Tuesday, October 29, 2013

His Story ~ the Ladybug (part 1)

SO last post at the end I announced our newest son - this is the back story.

We came home with Tao on Dec 1, 2012.  You know the child who's middle name is Taomega which is a combination of Tao (his Chinese name) and Omega which my husband insisted on. As in ~

Revelations 21:6
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. 

This was my husbands declaration that we were done.  Of course he also wanted to name the baby Goliath (he is a dwarf - I don't care who you are you absolutely can NOT name a child with dwarfism Goliath LOL!)

SO I came home with my sweet baby thinking we were done.

AS I advocated for the children with dwarfism and excitedly tracked down families due to travel within the next 6 months.

One in particular was Darwin - a 10 year old boy who had been part of a visit Madison Adoption did the year before.  He was darling and we so looked forward to watching him come home (although we did not know his family that had committed to him).

Then in February, 2013 I found out that he just might NOT have a family any longer.  I called, emailed and tried to get to the bottom of this news.  The more I found out the more my heart broke.

I think it was that hope taken away that broke my heart the most.  Not only are we talking about a 10 year old boy who lived with his birth family until he was 2 years old.  But now, all these years later he was once again promised a family.  I do not know all the specifics but I do know they sent him pictures of the family who would come get him before the year was out.

Even typing the words and imagining the scenario brings me to tears.  Which is better - to never had hope, or for it to be taken away.

I desperately tried to find him a family, quickly so just maybe he wouldn't notice that the white people in the photos looked different than the ones on Gotcha.  But I also knew that there were (3) 10 year old boys with dwarfism on the shared list and another 5 within a couple years.  I also heard that 9-12 year old were the least age range to be adopted.  People either adopt younger or race to get those aging out. Lastly, he had the kiss of death - having a committed family return his file.  No matter the reason I think it is human to fear that something was found wrong with him.

So I prayed and slowly our journey began.

Our biggest obstacle was he was born in 2002.  Although Morgan is not our oldest she acts like our oldest and we have been told numerous times displacing her could be disastrous.  Since we were still reeling from Cav - the last thing we wanted was more upheaval in our family.  So we saw the 2002 and said NO - wish he was younger but that is NOT gonna work for us (yeah right).

Still he sat, still we advocated.  I printed his picture out with 2 others - basically thinking these are the most hopeless cases.  Hmmm maybe if I got his file maybe I could advocate better.

That was when I noticed his birth date - YES he was born 2002 but not until DECEMBER.  That was for all intense and purposes almost a year younger than our Valentine girl.

This was our first glimpse that maybe God wanted us to bring him to OUR home GASP heehee.  This was the end of March.  All the denial that this could be God's plan.  I mean really our baby was named OMEGA for a reason right.

And that Omega kept gnawing at me.

And then it dawned on me.  It says the beginning and the END not the LAST . . . the END!  My husband says it's semantics but I don't agree.  There is a big difference between LAST and END!  And the lightbulb went off - Tao may very well always be our youngest,  our caboose, but possibly not our last adoption.

That daddy though was sure Omega meant last we were done ~ no more stinking kids.  All the while Tao worked his magic on his daddy.  I - the ever so loving wife kept reminding my husband how much he didn't want Tao's adoption either (I know not the nicest LOL.)

I spent most of April in deep prayer.  I searched everywhere for answers and NOTHING!  The only thing I got was to be patient AND silent.  NEITHER are attributes I possess.  I have to say it was the hardest thing I ever did to not hound my husband about making this decision.  The only saving grace was I thought my answer would come after my husband went to the men's retreat the beginning of May.

My heart literally felt like it broke into a thousand pieces when he returned from the retreat and still nothing.  I had Darwin's picture up in our house by the entry.  I had my kids praying he would find a family every day.  The silence was deafening, and my faith it remained strong.  In a way I did pray that he find a different family - because truthfully it would be easier.

Mid May our social worker came for Tao's 6 month post placement.  The last straw was when she asked him if we should do an updated home study and he said NO!!  I literally held it together as best as I could and cried as soon as he left for work.

But I also knew that this time I could NOT hound, beg or plead.  We are talking about adding a 10 year old boy with minimal education to our home.  This had to be ALL GOD or not.

