Friday, February 26, 2016

One Vacation Coming Right Up!


What does that word mean to you?  We've been called heroes several times since beginning this adoption process.  But I have to be honest.  We're uncomfortable with the title.  We are not heroes.  

Disclosure, I'm going to be very real about my feelings, but please don't misunderstand my intent.  I am overjoyed with the place God has brought us to.  I am not looking for sympathy, well, honestly, because none is needed.  Everyone goes through trials, and this is part of our journey.  It's all good, and we know will help us to truly appreciate things more once we reach the end.  However, people tend to romanticize adoption, and it's not romantic!  It's hard and frustrating and the ones that complete the process deserve a vacation.  If you're looking to gift anyone with a vacation, please contact me about my friends, Josh and Sara.  They've adopted three times.  Yeah.  Rockstars!  More on that later!  

We're normal people, following God's prompting and stepping out in obedience.  We're (a little bit) scared of the unknown and all the variables, and (a lot) overwhelmed.  We're exhausted from all the added pressure and activity the adoption process has added to our already hectic schedules.  I'm stretched so thin I'm afraid I'm going to shatter at any minute.  I know it's only temporary and God is in full control.  That gets me through!  Somehow, we are getting each step accomplished, and I know that can only be Him!  It certainly is not in our own strength.  

I'm an emotional wreck and my pillow is stained from the tears every night.  I cry because my oldest will be leaving to college and won't have time with Lucy.  I cry because my two older girls will be visiting their biological father and the sibling they have from him for an extended while.  Lucy will have no clue of what amazing big sisters she has and I'm going to be lost without them.  I cry because I'm mourning all the things Lucy has done in 7 years with no mommy to make her feel accomplished, no daddy to hold her when she was scared.  I cry because her 8th birthday is in two weeks and she has no idea that her family is celebrating her.  I cry because I'm certain Lucy has been lonely on so many days and nights, a loneliness I know we will never be able to erase, that will always be a part of who she is.  And I cry because I love her so much.  A friend warned me about the "Adoption Hormones".  Uh-huh.... I could have done without those.

From the first day, I told Manny I felt that God was going to bless us with the money to bring Lucy home, and then some.  Immediately he got the look that says "How many kids are you bringing home?"  I don't know that God is giving us more than one child, I honestly believe that He is going to bless us so we can in turn bless other families with their adoptions.  

I have been feeling the pressing to share our story.  Ask friends to share our story.  Tell people about Reece's Rainbow, about kids with special needs.  Everyone we are acquainted with knows we have a daughter with Down syndrome.  Becky is 11 years old and the day she was born changed our lives completely.  So many people have such a misconception about people with Downs.  We have witnessed her breaking down walls and barriers in people's minds and hearts.  She has been a catalyst for several people we know to disbelieve the stigmas associated with kids with special needs.  I think God intends to use our adoption to further break down those stigmas.  The more people learn about our adoption, the more people will have the seed planted to the idea of providing a home for a child with special needs.  I know we're not the first to do it, we have friends that have adopted several kiddos with special needs.  I just know what God is pressing on me.  

Enter the hero word.  People will tell us what angels we are, what heroes we are to adopt a child with special needs.  Well, as a mom of kids in several age groups and different abilities/disabilities, I can tell you that the set of difficulties we have with a kid with special needs is simply redistributed, not more.  What do I mean?  Well, Becky requires a lot of medical attention.  Surgeries, extra doctors (seriously, how many specialists does a little body NEED?), and special shoes, special equipment.  And she's starting to notice boys, what the what?!  And she's going through "changes" which means drama and hormones and drama and crying and drama.  She also requires a lot of therapies.  She is in an amazing school which provides a lot of one on one attention to the students and incorporates therapies into every activity.  We LOVE them!  But I digress... it is a lot of work and I'm exhausted! My heart is full but I'm pooped!  

For our older children, there are after school activities, and boys, and drama, and college applications, and shopping, and drama, and work applications, and financial aid applications, and drama, and weekend testing dates in schools no where near our home (WHY does the school board DO that?), and rides to and from places, and volunteer hours, and learning to drive, and drama, and friends coming in and out every single weekend, and long drawn out projects and papers that rival a college student's research, and boys, and medical problems (WHAT?! A "normal" kid with medical concerns, unheard of), and then there's the inevitable clash of personalities among themselves and with mom and dad.  So again, a lot of work and exhausting!  My heart is full to bursting with them in my life, but I'm pooped!  

See my point?  One is not more or less work than the other, the work is simply distributed differently!  Don't be afraid to love a child with special needs!  

The real heroes in these scenarios are the children, the ones waiting for families to bring them home, the ones that keep smiling and hoping.  They are my heroes.

