Thursday, February 28, 2008


Yesterday, Jillian went to check on the boys. They had been napping and we thought they should have been awake. She came back down and said, 'Mom, it's so cute. Jacob climbed into Jordan's crib and they are sleeping next to each other with their heads together.' Of course, I grabbed the camera, but they had shifted a bit by the time I reached their cribs. My little guys were almost sleeping like spoons. Too cute!

Not the best photo, but it gives a general idea

Couldn't resist adding this photo

About yesterday's FAQ post...please do not feel bad if you have asked us one of those questions! I truly do not mind any questions we are asked, and only posted those to save you the trouble, since most of them are question we are asked fairly often!

FAQ and comments

1. Did you guys always want a large family? No!! We wanted two kids—a boy and girl. I never pictured myself with a large family. I never particularly liked kids! Ha! I always wanted to be a mom…but a large family? No! I had other plans for my life!
2. If you didn’t want a large family, why do you have one? And if ‘God called you to this,’ do you resent that?” Despite some hard days here and there, we LOVE our life! We have discovered that letting God choose our life path for us has been the most exciting thing we could have ever done. No, we wouldn’t have had the sense to choose this, but God did, and we so thankful that we didn’t miss it!!! He has given us joy, peace and fulfillment—plus, He does most of the work!
3. “Are you guys trying to save the world? You can’t adopt them all, you know.” This would be a funny question if not for the seriousness of the orphan crisis in the world today. There are 143 MILLION orphans in the world and the number is growing. No, we can’t save them all, but we are trying to make a difference for the ones God calls us to adopt. Want to help us?!! We can’t really make a dent in 143 million…. ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few…’
4. “Do you ever feel like you’re going to lose it?” hahahahaha What is really funny is that I lost it a lot more often when we just had two kids, than I do now. I would say that is a HUGE testament to what God can do in our lives. We DO have a lot more noise and chaos, but overall, I would say that Jeff and I are both calmer, more patient parents than we used to be. Maybe that is just a survival technique!
5. “How do you do it all?” We don’t. We don’t have it all together. We do the best we can in God’s strength and trust Him to do the rest. We have watched Him meet our kids’ needs in amazing ways. Even our kids’ personalities have been formed that as they interact, they encourage growth in each other.
6. “Do you get burned out?” If I get really stressed, that is usually a big clue that I am trying to do too much, or am involved in too many activities. We scale back until we can live without that burned out feeling. We have stopped being involved in a lot of activities, but it’s only temporary until the kids are older. And of course, we pray for strength and help. Without God’s help, I could not do this job for even one hour without being a jerk!
7. Speaking of jerk—I can see this burning question on so many faces of people who are too polite to ask…How can you STAND having so many kids? This is a very fair question and the answer is that I truly don’t know!! Haha God has changed my heart to the point that I actually DELIGHT in them—most of the time.
8. “Are you guys rich or what? How do you afford all those kids? No, we’re not rich. I honestly don’t know how we afford the kids, but God always helps us. He keeps our cars running, our washer and drying running ( a lot!), etc. He gives Jeff raises when He thinks we need a bit more to make ends meet. He helps me find bargains at the store. There are countless ways He helps us—probably many that I am unaware of. He has proven Himself to be “Jehova Jirah—our Provider.”
9. “We would love to adopt but it’s just too expensive.” We can testify that we have never had the money to adopt either, but God has always provided. And hey….adoption costs less than a new car!
10. “How will you pay for college?” No clue…but since God has always provided, we trust He will help us and our kids when the time comes. I’m sure that given the choice, they would prefer a home and a family (without college paid for), then to stay in an orphanage.
11. “You’re never going to have any time for yourselves, or be able to retire. You’ll still have a house full of PMS’ing teenagers.” This cracks me up! I guess we’ll worry about that when the time comes, but I would probably be bored out of my mind with retirement anyway. Plus, the kids will give me something to talk to my friends about besides my aging body and all it’s aches and pains.
12. “How in the world do you have time to homeschool?” Again…I don’t. In all seriousness, it is easier to be on our own schedule than to be on the schedule of multiple teachers with multiple school projects. Not to mention needing to be sure that everyone has clean socks and underwear for school each day! (smile)
13. “What kind of car do you drive?” We still drive an 8-passenger mini-van because most of our driving is short errands without the whole family. We drive two cars to church and for any out of town trips. We have not wanted to buy a 15-passenger van because of the gas cost. This may have to change in the future. We do enjoy all the jokes about driving stuff like Prison Transport vehicles, school buses, and limo’s. heehee Ryan says he will not be seen with us if we drive any of those things.
14. “You guys are either saints or you’re crazy.” If we had to pick, I would say that crazy is the more likely of the two. Hehe We are certainly not saints.
15. “There are easier ways to serve the Lord.” This one puzzles me. We aren’t adopting as a publicity stunt, nor are we trying to impress God with our service. He has asked us to have a big family. No big deal… He gives us the strength we need and picks up the slack where we lack (which is a lot!). I think it would be harder to go to the mission field than do what we are doing.