Beginning of June, Madison checked in with me to see if hubby had made any decision, and to share some new pictures and video.  It was kind of a shock out of the blue.  This time I shared them with my husband.

I shared but didn't ask.  I showed him the boy with clothes as old as he.  I showed him how his shoes were 2 sizes to big.  I shared my fears, and I shared that I felt he was ours.

Just over a week later our neighborhood began to burn.  Although it was the second time in a year that we were evacuated for a fire - the process never changes.  You stand in your house (if it is like ours it is full of CRAP . . . period.  You go from room to room searching for the most important items that are worth filling your van and somewhere after the first floor you wonder what you have done with your life.  You look around and know with your very core most of it could burn up and your life would be inconvenienced but not destroyed.  I know everyone reacts differently to crisis but this was MY reaction.

So we packed up our possessions, and most importantly our kids and left our home.  A new friend was gracious enough to find us rooms at a youth hostel.  Knowing this we grabbed our bucket of towels and headed over with all of our worldly possessions.

No sooner had we arrived and were getting acquainted with the others while swinging on the front porch, my daughter opened up the first towel and found this surprise.

I know it doesn't look like it but it was the largest ladybug I had ever seen.  

I looked at my husband and said "You know what that means?"  
Heehee "Yep, the ladybug didn't want to burn up either."  he said
But I knew the look in his eyes and we both knew what God had planned for us.  We weren't obedient originally and God did come after us with a 2x4 but luckily we saw his calling before we missed out.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A plea and an answer

AS we wrap up the month of October and this years Dwarfism Awareness I hope I have dispelled some of the fears related to having a child with dwarfism and replaced them with our personal love for these amazingly happy little people who meet life with gusto.

I am excited to see young ones with dwarfism being quickly chosen and finding families within weeks of being made available for adoption.

Unfortunately, we are seeing a plethora of older kids with dwarfism jsut sitting on the list for years and years.  I personally am feeling a panic as they inch closer and closer to their 14th birthday and they are sent out on the streets, uneducated, no resources, many without even an appropriate name to pursue employment.  How can they possibly fill out an employment form with a name that means "I entered ____ orphanage on the year of 2008."

Because many in China think these kids with dwarfism are also mentally delayed (they are not infact the contrary is usually true), they are only educated in the orphanages, only obtaining true schooling once an agency assures them that a family will come.

Not only are these kids handed their walking papers on their 14th birthday, but it is estimated that many will either die that first year on the streets, or sold into the sex trade . . . yeah, shocking and heartbreaking all at once.

When I look at my Fei and Tao I jsut can't even imagine.  Our oldest turned 14 on the day we signed for Tao in China, and I looked at him in shock.  This child of mine who has had all the privilege of family, of money, of schooling - I still couldn't imagine him alone on the streets.

So I am coming to you to search your hearts.
To look into the eyes of these kids,
Imagine them as a son, a child

All of there information can be found HERE

Believe me it is scary to even contemplate adopting an older child.
It is easy to come up with 1000 excuses why it won't work for your family.
A thousand fears for the future.

But let me assure you I am not talking about rescuing these children in the sense of being a savior - there is only one of those.

I am not talking about putting your family in jeopardy for a last minute run to keep an unwanted child from aging out of the system.

I am talking about if God has laid one of these children on your heart, if He has laid adopting an older boy on your heart ~ DO IT!!

How do I know?

Because we have struggled with this,
spending countless hours worrying, wondering and questioning.

But the story of Queen Esther has played out so many times in our life over the past few months I can not even tell you.  Realizing that we are asked to be God's hands and feet on earth.  And you know that we can say NO!! (I know gasp who would ever say NO! to one of God's requests.)  The kicker is ~ we will also lose out on some of His greatest Blessings.

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
                                                                                                                  Esther 4:13-14

Ann Voscamp's post on Why You Are Where You Are: For Such a Time as Now was life changing for our families understanding of this ( well more than that which I will get into later.)

I often look at our Tao - just the miracle of him being in our family.  The blessing he is to not only our family but our community.  I now know that Tao had to come to us, to renew our belief in the adoption process and renew our souls.

