Friday, January 9, 2015

our 5th child... Wait WHAT???

So I am still saying WHAT Lord??? Like staring at a positive pregnancy test I keep going back to a few days ago when late one night we said "yes Lord" to a tiny little boy across the Ocean not knowing what was to come, But we soon realized that "WE" would not be in control- for the Lord HAD this. He made that apparent just 12 hours later after our nervous and emotional


Long story short- a few weeks ago a picture of a tiny little boy came across my news feed on facebook. This is not uncommon at all, as I am in soo many adoption groups its very normal for me to run across kids everyday that are available for adoption. I commented on this particular little boy and about his "special need" because it was on that our son had, and I always feel compelled to advocate for kids who's needs we know about and have dealt with. A few days pass by and the little boys picture pops back up on my news feed.  I click his bio and start scanning the info that is listed about him.  I request more info before I even think twice and 10 minutes later I receive his file. Open the file and I am undone. The precious boy's pictures staring back at me pierced me. I saw his birth date and realized he was born the very time we were in china getting our son Regis. I am a sucker for "God winks" and this one was a big one.  Another one was that his advocacy name started with a R and it was so adorable. Most of you know Regis's name was also his advocacy name. Of course we kept it because it was so darn cute. Same with this precious boy- his name is perfect!
Also that he had the same SN as our son, and that is not a biggie whats so ever to us. Lord? is this my son?????
The next few days were a blur as we discussed the "How" and I kept wondering how in the world we found ourselves at this again- just 7 months after bring home our daughter.  But the Lord would not let this go- I believe he actively pursued David and I both about this sweet boy until we said Yes.
WE answered with YES and  asked the Lord to please show us the HOW.

The next morning I woke up from a message from a fellow china momma friend who I am close to and I had shared our thoughts on about this particular boy.  The message said something to the fact of- "his is your boy Kelley, go get him". Then all the sudden there was a post on instagram and Facebook and people began to donate money to help us pay for the home study. I should mention this dear sweet friend was just 5 days away from leaving for china herself to go adopt her first child! She and another friend of mine had "chatted" and come up with a plan to help us get our son home.  Well the amount is now up to 3,335! Way past the goal of 1,000. There is no doubt that this was the hand of God showing our weary and doubting selves "I have got this" "you say yes and I will provide"

Days before I was searching and finding verses of provision and promise in the Bible, asking the Lord to remind me of his promise to take care of his followers.

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? Mathew 6:26

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

phil 4:19

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

Do we truly BELIEVE those scripture? I can say most days I don't. Most days I try to accomplish things in my own power and not stop and ask the Lord for help.
I have to be honest in saying that for our fist two adoptions we had savings, some grants, and some fundraisers to help us bring home Brighton Mae and Regis. With THIS adoption we KNEW that we were starting with nothing. Why did the Lord have us start an adoption with no funds?  Well that I don't exactly know.

 But what we do know is that HE PROVIDES. 

Where we are called- he provides

 where we are weak- He provides. 

And when we doubt- HE PROVIDES.

“Adoption is a breathtakingly beautiful way to live out the gospel of Christ among the afflicted. It provides another way for the church to bring the gospel to those who, like we once were, are without God and hope in this world.” — Dan Cruver

And we believe that God calls us to care for orphans- and that this is a WHOLE CHURCH commandment. But in that there is a scary component in knowing your are truly reliant on fellow believers to come along side you and help you bring this commandment to life.

It is true his Ways are not our ways, because this momma would have stayed in her comfortable bubble years ago if I had it my way. I had NO Idea what the Lord had in store when we said yes to adoption. WOW the Blessings we would have missed had we not taken the risk.
So here we are taking the single most biggest risk we have taken in our 15 year marriage. Is it scary? you betcha? We are daily giving this over to him, and so far? HE Has provided. We have a long way to go but we are more than willing to sacrifice, fundraise, cut cost, whatever we need to do to get this boy home. And what a wonderful little boy he is! Cannot wait to show you his picture and share more about this jewel of a boy! His siblings are so thrilled and wow- they are our biggest supporters. After thinking this was a "joke" and we all had a good laugh they have been nothing but excited about their new baby brother.

My cup runneth  over

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Will you join team MoMo?

So its been almost 5 months since we laid eyes on our second daughter!
What a whirlwind its been. Sometimes I think back on ALL that has happened in the last months in awe of the heavenly fathers handiwork in our girl.

