Sunday, January 7, 2018


As many of you know, we hosted Nora the summer of 2016.  We were almost through the adoption process when China changed their rules and we could no longer adopt her.  Except for losing my Brooke, this is one of the most devastating things to happen to my heart.

It appeared for a while that she had a new family, but that family is no longer able to move forward due to changing circumstances in their family. 

I am once again desperately advocating for her.  My prayers have had to change again for a family to move forward rather than praying for that specific family.

China has many new rules.  They include not having more than 5 children in the home as well as specific income and health guidelines.  Please contact me via the comments section (I will not post the comment) if you have more questions or need direction for an agency.

Please pray for this little girl.  The more I know of orphanage life, the abuse that can happen, and child trafficking/exploitation, the more I plead with my Savior for a family for her. 

She has a $15,000 grant through Reece's Rainbow.

She also has money in an account at The Shepherd's Crook Ministries.

Please pray for this beautiful, amazing little girl.  God has been pressing on my heart the sanctity of life - the value of each life, because He made that life. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Brooke Gloria's Legacy.....Glory

I have come to dread September 28th.  I have tried to find ways to rejoice in it.  I have tried to see it from a different perspective.  I have tried to ignore it.  But instead, I can't wait for it to be over.  I am praying someday my heart will see it with rejoicing, but I am not there yet.

September 28th was the day Jesus took my Brooke home. 

It has been two years....many families who have lost a child point out that it is now two years closer to when I will see her again.  They are right.  But just now it doesn't help.

I will see that sweet face again.  She is with my beloved Savior.  But right now, it is just too far away.

When I went to her grave last year, I laid down and cried.  I cried a whole year's worth of tears.  And I asked God, "Why?"  Why my baby girl?  Why now?  Why, my Lord?  I didn't really expect an answer - so many times, the answer to those questions have to wait until I can look in Christ's eyes to hear.  Instead I felt a deep calm settle on my soul.  I suddenly thought there would be a little girl named Glory that would make it all clear.  I didn't really trust that feeling - how many times do we "feel" something and it turns out to just be our imagination?  But I thought about it as I drove home after crying out my grief for the day.  In my mind, it was going to be another precious little girl with Down Syndrome that would ease the pain of Brooke's loss. I know.

God brought a little girl into our lives at the end of July.  We had gone through the process of getting ready to adopt again.  We were trying to go back from Bryson (in earlier blog posts) and a little boy aging out from Serenity's orphanage.  Nothing went smoothly.  In the end, Bryson had passed away months before and the other little boy had already aged out.  Okay.  Heartache.  Now what?  What was God asking?  We prayed with no clear direction - that is always a heartbreaking time.  God seems to be calling, but we don't know where to go.

We got an email from an agency that we had worked with before saying they needed more families willing to adopt children domestically with special needs.  We thought, "Why not?" and sent in our homestudy - all the while knowing it would take a very special situation that a family would choose US with such a large family.

Then one Friday night, we got a phone call.  There was a little girl.  With a terminal diagnosis.  And no family.  Everything ran through my mind at once.  THIS was little Glory.  THIS was the one God whispered to my heart about.  I pictured something happy, soothing, and a balm to heal the scar on my soul.  Instead, because of having to walk this road with Brooke, we knew God could and would walk us through ANYTHING.  BUT I DID NOT WANT TO WALK THAT ROAD AGAIN!  To say Don and I wrestled for hours (because we had only hours to give our decision) would be to put it mildly.

I felt that we were standing at a crossroads.  We could take the "easy" (ha ha!) way that we were already walking....hadn't we given a lot already?  Wasn't our plate so full it felt things were falling off?  Didn't we have enough to do already?  We could say no and just keep on our road.  The "comfortable" road.  (Okay, that makes me laugh...this road has not been comfortable for a long time - full of joy unspeakable - a road I would never change - but NOT comfortable.)  OR we could choose to go through the valley of shadow.  Again.  But I also knew He would be right with us on that road.

