Monday, April 30, 2012


So many people ask

"How do you know this is your child"

this time around I asked "How do I know that it is God who wants us to bring home this baby."

I mean really, at the time we had jsut brough Cav and FeiFei home.  To say it bluntly, Cav was plain old hard.  He was terrified of everything at this time, beating constantly on Brahm, still portraying autistic type behaviors and we had no idea medically what our future would look like with him.

But the signs started coming, and once I took the first step to see if reusing our dossier was even a possibility I learned we would have a June deadline to be DTC.

Still, I fought God.  I made every single excuse why this was NOT something we needed to do.  However, we desperately wanted to die to self and follow Him.  Finally, with the tock clicking and frankly after making myself crazy with doubt - this incident occured.

Let me preface this with the fact that everytime I asked for a sign that reusing our dossier was the direction He wanted for us - He gave me a sign, but sometimes I was to blind to see them.

Finally, I prayed for a simple YES!  "God please jsut give me a YES if this is what you want us to do!"

Later that day I was driving in the car with Brahm and I asked him to please pray for direction if we were supposed to adopt the baby.

He bowed his little head and folded his little hands.

In the rearview mirror I got the mommy love feeling seeing my angel pray for his momma.

THen he looked up and simply said "YES!"

What do you mean Yes?  (did I mention I was dense LOL!)

"I don't know mom just Yes."  Ok little man

THis decision to double the number of children in our home, especially in less than a year, has not been the easiest.  But I finally understand what dieing to self really means.  I no longer have time to get my nails done, my hair is a mess, laundry is a disaster and we have never been happier.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


We started our journey to adoption jsut over a year ago.  WE (my husband and I ) have grown far more through this process than I had thought humanly possible.  We began the process to provide a home for a child with dwarfism - BUT through the process we realized that the greatest gift we could give our children is that of eternal life.  Today we accomplished that - through Baptism.

We purchased their Baptismal outfits in China especially for this occasion.

I love this one of Brahm giving them their new crosses.

How did it go you might ask!

Well, FeiFei of course was a jewel.  Cavanaugh however, tipped the entire Baptismal Fount (ugh!)  Then he started screaming UH-OH! Don't we all come to the cross kicking and screaming LOL!

On the serious side these little ones have been home 4 months (almost to the day) - they know Jesus, they know how to clasp their hands in prayer, they know Amen, and most importantly they couldn't have been more than thrilled to receive crosses of their own!

And for those playing along I actually shot these with my Nikon point and shoot coolpix, cuz sometimes you can get great shots without the fancy cameras.  You have to keep moving the camera to select focus BUT it can be done.

Lightroom, and one willow or sarah J presets.

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And THIS is why!

I stand in amazement

The little boy who screamed was absolutely terrified at the plants, statues and anything with 4 legs.
JUST FOUR months ago ~
Did the most amazing thing ever today!!

I can NOT tell you how in awe I am of this child!
Of how far he has come!

The road has been HARD - truthfully it has been the hardest thing I have ever done.
Bringing home 2 at once gets a LOT of bad press.
We still have hard days.

BUT let me remind you of one very important little fact - Cav was our second child.  We could have been afraid and said we would return for him (heehee knowing our newest secret that wouldn't work well LOL!)  But that would mean he would STILL be sitting in his orphanage for a couple more months atleast.

INSTEAD, he came home when he was meant to.
We sucked it up and tried our best,
we are far from perfect parents (I dare to say the pendulum swings farther to the left then the right.)
BUT the love of a family makes such a difference ~ like NOTHING I have ever seen!

Brahm went first of course, then FeiFei had to try.  I thought we were doing pretty good that Cav was calm and not trying to crawl out of his skin, BUT I asked if he wanted to try.  He vigorously nodded YES!

We put him on the horse and he did great - UNTIl I stepped back to take a picture.  Even this trust that if I was their it would be OK is a huge step.

Next my friend allowed them to ride one of the horses - again they all were excited to try.

Four months BUT a lifetime of growth!

His infamous MAN-EATING Cat picture taken 12/24/2011

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!  Your wonderful comments and supportive notes have meant the world to us.  Most importantly, you reminded me what an incredible miracle all the events leading up to our PA were.  So easily we forget - or get bogged down by our humanity.

