Again?! (updated)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday:  Grace is about the same today. She only threw up once yesterday and was able to keep down some ibuprofin, which helps with the pain. She also kept down a couple of popsicles this morning, so that's good. We got back the results from her CBC (complete blood count). The only thing that was way out of normal range was her platelets (anyone have any experience with this?). The doctor didn't seem too concerned. We won't get the other blood tests back until Monday. Please keep praying for our little girl. She feels so yucky.

Would you please pray again for Grace? She hasn't eaten all day, nor has she drunk anything. Her stomach is hurting, as well. I took her back to our doctor and David is now taking her to get her blood drawn again. Friends, she is absolutely terrified of needles at this point. I've never seen anything like it. Would you please pray for her little heart? It is clear that her fear is a result of trauma (perhaps when she had surgery in China...?). Our doctor said that she may have celiac disease or a dairy allergy. He said that allergies can come on suddenly sometimes. All that I know for sure is that she is scared and in pain right now.

Thank you so much for praying.

Our Yana

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday was a very special day for our family. Not only did Grace come home from the hospital, but we got to celebrate seven years with a very special girl!

I can remember the first night that Yana came to live with us like it was yesterday. She was so sweet and silly and scared.

And now, look at the young lady that she has become!

We are so proud of our precious daughter. She has matured immensely in this past year. Her love for God and for others has deepened, she has learned to serve others with real joy, she has stepped out and tried new things, and she has become both more vulnerable and more bold. She is really growing up!
Usually, we make Russian food for Yana's adoption day, but since we had just gotten back from the hospital, Yana was more than happy to go out to our favorite little Mongolian grill.

We always buy our children something special from their home country for their adoption days. This year, David found a beautiful Ukrainian egg with an icon of Jesus on it to give to Yana. We also have blessing books that we write in for every birthday and adoption day. The children really treasure these books. And of course, we sing "Happy Adoption Day," and I cry (every.single.time).

Yana learned a new game from her friend, Alyssa, that she wanted to play. She soundly beat us all!

After cards, we all played charades. Our family loves to play charades. Below, Jadon is acting out the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Since David and I both studied philosophy, we like to pick really tough book titles for our charade subjects. Lily was so funny. She kept yelling out things like, The philosophy of God, and Marx and Hell, before we even started acting out the book. We all laughed so hard.

The favorite of the night was, Immortality, the Other Side of Death, acted out by Adam. Try acting out the word, Immortality, syllable by syllable, the next time you play charades! Fun, fun, fun!

Oh my goodness! I am just so grateful for this beautiful girl. She has been a gift to us every single day of the past seven years. It hasn't always been easy (this growing-into-a-family thing), but it has been absolutely worth it, every step of the way.

We love you Yana! Happy Adoption Day!


Even though I firmly believe that God doesn't cause bad things to happen, I do know that He uses every circumstance for His glory and to teach us how to love more.

Over this past week, God taught me some things and gave me a little more insight into His heart. And even though I would never wish for Grace to be sick so that I could learn a lesson, I am grateful for the things that our precious Lord continues to impress upon my heart as a result of Grace's illness:

-God reminded me that people are far and away the most important part of His creation. David and I have been entrusted with some amazing little people. I don't ever want to take that for granted.

-There are lots of things that don't go the way that we'd like in this life. Most of these things are trivial, but I can make them much bigger in my mind. In the light of TRULY important things, those trivial concerns fade to their proper perspective.

 -It is a beautiful thing when your child can sleep safely and peacefully.Unfortunately, there are many parents in this world who have to worry about their children (their health, their safety, whether or not they will have enough food, etc.) every single day.

-Siblings are an amazing gift...especially those who will pray for you when you can hardly move and who will gladly play My Little Pony with you when you're feeling better. 

-Jesus is always near. Our friend, Kirk, came to the hospital to pray for Grace on Saturday night. As Grace lay sleeping, we both sensed His gentle presence. I still sense His presence. Our God is tender and kind.

-Knowing that people truly care and are praying with their whole hearts is a precious gift.

-Knowing that your youngest son is safely in a friend's care while you're in the hospital is also a gift, never to be taken for granted.

-Jesus is the ultimate healer. I am so very, very grateful for the doctors and nurses at the hospital, but they still don't really know what was wrong with our little girl. Jesus knows, and Jesus healed her.

