Wednesday, May 25, 2016

No words....

This little guy is haunting my thoughts....there are just no words right now other than Please, Lord Jesus, please send someone to save him.....



From his file on Reece's Rainbow "Bryson is a year and a half old and has congenital Spina bifida with hydrocephalus. At the end of 2015 he underwent a surgery for treatment of the Spina Bifida due to it bursting. From information from the Center staff at the same time the shunt was also removed as the neurologists decided that the child does not need shunt. After these surgeries his condition has considerably worsened. Before the surgeries Bryson was smiling, turning to his name, he made limited movements with his head from lying position, he was moving his upper limbs and was holding tight for a short time objects with his hand. Now he cannot move his limbs, there is no eye contact, does not react to stimulus (toys, different sounds). He has wounds on his body due to sudden crack of capillary. From words of the staff, Bryson still reacts to his name, cries when he is hungry and reacts to pain. Until about a year ago Bryson was fed with tube but with common efforts now he eats by spoon. Bryson is sweet and fragile little boy. Although the bad prognosis of the doctors, he still breaths and fights for his life. Everybody in the Center talk about him with pain in their hearts and tears and their eyes, their innermost dream is good people to be found, who can give their love to Bryson."   http://reecesrainbow.org/104562/bryson

Oh, my sweet Savior, be near. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

I have a house full of amazing children - some now rightly bearing the title of "young men and women". Each is so amazing and unique. Each one has a story that takes my breath away. I am blessed beyond measure by each gift God has given me. In a few months, I will have even more little lives bringing amazing joy to my heart. I may hug each one of my kids a bit longer tonight as I have been dwelling on each one today. But even with such overwhelming joy, there is still one little pair of arms I wish were around my neck tonight. How I miss you, my sweet Brooke.


Some heartaches will never fade.

Friday, April 1, 2016

I FOUND HIM!!

As you know, the last two years we have been Angel Tree Warriors through Reese's Rainbow for this amazing little guy, "Rudy".  http://reecesrainbow.org/70513/rudy



His pictures were so old, but there just wasn't any updates.  I thought I had found him last year, but in the end, the birth dates didn't add up. :(  I decided to search again, which is equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack...but I do it every once in awhile.  Well, praise the Lord, last night I found him!

Here are his new pictures:


What a cutie!!!

If that wasn't enough, there are two PRECIOUS videos!

OH! MY! GOODNESS!!!  What a treasure!

Please pray with me for a family for him!  He is listed as "Caleb" with GWCA.  You can contact Heidi@gwca.org for more information.  She personally met him about 4 weeks ago!

My heart is doing a happy dance!

Until He comes.....

Friday, March 11, 2016

Thank you for the love!

We have had a few more visitors to the blog since an article was run in our local paper and then picked up by a local news station....and now may be on a national magazine site on Monday.

This all began over a year ago with one reporter, who was also a customer at Don's business (may as well give up the nickname as our names are "out there" anyway), wanted to write an article about our family.  Don told him that was fine as long as the focus was on adopting, not just about our family.  Some weeks went by and a photographer came to take our pictures....but then nothing happened.  That was okay - if God wanted it, fine...if not, that was fine too.  Last summer another reporter came and talked to us again.  He was very kind, but there was a lot of other "sports news" going on, so nothing came of it.  Honestly, I had forgotten about it.  Life just went on.


Don owns a sports cards store - yes, as in baseball cards.   See, I told you it was one of the biggest proofs to us that God is Sovereign - He provides for us through selling little pieces of cardboard. ;-)  He began a while ago to have athletes in for autograph signings that were willing to come in for little enough money that we could do a "charity" fundraiser for The Shepherd's Crook - a ministry that helps find homes for orphans with special needs and helps raise funds for families adopting.  The story of the founders, Scott and Kathy Rosenow, was what launched us into special needs adoptions after little Mimi was born.  (Reece's Rainbow is another amazing organization that we found Serenity, Hope, and Peter through their advocacy)

We held another signing a few weeks ago (and raised $1200!) and the reporter came.  He called a week or so later to clarify some details and the story ran online last night and in print today.  Then someone told me it ran on a local news channel...then Don got a phone call from a national magazine.  Hmmm....what happened to the little local story?

We are not sure if this will die out in a few days...or if it will keep building momentum.  If it brings attention to more orphans and their desperate need for a families - well, AMEN.  If it is going to just focus on us...well, it can't die out quickly enough.  There is NOTHING special about us!  We even laughed this morning as we were getting all kinds of emails and phone calls - if people could have seen us with bedheads, messy house, cranky kiddos over school, and a tired mama on her second cup of coffee already....there probably wouldn't be much of a story to write! :)  But if you focus on God's faithfulness to even His most stumbling servants, on the truth of the joy of serving others instead of yourself, and of the beautiful picture of His redemption of us shown through adoption - then there is an AMAZING story here.