3 years ago when I started this blog to document our journey of adoption I set out to be as transparent as I could and would only write when I felt the prompting from the Lord to share what was on my heart.  You should know being an adoptive parent often comes with a little bit of "internal turmoil" about how much to share, how much of our child's story to we let out in the world. So I am sharing all this because I have always said I felt like Momo's story is bigger than us. Many prayed her into our family.  We gladly share her and her sweet joy with those around us. 

When we set out to adopt we never knew what the Lord had in store for us. 
We never even thought we would have 4 kids! One having medical needs, and one having medical needs and special needs. 
That's the Lord for ya- HE  is full of surprises! And we have learned HE really knows best. 
So when it came to Brighton Mae being knit into our family it was a no brainer. We knew better than to say no, we had just seen what a "yes" to HIM brought- our sweet boy Regis!
We knew about our sweet girls medical needs before we said yes. We knew saying YES to her was saying yes to the unknown and the hard, BUT we also knew saying YES was in line with what the Lord wanted for our family. It didn't matter what the future held we knew the Lord would provide for our sweet girl to come home to her family.

So here we are months later,  numerous doctors visits, 10 different specialist, physical therapist and Occupational therapist have all joined what we have been calling "TEAM MOMO" 
We have just gotten maybe half way in figuring out all our sweet girl is and has been dealing with medically all her life. Its too many doctor visits, too many test for one girl to have to endure. My heart hurts for her. Some doctors offices I leave encouraged and positive, but then there are some that I come out of having held the tears in again until I can get in the car and I can barely catch my breath from the weight of what I was just told is too much to bear. It's too much for my sweet daughter to bear. BUT you know what? she does!  She rocks each appointment, each test, each hour of waiting in waiting rooms for hours so beautifully. I am learning so much from HER strength and the complete JOY in which she handles anything that comes her way.

I have to add before I go on that we have been seeing HUGE progress in our girl. She goes to school every day and has the most wonderful teachers who have become a part of our "village" her OT and PT therapist are encouraged weekly at the progress being made.  WE have seen her make great strides here at home and she is the most Joyous child I think I have ever met. It's so much fun being her momma. 

So why am I spilling this all out?  

Bottom line- She needs prayer. WE KNOW the power of prayer and so we 
are begging for it now. 
We have some big test coming up, needed test to help us better understand 
our girl.

 some are physical- her right arm and hand are still a big mystery to us. She has a big appointment with a hand and arm specialist in Atlanta in November. Not that it bothers her that she can't use her hand. Girl can do just about anything anyone else can do with just one hand. We just want to make sure her left arm wasn't broken at one time and healed wrong, and blood flow/ circulation is at a healthy standpoint for her. 

 some are medical-  a few genetics test are being ordered , as well as an Xray in the next week to look deeper into her difficulties in breathing.  We don't know if this is due to her complex heart condition or the fact she had a tracheostomy during her first heart surgery and has scar tissue remaining making it difficult for her to breathe.  

Big eye appointment in November for her eye- looks like an eye surgery is likely but we go back one more time to make sure this is the right path for our girl. 

ALL this in addition to waiting to see when she will need her second heart surgery. 

These are our concerns for our girl right now. I wanted to be specific in our request so those who pray for our daughter could be specific in their prayers. 

What we are learning is the more we learn about her the more unknowns we find that lead us to yet another specialist, another doctor, another test.

Even with all the UNKNOWNS there is one thing we KNOW. 

OUR beautiful daughter is loved, she is fearfully and wonderfully made and our GOD loves her even more than us!

HE knew what he was doing when he weaved her into our family. HE is the one we pull strength from when we are weary and tired. 

Thank you so very much for praying for our girl, and thank you for joining 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

taking on the asian market- China mom style

So one of the MANY things that has been a bonus to me in adopting from an Asian country- my complete love and interest now in all Asian food. On our first trip to get our sweet boy I have to say we probably played it safe in the "eating out" while in country.  But by the second round to get our daughter, having visited the Asian market numerous times with our son, I was ready to take on a little bit more "china style food" 
Below are a few pics of our "eating experiences" while in China. 
Trying Traditional "Hot pot" in Chongqing on our trip to adopt Regis 

Noodle and Rice restaurant in China 

Crazy Homemade Ramen

Big D in Little China market 

My "gotcha day" breakfast for Regis, the noodle bowl, the steamed buns, the dragon fruit- yum! The chinese know how to make a breakfast  buffet! 

