SLIDER year later (the first day, in pictures)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sweet boy has been with us for a year today.
Can you believe how brave Kaikai was, walking into the hotel, on his way to his new family?!

Oh my gracious! My heart melted the moment that I saw his incredible smile.
We were amazed that he willingly gave David a hug.

Kaikai recently told us that he was afraid of Baba's beard and blue eyes.
You wouldn't have known it then.
Can I say it again?
He was so incredibly brave.

After our meeting, we made our way to the passport office to get Kaikai's picture taken

And then had dinner at the closest noodle restaurant. Kaikai loved it and so did we!

Kaikai needed new shoes, because the shoes that he was wearing were far too big for him. This is how Grace, Kaikai and Lily walked through the whole sweet!

After shopping, we went back to the hotel.

Kaikai wanted to me to make a bed for him on the floor. He fell asleep right away after this big day, and as we gazed at our sleeping son we knew that we had been tremendously blessed to be able to adopt Kaikai.

And today, one year later, we pretty much think that we are the most fortunate parents on the planet. This sweet boy has rocked our world with his amazing smile, his gentle personality and his love for others. Happy adoption day, Kaikai! We love you to the moon...and back.

Christmas blessed!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

So blessed to witness the wonder of a first Christmas celebration with our beloved son.

And equally blessed by the rest of our sweet darlin's.
Thank you, Jesus, for all of your amazing gifts in our lives...for Your presence and for Your love, and for the beautiful gift of these precious children.

merry, merry

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!!!

And to all a good night!


On this day last year, we were getting ready to leave for China to meet our new son.
And today...
Today this precious boy fell asleep in my arms, his warm body snuggled up close to mine. I couldn't help myself from kissing his cute little nose, and staring at his smooth cheeks and perfect fluttering eyelashes. Oh, my friends, I could never have imagined a year ago how very wonderful this child could be!
So today, if you hear the Lord whispering your voice: if you hear the Lord inviting you to consider adoption, take that first step. You will be so very blessed!

the whole world

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in." -Mother Teresa

My heart has been burning with this prayer over the past few weeks, but it is not a prayer that I utter lightly. In fact, I find myself trembling at the very thought.

How can I ask for the whole world when I am only at the very beginning of truly learning to love those around me?
When I was younger, I would have said that the whole world was easy to love, because the whole world (for me) was made up of those who were innocent and who quickly elicited my sympathy. The whole world looked something like the perfect little 11 month old baby girl, who came into our lives and showered us with her many blessing.

The whole world started, for me, with those who are innocent and easy to love.
Later, the whole world became more complicated as the evidences of trauma hit our hearts. We realized that sometimes the whole world looked like anger as the result of abuse. This was not 'easy-to-love innocence in the face of difficulty' and I often chaffed against this world. It was hard to let this world fall into my heart. But our Jesus...He has been so faithful to show me that this world is encompassed in His huge, compassionate heart, and He wants it to be fully embedded in mine. It is an immense privilege to learn to love the truly broken with Him.

I am beginning to see that the whole world includes those who have been deeply harmed and have not yet found healing in Him.

 But there is more that is coming.

Off in the distance, I can see another part of the whole world and it scares me.

I see that the whole world includes the two tattooed men who are yelling obscenities and punching each other right outside our window. The whole world is also the mother in Ind*a who breaks the neck of her newborn baby, because that baby is a girl. The whole world is the orphanage director in eastern Europe who sells the young girls in her care to a pimp when they are close to aging-out. The whole world is the couple in the US who sues a doctor for the "wrongful birth" of their beautiful baby, because he is born with down syndrome. The whole world even includes the father who sexually abuses his daughter for years.

The whole world is not only the oppressed, it is the oppressor.

And though our Father's heart can encompass the abuser, I do not even begin to understand how I can let the enemy into my heart.

How can I ask for the whole world?