A few days later I was on my way to a new state.  I held little Glory close to my heart and began to cry already.  How was I going to let this tiny girl go?  But God was already writing a new story....maybe the diagnosis was not what they thought?  Maybe a doctor who was biased in his opinions?  We are still waiting to find out.  But I hold this tiny Glory so close to my heart.  Brooke's legacy - my new baby girl.

(Sorry, scanned picture from a studio..can't get it scanned right)

Please pray for the precious birth mother.  I got to meet her and love her dearly.  What a hard, hard thing to have to do - yet, she gave up her baby because she loved her so very much.  She chose the baby's best, not her own.

I still wish for my Brookie.  But just like our Mercy-girl gave us the strength to move into the world of special needs.  My Brooke gave us the strength to move into the valley of the shadow.

By the way, God has been busy these last months (as He always is).  With her adoption hearing a week away, I would like to introduce this little birdie.  She joined us in an amazing way in Nov 2016.  Through a God-directed mistake, we heard about a newborn in the US with Apert Syndrome - just like Serenity and Jillian.  In one week, we went from thinking "What, Lord?" to "There is no way a family would choose us?" to "Wow!  Okay.  Here we go!"  

She was born 6 weeks early.  She is fed via gtube.  She started out at 4 1/2 lbs and has now made it to 15lbs.  We have had a lot of hospital stays and surgeries already in the last 10 months....but we are soooo in love.

I wish I knew how to rotate this....but this is our darling spunky little birdie.

God is good.  Life is hard....but God is good.  Even as we walk the valley of the shadow mourning the loss of Brooke.  Even though our hearts continue to mourn the loss of Nora.  Even as each day is bursting at the seams and I don't know how to do it all.  Even with literal sleepless nights....I cannot believe how He has blessed us.  It is not because of anything in us - in fact, it is in spite of us.

There are still a lot of surgeries and unknowns ahead of us.  So much to trust Him for.  So much to wait and see what He chooses to do.

To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise!

Monday, July 17, 2017

My soul sings...

When I look at this little boy, I see a little soul that is singing.  Even in the nightmarish place that he is in, he is smiling and laughing.  I can't help but believe that God is smiling in return....He must know what a gift this boy will be.   What a blessing He will be bestowing.

Look at this little man. Look at how thin he is.  This is not due to his arthrogryposis.  This is a little boy who is hungry.   He is hungry for more than just adequate food.  He is hungry for love, for touch, for attention, for stimulation....for a family.  He needs to know that he BELONGS to someone.  That this is not just a passing moment in which someone's attention is focused on him.

My understanding is that he has been listed before.  He is now 7 years old.  7 YEARS OLD, without a family or even adequate care.  He is in an Eastern European country.  One that has a very easy dossier and pretty easy guidelines. 

To learn more about him, contact Judy at Global Adoptions - .

Please, if he is not your son, please plead with our Father in Heaven to open the doors for a family to find him soon.  Time is not the friend of these children - it is a vicious enemy.  It steals and destroys day in and day out.  As sure as the sun rises and sets.

Please, my Lord, please bring this one that makes my soul sing to a family.  You are able.  You are faithful.  You are good.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


China has denied us permission to adopt Nora even though they granted us pre-approval this summer.  They have changed their rules regarding family size and have made it retroactive.  As a country, they get to make these decisions, I just never thought they would not honor their word.

I just don't know how to break through the wall that is in place right now between my words and my broken heart.  I can't even begin to put into words how much this hurts.

This wasn't just a denial regarding a child we only had pictures and paperwork for.  This was a denial of a child that we have held and loved.  She was in our home.  We were told we could adopt her.  We have prepared for months to bring her home.  I have her favorite dresses.  I have a dresser full of clothes.  I have her notebooks full of scribbles.  I even have pages of scribbles in my prayer journal as she wanted to "help" me write in the notebook she saw me with so often.