Satan most definitely is trying his best to get our unwavering faith that God has this.  Our I-800A paperwork is . . . um  . . . I'm thinking it is lost.  It was supposed to be sent the 16th or 17th, then I got a note from our SW on the 19th (ok I don't answer my home phone so I didn't get it until the 23rd.) as to how it should be sent. Yep, that is why I posted Tao's story and asked for prayers.  Still nothing, not a reply back from the social worker, no text or email from USCIS nothing.

The clock is ticking

I got the text this morning that our paperwork is finally logged in!!
Thank you so much for all the prayers! 4/25 is the countdown date (sure wish it had been 4/17 like it was supposed to be!)


I still jsut know without a doubt that God has this.

Just like I knew to start the paperwork eventhough DH was still an RH (heehee :0)

I loved the comment that Angels were carrying our paperwork!  Can't you jsut seeing them dropping of our packet, or knocking a stack on the ground and ours gets placed on the top.

Truthfully, the more Satan rears his ugly head in this adoption process the more I know that it is the right thing to do.

Also, our littlest additions will be baptized on Sunday - so I expected this week to be full of some really "odd" happenings.

Please, if you think of it, please continue to pray for us -  we have one empty seat.  I know there are so many others with such greater needs, but if you have room or time for our family, I would be forever grateful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Here we grow again!

I have to come clean folks - we have been keeping a VERY BIG secret. 

I hate secrets, and not good at it.  
I realized today I was keeping this secret because I was afraid.  
Afraid of what others would say
did I mention say?!?

Believe me when I say that it has become crucial that I ask all of those around us to pray for us. 

Let me start with the story.

We have been in a bit of shock.  Since January we have been riding a rollercoaster.  We thought that someday we might return to China . . . but not within a year.  AND most definately NOT for a baby!  This has been as close as we will ever come to experiencing an "OOPS" pregnancy.  Now that the shock has worn off, we are in the race of our lives.

We feel that THIS story needs to be shared.

This time around we received signs left and right.  The bombardment was impossible for even the most dense of us to miss!  Things like the most affordable new truck we found came with a 6th seat instead of the standard 2 bucket seats, . . . to the babies name being Tao - meaning "the way" (in a very similar way as Brahm's.)

BUT most importantly, this is a story of faith, of taking the most unexpected leap.  You see the "baby" was #953 on the shared list, and had been hidden for over a year.  Listed at a mere 6 months of age his "diagnosis" was scary.  His symptoms were listed including a heart condition, bone condition and extra thumbs.  One agency even refused to get an update because they determined that he was to severe for our family.

I sent his file to several of the dwarfism specialists and the answers frankly scared me.  Either he had the form of dwarfism like our FeiFei OR a type that 50% die within the first year.

Why us, why him, why now.

But he kept weighing on our hearts so we asked another agency for an update.  Week after week NOTHING!  We knew he was in an orphanage that almost NEVER gives updates, but we prayed.  We so felt that an update would give us direction, and help answer our ton of questions.  Finally, six weeks later and with the clock ticking, we made the decision to take the biggest leap of faith of our lives.  I am not talking about a gracefully little step forward, I am talking about an eyes closed, deep breath Indiana Jones leap of faith ONLY possible with God.

Not even knowing if this baby below was still alive, would ever walk, and hidden somewhere in another horrible orphanage.   He was our son, and if he was going to die, he would do so with someone knowing his name and praying for him.

Meet Long ZiTao - May 13, 2010 (his birthday 1 day after Cav's)

But what I love most is that God is in the details.

We asked for an update the end of Feb.  We signed our homestudy on March 24th.  We took our leap committing to our son on April 3rd.

And then He showered us with HIS grace.

We received an update on April 10th - the incredible part - it was dated March 31st!

We learned that he is obviously alive AND healthy, he is in foster care, and that he most likely has the type of dwarfism as our FeiFei.

And then we noticed his clothes.  Of course the kids noticed his French Fry pants & that he is walking!   We also received PA on 4/17/12 ~ which means he is pretty much our newest little darling!  So many prayers answered.

Now onto the race of our lives part.

Our homestudy agency will not be renewing their license in June.  We MUST have all of our paperwork to China before this time.  We have a bunch of steps - most importantly, our paperwork is being sent to Homeland security this week for our new I-800A approval.  (it should have been sent over a week and a half ago.)

Last year this process took 60 days.

We are oddly at peace but are asking for prayer.

We were not going to tell people, because frankly we are not in a place to handle criticism.  Believe me, we have spent months coming up with every excuse why this does not make sense, how it can negatively affect our family, how old we are - and eventually realized none of that matters.