Thank You, Father, for the perspective that You give, especially in difficult circumstances. Thank You that You are always near. You never leave us to fend for ourselves. Thank you for Your gentle kindness. Thank You for your incredible example of love.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Grace is home and doing great! Her WBC's went from 26,000 on Saturday night to 7,000 this morning, she's drinking and even ate some rice krispies and fruit this morning. Thank you, Jesus! And thank you to all of you who prayed for our precious girl.

prayers for our sunshine girl

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thank you so much for your prayers for our sweet Grace. We had to go back to the ER yesterday and spent the night in the hospital. She looks sooooo much better on IV fluids and she had a couple of popsicles that stayed down today (yeah!).

We'll be spending the night in the hospital again tonight and they will do bloodwork in the morning. If her WBC's have gone down and she is drinking more, we will be able to go home. :) At this point, they really don't think that it is appendicitis, and she actually doesn't have a UTI. She had blood and WBC's in her urine, but no culture grew. They think that it is just a really bad virus (along with a couple of complications). But, if that's the case, it should be clearing up even more soon. So, please keep praying for our little sunshine girl. Thanks so much!

Yikes! (updated)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Update: We had to take Grace to the ER last night, because she wasn't getting better (those smiles only lasted for about 10 minutes and she went downhill again after that). They tested her blood and the WBC's were very high. It still could be from the UTI, but it was awfully high for a UTI, so they thought that it could be her appendix. She had an ultrasound and a CT scan, but they couldn't see her appendix in either. Her pain level has definitely decreased, though, so at this point, we're just waiting to see if she does better today. Unfortunately, she didn't keep the antibiotic down this am. We're sure that we'll get it figured out soon, but would appreciate your prayers in the meantime! Please especially pray that she would be able to keep down liquids and medication. Thanks so much!

It's been quite the eventful couple of weeks!
Jadon started feeling better on Friday and Grace was almost better on Sunday.
But, she had some terrible sores in her mouth and barely ate anything for a number of days.

Then, on Tuesday night she started to have a stomach ache.

On Wednesday, she couldn't keep even a sip of water down.

On Thursday, she was able to eat a couple of otter pops (so it must have been a virus, right?!).

But, this morning she was still crying in excrutiating pain.

So, it was off to the urgent care.

And we found out that she has a raging UTI/possible kidney infection. The doctor said that if we hadn't brought her in, she would have ended up in the hospital.
Poor girl!

They gave her a shot (which I had to apologize for, since I had told her definitely no shots!), took a nap when we got home, and woke up like this!

(Her first smile in days...thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus, for antibiotics when you really need them!)

 Then she asked for some soup.

And looked like this afterwards (yeah! no tears!).

 Of course, ten minutes later she was back in bed, a little weepy and totally worn out.

But, progress is being made!
Please pray for more progress for my littlest girly. She's more than ready to be well again!

the face of an angel

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15

Doesn't that verse just make your skin tingle?!
I can't read those words without seriously experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit.
"His face was like the face of an angel."

An angel!

Can you even imagine?!

Oh Lord, I so want to radiate your presence in the way that Stephen radiated your presence. I want to love You like he loved You. I want to give my life willingly to serve others. I want to forgive, even as he forgave, following Your example with his last breath. I want to be "full of faith and the Holy Spirit," just as Stephen was.

I am firmly convinced that in heaven, I'm going to meet Stephen second (right after meeting Jesus). He truly is my hero and I love reading about him in Acts. Here was a man, so willing to serve, who in addition to many wonderful attributes, was described as a "man full of God's grace and power."

When I didn't think that we'd have any more boys in our family, I lined up all of my children and asked them who would be willing to name their first son Stephen. "Oh, me Mama! I'll name my son Stephen," Jadon responded.
(Such a good boy...loving to please his mama like that!)

But, I guess he's off the hook now since he's going to have a brother named Stephen. :)

There was really no question as to what our little guy's name would be. When we told the kids that we were adopting a boy from China, they all knew... "And I bet his name will be Stephen," they said.

And I'm sure that I'm not too biased when I state that I'm thinkin' that our little guy already has that angel face thing pretty much down!

Happy Daddy's Day!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to all of you wonderful dads out there!