I am just trying to keep one foot moving in front of the other.  I have many, many precious children that need me - and I treasure them even more now - but it still doesn't replace this precious child of my heart.

I haven't done well with the blog recently anyway, but I am stepping away from it for now.  I am sure that God will press me forward again with it but for now I hurt too much.  There is no way to escape the pain, so just like with my darling Brooke, I will just have to trust Him to carry me through the darkness.

I will post the link here when her profile is put up on Reece's Rainbow and The Shepherd's Crook.  I beg God for another family for her.  I know He loves her more than I do.   Please pray for this amazing girl.  Heaven will be that much sweeter some day because I will finally hold her again.

Here is the link for Reece's Rainbow.  She would qualify for a $15,000 grant through RR - this would be an amazing gift to a family!  

God is always perfect.  He is always good.  This hurts.  This hurts so badly.  But it does not change His goodness or perfection - it just points out my lack of it.

Thy Will be done.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Still here.......!

I can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months since my last post!  As I have said before, if it gets really quiet on the blog, God is usually keeping us really busy.

There is so much to say, but so little time.  Some will have to be shared at a later time.  I just know that people have been checking to be sure that we are okay.....and we are.

It has been a long stretch of sickness including strep throat, walking pneumonia, and the flu.  So many trips to urgent care and a long hospital stay for one.  Hard weeks....but always more than worth it for my precious kiddos.

We have sent our dossier to China for Nora.  I am counting the moments until we can get that precious girl home again.  With all the political uproar over the new president, we are even more anxious to get her home.

We requested to add a second little girl with Apert Syndrome to our adoption - a beautiful little girl that needs the medical care that is available here......and China said no.  We appealed it....and they still said no.  It turns out that we were the beginning of a tightening of regulations in China regarding their adoptions.  No families with over 10 kids (including the adopted child), no waivers for income, etc.  This really crushed me.  I knew that eventually it would come, but I always prayed it would not be with a specific child already on my heart - even though I knew we wouldn't ask if we hadn't already fallen in love with another little person.  This was a painful, painful blow.

I am told China does this every few years and then loosens then regulations again.  My heart hurts for all the families being told no.  It hurts even more for all the children that could have had forever families and now will wait in orphanages......maybe for the rest of their lives.  It hurts to know it all and not be able to do anything to help.  My advocacy efforts are not effective that I can tell - I pray that maybe God is using our story to encourage others and more kids are being adopted.  We do know of one family who is adopting because of our precious Brooke's story....I praise the Lord for that one more being saved - but how I have prayed it was ten....and twenty...and more....and more.

Most of our appointments have been cancelled because of sickness and the hospital stay.  The tears are not far from me some nights, but every day is worth it.  Every little upturned face (usually needing a nose wipe!) is worth it.  Every little face that does not willingly look up at me because of their worth it.  They have been declared by the Father as precious in His sight.  Each one is worth every tear, every nose wipe, every desperate cry of my soul.

Pray for little Nora.  Pray for her comfort and safety.  Pray for quick LOA for her.  Pray for quick travel.  Pray for the Lord to bring a new generation of families who don't have 10 kids yet (!) to save more of these children.

Until He comes, I will trust Him.

Oh, and to Randy, who found our blog.  It was a pleasure to talk with you today....and I do assure you that all 19 kids live at home with us. :)  Thank you for your kindness.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A little doctor visit update....

I have a few minutes before dinner, so I thought I would give a bit of an update after numerous doctor's appointments these last few weeks.