I can ask because more than anything, I want to have the heart of our Father. I can ask because even though I cannot, in my own power, let these people into my heart, God can give me a new heart...a heart of flesh and not a heart of stone.

It may take time, but I know that as I pray Mother Teresa's beautiful/terrible prayer, He will answer.
He will grant me the impossible:

My heart will break,
and even the enemy, will come in.
May God break my heart so completely, that the whole world falls in.

sweet moments with my mom...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My mom came for a visit and the time was so very sweet.

Reading, drawing, Christmas search books and Sudoku were some of the activities of choice.

Of course, Rosemary and Maple wanted to get in on the snuggles.

It was the first time that we've seen my mom since my dad's funeral in August. For six days, we cried, hugged, smiled and even laughed.
The time was sweet, but far too short. Mom/Grandma, we miss you already!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Celebrating 18 years with my favorite guy.
I am truly blessed!!!!

A medical update on Mr. Wonderful...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kaikai went to see Dr. Dobbs (who is famous in the club foot world) in St. Louis a few weeks back. Dr. Dobbs suprised us with his recommendation: no surgery!! He told us that Kaikai would do well with a different type of braces, instead of surgery. These braces are shorter, more form-fitting and they bend at the ankle. Kaikai got the braces yesterday and is already doing things that he couldn't do before (like walking down the stairs without holding onto the railing).

As you can see, Kaikai is pretty happy about this positive change in his mobility.

Oh my! How I love this boy!!! 

All about the boys...

Monday, December 2, 2013

We had a good trip to Colorado over Thanksgiving. Three of our kiddos saw our amazing orthodontist, we had our one-year visit with our social worker for Kaikai and David tiled the Crosland's bathroom floor. In the midst of all of the necessities of our trip, we were able to visit some special people.
Our first stop was at Oma and Opa's house.
Games, games and more games was the theme of our time there. From Monopoly to ping pong, we had us some fun!

Next, we headed to Fort Collins and the Crosland's house.

We were blessed to celebrate Elijah's birthday a few days early.
I think that these guys like each other a little bit!

Elijah, I'd have to say that you're the cutest ten-year-old I know!

Kaikai fell in love with Ruthie over the course of the time that we were in Fort Collins. 

These two had a nice nap together.

I think that it might be a toss-up for adorableness, between Elijah in his mustache and Kaikai and Ruthie's feet. Oh my! I can hardly stand the cuteness!

You might be wondering where the girls were during our trip to Colorado. When I saw the photos, I was wondering that myself. But, I assure you, they came along on this trip. I guess that this time the photos were just all about the boys. :)

not alone

Dear ones, we are so very blessed.
We are not alone in our fight to bring hope to Sergei. 
We have a host of precious and amazing people who are fighting this battle with us, and it is so beautiful to see.
Colleen, from P143, has been amazing! She loved Sergei from the moment that she met him, and she will not give up on him. It is because of her tenacity and love that we are on this path to adopt Sergei. We are so grateful to you, Colleen!

We are not alone.
 Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, our precious friend and pastor, Brett, skipped his sermon so that the whole congregation could intercede and pray for Sergei. We were over-the-top blessed and I know that the prayers of these beautiful people are making a difference, even now, in Sergei's life.
Thank you, dear praying friends.

We know that we are not alone.
This past Friday, I happened to be looking at my email when our t-shirt fundraiser hit the "50 shirts sold" mark. At that point, I started receiving individual emails that represented each person who had purchased a t-shirt.
Y'all, it was overwhelming.
41 people purchased a shirt for Sergei.
Some of those 41 people are good friends.
Some are acquaintances.
And some of those people are precious souls whom I have never met.
41 people
who chose to pour love out on a boy who lives a world away. 
We are not alone.

We could never express the depth of our gratitude to each one of you who has prayed, bought a tee, or regularly checked in with us regarding Sergei. We are blessed to know that you are with us, that you care for this amazing young man and also for our family. Thank you for making it clear that you are for us, that you are for Sergei and that we are absolutely

not alone.

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