But with all the details for people to keep track of...a few details need to be clarified and cleared up.  They might seem like small things, but it is important to us to know that the truth is clear....

1) First, the athletes are very generous to come at a reduced fee for the signings - but they have not come for free other than Jon Ryan who asked so little it was practically free.  Thank you, Jon Ryan!

2) The money we raised went to The Shepherd's Crook, not to our own adoption fund.  We want ministries like this one to THRIVE - therefore, bringing home many more children than we could ever adopt!  We do make some money from the signings if people buy cards, photos, and balls.  We also have very generous customers that plunk their change (or more) in our donation jar.  But that is not the main reason we do this.

3)  Our oldest daughter is adopted from US foster care.  We were foster parents for 3 years.  This was a HARD thing.  We went into it, thinking if we had to give a child back it was to a "fixed" home and therefore we were helping kids and families.  However, it didn't take us long to realize that was not the case.  The case workers and courts are so overwhelmed and there are those that know how to work the system.  When it was just Don and I - it would just be our hearts broken (along with our extended family) but once we had other kids, we couldn't see having a child suddenly leave our house, breaking their hearts and confusing them.  As we have grown as parents, we do understand there are ways to help explain this and work with the kids, but at the time it just seemed to be too much.

When we came to the point we were willing to wade back into the chaos of foster parenting, we found out that there are limits to how many kids can be in the home.  For our state, it is six children.  God led us along a different path to international adoption.  Honestly, children in the US NEED homes - but they are not abused/neglected/cast aside by their own government, their own culture.  If that happens to a child in the US, it is a criminal offense.  The US foster care system is FAR from perfect - but it is FAR better than any country I have seen.  Every life it precious - whether they were born in the US or not.

That being said, last year I fell in love with a little boy listed on the page for our state.  We know how to care for all his complex needs and he would be LOVED, ADORED, and IN A FAMILY - far better than a residential treatment center.  This may provide for all his medical needs - but not for the most important - the need to belong to a family.  I approached the "powers that be" two separate times (a year ago and just a few months ago) to find out if we could somehow adopt him...because it wasn't technically "foster care", right?  That is when I found out that there were several more limits.  I cannot find the list currently, but I will keep searching.  UPDATE: I found it:
(4) At any one time you may care for not more than:
(a) Two children less than two years of age or who are non-ambulatory, including your own children; or
(b) Four children with intellectual and developmental disabilities as defined in RCW 71A.10.020 ; or
(c) Three medically fragile foster children who need semi-skilled maintenance or supportive services. You must have the qualified training and experience to provide proper care
https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/CA/fos/documents/WAC-388-148.pdf

So it included things such as no more than 2 children that were immobile on their own (in wheelchairs) and no more than 4 with cognitive disabilities, in addition to the limit of 6 kids currently living at home.  So, that would mean "three strikes" and we are out.

This is why the argument that we should focus on the thousands of kids in our own country frustrates me like no other.  We are open!  We are able!  We are willing!  Do you know how much EASIER it would be to adopt from US foster care?  We would LOVE to do this.  But we are not allowed to.  The end.  We would if we could - but we cannot.  So please, if it concerns you that much that we are not adopting American kids (which we have), then please raise a ruckus with governments to get them to assess a family on their individual strengths - not just with numbers on paper.  Better yet, YOU go and start adopting the children you care so much about instead of criticizing those that are doing what they can.

I pray for all those families that are doing this - they are fighting in the lions' den.  They deserve all the love, prayers, and support that can be given.  All we can do is fight for them on our knees as we are band from that arena.

4)  Brooke, who died shortly after she came home, had NOT been abused in China.  She had been well taken care of by an American family running an orphanage in her province.  She did however have weakened and malfunctioning immune system - that NO ONE could have known about.  She had probably had pneumonia for a long time but her body was not fighting it - no fever, no coughing, no wheezing.  She probably had a round of the flu (so did I) but seemed to be getting better after about 24 hours.  She was eating, she was playing....and then she was gone.  We do have a child, Hope, that was very abused, neglected, and malnourished but she is not from China.  She is doing well, but will never recover from the depth of the damage to her little mind, body, and soul.

We absolutely love our life.  Don says to me regularly, "We are livin' the dream, baby!"  Is it hard?  Absolutely!  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!!!

If you have questions, please leave a comment here and I will do my best to answer it.  And PLEASE understand that details and information does get mixed up sometimes in media stories - so please check with me if something you read elsewhere doesn't seem right.

Thank you for all the love and support - as always, may Christ be glorified, not us. 

Here is a video "short" that was made by Titus Richards about a year ago about Don and his business - https://vimeo.com/122550467
 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

She's home!