Jesse had an audiologist appointment at the end of October.  I almost cancelled it, thinking it was a bit silly.  The audiologist asked if I thought there were any issues.  I said that I really had no concerns at all.  Then I thought suddenly, "What if I end up eating those words?"   This test was not done at the Children's Hospital, so the woman seemed a little unsure of what to do once she found out that he was blind.  I actually felt pretty badly for her.  They ended up doing the testing by having Jesse put a ring on the stacking toy every time he heard a noise in the headset.  Both the audiologist and her helper were amazed at his concentration and accuracy.  The audiologist said that she was completely convinced at the accuracy of the testing because Jesse was so precise.  However - you saw that coming, didn't you? - it does turn out that Jesse has hearing loss in his right ear.  It is labeled as "mild to moderate", but as we found with Serenity, the average person would find it much more than a "milk or moderate" loss.  Some of the sounds that they were playing in Jesse's right ear were loud enough I could hear them plainly without headsets and there was a warning flashing on the screen about how loud the sounds were for the eardrum.  So much for my "no concerns"!  We will see an ENT next to see how to proceed from here.

Tomorrow Jesse will have a CT scan done of his skull and then see the craniofacial docs right afterward.  This will be our second meeting with them.  I do think though that we are not going to do any type of surgery for the nose unless there is some kind of surprise on the CT scan.  We think it would be best for Jesse to have some input into whether he has surgery or not.  He will still see endocrinology, a urologist, and the sleep study in the new year.  I need to look into an appointment with the ophthalmologist and dentist as well.

Serenity and Hope had their "round table" meeting with all the doctors in craniofacial last Monday.  It was a lot to absorb as we also saw the speech therapist, nutritionist, neurologist, as well as a variety of surgeons. 

With Hope, a couple new things came to light.  The muscle over the top of her lip is split because of her cleft.  This changes how she can use her lip - for eating and talking.  It is actually a pretty major thing.  It also turns out that repairing the cleft of her face would take at least two surgeries.  The first would be fixing the bone but the second (and following) would be repairing the muscles, etc.  This moves the surgery from the category of "purely cosmetic" to maybe more of a needed issue.  However, in talking with one of the main surgeons, he said that he would like to see the surgery in the next 5 years, but it did not need to be right away.  This brought a great deal of relief.  I just don't think she is ready for that trauma yet.  I don't think there will be a "good time" for the surgery, but I do think there are times worse than others.  So, we will check in with them again next year.

We did also have her hearing checked.  When I was asked if I thought there was a hearing issue, I laughed and said that I had already been wrong once in the last week, but that there wasn't anything I had seen to indicate one - that Hope was always the first to jump or respond to a noise.  Well, guess what?  She probably has a hearing issue!  She was extremely difficult to test as she wouldn't/couldn't respond to the standard testing setting.   But there are definitely markers for hearing loss.  (Next time we have a hearing test and they ask me if there is an issue, I am just going to refuse to answer!)  The ENT had already looked in her ear (and removed a popcorn kernel she had stuck in one ear!), so we know it is most likely not fluid behind the ear drums, making it more likely it is a structural problem.  The woman doing the testing wants us to see the ENT again (though I am not sure why) and try another hearing test.  If there is not more reliable results or if they think she needs hearing aids, then she will have to have a sedated hearing test like Serenity.  Part of me gives a deep sigh that now we are looking at at least 3 with hearing issues -with Peter and Lucy whom I am convinced have issues - still to go!  But part of me is also wondering if getting hearing aids will open up Hope's little world much further to us.  Still absorbing this information, even a week later.

With Serenity, we did talk more about her mid-face advancement surgery.  I don't know the technical name for the procedure they use, but they will go in through the same scar site on the top of her head and break/move some of the bones in her face.  They will then attach a metal halo to her head/cheek bones (much  like you see when someone has a neck injury) and every day we will turn the screws on the apparatus to move her mid-face forward by about 1 mm.  After the mid-face has been advanced as far as needed, the halo will stay on for a while longer while it all heals. It sounds like it will be a 1-2 month process.  It will effect her jaw - so eating and speaking - as well as around her eyes as the bones move forward and protect her eyes better.  It will bring her whole nasal area forward a great deal.