Grocery store in Chongqing 

This boy came to us using chopsticks and loving noodles like crazy 
This boy was sooo excited to get back to china and have some Hong Kong breakfast! 

some of stores in china have this crazy moving escalator hill for your buggy- love it 

My "gotcha day" breakfast on Brighton Mae's day. Wuhan Spicy noodle bowl 

trying out Korean style food in Wuhan Chin 

So excited he found his fav drink back in china 

noodle house in GZ, china. sooo good! 
Hungry YET? 

So you can see where my love for Asian food comes from.  I probably cook Chinese style food at least once a week around here and so far no one is complaining- they all love it and there are soooo many ways to cook and prepare Asian food. Now we live close to Atlanta which means we have a good bit of Asian markets to choose from. I found one I really like and go to it the most, have learned where a lot of the ingredients are and my goal has been to try something different each time we go. We have met a few of our china buddies there and that's always a blast and we can see what they have discovered there as well!

Now off to the Asian market!!!

 I have listed pictures below so that if your visiting your local market you could just show them the picture of what your looking for. Depending on your market- they may or may not speak English. Oh and it smells just like china in our market- love it.

starting you off easy- tiny baby bananas. My kids love these, perfect for little hands and they have a creamier texture than traditional ones. 

Oh the GREENS! love the greens! there are like 10 variety's of bok choy alone. I purchase the "baby bok choy." its tender and yummy and you can thow it in ramen, noodle bowls, saute' in a stir fry. the possibilities are endless.

just a pic of the crazy you can find in the Asian market, I have no idea what this is but had to throw it end cause its just how you would see food in a market in china 

oh the dreaded shrimp chip. These stinky chips are my kids fav. they taste and smell like you can imagine- fishy. and give your kid stinky shrimp breath. but we get them cause the china babies love them and well they are super cute china babies.

This is in the "spring roll" wrapper aisle of our market- yea pretty crazy. ALL kinds of wrappers. We just get a traditional one and call it a day. They do have some ones with sesame seeds in them I plan on trying next time. 
We just get a traditional ones. They do have some ones with sesame seeds in them. I plan on trying next time.

my girl on the Asian sauce aisle. oh how we love some Sauce at our house! 
don't let the sauce aisle overwhelm you. Step out and get more than soy sauce! 

description below from left to right 
Chili- for spring rolls and egg rolls. sweet and a little spice. so so good

Sunday, September 21, 2014

China I miss you

Sometimes I can still hear the honks and motorcycles buzzing in and out of  traffic, the mandarin chattering all around me packed in a subway  train, the overwhelming smells of so Asian spices amidst bowls of hot noodles cooking alongside busy uneven walkway of people rushing by. The sights and sounds of china are deeply seeped into my soul now.  I miss china, I miss the beautiful people and the culture that surrounds you the minute you step off the plane.

Of course I miss the beautiful country that two of my children came from. One would say I left my heart there.  This is not only where I left my heart but where my heart was wrecked.
I imagine and I honestly HOPE that it is always this "fresh" in my soul. That I will always long to go back, to give back to the place that gave me two of the biggest blessings ever!

This is not a post to advocate for the millions of orphans still left in china. but more of a plea, or a message to please don't forget that which the Lord has called you.

For many years I struggled with the thought of adopting a child. I knew the Lord was growing the desire in my heart long before he ever brought it to fruition.  Along with this longing came the longing for china. He began showing me time and time again that my love for china, my heart strings were constantly being pulled towards anything adoption ( books, blogs, other adoptive families ect, a particular person or new friendship made) where not for nothing. One day these two "callings" collided and sent our family on a path to bring home two children that were born to two different women an ocean away.

And HE took us to a land we would have never seen had it been for the two children he so loudly called us to adopt.  Falling in love with China was easy for me. Because it was familiar, my heart recognized and felt so connected by the time we landed on china soil our first trip that I felt as if I just about almost been there before......

