Sunday, June 3, 2012

One year ago today...

One year ago today, Gracie and Malachi started a new life. They left the orphanage for the last time. They began life as a daughter and son, brother and sister, grandchildren and cousins, for the first time. The old life will always be a part of who they are and their story. But we are so thankful they are also part of us now and our story. This past year has been a time of ups and downs. A time of learning, adjusting, and growing for us. A time of stretching and beautiful transformation in our hearts and theirs. Thank you Lord for the amazing gift these children are to our family. This past year hasn't always been easy for us or them. But I wouldn't change a thing. Then...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Hope Project

I am so excited to be involved in setting up our non-profit in Abigail's memory finally. It has been a long time coming, but it feels great to be doing something actively helps others in her name. My spunky one wouldn't have waited until everything was perfect before jumping in with both feet, so I guess I can't either. So here goes...

As we went through the adoption process ourselves, it became so clear to us how important fundraising and networking are. There are so many small ministries out there involved in adoption and orphan care that it is hard to keep track. It is also so time-consuming for adoptive parents to track down the needed support and information when they are adjusting to life with their newly adopted children. And you all know how exhausting fundraising is. The Hope Project is our way to try to meet some of those needs. We plan to offer fundraising opportunites and grants for adopting families, as well as a central place they can come to find resources, support, and information through the paperwork process and early adjustments. We want this ministry to reach out to families adopting locally, internationally, special needs, not special needs, infants, older children, you get the picture. Not adopting? We are all called to care for the orphan, and the Hope Project will give you a central location to network with the various ministries around the globe doing just that. Our website will be a central location for you to go and find ways you can help and get involved, and also to help support adoptive families in your life.

I am thrilled about our first big event. In September, we are holding our first mom's retreat and conference at Camp Sumatanga, Alabama. Adoptive moms, future adoptive moms, support people, and even just women with a heart for orphan care will be encouraged, energized, and equipped at this event. We are planning a weekend of relaxation, education, and fun, with a range of speakers, break-out sessions, and ministries represented throughout the weekend. I can not wait. And we need your support. If The Hope Project is to succeed, we need you to help spread the word. We need to have our website all over the internet--facebook, twitter, you name it. Share and share again. You never know who might need to see it. We are praying that God blesses this ministry in abundance so that it in turn can bless the "least of these" world wide. Donations are accepted and much appreciated as we try to get off the ground. And so, after that lengthy introduction, I give you, The Hope Project...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dear Abigail-2 years later

It's amazing how even 2 years later how much of a struggle this still is-life without you little bit. I've gotten better at pretending I'm functioning. When I meet new people, I don't immediately tell them about you like I used to. But that wears on me too. I always include you in my number of kids count and my run down of ages. When I get to 2 two year olds, I always get questions about twins. I just say no, I don't have any twins. Fake smiles and fake laughs are sometimes necessary to be socially acceptable. And functioning in society is necessary even when I still just want to bury my head. I still turn my head when someone calls your name. I am hopeful without even recognizing why. Celebrating your 4th birthday without you was excruciating. Easter, your bday, and the 11th all on top of each other was a trifecta of doom. We made it through clinging to each other. The void you left is just so huge my little one. You changed me and I'm forever thankful for that. I am a more patient person. I see the world differently. Sometimes that means I just don't care about things everyone else does. I don't know if that is a good thing or not, but it just is. Your spunk prepared me to deal with Grace's. I wish you were here learning about Grace and Malachi. I wish I could see you play with the E-i you love so much. I'm sure you would be chasing him now to give him the kisses you couldn't resist giving. And I desperately wish you were here to welcome your baby sister in September. You would be old enough to anticipate this time. Old enough to be excited. I promise to tell her all about you. You are still part of our everyday life and conversation. My heart just hurts without you my love. The grief is a constant ache, but sometimes it becomes a tsunami and I drown in its approach. There are no words for the panic and desperation that it leaves in its wake. I just miss you. And I need you. And I love you my little passionate little bit.

Father-carry me. There is none of me left. I am broken. Use me for your will. Bind my fears. Give me boldness. I need Your strength.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I have just been so tapped out emotionally here lately. It feels like there isn't enough of me left to try to form words over the last few days. But then I start typing and the words pour. They were locked in their somewhere all along I guess.

We are entering a hard season. I dread spring and I hate that. Spring has always been my favorite. I loved Easter, birthdays, and spring. But now those things are so interwoven with loss and pain that I really struggle with them and tend to deal with that by just ignoring them. Fortunately, my kids just won't allow that. We have 6 birthdays in 5 months this spring. Add to that 4 children in 3 different dance recitals, one child working on his eagle scout requirements, 5 playing sports of some kind, and I can't just put my head under the covers like I really want to. I really really want to. I have to face the world and face the spring, for good or bad.