If I haven't covered a burning question that you have, feel free to ask!
How could I resist these sweet little faces?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our little boys

Jordan and Jacob have been cracking us up lately. We started to notice that all of the toys in the basket in the family room have been disappearing. No big deal--they didn't get played with all that much. (Cupboard contents, pieces of paper, and stray food particles prove to be far more facinating.) We did begin to notice though, that Jordan's backpack had become bulging and heavy. I opened it the other day and looked through some of his treasures. Jordan adopted a look of worried consternation as I pulled a few things out. Jillian watched and gasped, "Heyyyyyy, that's MINE! I've been looking for that!" Molly joined her and also let out a "heyyyyy.... that's MY toy." Jordan had apparently been scooping up every toy he saw on the floor and squirreling it away in his backpack. Since the girls had left their toys out and hadn't missed them much, I made them give the toys back to Jordan. His smile reappeared. I handed him his sack-0-stuff and off he went. I don't know how he carries it around--it weighs a ton! He also has a second bag of stuff that won't fit in the backpack. He does share his loot when we tell him he has to--as long as we allow him to dole out what he wants to share.
Jordan's Backpack Contents

This morning, when I walked into their bedroom, Jake was in Jordan's crib!! I knew it was only a matter of time before this would happen because they both delight in showing me how they can climb on top of their railing. I only hope that they stay near the wall so they don't topple out on their heads. Since I don't want them roaming the halls at night while we sleep, I still think they are safer in cribs, so they are not getting big boy beds yet. Jordan is also starting to undress himself in his bed--so far only his shirts or taking his pajamas down to his waist. Here's hoping he doesn't start taking his diaper off--or teaching Jake to do that! Just hangin' out in my big brother's bed!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Zoey picture

Here's our girl!

Zoey Faith's Story

Almost two years ago, God gave me the impression that we would adopt a little girl after Jacob. Since that time, I have kind of been on the look-out for her. At one point, we thought we had found her in Vietnam…a little one with a heart condition, named Sinh. We were not able to bring her home, however, because she was too sick to be moved from Vietnam. Her name, Sinh, meant ‘Life,” a meaning which later, took on more significance. At that time, God gave me a verse, “He takes away the first to establish the second.”

I often look at waiting lists of children, and contrary to the popular belief of Jeff and Ryan, I do NOT fall in love with every child I see!! Haha! Late last summer, I was looking at an agency’s new waiting child list. As I looked at the children’s files, a little one caught my eye. Her special need was a ‘little foot’ that was almost identical to our Chloe’s. She also had a leg issue that was somewhat hard to discern, but didn’t look too serious.

I mentioned her to Jeff and he said, ‘Maybe we should adopt her.” I laughed, thinking that this sweet child wouldn’t be waiting for more than two days. She was young, beautiful, and her special need wasn’t serious. Besides, we had only been home a few months with baby Jake, and I didn’t think an agency would be willing to work with us.

A few months later, I checked the list again and this little peanut was STILL waiting for a family! I couldn’t believe it. I mentioned her again to Jeff. Again he said, “Maybe we should adopt her.” I laughed… Awhile later, I asked him, ‘Were you serious about adopting her?” He said he was open to it, so I called the agency to ask about her. I was told that another family was reviewing her file, so we needed to wait and see what their decision was.

Since we know what Chloe may be facing in the future with her leg (possible surgery to make her legs the same length), we had no problem with this child’s special need. As we prayed about her, we felt at peace about pursuing her adoption. I told the agency we wanted her if the other family did not. A few days later, they called to say the other family had decided not to pursue, but we still had to wait for their committee to meet and decide if they were comfortable with our family.

During the wait, I looked at her picture and asked God what name He had chosen for her. Instantly, it came…. “Faith.” I also prayed that God would give Jeff her first name, and several days later, during a family discussion on names, Jeff and Taylor came up with the name, “Zoey.” I looked up the name, Zoey, and read that it means, “LIFE!” God never ceases to amaze me! He HAD taken away the first (Sinh) to establish the second (Zoey).

A few days later, we got the call that the committee Okayed us!