I'm just so incredibly grateful that my children have a Father like David.

He's kind, affectionate, enjoys playing and working with his kiddos and loves them with the deep love of God.

Happy Daddy's Day, sweetheart!

And Happy Father's Day to my own dad!
I love you!!!


Friday, June 15, 2012

There are somewhere between 143,000,000 and 206,000,000 orphans in the world today.
143,000,000-206,000,000 children who have little value in the eyes of the world.

But, to our Father
their lives are of inestimatable value.
In fact He made these precious ones,
in His own image.
He endowed them with value
in their mother's wombs.

He loves them with an incomprehensible love.

And even though it saddens me that the world has rejected these precious children, I am encouraged to discover (more and more) that there are those who truly value and love orphans with the love of the Father.

One way that orphans are being valued is by groups of people who have taken the financial stewardship that was given to them by God, and have sown that into the lives of children and families. We have been over-the-top blessed by a number of grant organizations on our adoption journey and I wanted to share a little bit about each one.

The Oath Adoption Ministry: We received the kindest letter, along with a grant check, from this church ministry. They truly love orphans!

Show Hope: Show Hope offers free TCU training materials to each family who applies for a grant! We are so blessed by their generous grant to our family and also by their desire to truly see children heal.

Katelyn's Fund: We had the most amazing time of prayer with the Katelyn's Fund volunteers. They have been an encouragement to us both spiritually and financially.

JSC Foundation: Just yesterday, JSC Foundation sent us an email telling us about their generous grant (woohoo!!!). We are truly humbled by their kindness and love.

You might remember from this post, how we lost all of the money that we had saved for our adoption. But, I want to tell you that God is faithful! He has supplied even more than we lost, through the generous hearts of the people in these organizations. And I know that every single one of them would want to give Him all of the glory for this!

Our Father truly does value these precious children.
Thank you, to all of you who value them, as well.

well...I guess the doctor was right

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jadon does have a virus.

How do I know?

Cuz' I feel really yucky,
and this little cutie woke up with a fever, as well.

Looks like it's a noodle soup, cough drop, emergen-c kind of June day. :)


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sweet Jadie isn't feeling so hot.

Or...he's feeling really hot.
(103.7 hot)

Jadon had two vaccines yesterday. Our doctor said that the fever is probably not from the vaccinations, but that he most likely has a virus. I'm not so sure. Does anyone have experience with vaccines and fevers?

Real-life blessings!

Monday, June 11, 2012

When we were in the process of adopting Grace, I "found" a wonderful new friend. Jennifer, and her husband, Greg, had recently adopted Tessa, who was from the same SWI as Lily was from.

Jennifer is such an amazing online blessing, and yesterday she (and her beautiful family) became a real-life, give-you-a-hug blessing as well!

(This photo was the most incredible feat of the day, with almost everyone looking at the camera!)

Adam loved hanging out with Nathan and Peter.

All the girls hit it off right away!

Henna was the favorite activity of the evening.

Peter, love, love, loved the dogs...too cute!

When Grace woke up this morning, the first words out of her mouth were, "When will we see Robyn and Raegan again?"

I don't know, sweet girl. But hopefully soon!

pajama party

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Look at these two cuties in their matching jammies.

I love, love, love these girls and their beautiful friendship.

On a sidenote: What is it about girls and sleepovers?
We've already had numerous little girl friends spend the night in the two weeks that school has been out, but the boys never, ever ask to have a sleepover.

hmmmm...any thoughts?

We can't wait for him to know...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We sent off a little care package for Kai Kai yesterday.

And we can't wait for this precious little boy to know that he has a family who loves him and who will be coming for him soon!!!!

And for those of you who've asked...we're really hoping to travel to China by the end of 2012. But, everything would have to come together perfectly for that to happen, so we know that it may be the beginning of 2013. We're praying for sooner, rather than later. :)

Get ready for some serious cuteness!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Stephen Yuankai
(Kai Kai)


As recently dubbed by Jadon,
"Kai Kai cutie-guy".

Okay, I know that I'm a little bit biased, but I really think that he is just over-the-top cute!

He's 8 years old (8 months older than Grace).
He lives in Shandong, China.
He's tiny, tiny (smaller than Grace, we think).
He's been described as "extra spectacular," "exceptional," "endearing," "compassionate," and as having a  "special spirit that teaches others".


