dem."

"Momma my Miles and Mkwayne are so cute!
So cute like Gwiggs! 
Momma Gwiggs is so cute! 
I will take care of Gwiggs when you are gone.
You come back for me, right Momma!"

"You bet baby!!! I'll always come back for you!!"

"And Gwiggs too?"

"And Griggs too, buddy!"
(guess there is safety in large families!)

Thank you Jesus!! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Baby steps...

Many of y'all have asked how Elijah is doing.

Needless to say, Christmas vacation was hard!!

Very hard!!

I'm not sure what is going to happen this summer,
but we are praying he continues to take 
baby steps to healing!

Baby steps recently mean that he has been able to move
to the "boys" room to sleep!
3 1/2 years of sleeping in Dad and Mom's room
and he is now able to sleep with his brothers,
not get up in the middle of the night and raid the refrigerator
or pantry.
Sleeping through the night and waking up rested.

Such a huge step!!!

Wait!!!!

Look at this!!!



Yes!!!

For the first time in 3 1/2 years,
we are able to have soap dispensers in the bathrooms.

Up until a months ago,
everyone had to only wash their hands at the kitchen sink,
due to the fact that Elijah could not contain himself 
from using the entire 
soap dispenser in a single hand washing.

This dispenser has been in the powder room for 1 month!!!

Soon proud of my boy and all that he is accomplishing...
one baby step at a time.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas vacation 2014

It's been a loooong, loooong time since we have taken a family vacation!
One with a real hotel and everything!

But it was in order this year! 
We all needed some time out of the house and spending time
having fun together!

While in the middle of an adoption it is hard to justify spending money -
but you have to enjoy life as a family,
that is extremely important too,
especially when you are adding two more. 
Everyone needs to know they are special!


So, we drove 5 hours to Sea World San Antonio!

Can you tell who was in charge!!!


Jorja, Donovan and Elijah went on their very first roller coaster!
(along with Dad, Kenzie and Conner) 



While Mom, Jailyn, Hagan and Griggs enjoyed a more mellow exploration...



photos inside a snow globe!

Hagan started a "snowball" fight!
Little stinker!


We all enjoyed the shows and learned so much!
Jailyn is soooo confused now -
she wanted to be a veterinarian,
but now is thinking maybe a marine biologist.


The kids enjoyed more rides,
some enjoyed them more then others! haha!





Elijah really enjoyed this one!



And even mom went on a ride!
What was I thinking - 40 degrees and we go on the water ride! What????

Mom, Dad, Jorja, Elijah and Jailyn went on this one.
Needless to say, 
Elijah and Jailyn freaked out on the first incline.
Along with the young teen sitting next to me
who was riding alone. 

So we were trying to comfort them,
knowing that none of us could get off.





Donovan had chickened out at the last minute -
but decided to get wet too!




 The next day we went to the Alamo and hung out at the River Walk.
It was so pretty! 
Every one enjoyed the boat ride along the river!
(I was unable to take any photo...
but that is another post).


Our last day, 
as we headed home we 
Dad, Kenzie, Conner, Donovan and Jorja went to explore 
some caverns.





Since, Hagan and Griggs would not be able to walk the caverns
we decided to split up -
I took Jailyn, Elijah, Hagan and Griggs to the Wildlife Ranch 
and see some more animals!!



We loved driving through the grounds and having the animals come see us!



Some got a little too close for comfort!



Again, 
Jailyn was in heaven!!! 


 We all had a great time!
Unfortunately, Brady works retail and couldn't come with us. :( 

We can't wait for our next family vacation
that will include Brady, Laynee and Miles!!
















Monday, December 29, 2014

Legal!

How did this happen?


My Christmas baby turned 21!!!


 How did this happen?

I will not blink again - 21 years flies by!!

6 years of growth!!

6 years ago this peanut walked into our lives!!


Who what a beautiful young lady she is becoming!! 




A few months after being home Jorja asked me,
"You know that Jesus guy?"

"Yes, I know that Jesus guy!"

"I know him too!!"

"You do?"
Thinking, wow, her English is still lacking 
and I'm not sure how much she understands 
of what we tell her. 

Jorja continued,
"I knew him in China! 
He was with me on that room. 
The scary room, he made sure that I was safe."

Jorja had a really hard first 5 years of life!
Harder then I could even imagine, 
but God answered our prayers that HE would keep her safe,
and that HE would make himself known to our daughter! 

Life was not easy for her, 
And through years of helping work things out,
she has begun to understand that 
God never left her. 
He was, is and forever will be there for her. 

I love the joy in her eyes
and His peace in her heart!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Igloo time!!

One of our fun Christmas traditions is
to build sugar cube igloos, gluing them together with icing.
(rather than difficult Gingerbread houses)


Every year, it gets a little harder to find sugar cubes,
so we used mini-marshmallows this year.


