We are a family saved by grace through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Handsome and I were married in 1994. We couldn't decide at the time whether we should have three or four children. We thought that maybe, someday, we would adopt a child. How silly we were to think we would know best! God had much bigger and better plans.
After struggling with infertility, God lead us into foster care adoption. Our first precious daughter, The Testy Chef, was placed with us at 13 days old in April, 1998. After 3 very long, hard years, her adoption was finalized. During this time, God was very busy pouring out His blessings on a couple who thought they would never have biological children!
The Warrior was born in 1999. The Helper joined us in 2001. Smiley was added in 2003.
At this point in time, I decided I no longer wanted to get pregnant. The pregnancies were long and so very hard. God, through His amazing plan, led us to our twin sons in Guatemala - only 2 1/2 months younger than Smiley. When they joined us in 2004, we had "virtual triplets".
God was not done. Within weeks of returning from Guatemala, I discovered I was pregnant again - even though this was not in our "plan". It was an extremely difficult pregnancy at a time when we were going through huge financial struggles. We downsized our house while I was 7 months pregnant. All the time I was wondering, "What is God doing to us?". When our beautiful Snip was born in 2005, I held this little screaming baby, and thought, "We would have chosen not to do this. How foolish we are! How I praise God for His sovereignty!" She continued to scream for the first year of her life - but it did not change our praise for Him or our new perspective on trusting Him!
In 2007, The Prince joined us from Ethiopia. In 2008, God had another gift for us. Mimi was born. We thought it would be just like all our other gifts...but she was extra special. She has an extremely rare chromosomal deletion. We did not know if she would even make it to her first birthday. We clung to God and His grace. We were told that she would not be more than just a "vegetable". However, God in His beauty has caused her to thrive in her own way. She is g-tube fed, non-verbal, and will always need our care for everything....but she is so precious and amazing. We are praying she will be walking soon. At the time, we were so overwhelmed. We just could not see beyond her hospital room door. Again, God is His love, had a much greater plan then we could have ever asked or imagined.
In 2010, God added The Boss - even through our fear and trembling. How would we handle another child with special needs if he had them? How could we give Mimi all she needed with another little one to care for? But, as always, God's plan was beautiful. The Boss helped us to let go a bit of Mimi and allow her to grow and explore more. The Boss added joy and laughter - even though he was SO cranky - and showed us there was more ahead in life.
After much working on our hearts and faith, we stepped out and brought home Grace from Taiwan in March of 2013. She was born with CP, but at 6 weeks old, she was so severely beaten by her birth mother, she was not thought to survive. She now has 70% brain death because of the damage done. She is completely dependent on us, even to shift her position. She is almost completely blind and is g-tube fed. But what amazing joy she brings to us! Her smile takes our breath away every time. God took our teeny bit of faith and blessed us beyond description in His grace.
As we were waiting to bring Grace home, He asked us to step even farther out in faith. We began the adoption of Serenity and Hope from Bulgaria. Serenity has Apert Syndrome and Hope has fronto-nasal dysplasia. In addition, Hope was from a very, very bad orphanage. She will bear the scars of her first years of life for the rest of her life here.
As we were waiting to bring Serenity and Hope home, God had another twist in our path. I had a stroke in October 2013 due to another pregnancy. We had thought that area of our life had come to a close, but again, God had another plan. I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time of the stroke. We were strongly urged to abort our baby for my own safety. This was not even an option to us. Though I had to do self-injections of blood thinners twice a day throughout the pregnancy, Little Man was born healthy and beautiful in May 2014. Cranky like all our bio babies, we are so in love with this little gift.
And now, once again, God is calling us to save more little lives by His grace. We have just begun the process to adopt little Brooke with Down Syndrome and precious Jillian with Apert Syndrome (just like Serenity). We are trusting with each breath that He will provide all we need by His grace.