So that when God presented us with a little boy who has sat on the list forever (his original file was completed in 2008!)

Who is just a few years from his 14th birthday and the unimaginable repercussions of that date.

Who has had minimal schooling,

Who has suffered unimaginable loss in his life and still he smiles,

Who we will soon call son.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Living life together

When we were in the process of adopting Fei and Cav I saw an amazingly heartbreaking video.  I wish I had kept a copy but let me paint this picture for you.

THe person who shot the video heard an amazing sound during her orphanage tour, as she got closer and peeked around the corner, she saw a stage full of children singing. . . . the heartbreak was that there was not a single person in the room besides the children.  

No audience, 
No rows and rows of chairs filled with clapping and cheering adults.  
No siblings,

Just orphans singing and performing to blank and empty space hopefully oblivious to the absolute heartbreak of the situation!

Fast forward to today.

Frankly, it's been an emotional day
I let Satan in 
as I questioned the number of kids we had.

You see I had to be at 3 places at once - all miles apart.
I fret for days how to duplicate myself, 
weighing who should miss what etc.

All the events were important - the most important was Fei's musical - the problem it's a first grade musical and I knew it would last all of 20 minutes.

But for days all I could think of was the children from the orphanage 
without any family cheering them on.
Over and over this played in my mind.
I prayed for clarity,
AND THEN. . . .
I realized that the difference is that by adopting our girl, we also have established her in a community that not only loves her, but adores her.

Even if we were not at each performance, I slowly realized that God places us in community and asks us to do life together for this very reason.  

She will always be part of family, there will always be people to cheer her on, love and celebrate her.

So we went to the afternoon performance and although we tried desperately to make the evening one, I rested in the assurance that our community, our friends and teachers who cherish her clapped their hearts out for our girl ~ filling in where we could not be.

(AND I think I have finally figured out a pattern for pants for her - they are a tiny bit to wide but we are finally getting the perfect fit. . . . . versus Tao's which I can't even get over his thighs LOL!)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness ~ Little Football

When Brahm was a toddler I distinctly remember crying about how unfair it is that God gave our poor disabled boy a heart for sports (yeah we have come a long way.)

Now it's more of a matter of finding sports he can play without further damaging his joints.

Some children with dwarfism can play almost any sport

Some children with dwarfism are very limited on the types of sports they can play (most specifically those who had the neck surgery Fei did and those that have spinal issues.)

And then we have Brahm who suffers from joint pain
and because the round ends of bones are jagged 
we have to protect his joints. 

A break especially near the epiphysis could be detrimental.

So we find sports,
weigh his heart, mind and body
and give him a chance to try.

Mind you at 7 he only weighs 33 lbs LOL!

Anyhow, flag football was our newest try
AND he loved it!!

He actually did great on defense ~ mainly because his mind was so amazing and he gets the game
and we had to laugh at him trying to block etc.

And our Tao - well he is another sport kid.

One of my all time favorite pics - he is trying to get Fei to hold the ball
think Chuck and Lucy from the peanuts LOL!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness - worldly futures

If left in his country our sweet little guy would NOT have 
gone to school,
had a family,
had a future.

THe saddest part is that this would have been his future at best

Kingdom of the Little People, China

and at worst a beggar except the CHinese discriminate against the dwarfs so much they don't even throw money in their buckets.

Instead the little people we saw hide in the corners as swarms of people pass by never placing anything in their baskets - and it is heartbreaking!

This lady (in yellow) was like looking at our Fei grown up.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Worth it

This child whom we were so scared to pursue
who sat on the shared list forever,
who brings so much joy to our lives,
who has shown us how perfect adoption can be.

"Commit you way to the Lord,
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun"
                                                                    Psalm 37:6

Dwarfism Awareness - kids 3

I absolutely LOVE this little guy 

He is 10 years old 

He has normal curved legs caused by dwarfism - which may or may not have to be corrected.

BUT he needs a family more.

Best part he is in Guandong province meaning he would be the perfect second child 
(no additional time!)

This 10 year old handsome boy is from China, and has achondroplasia. He is described as being obedient, active, optimistic and cooperative. He has friends that he goes to school with, and likes to learn.