I feel like it was just yesterday I was walking the streets of china with my new daughters hand in mine. But instead of walking to get rice and dumplings we are walking into another doctors office. The smells and sounds of a hustling china have been replaced with doctors appointments, medical test, carpool, school engagements, and juggling every day life.
We now have a "new normal"  that we are ALL still getting use to. Its been almost 4 months since we brought our Brighton Mae home.  4 months since the Lord wrecked my heart all over again for the Fatherless.  But most days these thoughts fall to the wayside due to the daily demands of raising a family. It's been a bit of  a juggling act parenting 4 kids in 4 completely different places in life. I think that's been one of the hardest parts of our "re-entry" here once we stepped of that plane just a few months ago. The fact all 4 kids have completely different places in their sweet lives we are helping them navigate right now.

You know, I don't know if I am doing it all right, don't know if I am picking the right doctors, or school or therapies for our new daughter. I constantly trying to figure out a better way of juggling our calender. What doctor visits can we wait on? what appointments and engagements are a must right now for our family?  and then I remember that just  a few months ago our sweet Momo had NOT one doctor, not one specialist to go to, not one therapy to help her regain some of the strength lost in her entire right side of her body. She didn't have a MRI for those around her to refer to and see why she does the things she does. SHE did not have a momma and a baba to fight like they have never had to before for one child.  For almost 8 years my daughter went without, and she now is in school learning to draw and color. She is learning the Love of a family, she is soaking her new country in.  I remember these first months with Regis last year where so precious to me. Watching him experience all the new first threw his eyes was the best gift! and now we are getting to do it all over again with our new daughter.

 But my heart still aches for the ones left behind. The ones that still wait to come home to their families and have a first day of school, a first birthday party, a first appointment with a specialist who knows how to help them. They are waiting on a sibling to come play with them, a momma to rock them at night.  If you follow my blog this is not a new message for you. I have always tried to raise awareness of the fact there are millions of orphans around the world who need families. But i wonder if someone reading this knows they could possibly be missing watching a child learn to skip, eat ice cream for the fist time, go to the beach, go to school, hug their siblings.  I often think back on my the days we had before our Regis and Brighton joined our family. Particular days like holidays. What were they doing while I was opening presents on Christmas?
What were they doing while I was eating dinner around a table with family?
That wrecks me. Because they weren't with US, they were separated from us. Much like our Heavenly fathers heart aches when we are separated from him I would think his heart is pretty wrecked his children are separate from the families that are suppose to come for them. He protects them yes, much like he did with our two china blessings. He held them in his hands till we were able to come and get them. Especially our Brighton who is a walking Miracle. He could have taken her home to live with him years ago in a hospital following a heart surgery and stroke, But he choose to keep her here on earth. And if you have met our sweet girl you know why- she brings joy to ALL who meet her.

What if we had missed that JOY?

what if she was still waiting on us to get our act together, take a leap, a step of faith... I shutter to think what our lives would be like without the joy she has brought us.

Who needs to walk the streets of  a place like china and take in the sights and sounds all the while taking in a child who needs the love of a family?  Who needs to come alongside an adopting family and support them financially, knowing that you may not be called your self to adopt but we are all called to help orphans in one way or another. Who reading this need to visit their local Foster care office in their town and sign up to foster one of the millions of kids here that need the love of a family. Who knows of a situation where you could bring in a precious child who has been looked over time and time again and has waited entirely too long for a family.....

Who wants to experience a little bit of heaven in the form of redeeming the life of a child? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life with 4. This is not a drill.......

I have been thinking a lot lately about siblings. Maybe because since adding our fourth child it has changed the "sibling" dynamic in our family. It's been funny, sweet, and overwhelming to watch. I say overwhelming only because when we load up the car, go to a restaurant or just to a target run I am a bit taken back how many of us there actually are.  I am constantly "game planning" in my head how we are all going to exit the vehicle ( this is when  D is not with me, oh how it is so much easier when he is with us. hehe)  If I have my teenager he is in charge of Regis- good match. He is strong and can unbuckle our tiny man and hold him. I wanted to cry happy tears last week when Regis had to pee in the drive thru of Wendy's and Clayton was with me and was able to walk him in and take him to the restroom! I wanted to do a dance around the parking lot! Moms of many- you feel me right?

I tease Clayton this is "The Duggar way" ( the Duggars have 18 kids, and a tv show we watch in awe that they can get so much done, thats a post for another day) 
So "The Duggar way " is every child is matched with a "buddy" they have to help, usually a "big" and a "little" He has jokingly called us "the duggars" now because we had to up size our family vehicle and well cause even though there are 4 kids, sometimes it sounds like there are 10! ( no lying,  momo be loud ya'll) 
Anyway- so just simple task like getting out the car can take a while. 

