Wednesday, November 20, 2013

He made it

SO Tao arrived home the 1st of December to a world ready to celebrate Christmas.  I am sure in retrospect it was an amazing time to arrive for him.

What we didn't realize is that the dates people start putting up their trees and lights would coincide with his adoption date.

This is my little guy who has eagerly gone off to preschool everyday even the first one with a huggie and a kiss and never looking back.  On the 18th as we excitedly celebrated his hope day ("gotcha") we had a very special breakfast and the kids expressed how thrilled they were he was part of the family.  He clung to my leg at school drop off and then I found out he cried for 2 of the 3 hours - oh no!

We had seen him getting a little more subdued and/or clingy since Sunday.  We couldn't figure out how he knew, how much he remembered but marveled as we drove to dinner on Sunday and he explained "Christmas Trees" as he saw lit ones.

COuld he possibly remember that day a year ago when his life changed so drastically?  Most say it's impossible for him at 3 1/2 but he is pretty bright.  I wondered if his soul felt it as he spent a year in the orphanage, then just over a year in foster.  Did he wonder if there would be more changes as another year passed.  Or was it the Christmas trees - the one thing he related to first coming home.

And for me, my heart just broke.  I just reassured him, held him, and continuously reminded him of us all sharing the same last name, as well as we are a family and would always be together.

It's so good so see his little impish self back to normal.  And today in the car he explained

"Mom, me made it!!"

"what, TaoTao?"

"Me Made it, mom"

"Do you mean you made it home sweet boy?"

"Yes, momma me made it home!"

And I just sat in the parking lot and cried.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


My new favorite saying is "The days are long but the years are short." 

I think all mom's have a special place in their heart for their oldest.  THe baby who changed the dynamics of the household from a couple - two individuals living a life together but fully capable of caring of themselves ~ to a family.  When a tiny little baby enters the picture- in our case fulfilling a dream we were unsure would happen - helpless, needy, and in so many cases forgiving of so many mistakes.

AS I look at the young man who turns 15 today, I can hardly figure out in my mind how this tiny baby born with so many possible complications is now taller than I.

Despite his size, it is heart, his gentle spirit that we are most proud of.  This boy of ours who had not walked into a church until 3rd grade now hears God calling him and my humanness realizes I must step aside.

I can honestly say that the changes we have seen in our boy over the last three years have been amazing.  Our journey through adoption and his two trips to China has opened up his eyes, it has shrunk the world, and dare I say lit a fire in his adventurous spirit.  It is so fitting that our oldest shares his birthdate with our official adoption date for Tao.

I know there will be many more nights of worry ahead, but also feel an excitement for what the future holds.  I know that there will be bumps along the way, and desperately pray for smooth sailing.  But already the man we see emerging astonishes us everyday.

The boy who hates pictures, I absolutely love this from his big hands to his adoring look

Monday, November 18, 2013

One Year - Tao

One year ago this picture we prayed over for months 

Became our youngest son and truly our greatest blessing.
The child we tried to ignore,
excuse out of our lives even though God was making it VERY clear the direction we needed to go.

We were afraid, terrified in fact,
but nothing like the tiny boy sitting in the huge chair by himself. 

So shut down, so scared

Our oldest and our youngest - Tao bonded quickly with him and would have nothing to do with me.

I was beyond worried.

And the intense sadness,
the loss this little one experienced.
It is profound to think,
my heart still aches to think we caused him so much pain.

And one year later our little "fisher of men" has changed so much.

He is pure joy,
He absolutely is now a momma's boy

He is inquisitive.

And those dimples we had no idea existed,
well, they are gorgeous and almost always present.

A child who sat for over a year on the shared list,
listed with 5 different diagnoses,
all sounding scary,
passed over by so many others.

Sitting, & waiting,
to become a brother,
a friend,
a blessing,
a Son!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Signs to adopt

One of the God sightings I didn't mention involved his name (to an extent.)

Right after we got our giant black sprinter, Brahm's teacher from last year mentioned we should fill the back window with those stick figure people ~ hmmm she said yoda's would be funny for your littles.  I was slightly amused and slightly offended.  That was in February.

Remember when I said I finally decided to get his file and really go through it.  Something nagged at me all night, so I awoke the next morning and just stared at the open file on my computer.  How could he be our son, no similar dates, just nothing.  (all the previous kids had some similarity with our bio kids in some way from Fei's red shoes to Cav and Tao's birthdays being a day apart.)

And then I looked at his name.  Forgive my lack of Mandarin (and very western ear) but I looked at the letters closely trying to decipher a name YUEDA - it is really what I thought.  I pulled up google translate and sure enough it sounded as close to Yoda as a name could get heehee.

AS I transferred screens over to Facebook one of the first posts I saw was this.

Believe me when I say I have never seen Yoda on any Facebook posts before or after.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Help during the hard times

When we first brought Cav and Fei home, I walked off that plane and into the Dr's office.  I spent the first week in the hospital and in bed due to pneumonia and Norwalk Virus.  

People were so excited for us to be home but I couldn't answer the phone.  I wondered how long I could stay under my covers without facing the new world we had created.  I was in a very bad place.

Just now almost 2 years later, I look back and feel like I had been underwater that whole time, holding my breath.  Working so hard to just stay alive, keep from ruining our family, that when people wanted to know what to do to help I couldn't even imagine.

I definitely did NOT want them coming to my house, it was beyond shambles and I was so embarrassed.  Never mind the haunting thought that Cav would start raging or even worse they would find one of his disgusting events I had missed.

My brain was so unfocused, my entire body was numb, walking one step in front of the other.

Now I know that I/ we were in fact normal.  God was truly carrying us, and we should have let his followers the body of Christ in to help.

If you have a friend who has newly adopted or even within the last 2 years this is an incredible article on how to help!