Please if you have read this far, could you add our family to your daily prayers.  Pray that every person who touches his file does so with a sense of urgency and accuracy.  Pray that our paperwork is completed in a timely manner and that we can meet our June 1st deadline.  That baby Tao is covered in prayer until we bring him home.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BIG adoption mistake!

OK, let me warn those in the adoption process.  

You know when you are in the midst of the process and your hmmm, I think your LOA is delayed, and in a moment of insanity you go and get 2 kittens.

Well, if one of the said kittens actually survives the elements around your house (coyotes) AND makes it to adult hood - I dunno sometime during the fog of bringing home TWO children from CHINA - you might want to actually put spaying and neutering on the TOP of your list -


The fabulous subject from yesterday

will deliver these on the pottery barn mattress under your daughters bed

AND you will be presented with this note at the top of the stairs

AND you will find said cat and 4 kittens under daughters bed watching movies on an iPAD ALL before church!

Welcome to our house!!

And although I already did my Sunday Snapshot from yesterday I jsut had to add the culmination of the  story!

Canon and 50mm lens in very low light so not to disturb momma!

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Spring up close

We live in Colorado, I LOVE Colorado except in early spring.  When the rest of the world seems to be in beautiful bloom, flowers here have to compete with unexpected snowstorms, an arid environment and poor growing conditions.

Perhaps since we have so few flowers it is a novelty.

Today my little guy came in all excited - MOM, there are flowers!!

Sure enough we had a patch of the prettiest little flowers.  I ran for my camera and almost changed out my lens.  Then I remembered how much I used to love photographing in macro.

And now I remember why.

I hate even to admit which darling child of mine has such disgusting fingernails.

And mittens - this cat was nice enough to be my subject too!

I shot these with a canon and the lens is a 100mm Macro.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, April 20, 2012


I feel so fortunate to be close to Denver.  My dear hubby was able to rearrange his schedule and stay home wiht the kids today.  So I got up early and left at 6:30 and made the trek to Denver in hopes they were still selling tickets at the door for the Empowered to Connect conference. 

I was thrilled to get a seat, and then settled in, in hopes of learning a little morsel of information.  Little did I know it would cut to the core and make me rethink everything I thought I knew. 

You know when you have your first born and you suddenly wake up one day realizing that something you were sure was right was completely WRONG!

Yeah that was today.

One example, we have been cutting back on the snacks and amount of food for FeiFei.  It has become almost a constant battle.  She is perpetually hungry.  We are only trying to preserve her joints etc.  Yeah wanna guess a possible reason for the issues I described yesterday.  Dr Purvis recommends feeding them every 2 yes TWO hours! 

Another nice litle tidbit - we are NOT ever going to be a "normal" family.  I don't know why this took me by such surprise BUT frankly it was a bit freeing.  I mean really, we have two children with dwarfism, two children with brown skin, and a double amputee.  We are conspicious because of my husbands business, where we live, not sure why I thought adding our little ones would make us less conspicious.

So much to think about.  I believe the information is crusical for all adoptive parents.  BUT I also saw a huge need for all of our parents who had NICU graduates.  So much those sweet babies had to go through jsut to save their lives, but at what cost.  I can tell you that we as nurses do everything possible to try and eliminate adverse effects.  Nesting, soft touch, consolidating procedures, - so many things we can do but I fear that after todays conference we are missing a huge part of sending them home.

I also realized for the first time that this may explain a lot about our oldest daughter.  She was born to us, and my pregnancy with her was beyond a disaster.  I was so sick with severe hyperemesis, that Dr's feared for my eyesight and organs.  I was fed through a PICC line for the majority of the pregnancy.  In addition, she had sever colic FOR NINE MONTHS ugh.  They were rough days. 

Now I wonder if her delay in reading, school etc were all based on the cycle Dr Purvis spoke about.  I sure wish I had known about this information long ago.

I will say though - it scared me.  If my kiddos weren't home, I know for a fact I would not have brought two home at once.  I would have been entirely to scared.

So much more to think about.  I did buy the DVD's since I don't think I will be able to attend tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4 months - family

Wow, really just four months since these kiddos entered our lives? 
 Four months since we were in China . . . or four years.  
I can't believe the progress ~ plain and simple we have become a family.

I am most astonished at Cav.  EVERYTHING has changed with him from his appearance to his demeanor.  He is a joy to be around, he cracks jokes in his three year old way, he has most importantly decided to become part of our family.

