Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The CCCWA issued our PA today!!!

We are one step closer to bringing our little boy home!!

Here is a sneak-peek as we cannot show his sweet little face until we have our
Referral Acceptance. This will be the next step!

Friday, December 9, 2011

D.T.C. !

I knew this post was long overdue, yet long in coming. I'm not even sure exactly where to begin...and it is a long journey that has only just begun. Last spring we made the decision to adopt again from China's Waiting Child program. There were many reasons: Olivia needs a young sibling with which to play and share, the obvious need(sometimes overwhelming)---more orphans than the entire population of Russia!, knowing we are commanded as Christ-followers to care for orphans---of course, adoption is the "extreme" response, but our is a calling and an attempt to obey God's leading with our limited, wobbly faith! As expected, some don't agree with our decision or understand it...especially given the rest of our story; however, we believe it is the right decision.

In October, an adoptive mom from our WC yahoo group posted a brief email plea for a little boy with a heart defect. Now understand, we'd filled out and tweaked many times our "list" of needs we were comfortable with accepting---heart issues was definitely NOT one of them. Even a repaired heart was a "maybe". Heart issues...well, that is truly life or death, right? Info of children with heart issues were cast aside as we looked for the manageable needs. However, this email was one we were compelled to act upon. His picture grabbed our attention! God was at work in a really big way!

We quickly updated our WC application to include heart defects in our "maybe" list and contacted our social worker. I mentioned to our agency coordinator that we'd seen information about a boy we thought was on the shared list---she responded asking if we'd like her to try to locate his file. What?! We reasoned that looking at his medical was not really a commitment. Hmmmm.

On October 14th, we received his complete file. It was about 7 pm on a Friday evening when ALL of our children were here to celebrate an early Christmas with Ty and Monica during their R&R. What a handsome little fellow : ), but oh so in need of treatment! The first email I received from L* was an Love Without Boundaries sponsorship page to raise $ for his treatment in China! LWB is an outstanding organization that comes into orphanages to help children get their much needed medical and often times life-saving procedures. They needed $14,000 for his care. I tried to access the page the next day to find out he was already fully funded---amazing!! Is this a sign, Lord?

Our search for pediatric doctors to unravel the medical jargon for us was also God dirrected. I had saved the name of a Duke ped cardiac doc of Chinese descent months before doing our WC application. Why did I do that? Remember, we decided---no heart kids! Our local children's hospital waslike a fortres trying to get in to contact a doctor. I had looked many times. But one day, I looked again to find one PC with a button under his name that said "EMAIL ME" Had I missed that? Hmmmmm, again. I met a mom last year in our home school group who had just adopted a heart baby domestically. I knew she had gone to Johns Hopkins and was military so I asked about docs. Long story shorter, she directed me to a doc at Portsmouth Naval Hospital that htey absolutely loved! I had tried PNH before with no success but now I had a name and a recommendation. Praise God! I called late one after noon and left a message for Dr. C* with a very pessimistic nurse. I had hope anyway! Dr. C8 was back in touch with me the very next morning and FULL of helpful insight and wisdom! He has volleyed emails back and forth with us for weeks now and always been very professional and caring---we love him already and not even met in person : ). God is so very good!

Every doctor we contacted agreed on several issues about this boy's medical file:
1. his heart, based on limited test results, is very "special"
2. he needs a cardiac catheterization to determine extent of damage and operability
3. surgery/ies should have been started in his first year of life.

We even sat with our children who live at home to lay out what this adoption could entail. Hospital stays with unpredictable lengths, a child who may not be "fixable", and possibilities which I don't even want to mention. All without hesitation said "let's do it!" Josiah responded with"so on one hand, we choose to bless this little boy, and on the other, we choose not to." Ouch!

This is where LWB comes in. They had raised the $$ to begin treatment! However, our agency called to say that LWB will use funds for other needy children if a child has a family pursuing their adoption. Though we were disappointed, we understood very much! However, the next day, our agency called to say that LWB was going to do the cath and even surgry if it were possible! Yay! Another sign, Lord?! In the meantime we requested updated information on baby boy! The orphanage responded saying they were preparing him for surgery! Another great sign!

AWAA(our agency) made a bold request to have the CCCWA(China's governmental adoption bureau) transfer his file to our agency. If they agreed, our family could keep his file on hold to buy time for more medical questions to be answered and us to make a decision. China agreed! Another hurdle jumped---Yay, God!!

Yet, 2 weeks went by as we waited for a treatment "plan of action" to formulate. Then AWAA called. The orphanage would not agree to treatment from LWB! WE were stunned, confused, angry, name it, we felt it! Lord, what about all of those confirmations? Did we miss something? Is it really going to be a choice on our part to move forward without answers? That is TOO hard!!