We got our PA (pre-approval) in just 6 days!!!
Our homestudy update is done (we met with our social worker last night and she said that she was sending it to our agency before she left to go out of town this morning).
We're getting together all of the dossier requirements.
And we're working like crazy to get this precious boy home to us as soon as possible!!!

Woo hoo!!!

the email that would change our lives

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In October of 2011, I received an email from Stefani at CHI adoption agency. At the time, we were in the midst of waiting (and waiting and waiting) to hear about our adoption from India. And even though we receive emails advocating for children on a fairly regular basis, this particular email deeply impacted me. It said:

"Kyler makes a tender impression on the hearts of those he meets..Kyler is a little shy, likes smiling, and gets along well with kids...Before admission Kyler had received preschool education, so we opened little classes at the SWI so that Kyler and other kids can receive education together and learn basic knowledge...sometimes we also allow Kyler to act as a teacher so as to teach other kids. Seeing Kyler hold a book and teach other kids like a real teacher, we feel that he is so lovely.

Kyler is gentle, never grabs toys with other kids, sometimes can even look after other younger sisters and brothers, can recite poems of Tang Dynasty and sing Children's rhythms for them so the other kids all like to stay with Kyler."

Oh my heart! What a precious boy! I was quite sure that this little treasure wouldn't have to wait long for his family to find him...Lord, bring this beautiful boy a family!

But then about a month later, I got this email (Stefani was still advocating for Kyler):

"Kyler's sweet, sweet face and adorable and gentle personality really touch all who see him. He had a family who raised him until a year ago until they became too old to continue caring for him. He has been to school and delights in teaching the other children at the SWI what he has learned."

What?! Was it possible that this precious boy was still waiting for his family?

And then, one month later, there was another email (and an amazing video)...but still, Kyler was waiting:

"Kyler is just deliiiiightful. Could there be a more endearing singing boy? He even is showing off his running skills. Go Kyler go! He was born with spina bifida but it doesn't hold him back. He walks with a limp of his right leg, but he absolutely walks and RUNS!! I am deeply smitten with this amazing little boy."

Oh yes, I was smitten, as well. Please Lord, bring this amazing child a family!

Then, a couple of weeks later, I got an email saying that Kyler's file would be going to the shared list in about a month. This fact pierced my heart. Oh Lord, where was his family?

Three months later (and 4 days after we received our first denial from CARA), I got an email from another woman who advocates for orphans from China. Guess who was one of the precious children she was advocating for? Yes. It was sweet Kyler, whose file was now on the shared list (along with about 2,000 other children's files).

It was just a couple of days later that we received our second denial from India and it was confirmed that we wouldn't be able to adopt sweet R. Of course, we tried other avenues, but in my heart I knew (and had known for about a month now) that we wouldn't be adopting from India.

And that is when David and I began talking about Kyler, the precious and beautiful boy from China. We talked and talked and talked, we cried (for R.), we spoke with Stefani (from CHI) who had just been to Kyler's orphanage a few weeks prior and fell even more in love with this precious boy, and we prayed and prayed and prayed. And over the course of the next month, God gave us overwhelming peace for R., and over the course of that same month, God gave us an overwhelming, uncontainable love for gentle, tender Kyler.

Friends, from the moment that we received that first email in October, I prayed for a family for this precious boy. And over the next several months, I wondered, where could that family be, Lord? But now, I know. And now, I can announce it to the world!

We are Kyler's family!!!
(Pictures to follow soon!)

These children need a chance...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friends, I love India.

And I'm sad about how things have turned out with our adoption from India.

But, honestly, receiving the denial to adopt from India, has not caused me to give up hope. In fact, it has only caused me to become even more committed to helping orphans in India get the help that they need.

In 2010, Lily and I visited a children's home in India. It was a beautiful place. The woman who started it loves the Lord with all of her heart. The children who live there are being loved with the love of Jesus.

Would you consider helping some of these children attend school?

In a place where children with special needs are often considered of little value, these children are being valued. In a place where children without parents are considered to be without hope, these children are being offered hope.

Would you help to offer them hope?

Would you donate to their chance at attending school?

Click here if you can help.

Thank you, my friends.
Thank you.

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