Our Letter of Intent went to China and we waited for a response. A month later, China contacted our agency and wanted to know where the rest of our income was! Our income was under the amount required to adopt from China. Well…hmmm….we couldn’t just magically make more income appear in our bank account. We prayed again…and God gave Jeff the idea to ask his boss about his bonus level. Jeff had just been given a lot more responsibility at work, and he thought that MAYBE it had pushed him into a higher bonus level. It took a few long weeks to get an answer, but in the end…YES…he was bumped into a higher bonus level. It pushed us just barely over the amount required by China! God is amazing!

We thought we would then be approved quickly, but a month went by….then another, and another. During that time, we were told that China was concerned about the number of young children we had. We continued to pray that if God wanted Yong Qing in our family, He would make sure we were approved. Yong Qing needed a family and we prayed that God would rescue her.

Finally, at the end of February, the call came! We had been approved!!

So here we are, about to embark on the lovely paperchase again! Our social worker is coming on Wednesday, and we will begin the process to bring Zoey Faith home.

The day after we got approval, my devotional was titled, “Lifted to Safety.” The verse that went with it was: ….God…does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number…Those who mourn are lifted to safety.” Job 5:9,11

In my mind, I picture sweet Zoey, being lifted to safety and brought home to her family.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dream Bigger

Poem excerpted with permission from two previous authors and personalized by Karin….

We dreamed of raising one of each
A son and a daughter to love and to teach
A barren womb was God's design
I wept for the children who would never be mine.

After seven long years, a son He brought
Through the miracle of adoption, ‘far above our thoughts’
We rejoiced in the God who turned tears to joy
As we treasured each day with our sweet baby boy.

Four years later, God added another
And our oldest son had a new baby brother
My heart yearned for a daughter, but I thought we were through
"Dream Bigger, " God said, "I have a girl for you."

A prayer was said, with our hearts bowed low
"Send us, Lord, where you want us to go'
Our third child was found in a far away land
And as He had promised, God held our hand.

Later, God's call was low, sweet and clear
There is one more child for you to hold dear
'Your daughter is born in a distant land
I've chosen you as part of her plan."

Just home from China, and God spoke again
A little one waits, I promise you can
Be her Mama and Dada…stretch your hearts wide,
I will help you if you will stay close to My side.

We thought she was last, when God spoke a new name
"Dream Bigger, " He said as her picture came
Her heart was broken but He made sure
She was healed, loved and carried to American shore.

With six precious children, we were sure we were done
But God said, "not yet, there is another one"
"A son this time, I need you to love.
I need him to know of his Father above."

So we opened the home God so graciously gave
and brought home a son, ours to love and to raise
And as He had promised, our hands He held tight
He gave us the courage, the wisdom, the might.

"Dream bigger!" He said, "I'm holding you still"
"There is yet another. Will you bow to my Will?"
"Dream bigger!" He called, gently squeezing our hands
And trembling, we submitted to His perfect plan

To a new country this time, a boy precious and sweet
needed joy, love and laughter, his needs we could meet
Was eight enough after this little one?
"Dream bigger" God said, "You still are not done!"

Across the Sea, a little girl waits
To come safely home should be her fate
“Will you be her parents even though you've not planned
For a family so large? Will you trust in My plan?"

And though it is far exceeding our plans
We will once again travel to a far off land
For a child is waiting for a family of her own
and we rejoice as we watch God's plan unfold

If we’d clung to the dreams that were ‘ours’ to hold tight
Forfeited His Grace, His Strength and His Might,
What blessings we’d miss, what opportunities lost
If our short-sighted eyes only looked at the cost.

His plans so much bigger…His ways so divine
“You’re just a small part,” He whispers so kind.
“My ways are not yours, Mine are far above all.”
Our hearts pound in awe as we hear His call.

We cannot outgive Him, He always provides
Our abilities short, in Him we abide
We’ve no choice but to lean on His loving arm
His faithfulness our refuge, our shield from all harm.

With great joy and awe we would like to introduce you to:

Zoey Faith Yong waiting for Mommy and Daddy in Henan China
Expected arrival home: Hopefully fall of 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Holiday Happenings

My aunt and uncle came to visit Sunday with a gift for our girls. My aunt brought dolls and hand-made doll clothes for them that she had made. They are so beautiful. The girls have been having a ball with them!

All lined up for a photo

Sunday, we managed to get all the kids dressed in their Chinese silks in honor of Chinese New Year. We were a bit late, but last Sunday, some of the kids were sick. The girls insisted that Jake needed to be dressed in Chinese clothes, too. (I think he ended up looking more like a Spanish matador...but oh well!)