The next couple of weeks, as always, God used many circumstances and people to speak to our hearts! The prayers of family and friends reached the heavens on our behalf and , most importantly, on behalf of a 2.5 year old waiting in Yunnan.

At his generous recommendation, another adoptive father of heart children received Tom's phone call on the phone and willingly---lovingly---listened, encouraged, answered, encouraged, validated, listened! Thank you, C*!!

The weeks immediately following this conversation, our pastor's teaching have been:

11/20/11--"Triumphant Suffering"--We are called to challenge the status quo but are often too afraid of what it might cost! Living out the Gospel means we must engage a broken and twisted world. It wil require getting messy!

11/27/11--"Let It Be Me"--We must have courageous faith in Jesus ("God" "Help"). It will cost us! As Christians, we are called to walk with God when we cannot see the way. Courageous faith is willingness to follow when we are so unsure!

12/4/11--"Joy and Sorrow"--Simeon("God has heard") and Anna("God is full of grace") met Jesus adn knew He was the long-awaited Messih---joy and comfort of all people.. They also spoke of His great sorrow and rejection. If we are to follow hard after Christ, we will experience both the joy and sorrow as we meet people where they are broken. Learn to live in the joy we have right now with "One hand on the plow, one wiping the tears" (Watchmen Nee). Our life story has the power to reshape us---and others--until He returns.

Now the choice was indeed ours! Not easy! Scary! Right! Unknowns! Costly! Still right!

On November 30th, 2011, we submitted our letter of intent to adopt! Zhi Suo, you have a big family who loves you already and longs to bring you out of what appears to be a "dark" place. We pray for your protection from without and within---entrusting you to the One who loves you best!

We are now D.T.C.---Dossier to China! The initial mother-load of paperwork is complete!!

Thank you for joining with us on a journey that has only just begun!

"But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more."
Psalm 10:14-18

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My First Recital!

Olivia had her first ballet recital today! The best description would be...hmmm....controlled chaos : ). But oh so much fun to watch!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

It is unbelievable to us that our Josiah is nineteen : ) He is a very "dapper" and kind-spirited follower of Christ and very talented musically! We are so blessed to have him as our son!

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Christmas in October!!!

We were so blessed to have our son, Tyler, and his cutie-patootie wife, Monica, home for their r&r. This became our family Christmas 2011 : ). It was wonderful having all of our wonderful family together for this big celebration----words cannot decribe the laughs, the joy, the chaos we have come to know as "family"! I love, love. love all of it! A few pics of our time together.....
Olivia giving Ty and Mo welcome home hugs! Of course, she snagged Monica's hat!

Present time.......: )
Relaxing together....with a few of our granddogs!
More relaxing!
Love this! Kayla got the sisters special!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Wonderful Family!!!! I'm sitting here thinking it's time to update the blog with something! I'm not a very dedicated blogger...or my life is more boring than other bloggers or...well, anyway, Lauren told me to blog about my wonderful children : ).

I do have a wonderful family and very blessed! Yesterday was my birthday and I received calls from my "far-away" children---even talked to Tyler last week who called knowing he'd be on patrol and unaable to call this week. The home front was warmed by a delicious dinner, flowers and unexpected gifts!

Do you know what this is?

A mandolin!?!

I always talked about wanting to play a mandolin.

Josiah, being a musician, remembered that and blessed me with one! How great to know that my almost 19-year-old doesn't think his momma is too old to learn! I hope I can make him proud of my efforts : ). It is a beautiful instrument and has a lovely sound...well, at least it would from someone who really knows how to play! The girls gave me a book to learn the chords and Tom gave me flowers and lovely earrings! Thank you all for a blessed day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Virginia Tech....we are a proud family of VT graduates and lovers!

Tom's dad and mine
two sons, Zach and Tyler
two daughters-in-law, Aubrie and Monica
Tom's brother and his wife

We try to attend at least one football game each season.

But this Saturday's home game with Arkansas State was extra special. Not because Tech won...that's good. It was the Cadet Corps homecoming and, in honor of the day, our son Zachary and the rest of his crew from McGuire-Dix, were asked to do the military fly-over in their C-17. It was such an awesome sight to watch the plane above us (we had great seats for that---4 rows from the top) and to know our son was a pilot in that crew. How wonderful to hear the folks around cheering and saying great things about our men and women in service! We are so proud of him and grateful to all of our military for the work they do...seen and unseen!

On approach!

Over head!

At halftime on the big screen (second from left)!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Okay...Olivia says some of the funniest things and if I don't write them down I am afraid I'll forget them!

So we are on our way to the pool....

Olivia: "I'm going to kill Goliath with my sling and a rock!"