I finally feel like we are swimming out of that abyss.  For those that are having a hard time please know that through all of that struggle, through all of that fear of having done the wrong thing, of ruining my family.  I am here to tell you that the contrary is true.

We all grew over that journey.  

Our kids, the people they are today are not who they were 2 years ago.  Their understanding, their compassion I can only stand in awe.  

I truly believe God allowed us to show our humanness - versus the supermom powers we all try to portray so that others around us can let down their guard.

For those in the struggle, especially those who have experienced the heart wrenching loss of dear friends, know that He will bless you with new ones who love you for who you are.

It is an amazing journey, take a breath, relax, you were made for this very moment.


Friday, November 1, 2013

His Story (part 2) - finding a son.

Part 1 is here

So we found the giant ladybug in our towels after we evacuated due to the Black Forest fires this past summer.

We were out of our house for 4 1/2 days and during that time I had little computer access.

When we arrived back at our home it was in shambles - you could physically see the panic and stress we had encountered trying to evacuate all of our kids and some assemblance of important belongings.

This was now the middle of June and Darwin was weighing heavily on my heart.  I decided to call Madison and see if there was any news etc.  As I searched my email for their number I saw an email I had missed on the the 6th of June.  It was an email from Madison Adoption Associates not only checking in with us but also telling us that the orphanage was willing to waive the orphanage fee on top of his large agency grant.

I know that God's timing is perfect and I marveled at the lost email.  After the devastation of the previous week our last barrier - really our last humanly excuse as to why not to follow God's request was gone.

I made one very important phone call and then I called my husband at work to tell him.  

Heehee I was also done being patient so in the same breath I told him the social worker would be over on Thursday.  Even now I laugh and am astonished at my boldness and in retrospect know it was God's hand.  I remember holding my breath as the line went silent - full well knowing I could cancel the appointment, but praying with all my being that he would be available both in schedule and heart.

And you know what he WAS!!

We received PA on 7/15 and we were DTC this past week. 


I wish I could say that this was the end of our story but it wasn't.  AS the long summer months drug on I started to doubt.  I think that is why God wanted me to be patient - so that it all was HIM!  So I wouldn't have the what if's start to creep into my mind - I mean really who has 7 kids, how were we ever going to put all of these kids through college, and his age 10 years old and only in the 2nd grade God HOW can I do this.

I worried and fretted on my own.  Was this a rescue, was this my humanness and my personal heart trying to fix the world or was this truly God's will.  As friends continued to encourage me I had a nagging doubt and a fear that almost troubled my soul.  I didn't see the things in this boy others did.  

I did NOT feel bonded or any emotion towards his picture at all and that worried me fiercely. 

I desperate prayed for the same feelings I had for Tao's picture as well as Cav and Fei's.  I wanted to go to China and already feel bonded to him, in love with him with the desire of a momma's heart.  
Was I making the BIGGEST MISTAKE of my life?
Oh the worry I carried for the summer months.  The prayers that God would comfort my heart, to find something in his file that meant something to me, to rest my worrying heart.

I couldn't even imagine backing out on this kid, so we just put one foot in front of the other and the process moved quickly (which did confirm a little this is what God wanted us to do.)  Mid August, the nagging in my head (lets call it for what it is Satan) got to be to much.

I pulled up every single email I could find about Darwin.  I reviewed each one until I got to the one from March that had his Chinese and English files.  Darwin was a little unique as this kid has been on the shared list since 2008!  Hidden in the 45 page Chinese file was his complete 2008 file and on page 27 and 28 God calmed my heart.
Instead of the heavy kid with bad teeth I had seen in his English file

 I found my son.

Hidden in that file I found a boy (6 or 7) with such a shocking to resemblance to Tao (3) that I knew he was ours.

You see even the Chinese questioned Tao's nationality.  I finally had to us amy phone to translate that he was a Chinese orphan we were adopting as no one could figure out why we were there.  Darwin and Tao are just one province away from each other on the southern border.   I am sure the chances they are related are astronomical but what if.

So we race to our finish line, still afraid of the education piece but knowing fully and completely that God not only has this, but our new son is completely His will.


What a Blessed day we spent yesterday.

It was Tao's first Halloween and that boy is a rockstar.  None of the fear, or overstimulation we experienced with Cav (He did well also which was the truest blessing.)  His little personality shined as he commented and talked with each new homeowner.  I have to believe my little fisher of men renewed people's spirits and brought them joy.  He is also the biggest class disrupter but how blessed we were that our teachers love him and encourage his presence.

I finally broke out the sewing machine after 3 years and made them all outfits
Made minion marshmellow pops for 3 classes (Cav's class only did healthy belch heehee)
These were super easy and when I had to race home was quickly able to make 5 more!

THe preschool party was an easy success and all the littles had fun!

Cav's party was earlier than last year so i got to just be a mom in his class!

Our little class disrupter

Brahm's cute teacher loving our baby! (and yes I lost my mind and let them purchase a fart gun!)

I still haven't figured out the big family thing completely.  With 3 ~ I always made the special snacks, was room mom and made outfits.  Reason would stand that with twice as many I could do half as much but truly God has blessed me in still being able to provide my momma's desires with joy and not feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Halloween is always a bit different for our house - mainly because we live in a community that has all 5 acre plots of land.  There is an official don't come to our doors rule for our community.  Luckily, every year we are Blessed by friends who recognize this and invite us over - THis year our bigs went on their own with friends - which was bittersweet to say the least.

It was fun though to be at our friends home and open the door to squeals from the children, the laughter and sense of community as the streets were filled with children and even the community firetruck came by.

Today in bible study a friend uttered such profound words.

May we always knock on God's door with the eagerness of a child and utter anticipation everything He gives to us is good.