The strategy for when I DON'T have my teenager? 
I pray for a opening next the cart return, 
Hop out and grab a buggy
Get Regis out and put him in buggy
Go over to MOMO's side, crawl to the back and unbuckle her and pray regis doesn't roll away
she literally does a "trust fall" out of the car, you better catch her!

Yes Nicole helps but Momo is much too heavy for her. 
Momo walks along side the buggy and HAS to hold on or she may just take out a huge display of 
cell phone cases up in the Target.  (We Learned that the hard way) 

This is ONE example of how things have changed since adding a 4th. 
I could go on and on how things take longer, are a bit ( ok a lot) crazier since we became a family of 6. 

Last week after the ridiculous "someone stole my purse I am calling the police incident of 2014"
( yes this happened and my teenager found my purse in the kitchen where it had been all along, after I called the police in a crazy mom panic )

I met up with my fellow china adoptive moms ( who all have 4 kids ) 
 my 5 moms of 4, one mom of 3, crazy is what we live
 I took my opportunity to tell them "NONE of them had told me before hand I would loose my mind with having 4 kids" Everyone of them giggled and said yes- there is something about adding the 4th that simply makes you loose even more of your mind then you did with the addition of the other children.   Add on the addition of having a fourth with "needs" and I can best be described as "HOT MESS" most days.  
 Now moms of 5 and over please don't roll your eyes! I think we all have our "HARD" whether it be with 2, 3, 10, or 12 kids.  I am aware I still have it easier than some moms of many out there. But lets band together and agree even ONE child can be hard, just depends on how God has chosen to grow our family and I am very well aware these days he has a HUGE sense of humor and has had a lot of laughs at my expense lately. 
this wasn't even ALL the children between us  5 moms of 4 and one mom of 3, on our day of fun in Chatt. talk about crazy fun!
As I navigate this new world of 4 kids I am still learning how to juggle I am wondering how military moms make it, how mommas of several "special needs" children do it. How moms of 12 do it! Ya'll are my heroes! 
David and I now "game plan" everything we do. EVEN THEN we mess up, forget what the other one said and have to go over the plans of the day more than once.  The two older two have been renamed "the bigs" and our two youngest we call "the littles" this helps because I am now constantly getting EVERYONES NAME MIXED UP, good gravy there are only 4, you would think I could get it right.  ( I remember my mom doing this with just my sis and I and we eventually just became "KLEM" a combo of kim and Kelley, hehe)

David and I may have recently agreed to meet for dinner ( with only 3 kids mind you) after Momo's Physical and Occupational Therapy session only to drive to TWO different Long horns across town from each other. Both of us expecting the other to be there. Fun times- sometimes all you can do is laugh and move on.
That's become the theme around here.
"Laughter" has taken over the house and its kinda wonderful.
Among all the Crazy we are experiencing- 
the doctors visits, the unanswered questions, the sleep deprivation, the two football practices a day,  the ridiculous amount of laundry that one must have to step over in our house,  the adjustment to our "new normal" the overwhelming road ahead-

there is laughter.

Its the Laughter of 4 siblings, placed together by our heavenly father who's plans are BIGGER than I could have ever imagined.
One thing I have realized- I CAN do more than I ever thought, maybe it takes longer these days, maybe I do it now with no make up on ( this is huge) 
but the kids all have clothes on, hopefully shoes too.  
I know it is not thru any strength of my own but thru the Grace and strength HE gives me on a daily basis.  
So give us grace, when we drive up, a little late, in our "new to us" big ol LOUD "school bus like" family vehicle.....
Kids are inside who are all adjusting to our new family dynamic, and we have likely been at home laughing...

Moms of many, moms of 1, or moms of 17! I get ya, lets all agree motherhood is HARD however it comes. 
That mom of one may have a new baby who has never slept a night through in 6 months. Or maybe that new mom just adopted her first child and the child is having severe issues attaching or has many "needs" that are overwhelming. Maybe that momma of 2 has a daddy out on deployment and has been a "single mom the past year" maybe the mom you see with 3 has just learned her husband has lost her job and is drowning in sorrow. 
 Maybe these moms you see at the grocery store needs to hear " your doing great momma! keep up the good work" instead of you have your hands full and "are they all yours?"

When Someone tells me
"my hands are full"
I just reply
  "you should see my heart"