About a year ago, we were at Children's and met a little girl and her mom.  The mom said that Serenity looked "just like" her daughter.  We looked at her daughter and thought "they look NOTHING alike".  It must have showed on our faces because the mom said, "Let me show you a picture before she had her surgery."  We were skeptical but looked anyway.  Sure enough, they could have been twins!  It was breath taking!  But her daughter looked SO different than the picture.  I wish we had thought to take a picture at the time.  As time has gone on, it has begun to sink in that Serenity's looks will completely change after this.  That is really hard on my mama's heart.  Think of someone you love completely - and then think of their face changing into someone almost unrecognizable.  A little hard on the heart, huh?  I have been told by numerous parents that there is almost a grieving involved.  I have never heard from the child's perspective though - I wonder what she will think?

Anyway, it was also discussed that there is a good chance - but no guarantee - that the trach could come out about six months after the surgery after having another sleep study.  I want this for her so badly!  She wants to be back in the girls' room, not with me!  She wants to play in the bath and go swimming (which she does, but on a very limited basis).  She can't go anywhere without someone trained on the trach with her.  It is a very limiting thing - and she is beginning to feel it.  I would love to have all the tubes and monitors gone from her life.  The doctor said anytime in the next 2 years for this surgery.  My immediate thought was to try to get it done before Don goes to China to get Nora in the springtime (hopefully!).  But the doctors would prefer not to do it during "respiratory illness" season - which is completely understandable.  So, we are roughly planning on the end of summer next year.  We will work in the meantime at her using the "cap" on her trach during the day - kind of like practicing using a snorkel - you DO have to practice and keeping her as healthy as possible.  I am almost giddy with excitement with the trach possibly coming out.  We shall see what the Lord has planned.

Oh, and one other "update" - Grace did not have her surgery last month, we all got the flu AND a nasty virus that took that off the table. Four weeks of "sickies" was a LONG time.  I am going to try to get that back on the calendar after Christmas.  That is my time for today.  But a few fun pictures to share...

Until He comes....I will praise His Name!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Who Is God? (continued)

I received comment on my last post that I feel needs to be addressed ...

"I say this with love and with prayer that you are able to see the true face of God soon. I don't think you understand who God really is. I will be praying for you that you do soon. You are doing a great job with your children and I admire what you do. However, your self-righteousness may be your downfall. I will pray you know the true God soon. You are wrong to have such hatred and judgment towards your fellow human being - that is not at all what Jesus preached or practiced, and that is what I see here. Please be humble. That is what God wants. Let Him do the talking. It is not for us to judge others in the way you are doing now. As for your trolls, they too will be judged . . . but it is not for you to do so. God bless you. - Lily"

Lily –

One of the many weaknesses of online interactions is that you cannot see me, you cannot hear me, and you do not know me other than reading a few posts of mine.  This is a conversation that should take place over a cup of coffee, nose to nose, heart to heart with our Bibles open in front of us so we can see the Truth before us.  You could see that I do not hate anyone.  You will not find that anywhere on my blog and you definitely would not find it in my eyes, or my tone of voice, or my words.  

I was angry with the comments against my family and my children – but even more so the mocking of my Savior.  I was angry that they were deliberately choosing to focus on those that believe in Christ and the fundamentals of the Bible – as shown by the title of the “chat room” of the criticism.  However, I do not hold on to that anger – I willingly forgive.  The momentary anger quickly gives way to deep compassion.  The things that they have chosen to focus on show that they do not know Christ.  It matters very little what they say about me, my family, or even orphans – it matters for eternity what they believe about Christ.

I think another of the huge weaknesses of online communication is that words are easily thrown out, especially when people are upset, without really thinking about what they mean.  You referred to my "self-righteousness" and I have to gently laugh a bit.  The definition of self-righteousness is being "
confident of one's own righteousness".  I have NO righteousness, Lily.  NONE.  That is one of the main points of the Gospel.  I have no righteousness.  It doesn't matter how many children we choose to adopt, how many "good" things I do - nothing, nothing will erase my sin apart from Christ's death and Resurrection.  I cannot state that boldly or fully enough.  I have no righteous.  I am guilty of breaking every one of the Ten Commandments in one way or another.  I deserve nothing but hell.  My Savior, Jesus Christ, is my righteousness - He has clothed me in His righteousness.  Isaiah 61:10 "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."   I have nothing to claim on my behalf.  It is not "self-righteousness" to state what God has clearly said about Himself.  Sharing that truth is not showing anything good or righteous about myself - it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with His Word.