I believe this is a picture of him I found online but can NOT guarantee it is him.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness - sports

Dwarfism became an approved "disability" in paralympics 30 years ago

Since then many little people have participated in more and more sports including the World dwarf games held every 4 years and
DAAA games held every year during nationals

For their size our littles are extremely athletic.

In fact, Brahm is our sport kid.  This was a struggle we had to endure coming to the point of yelling at God about how fair and unfair life is.

Brahm has more heart and soul than I could ever have.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness ~ walking

Because children with dwarfism have larger heads and torso's and shorter arms and legs

They ARE very late walkers.

In fact, it can be completely normal for a child with dwarfism to not walk until they are 2 or 3.

Brahm was 1 1/2
Tao was 2 
and Fei was over 2 but we are not sure.

Once they walk they are good to go and many of the development questions (especially with adoption) fly out the proverbial window.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Loving hard kids

I received several emails asking me to repost this after I pulled it because of nasty comments from the specific people I speak to at the end.  Mom's with hard kids need fellowship, they need people to stop by, drop a coffee on the front porch with a note of love and expect NOTHING in return (not even the door to open until after their car pulls away because she is so embarrassed by her looks, her house, or her raging child),  A hug at  church, a meal, a smile.  In our first year home I could NOT do happy hour any longer, go with friends to get my nails done ~ truth is I was (we were) in crisis mode.  People who didn't understand left but you know what almost two years later God has placed the most God loving friends in my life who understand if last minute I can't make it, ask how to best support my hard child but most importantly don't judge.  We are very lucky as we have come a very long way in a very short period of time.

When I first started looking into adoption
I heard that adoption would bring out all my skeletons.

Yeah, right I thought.

You see I thought I knew what it was like,
I wasn't one of those new parents.

I had parented three children.
I had cared for countless others who suffered from

I thought I knew what I was getting into.

I was wrong.

Just like our other adopted children,
I held onto those few pictures for months,
running my fingers along the edges,
just as I had rubbed my pregnant belly.

Praying for a child my arms ached to hold.
Praying, loving and worrying.

I still remember those months of anticipation.

THe night before as I looked at the cribs,
The darling pair of slippers left by hotel staff.
Laughing as they had no idea of our sons legs.
All of my birth children waiting in anticipation, with special surprises,
waiting with open arms to welcome their new brother into their lives.

I remember as they brought us a malnourished child covered in barf.
THe child who immediately moved around our room
trying to destroy each item he could reach.
Never crying, never noticing things were different.

The beloved new brother fighting, hurting his new siblings,
My heart hurt as their open hearts began to close slightly.

Oh we were so unprepared.
Our excitement of spending time in CHina turned into a crisis,
A child covered in bruises,
skin and bones, and scars around his waist.

My heart hurt as I watched my son wolf down food,
My heart hurt as he screamed each time we held him.
And slowly we realized we were merely a tool.
A tool to food, warmth and toys.

And then my skeletons slowly appeared,
Boundaries never set,
Low self-esteem,
childhood abandonment etc.

Many have questioned our parenting of him.
Truthfully, I sometimes fall into the trap of questioning myself.
WOuld other people parent him better,
What am I doing wrong?

We have seen friends and family disappear,
The changes to great,

Days, weeks and even months
I held onto only God's word,
He tells me He knows the plans for my life
and the single word like a beacon
His plans to PROSPER me.
                                       Jeremiah 29:11

Almost two years later many things are better,
we have all changed, become wiser and found a new peace.

God has replaced every friendship,
family member we lost
with God loving people who support us,
not judge us.
Who love our son within his boundaries.

We completely believe God sent him to us,
and Us to him.
We found value in this little boy who touches so many,
We love him enough to care about not jsut his legs,
but about repairing his soul.


Below is an exerpt from this blogpost ~ I hope you find as much comfort in it as I.                                       


You love them by doing the loving thing over and over and over. 
You love them by parenting them in the way they need to be parented – with high nurture and high structure (despite how you parented your other kids or how your church friends parent). 
You love them by holding them when they are raging and telling them that you aren’t going anywhere. 
You love them by praying for them and fighting the spiritual battle on their behalf. 
You love them by not being easily offended. 
You love them by not being easily manipulated. 
You love them by not giving up, by not confirming their suspicions that you are just like all of the others who abandoned them and broke their trust. 
You love them by laying down your life, picking up your cross, and dying to yourself 
and over 
and over.
Yes, you love them. . . and by the grace of God, someday, yes someday, you will wake up and realize that they believe you and they trust you and both of you FEEL, truly feel that phileo (friendship) love that you have both been longing for.