Mom: " David already did that. David killed Goliath."

Olivia: "Why is David brave?"

Mom: "God made him strong and David trusted God to protect him."


Olivia: "I want a sling for my happy birthday."

Mom: "That would be very dangerous."

Olivia: " I won't throw rocks in it. I promise!"

Mom: "Well, you might forget. How about a sweet, pretty baby doll?"

****another pause****

Olivia: "How about a nice sword? a ...tend sword?"

Oh my... : )

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ocean Breeze Fun!

So we made a trip...Olivia's the local water park. There was a great children's area with a pirate's theme. Perfect for Olivia...though she likes princess stuff, she prefers anything to do with pirates, ninjas, soldiers, superheroes, policeman, firefighters....not really sure where she gets this stuff. We don't watch all that many movies. Maybe WordWorld? Anyway, as we walked around the park after doing the "kiddie" area, I asked Olivia what she'd like to do next. She points to a slide that has about a 10-12' drop. No way, i think, she'll chicken out at the top! Maybe she's too little and they won't let her go?!!? Well.......

They did let her go!

Don't let that face fool you!! We went back again and again!! Yep, she loves adventure!! After she climbed out she proclaimed " I so brave, Mommy!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Fun in Pics!!

Celebrating our littlest one!

Celebration Dinner: Orange Chicken and Broccoli with Rice and Chinese Dumplings!!

Hard to believe this is the same little girl in the picture! Now home with us for 2 years! She has brought us so much joy! Can't say it's always been easy....she's a strong-willed pistol tha'd rather throw her stuffed animals in jail, chase "bad guys", and play with bugs ;). That's our girl! But oh, what a delight to see her grow! We are grateful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to share in her life!

Her request...Strawberry Cupcakes! Lauren made them and they were AMAZING!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


First, I cannot believe it has been six months since a! Time just flies by and so much has happened!

After 29 years in the USAF, Tom has retired....tough adjustment since he really loved the military and what he was doing! However, he has a new job...yeah! And learning new things and "bringing home a paycheck" as he says. We are really grateful to the Lord for everything!

Alexa has graduated and commissioned into the Army...hooah! And she's earning her own paycheck! You go girl!

And...tonight we will celebrate Olivia's Family Day 2!! It is so very hard to believe that she has been with us for 2 years and we can't imagine life without her! Celebration photos to come..... Pictures from our first days with Olivia!

"This is the very day God acted—
let's celebrate and be festive! "
Psalm 118:24 The Message

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Before and After....


We are a few days short of 3 weeks since surgery so I thought I would post a few pics of Olivia before and after her revision. She has done really well and we are impressed with Dr. Lim's work! He said her lip is a bit thick right now but she will grow into it!.... better to leave it a bit full (eat your heart out, Angelina) than to add back later...ha! Next surgery hurdle is about 5 years away! Whew! Thanks again for all of the prayerful support! God is so very good...

Mouth full of "itches" at one week

......and 18 days out!......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Surgery went well! We checked in about 6:15, saw all of the specialists and they took her back about 8:45. She went willingly...of course, the anesthesiologist gave her his stethoscope and the other made her a rooster out of a blue surgical glove. Her old tubes were removed and new ones placed first. Then the lip work began. They were calling us back about 1:00 because she was waking up and NOT happy. She was wanting us and calmed down once we were there with her. I have to say, she was very swollen! Still is today, but we do see improvement. She doesn't seem too sore and is pretty good about leaving the wound alone. I'll upload a photo soon for those who are not faint of does look uncomfortable! Don't be fooled though, our little rough and tumble girl has been on the move!! And I thought we were getting a little "girlie-girl"...hmmm. Anyway, we are trying to keep her from jumping off of too many chairs and slow the running to at least a jog : )! Oh to have that energy!!! Thanks for all of your prayers!!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Olivia is the first one on the schedule for surgery tomorrow. Dr. Lim is going to revise her lip and remove some of the heavy scarring under her nose. Also Dr. Gessler will put in another set of ear tubes as Olivia has out grown her last set : ). She weighed a whopping 33 pounds and was 37 inches tall! Yeah!!

Please pray that all goes well...we hope to be home by noon!
Thanks! Update to follow....

On a lighter note, I walked into the dining room to find a pile of clothes on the floor and Olivia---buck naked---behind the dining room curtain. "What are you doing?" I ask. "Taking a shower!" was her reply. Duh...of course!!


I know...I I am really bad at blogging!! How do you begin to catch up on 5...yes, 5 whole months!! Let's see....

beginning of the school year
ten birthdays
30th Wedding anniversary
the biggest snowfall in recent history to our area
Happy New Year

and many assorted un-birthday events...WOW!

Here are a few random photos....