You say that I do not know God.  That is an amazingly bold statement – and may I say very gently, a fairly judgmental one for someone very concerned about me judging others.  I think it calls for a deeper communication and discussion. 

I grew up in a Christian family, surrounded by Christian friends, learning about the God, the Bible, and Christ.  But one day, I read (as in truly thought about) a passage that I had skimmed over many times.  This passage scared me to death!  It is Matthew 7:21-23 "21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [d]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  This is a passage that most Christians have heard but haven't really thought about.  What does this person call Jesus (the one speaking in this verse)?  This is what I never thought about.  This person calls Jesus "Lord"!  This is someone who thinks they know who Christ is!  This isn't someone who just acknowledges God or even an unbeliever (as I had always assumed) - this is someone who calls him LORD!  In addition, this person prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles in Christ's name!!  This is someone who is "all in" - not just a casual observer.  Let that settle in.  This is someone who fully believed they knew Christ.  Then what was Jesus's response to them?  "I never knew you..."  Wow.  That is terrifying.  

I realized at that moment that I couldn't just trust what I thought I knew of God -or even the men teaching from the pulpit.  I needed to go to the source - His Word.  This is the ONLY source of truth.  Not our feelings, not what we "believe in our heart" to be true, not our experiences, and not well crafted lessons - God telling us exactly Who He is.  

He is holy - (one of many references)
1 Peter 15-16 " but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  

He is righteous and just - (one of many references, again) 

Psalm 89:14 "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face."   

He is full of mercy, truth, and compassion - (one of many references)

Psalm 86:15 "
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth."

He is also the one Who tells us that He will punish sin:

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
"...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.."

These are just the tiniest drops in the ocean of what God tells us about Himself - it is just the beginning of the foundation of what I said in my post.  

I realized that I must know what God says about Himself and that is it the TRUTH.  I don't get to take some pieces out that I don't feel comfortable with.  I don't get to change or delete things to make Him seem "nicer" or more palatable.  If I start doing that, I might as well pull out my knife and carve   myself a graven image to worship.  He is not a "god" of my making.  HE IS GOD.  I don't get to change Him to suit my own needs.

As for what Jesus preached and practiced, He said (Mark 16:15-16) "“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."  I am preaching that gospel, Lily.  He was also the one that called those opposing Him a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:7, Matthew 12:34, Mathew 23:33, Luke 3:7, etc.)  He was also the one who told us the most about hell - read the Gospels - the reference are too numerous to mention right now.  He was not the sad, weak little man that people what to paint Him out to be - the one we see on stained glass windows.  He was bold and firm with the truth.  He did not tiptoe around people's feelings - because He loved them so much and He knew that they had to know the truth to be saved.  He was "gentle" but not in the way the world wants to paint Him.  He was meek - meaning His power was held in control.  He was gentle with those who came to Him for salvation - He had no tolerance for those who wanted to force their own beliefs about God and what they thought He should be on Him. He had no tolerance for those who did not believe they needed a Savior - that they weren't "bad" enough to need help.  Read the Gospels, it is all there to teach us.

So here is my gentle and compassionate challenge to you, Lily.  I have given you a handful of references as to who God is.  I can give you many, many more if you would like.  My question to you is how do you know who God is?  I have His own words as proof of who He is.  How do you know?  Please give me the reference from the Word that you feel I am not seeing.  This is not said in an angry, "self-righteous" tone of voice - this is from someone who has stared at the horrifying realization that I did not know who God was and I had to find the truth to save my soul.

Please Lily, please don't stop at what is easy and makes your heart happy - study His Word.  KNOW who He is.  Eternity depends upon that.  My prayers are with you.