I like it!!


and so do they!!!




Some find it a bit more fun to be messy and sticky!


Some have perfected their art over time!


New tradition to some -
but always good! 



Finished!!





We need more candles to put inside of our igloo creations! 
Got that on the list! 




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Abundantly Blessed!!

As I watched Hagan fall asleep on the MRI table,
I was overcome with emotions.
How did I get so lucky!!
This boy has changed our family in so many ways! 

Last night Jailyn was encouraging him before he went to bed,
"Buddy, I've done this,
No owies!
It's like you go into a big donut!! 
Hey!
Maybe Mom will get a donut for you when it's done!
I'll be here waiting for you when Momma 
brings you home. 
You know Momma will always bring you home!"

Conner woke up early to give his little bro a hug and a pep talk!!
"You've got this bro!!
No owies!!"

From day one, this boy has given Griggs the needed assurance 
that it's okay to go with these strangers!
Griggs still relies on Hagan to tell him
that things are going to be okay. 

Elijah!! Ohhh the difference Hagan has made in Elijah's life!!
Hagan is the only family member that I have never heard Elijah
disagree with!!
He listens to him when Hagan corrects him and encourages him to
make good choices. 
Probl told us not to adopt again,
"It won't be good for Elijah!"
And this is why we listen to God and not people. 

Donovan loves his little bro!
He is so proud of him,
And loves to get down to his level rather then 
Hagan always having to come up to his. 

Hagan has taught Jorja that truly 
good things come in small packages! 
Jorja has always been nervous around people and 
things that she just doesn't understand!!
I tell you, I swell with thankfulness when she puts on her
"Sister Bear" shirt and sticks up for her brother!! 

It's almost been 2 years since Hagan walked into our arms. 
We had no idea what his/our future would hold. 
We were pretty nervous when we got to our hotel and 
saw the condition of his spine. 
And then that first night when Bryan and I didn't sleep
as we listened to every gasp of air, due to his sleep apnea. 

Sometimes God asks us to do things that we just don't understand!
I remember praying during the paperwork process - 
"God, you can still say 
"No!
I truly have my hands full!"

But God chose to bring Hagan home to us!!
And we are incredibly thankful 
and abundantly blessed!

And just so y'all know- during his MRI I ran and got him a donut!! 


Friday, December 19, 2014

a glimpse at our baby boy!

I've watched these videos about 100 times a day
over the past few days!!

Ohhhhhh sweet boy!! 
I can't wait to hear from you!

I still don't think I can actually post the videos on
my blog - (I'm technically challenged!)
but I can send y'all the link! 
Sorry this is so hard to see of our boy -
but you won't be sorry!! 

He is adorable,
and reminds me so much of Hagan! 

He looks so serious, like Hagan is.

Can't wait to loosen this little guy up a bit!


Our friend's daughter translated the video for us,
this is what they are saying in the first video.

Put the corn there.
Beautiful!
Get one corn for aunt to look at.
Find a big corn.
Quickly pick up the corn.
Come here.
Go get another corn.
You picked a good one! 
Don't break the corn.
Get two corn.
Get three corn.

CQZ (Video1): https://vimeo.com/114248742 (password: cqz1)

And in the second video!

Come here.
Push the car,
Come here. 
Look, look mama is right here
(after he pushed the car into the corner)
Push the car to momma.
Do you see it? (when he looks into the car)

   CQZ (Video2): https://vimeo.com/114248741 (password: cqz2)

His legs look so straight! 
His back looks pretty good too -
what I can see through the many layers of clothing! haha!

The great question...
When will you travel? 
Still no idea! 
We are waiting our LOA - letter of acceptance
from China,
(on day 119 of our wait - but who's counting!)
after we get that travel is about 3 months later.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three hearts joined forever

Today is my baby girls birthday.


Laynee is 5 years old today,
and my heart is breaking. 

I pray that her foster family is doing something special 
for her today. 

I pray that God is letting her know how special 
and how loved she truly is. 


Yesterday I had this overwhelming ache for her 
biological momma. 
I feel closer today to her momma then I ever had.


I miss Laynee so much and have never met her.
I ache to hold her
and comfort her.
My heart hurts to know her.
To learn what makes her giggle,
to learn what foods she likes,
what toys she likes.
To learn what is her favorite color,
and to know what makes her mad.
I ache to hear her precious voice
and soothe her hurting cry.


My heart also aches for her birth momma,
who is probably feeling the same aches today that I am.

For some reason, we may never truly know the reason,
she had to leave her.
But, I'm sure that every day she has an empty hole in her heart,
and especially today.


Today could you please pray for Laynee's birth momma.
Praying that someone will be kind to her today,
someone will bring a smile to her heart,
and share the love of Christ with her. 


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