Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Very Busy April

This has been an exhausting month.  Here is a recap on some of what has been going on in our family

Celebrating Leiney Grace's 10th Birthday
Last year for her birthday breakfast, Leiney Grace chose dumplings and mandarin oranges - she had been home less than 2 months.  A lot has changed since then : )

Leiney Grace chose Rapunzel to be on her cake for her princess party.  I think she enjoyed herself.

Leiney Grace really wanted an American Girl doll for her birthday.  She chose Julie and was delighted to open her big surprise!
 3 little princesses and one tired Mama.

Some of us got lots of rest this month.  Others!

Katie loves to participate in our community theater.  "Grease" was the word around here for quite some time as she had practice, practice and then rehearsal, rehearsal, and more rehearsal.  It was all worth it when we watched it all unfold on stage a week and a half ago.  

The Beauty School Drop-out scene

   Hudson learned to read this month.  I am super proud of     my  little reader!

 Fulton turned 12 this month.  We celebrated the day of his birthday with a homemade lemon cake - thanks to Betty Crocker's boxed lemon cake and a buttercream frosting with freshly suqeezed lemon juice rather than vanilla and milk - DELICIOUS!  Try it.

Fulton has wanted a gun for a few years.  His mama has been strongly opposed to this idea.  Well, David got his first gun at 12 years of age so guess who got a gun for his 12th birthday?

They were both happy : )

Then we celebrated at our house with 8 of Fulton's friends.
Fishing, football, target shooting, and lots of food.
They had a great time, and David and I survived.

Last but not least, we have spent lots of time preparing for little Dawson.  His and Hudson's room is ready - well the crib still has to be put up - let me add that onto the long
"to-do list" that just keeps going - insert big sigh.

My 2 little boys - can't wait 'til they are both here!

Our Article 5 has been picked up so now we are only waiting on TA.  It can't get here quick enough!  Still travelling alone and have as much peace as I think I will have.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A New Perspective

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments, emails, and texts which I have received after writing the last post.  I am still travelling alone, but I have gained a new perspective this week.

Sometimes God's reminders come from surprising sources.  Leiney Grace's Sunday school take-home sheet should have been given to me!  As I have helped Leiney Grace study the verses and complete the sheet, God has spoken directly to me and specifically about travelling alone to adopt Dawson.

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrifed; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

I know this verse well.  Have it underlined in my Bible.  Yet, it did not come to my mind regarding my upcoming trip until Leiney Grace had to look it up this week. I have claimed this verse for my trip.  Quite different from the verse David and I chose when we travelled to China with our other children on adoption trips #1, 2, and 3.

"Do everything without arguing or complaining."  Phillipians 2:14 

That verse was perfect for those trips with several children in tow, and I am confident that Joshua 1:9 is just the verse I need for my solo trip halfway around the world.  YIKES! (recting Joshua 1:9 as I type)

The lesson focus for Leiney Grace's class this past Sunday:

"To know that God is in control when we face trouble in our lives; to believe that God is always good, wise, and trustworthy; to learn to bring all our needs to God and to trust him to answer in the way he chooses."

Yes, I knew all that prior to this week.  But I needed a reminder.  Thank you God for great children's Sunday school literature!

And the story we read this morning during our Bible time in homeschool - also from Leiney Grace's Sunday school sheet - Corrie ten Boom and how she survived a Nazi concentration camp!  Since high school, The Hiding Place has been one of my favorite novels.  Being reminded of Corrie's courage and determination has also helped to give me a new perspective this week. 

I still have my moments of being terrified of getting on the plane in a few weeks, but a part of me is also looking forward to it.  I know during those 12 days or so in China, I will have to depend on my Heavenly Father.  Not my husband.  Not my older children.  Not a close friend.  Only My God. A dependence that I honestly don't have on ordinary days. And I know the closeness and the peace that comes from being truly dependent on Him in every moment.

And I know that no matter how difficult the journey to Dawson may be, it will all be worth it.  Just as it was for her. . .
Lilly 2007~ Chenzhou SWI

                                             And her. . .

Ellie 2008 ~ Kunming SWI

And him. . .
Hudson 2010 ~ Baotao SWI

And her. . .

Leiney Grace 2011 ~ Leiyang SWI

No doubt, it will all be worth it for this sweet boy!


Saturday, April 6, 2013


In case you think I have it ALL together, think again. 

This life I lead is not an easy one. I don't want it to be easy.  God

never promised it would be easy.   I'm ok with doing HARD things.