Valentine's Day: Ryan has a girlfriend now, but he's broke. He had high hopes of taking his beloved out for dinner, but Mom and Dad wouldn't cough up the dough, so they had to dine with the family. The girls and I decided to try to make it special, so we decorated the table with paper hearts and candles. When we lit the candles, Molly told Ryan that we were trying to make the night, "romantical." Too funny!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday Musings...

I am home today with only half of my family. Jeff, Jillian and Molly went out of town to celebrate with his parents on their 50th Wedding Anniversary!!! Congratulations to Mom and Dad on 50 years together!!

Oldest son, Ryan, went to a Christian camp this weekend, so it's just Taylor, and the four youngest kids home with Mom this weekend. We are all sick except Taylor, so we are just hanging out on the couch. Well, I'm on the couch--the kids seem to have the same level of energy no matter how sick they are.

I watch these little munchkins running around (and Jake cleaning his bowl of applesauce with his face--ugh), and I still can't believe that God has blessed me with them. How did I get to be their Mom? I look into their sparkling eyes and am in awe of where God has brought them...from humble beginnings to citizens of the greatest country on earth. What a picture of what He has done for me...and I get to see it lived out daily in front of my eyes.

The face of innocence...NOT!

Little Jake has become Dennis the Menace--but much cuter of course. :) Oh my goodness...the kid is EVERYTWHERE! Jeff calls him 'Roomba' because he grazes constantly and finds the most miniscule of food particles (and non-food particles) and puts them in his mouth. I find plastic beads in his diaper on a weekly basis. He is learning at a rapid pace and has started to mimic everything we do. He can now, 'pray' at meals, 'talk' on the phone, and 'help' Mommy unload the dishwasher. He also likes to take the trash out...sadly, he takes it out while it's still in the house, in the form of forraging for gum, food, etc. Blech--disgusting! He can do it in the blink of an eye, or when we are still cleaning up his last mess. ha Jordan is Jake's personal police officer and does his best to enforce the house rules. (He is quite often frustrated by the futility of this job--which we tried to relieve him of, to no avail.)

"Yep, I'm still doing this, but I figured how to get myself down so I don't have to yell for Mom."
Molly is having 'sleeping issues,' as she would call it. She has always had trouble with insomnia, and the only solution that has worked is for her to sleep on the floor in our room. (Yes, this DOES mean that I now have at least one child by my side 24/7! ha) When Jeff goes out of town, Molly sleeps in bed with me, and Jillian decided to sleep in Molly's spot on the floor. After several weeks, this evolved into Jillian AND Molly sleeping in our room every night. They quickly moved all their junk into our room, ie: dolls, doll clothes, homemade cardboard doll beds, and other treasures, which littered our room from one end to the other. I expressed my frustration to Jeff over this, to which he replied, "They're squatters. We'll never get them out of there! They've set up residence." I totally cracked up! All of our kids have gone through the "I need to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's room" at some point. This too shall pass.

We all have cabin fever which mean a few squabbles have erupted. Lately, SaraGrace has been saying, "Mommy, ______ is being mean to my feelings. Tell her to be nice to my feelings."
"I dressed myself today, can you tell?"

Monday, February 04, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Xin Nian Kuai Le--OR--Happy New Year!!! February 5th is the start of Chinese New Year and is a holiday that everyone in China looks forward to very much. It is a family holiday and everyone tries to 'go home' for time with family. I received some adorable pictures of 'my' foster care kids the other day and thought I would share them. They brought a huge smile to my face as I saw proud foster parents showing off their little ones, all wearing brightly colored, traditional Chinese outfits. They are so cute--and Dr. Joyce Hill said it was a Herculean effort to get them to sit still enough for a photo! How awesome to know that these precious ones have a family to celebrate with! We are so grateful to our foster parents who give of themselves so selflessly.


Sweet Matthew needs a sponsor if you are interested. Sponsorship is $35 per month with the sponsor receiving a report every other month.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Something you don't see every day....

Jordan has been filling up a backpack lately with trucks, blocks and all other toys that he wants to hoard and keep his siblings from touching. It is quite comical to see him lugging the thing all over the house. The other day, he fell over, rolled onto his back and then couldn't get up due to the weight of the backpack. I snapped a few pictures before I helped him back to his feet.


Our oldest son, Ryan, decided to try riding a bull at a local rodeo a few weeks ago. YES, it was a REAL bull. And yes, I DID watch, signed the release...and prayed a lot. He stayed on for 3.15 seconds and didn't hurt himself. I took video but am waiting for pictures from my Mom who also watched. I do have this one shot of the 'cowboy' before he rode.