Manny and I?  We're no heroes.  We're not angels.  

We're believing He's going to carry us through the adoption, and through raising Lucy, the same way He's getting us through raising our other children.  

I'm also believing that there is a vacation in our very near future with no cooking or laundry or cleaning.... maybe?  No?  Too much?  Oh, well!  I tried!  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Home Study: Complete!

Our social worker R.O.C.K.S!!!!

She called me today to inform me that our home study is complete, reviewed and approved by the agency!  YES!!  Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus!!  She also said she had my documents ready to mail to me, or get this, she could meet with me anytime today or tomorrow!  Who does that?!  Seriously!  Man, I love that woman!

So, now I can send out our paperwork for immigration (ready to mail out in the morning! EEEEKKKK!!!) and then we wait for the appointment from the FBI to go do our fingerprinting.

In the meantime, we have sent all our documents out to get the state seals and Chinese embassy seals.  This step is necessary to compile our dossier, which then is sent to China.  We can't complete this part until we have the papers back from immigration, but at least it will have been started.

Oh.  My.  goodness.... y'all I'm so excited I can't sit still!!!  It all seems to have taken so long to get to this point, and all of a sudden it's beginning to snowball again!

We're so much closer to bringing our girl home!  I want to cry!  Ok, so I cry all the time anyways, but I want to cry some more now!

Just because I can't get enough of that face....

Here is what I need from all our family and friends: please, please, please continue to share our story!  Share our links, share about our fundraisers.

We will be having another big yard sale on March 5th, we still have our puzzle fundraiser and we have a few raffles coming up!

Lucy's birthday is March 9th so our yard sale will double as a birthday celebration!  We're decorating outside and will have cookies so everyone can celebrate with us!  We're going to really enjoy this one guys!  Come by and visit with us!

Please continue to pray for our journey!  We ask asking for favor in a quick and efficient process time, for the funds to complete the dossier portion (approximately $6300), and for protection over Lucy and the family as we prepare, I ask for continual refreshment throughout the paper chase.

God is an awesome God!  We are so blessed!

Here is the page to our FSP, where you can donate and print your tax deductible receipt!  Thank you!

Lucy's Page on Reece's Rainbow

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Is it really mid February already?!  

I feel like I haven't had a chance to do anything other than paperwork, fundraise, school, work.  I think somewhere in there I feed the family.  At least, I'm assuming I do because they're all still alive and thriving.  

So much has happened in a short time.  We finished our Home Study and it's in review with the agency.  We have our paperwork for immigration ready and waiting to attach the final home study to and mail out.  We attempted to prep for the dossier.  Attempted.  I ended up just about pulling all my hair out.  I decided it was worth hiring a courier service to handle this portion.  It's too important and I'm too overwhelmed to do it myself.  Perspective is important here.  So my new best friend is Laura from Assistant Stork.  Yes, ma'am!

We received a video update of our girl!  EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!  SHE'S TOO STINKING CUTE!!!  I think Youtube is going to be charging me royalties if I keep watching her.  Seriously, though, how can I not watch it every day?  Several times?  Ok, I MAY be a little exaggerated.  But I'd like to meet the person that's going to enforce a viewing limit on this momma.  

Ok, ok, you've twisted my arm.... I'll share!  But first, I should watch it one more time just in case....

Lucy's birthday is coming up and it's bringing some bittersweet feelings.  I want to send her a cake and gift, but I'm so sad we won't be with her on her special day.  I've been told to keep it cool, we'll have many birthdays later... I'm just not sure my heart can handle that right now even though my brain recognizes the truth in the words.

We've been busy with yard sales, auctions, and selling online.  We also began a Puzzle Fundraiser.  We took one of the pictures of Lucy and had it made into a 500 piece puzzle.  Each piece represents a 'property'.  You can purchase as many properties as you'd like, at $15 a piece.  I write your name on each piece.  Once it's complete we will mount it in a two sided frame so Lucy can always see the people that helped to bring her home!  I can't wait until it's complete!  Only 420 more properties to go!  Yay!

The other exciting development is that we now have several methods to collect donations!  We have an FSP through Reece's Rainbow so you can print a tax deductible receipt for your donation.  You can find that here. (BTW, browse around, maybe your son/daughter calls to you from the pages!  This is where we 'found' our girl!)

We also have a account, which you can find here:

Of course, there's always the method.  Our account is

You can follow us on FB at 

Like always, I ask you to keep praying for our family!  Keep praying for our sweet Lucy!  Please share our story with your friends and family.  Everything we have been able to do so far has been through the generosity of family, friends and strangers.  We appreciate everyone of you!