Yet here I am facing HARD things and if I am honest with myself,

I am struggling.  I realized today that I am scared to travel to China

BY. MYSELF.  I have tried and tried to tell myself that I was at

peace with the fact that there was NO. ONE. to go with me.  I have

prayed for strength and courage rather than face the real fear inside

of me.  Today the wall I have put up came crashing down.  I have

frantically emailed a family member and a friend asking if there

was any way they could make the trip with me.  I tried not to beg

even though deep down I really wanted to.  At the end of the day, I

am still going alone - for this precious little one.

I am not afraid of adopting a child with no hands.  I am not afraid

of being the mother of 9 children.  Yet I am scared to death to tell

my husband and children good bye and walk away towards airport

security BY. MYSELF. 

This journey will not be easy for me.

Yet I have known for a long time that adoption is not easy. 

When we spent 9 days in various Chinese hospitals with Lilly

back in 2007, I learned quickly that adoption is not easy and not

for the faint of heart.  When we arrived home from China and

David drove Lilly and me from the airport to the hospital where  

 she was admitted, I knew adoption was anything but easy.

Yet tonight I needed a reminder and  God provided as He always


"My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, outrageous, expensive, excruciating & exhausting. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed him."
 ~Derek Loux

I needed a reminder that I am walking in my Savior's shoes.  I am

His vessel to redeem one of His children and when I am weak, He

is strong.

I know God will equip me for what lies ahead on this adoption journey.

 The long plane ride BY. MYSELF.

The juggling of a grieving 2 year old, paperwork, luggage, cameras, and other stuff necessary for us to live for 2 weeks in China waiting for the adoption to be completed.

The loneliness that I dread to feel sitting alone in a hotel room in China - jetlagged and scared to fall asleep too early because then I will wake up too early - alone again.

The fear of Dawson rejecting me and having to endure that ALL. BY. MYSELF half way around the world from family and friends.

Yet God is bigger than all of my fears.  He called us to this child

knowing full well that I would make the journey alone.  I know

He will be there with me ALL. THE. TIME.

On the long plane ride.

While I juggle a grieving 2 year old and all our stuff.

In the hotel room when I feel lonley.

So tonight I cling to the One who created Dawson and who

created me.  To the one who ordained the exact moment in time

when Dawson and his mommy will meet for the very first time on

the other side of the world.

A little boy abandoned in a China town days after his birth and an

 ordinary mom who chose to lay her selfish desires aside in

order to follow HIM -

to the least of these.

"My grace is sufficient for you
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:10

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Little of This and A Little of That

This is our Dawson in an undated photo which I found on the Zhanjiang Kids website.  I was so happy when I came across it.  Our I800 was approved on April 1 so now we wait to be "cabled".  I am still hoping and praying for a May 18 departure.  Since I only have to fly to Guangzhou, I can leave on a Saturday  - one less day that I have to be away from David and my other 8 blessings!
We had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday!  Not sure why Fulton has such a pained expression.  He had that expression in every photo.  The pup on the left was "an accident" - is that possible?  I went to the SPCA to allow Fulton and Katie to volunteer for their mandatory school requirement.  I was not looking for another dog - the thought had NOT occurred to me AT. ALL.  Katie got this adorable 6 month old pup out and was holding her.  She wanted to go help with some tiny pups and asked me to hold "Jody".  I obliged.  That was it!  There was a bond - I kid you not.  If you are not a dog lover, you will not understand.  She was born in animal control and lived her first 5 months in the shelter.  Now she is loved so very much and spoiled!  Josie was the unexpected addition to our family.  I have declared that David will have to accompany the kids to the SPCA to get more volunteer hours.  It's too risky for me: )

My babies are getting so big! 

David's mom joined us for lunch after church. 
( Do you see Fulton's pained expression?  Every picture!)

Leiney Grace's 1st time dying eggs. 

An old tradition - Mr. Bunny cake
We have taken a few years off but decided this was a good year for Mr. Bunny to return.  Yummy!

Umbrellas - a big hit this spring at our house

Love it that they use their imaginations to play.

 To make room for Dawson, we have had to do some moving around upstairs.  Ethan has moved in with Fulton.  This was his choice as originally Hudson was moving in with Fulton.  Once we started the bedroom makeover, Ethan decided he wanted to switch rooms.  Fulton and Ethan now have twin beds and a Gamecock themed room.  So far, so good, and we are so thankful!  It makes more sense for the 2 oldest to share a room allowing the 2 youngest to also share.

With Ethan gone, Hudson was delighted to move to the top bunk and the added bonus didn't hurt. . .Cars sheets!  Hudson is a huge Cars fan.  He and I worked in his and Dawson's room together today.  He is so excited about his new little brother.