  And if you are a friend of someone who has a child from hard places I BEG you to support them.  THe Bible commands us to care for the widows and orphans.  I have learned on my journey that very few will actually adopt but this command applies to us all.  As a friend (I believe) God is commanding you to help that mother/family and thus helping that orphan (adopted child).  

If they ask you not to hug their child PLEASE do not.  I understand it goes against everything we as humans know.  And the child might appear to thrive under you touch but I can guarantee you this mother will be dealing with the disregulation it causes for hours, days and sometimes weeks after.  Instead tell them how awesome, amazing and inspirational you think they are.  

If the mother warns you the child is manipulative jsut believe her.  SHe is not saying it to be mean.  She has seen her child charm strangers and turn on her family within minutes.  Manipulation was a survival tool in the orphanage - it ensured an extra coat, gentle handling and extra food.  However, this mom is trying her best to help this child to feel safe and secure without having to use those orphanage tools. 

If the child is having a time in (or out) PLEASE do not interfere.  You are sending mixed signals to the child which undermines the parents authority.  In addition, the mom does not have the luxury to confront you (or is to tired).  But again your moment of caring will spiral this child back out of control.

I am praying, that all of those friends out there will instead look at that situation and give the mom a hug knowing she is doing her best in a very difficult situation.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness - kids 2

Zach is born 6/4/02 - he was 1 when he was found.  He cares for himself, speaks clearly and in complete sentences.  He has been part of the Half the Sky program since 2005 (file completed in 2007)

I am shocked that this little guy is still available - he is amazing, southern province and so needs to come home!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dwarfism awareness - {hypotonia}

Most children with dwarfism have hypotonia or low muscle tone.  

Although Brahm looks like he is less than 6 months here is is over a year.

He had almost no core strength
I thought he was a great baby - I would set him anywhere and he would stay there

I was wrong and he was unable to get out of the sitting position.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Saying Yes!

This little guy has been home almost a year - we kind of hit the ground running AND he truly has been the epitome of the perfect adoption.  

You can't always tell personality just by a photo

We have some moments
He is three
Everything is new
He lost everything he ever knew
We have no information to even share his past with him.

But still he has been amazing.
People all the time look at him
And say - I would love to bring him home
and I smile, remembering how long he sat
and sat, and sat on the shared list.
Passed over for a YEAR!!

And I smile because I know adoption
is NOT always this easy.

I laugh at the forlorn pics we received
during our wait for him.
Not one smile,
no dimples,
no personality.

THe child who HATED me
when we picked him up.
WHo screamed every time I came near.
China was beyond hard ~
for my heart.

But now almost a year later,
after developing tennis elbow on both sides
from carrying my sweet boy,
we feel incredibly blessed.

Our struggles at home were many,
we couldn't imagine having another
hard child in our home.
BUT inexplicable we felt the call.

He truly is our Blessing.
Our fisher of men.
Our Phoenix, who cherishes life,
celebrates each moment with exuberance.

Now that's some good stuff!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness - parents

It is estimates that 80% of children with dwarfism are born to parents of average height (AH).
we don't say normal height, tall, AH is the correct terminology.

This is Brahm
Daddy is 6'3" 
(and wears a size 15-16 shoe)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness - kids 1

Oh how I love this little guy!

He is 8 years old, has only been in foster/orphanage care for 3 years.

He might need the neck surgery that FeiFei had but he also jsut might a perfect little like our Tao.

Please email me if you are interested in him!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dwarfism Awareness #1 ~ intelligience

When there is a month set aside to brag on our incredible littles well, you know I am going to take advantage of it!  Stay tuned for pics, facts, pics, and advocacy!!

Contrary to popular belief children with dwarfism are smart and some have VERY high IQ's
(China often places LP's in rooms with severally mentally challenged children)