After some acrobatics with having to have another person in the car (for safety) and a spare oxygen tank, Handsome and Serenity were able to come home last night.  It turns out that she has MRSA around her trach.  Not as scary as I first thought (due to media stories over the last years) but still not a happy thing.  I always laugh/cringe when the doctors say, "Make sure she doesn't share cups with anyone."  They might as well ask us to hold back the tide....but we will do the best we can.

I appreciate all your prayers, support, and encouragement so much.  Please continue to pray that sweet Grace can have her surgery on Monday - she needs to stay well!!

Love to you all!  To Him be all praise!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Well, that didn't go as planned!

You know the phrase about "best laid plans"....hmmmm.  Well, Saturday night Serenity ended up heading to the hospital via ambulance.  She had a constant/continuous cough and her heart rate was going crazy on the monitor.  At first it looked like she would come home on Sunday, but now it has hit that yucky "indefinite" stage.  She is on oxygen and even with that, she is only stating in the low 90s.  They have determined it is the HMV virus (which is very much like RSV) but that is a tough thing for a kiddo on a trach.  She will not head home until her stats are in the mid 90s without oxygen.  She does not feel "sick" - so this is a bit of a challenge for Handsome in keeping her busy.  They cannot walk the hospital halls as they normally do because she is contagious. :(

This also meant that the big "round table" appointments were cancelled today.  I had a grown up temper tantrum over this until I reminded myself of God's unending faithfulness to us.....He has a reason.  I will trust it. 

Will keep you posted - please keep Serenity in your prayers.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

The next prayer requests...

Yesterday was amazing!  Serenity's reactions to the hearing aids were so precious.  We had timed "sprints" in them yesterday as it is very overwhelming for her to hear EVERYTHING at once.  Even the printer printing was a new sound for her. 

We realized after talking with the wonderful audiologist that we should have been color coding the pieces of equipment as it is a pretty sure thing that Jillian will need hearing aids and glasses - and also a big possibility that Lucy and Peter could have glasses/hearing aids as well.  Each kiddo is assigned a color - but we chose pink hearing aids for Serenity when her color is actually purple.  Not an earth-shattering mistake, but one I wish I could go back and redo.  Her ear molds will have to be remade as she grows, so we will switch then, but in the meantime we also ordered new glasses in pink as well - might as well run with it. (NOTE to parents with kiddos with Apert or DS, Miraflex now makes a pair of glasses with a built up nose bridge to stay on those little tiny noses...especially kiddos from China with tiny noses. :)  It is only in one frame style, more rectangular than oval, which is not my favorite, but hoping they will expand in the future.)

So the next prayer request is for this next Monday.  We have calling it the massive "round table" meeting day for Hope, Serenity, and Jillian.  Yes, I cringe at the thought of taking all three for an ALL day appointment - Jillian and Serenity in their exuberance and wiggly bodies and Hope with her overwhelmed freak outs.  Hmmm, fun....not.  But we have a number of questions on each kiddo. 

For Hope, we want to find out if there is a "window" of time in which her facial surgery would need to be done.  It sounds like the surgery could very well negatively affect her vision (not to mention taking a HUGE step back in her healing and adjusting to her life outside of the abuse/neglect of her orphanage).  So as parents, we have a tough decision - do the surgery to "fix" the face and possibly ruin her vision or leave the face and keep the vision.  Her face is absolutely beautiful to us - but it does draw some very negative reactions, especially from children.  Right now, she is pretty cocooned (and happy about it) at home.  But if she begins to go out more, I do think she is cognitively aware enough to realize that people are reacting to her.  In a perfect world, she would be loved and accepted just as she is - but that is not where we are at - so what is the best choice for our child?  A true "rock and a hard place" - so we want to get the input of the doctors about our options. 

For Serenity, I just need to verify that after her last pinky is released at the end of March that she will be surgery/procedure free for a few years.  I think she needs to have the time to focus on learning and growing cognitively - but surgeries always set us back a bit.  At the end of the 2-3 year time period, she will have her most complicated surgery yet - moving her mid-face forward.  When that is done, there is a real possibility that her trach can be removed - one step closer to just being a "plain-girl" (a term used by our then 4 year old to describe "typical" children).

For Jillian, I am desperate to get the surgery to release her thumbs on the calendar.  This girl is SO intelligent.  Not just mommy-pride here (especially since I have nothing to do with it!) - she is amazing.  The thumbs are so critical to the next steps in learning.  We also need to find out if a front-vault expansion is in the near future.   This surgery is important to protecting the eyes of kiddos with Aperts - but Jillian's forehead actually does a pretty good job of this already - so not sure what is in store.  I need to know for my mental "organization" and for my prayer list.

If you could pray for a relatively easy appointment (ha, ha) and for good interaction with the doctors, I would so appreciate it.  We are still praying that the virus skips Grace so she can have her surgery on March 7th....

Thank you all so much for all your love and support!