This season started last weekend with Malachi's first birthday home. Sweet boy had such a good time at his first ever party. His slightly older sister, on the other hand, did not understand why it wasn't also her big day. It's going to be a long wait till June for her, lol.

Then this week, that same sweet boy had to go through some minor surgeries. That was rough. Watching him react in terror and fear that I was abandoning him broke my heart. I love that kid. He is doing ok now, but again Grace doesn't understand why he is getting Popsicles and jello and she isn't.

Next up is Eli's birthday and the day he passes Abigail in age, followed closely by her birthday and the anniversary of the day we lost her. This year, Easter is going to be nicely rolled into that weekend, so all 3 will be within a few days. I want to teach my kids to joy and beauty of Easter, but I'm worried about that dark hole that will be following me around at that point.

Please pray for me. Pray that I can be the mommy they need me to be, while still being honest with them about my grief and respectful of them and their grief. Ignoring the grief isn't the answer. And ignoring the days that bring pain isn't either. It's a balancing act. I guess all of life is. I hurt for my brother in his loss of his son back in the fall, but I celebrate with my friend Kate as she brings home her little girl from Ukraine this week. Back and forth, back and forth. Lord, bring me a sense of peace and stillness in this busy season. Give me focus. I do not want to get caught up in the daily grind and miss the big sacrifices and courage you are asking of me, and I also want to be truly thankful for each moment that feels like just another chore or another repetitive task. I remind myself constantly of what I wouldn't give to do her laundry again or to teach her her colors or to change her diaper. Those daily moments that are so hard are what I miss the most.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My crazy passion

As most of you know, I volunteer to place and supervise exchange students locally. I love working with these students. I just love the students. With a house full of kids and a crazy schedule right now, I just can't get out and see the world like I would love to do. My students bring the world to me.

I remember moving to England for school. I had my husband and my son. I didn't have a language barrier (or much of one anyway). And it was still a lonely scary step. I want these students to be comfortable stepping out and doing something incredibly brave. I want them to have a great support system and lots of encouragement. I love to see them thriving in their host homes, churches, and schools. I love to see them learning and understanding American culture apart from hollywood's version and negative images and maybe understanding our differences AND similarities better. It brings the world closer together I think. And it's important. It is so important to think about the world outside your own little corner, your own culture.

And then there are my children. I want them to also see the world. I want them to know and experience culture, diversity, tolerance, and love. I want them to know compassion and understanding. I want them to know that the whole world doesn't do everything just like we do and that's ok. I want their lives to be rich with experience. I can't take them to do all those things. Our students bring those experiences to us. We've learned about dancing around Christmas trees, open faced sandwiches, and how to share a room. We've also learned to look at ourselves and our own choices a little more carefully and to even laugh at ourselves a little. We've learned to appreciate what we have and the resources at our disposal already. And we've learned so much about communication.

Hosting and working with exchange students is one of the most rewarding things we have done as a family. This is why I'm so passionate about my students. This is why I am constantly bringing them up. This is why I spend so much time desperately seeking great host homes for them so that those left behind are few and most get the opportunity of a lifetime. The numbers left behind last year are heart breaking. And this is why my own children will take their turn, get out of their comfort zone, learn a language, and see part of the world on their own exchange year. Consider what hosting could do in your family. I'm happy to help you find a great student from anywhere in the world-Brazil to Moldova, France to Thailand.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What is adoption to me?

What is this beautiful, painful, complicated thing called adoption? It is an incredible work of God. It is turning this

And this

And this

Into this

And this

It is finding children who don't know how to smile

Or receive love

And who own nothing, not even the too small

And mis matched clothes on their backs

And turning them into this

And this

With a family

And life

And freedom

It is a beautiful, transformative work of God that brings HOPE to lives and LIFE to families. The hard parts and the fun parts-it is all worth it.

Grace and Malachi pictures

Thanks to this blogger app, I can now upload pictures here so much easier! Here are some catch up pictures for the past several months.

Friday, January 6, 2012


My sweet baby Eli, what can I say about him? First of all, his blond curls slay me. If that chubby baby gives me his cute grin and shakes those curls at me, I'm pretty much butter. He is loud, opinionated, and so irrististably cute. He loves to give kisses, cuddle, and is very smart. I love my little surprise baby. He runs the show around here, as long as Grace lets him.

I can see Abigail kissing on him that last morning and I ache to know how they would interact now. I imagine a lot of head butting and arguing, lol.

In March, my baby boy will be older than his big sister. That is so painful. I don't know how I will get past that day. I am so proud of him and I love watching his little personality blossom, but I dread him passing her. It seems so final. I know that is insane. She will have been gone 2 years, but once she is pushed out of her place in the birth just seems so wrong.

So my sweet, chubby, chewable Eli, I love you. I adore you. And I can't get enough of your squishy love. I am so thankful I have you, and I promise I will cherish every day with you no matter how much trouble you get in or how loud you are.