Little man has finally started finding his role as big brother.  He and Cav play together.  He finds that satisfaction in teaching his brother new things, in sharing SOME of his toys and most importantly he gave Cav a hug good night last night.  This was HUGE.  Remember Cav outweighs him by atleast 10 lbs now, and even on his shortened legs, Cav is almost as big as his brother who is 2 years older than him.  Cav literally spent the first month beating up his big brother.  That hug made me jsut cry - brothers forgiven, brothers formed.

FeiFei has come out of the honeymoon phase.  Now let me begin by saying even on her worst day she is still happier than most kids on their happy days.  We jsut became so used to her incredibly bubbly personality that we made one HUGE mistake.  We gave her everything we could.  Extra helpings, toys whenever we were out everything - because she was so dang charming.  She was very evidently the "favorite" child for a time being.  (I don't disclose this for any other reason than to help those who follow us.)

As Cav has gotten better the gap has closed between them and she is now struggling with her place be threatened.  She is no longer the "golden" child and he the terror.  They are becoming more equal and we are seeing her having some difficulty with this.  In addition, her most beloved teacher left during spring break.  I think the permenance of this loss is finally affecting her.  She is taking her different books out more - but mostly the one her teacher gave to her before she left.

I hate to say it, but I really didn't even correlate her mild change in attitude and her teacher leaving until today.  It's been almsot 3 weeks and I thought the reaction would have been immediate.  Duh, sometimes I jsut wasnt to kick myself.  Ok myself and the world.  i bawled for FeiFei when I found out her teacher was leaving.  REALLY PEOPLE!!  But what was I to do, withdraw from her school which she begs to go to everyday.  Such a horrible situation, for a sweet child who has already lost so much in her life.

Luckily, the Empowered to connect conference is tomorrow in Denver.  I can (at the last minute) go.  Hopefully they are still selling tickets at the door.  And my dear hubby is taking the day off work and staying home with all the kids - oh yeah it's a teacher work day ugh so they are ALL home!

Four Months ~ as a Family!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bring Happy home!

THere are so many unknowns in adopting, and I know that so many people are afraid of bringing home an older child.

As you can see from my friend Tammy's blog (who is a very experienced adopting family) and their adventure to their fabulous new daughter Zoe .

I told her all along that children with dwarfism also have a Happy gene - they just are so wonderful!

I was able to get an update on this fabulous little guy.  There are a few things to know.  One YES he has a shunt, this is a NORMAL thing that some children with dwarfism need as babies.  Once they get a shunt then they are good to go.  

Also where he is from - they only list SMART kids.  And this little guy is smart!

He is also athletic.  He can do a standing long jump, jump on alternating feet, kicks a ball AND can catch a ball!

He has a good understanding of expressions, speak in long sentences and asks why.

He can dress and undress himself.  He goes to kindergarten and loves his teacher.

He is outgoing, active, confident and not afraid to compete with others.

Besides being short this little guy is fabulous and healthy!

Look at how much he has grown!!

Email me if you would like the update report and any other information.

ctmy at comcast dot net

Thursday, April 12, 2012


When our little man was born to us, the one thing I swore was that we would NOT make him a chronic child.

AS a nurse we would cringe when these kids would come in - whispering that a parentectomy was the only surgery that would help.

I am afraid though I might have gone to the opposite extreme.  This became very evident this past weekend.

We took the little ones to a Starlight Easter Egg Hunt.  Let me first say we LOVE Starlight foundation.  We are extra blessed because they partner with the Cadets at the Air Force Academy and put on some pretty incredible events for kids with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Anyhow, we enjoyed all of the games, food and inflatables.  As usual I was floored by Cav's incredible ability and strength.

And then I was confronted with the breakdown of the Easter Egg hunts, 0-4 years, 5-9 years or wheelchair / physically challenged.

With the two others I thought no problem we will do the 0-4 year old group.

Very quickly the realization hit me that regardless of what we think of Cav, he is disabled, he CAN'T keep up with the other kids and this poor angel ended up with a whole ZERO eggs.  I had to leave him sitting there while I ran after the other two but my heart just broke for him.

I swallowed my pride (not even sure that is it) and took him to the physically challenged egg hunt.  Although he was far more abled than the other kids, filling his bucket and then his pockets, it's where he belonged atleast this year.

He was so funny, he shook EVERY egg next to his ear and would only place the ones that rattled in his basket!!