Thursday, June 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Schools out! I picked my big boy up from school today. And instead of being elated to finally be on summer break he came home and cried. Heartbreaking, hysterical, crying.

Today he said goodbye to his beloved 1st grade teacher. She won't be coming back to his school next year. So the reality is he will probably never see her again. And she wasn't just any teacher. She was one of those teachers that made kids excited to learn. She was part mom, part teacher, part mentor.

And it hit me today that he has spent more time with her than with me this year.

And now she's gone.

My Big Boy wasn't the only kid crying today. Teary eyed kids surrounded her to give her one last last goodbye..long after the final bell rang.

I want to protect my kids from heartache. I wish I could take away his sadness. But I know today is just the first of many, many heartaches.

Parenting is hard. Thank the Lord for fabulous teachers who stand beside us, even if they do end up moving.

When I tucked him into bed tonight, he thanked God for his teacher. And through tears he prayed that his next teacher "would be good" and that she would "let them dance in the classroom."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not the "A" Word Again

I want to be totally upfront: I love talking about adoption. I love following people on their adoption journey. I love, love, love watching all the miracles that happen in adoption. If you ask, God always shows up. Always. Read a few blogs (check out my favorites on the side) and you'll see some pretty awesome miracles. I also love the support of the adoption community.

Now with that said, when we were in Florida on Spring Break, Princess got a lot of attention. I wondered if people are curious about her because she's Chinese or because she has a cleft lip. Her grandpa says it's because she's so darn cute.

My kids love to swim, so we went to the pool every day. On our first day, an older woman jumped out of her chair and started talking about adoption. She had adopted several children and now was the proud grandma to several adopted kiddos. She had an amazing story, and honestly, I did enjoy hearing about it.

The next day, we went back to the pool, and she jumped out of her chair again and handed me something she'd printed out about parenting adopted kids. She went on to explain that she wanted to encourage me.

Her intentions were good.

Then the third day, she told me about a book she had worked on and wanted to send me. Again to encourage me about adoption. This is all fine and I really don't want to sound ungrateful.

But, and this is a big but, Princess is three years old. She is standing right there, and this well meaning lady keeps trying to encourage me about adoption. As if Princess is harder to parent than my two boys.

And to be fair, in many ways Princess is a little more challenging to parent. And I do look to other adoptive parents for guidance, especially well-seasoned parents. But these are not things I want my daughter to hear strangers talk about at the pool.

I am not naive enough to think that her adoption will not have real, significant effects on her life. I get that. What I don't want to have happen is for adoption to be the only thing that defines her.

There is so, so, so much more to her.

By the fourth day, I avoided the pool lady.

I love adoption talk. But the pool lady taught me something. I want my girl to have the chance to swim at the pool without the "A" word coming up. And it's my job, as her mother, to protect her from those uncomfortable conversations and prying questions.

Oh, and I never got the book the pool lady promised she'd send me. But I do have a lot of pictures of my girl in the pool. I guess, in the end, she did end up just being one of the gang having fun splashing around.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Not Cute

You know what is not cute? A little girl in super girly pink PJ's who stinks like skunk.

On Thursday night, I let our 10 year old dog, Portia, out before heading to bed. Before I shut the door she was sprayed by a skunk...right in the face. And right in our kitchen. Portia was foaming at the mouth, dancing around in circles, completely shocked. Poor girl.

It only took minutes before the smell was throughout the entire house. My Big Boy woke up and asked what had died. And at midnight Jonathan had to go to the store to get tomato juice, which by the way doesn't really work. We had to give Portia a tomato juice bath on the back deck and it was freezing and stinky and just really disgusting.

My poor hubby had meetings the next day. He asked his assistant to sniff him and she said he was OK to do a presentation. And my little guy's teacher assured me she could only smell me when she got really, really close.

Geesh! Don't you just love to ask people to smell you? And then honestly tell you if you stink?

OK I love my dog, but this about puts me over the edge. After spending almost all day cleaning and disinfecting it still smells in the house. It reminds me of someone who wore too much perfume, but you can still smell them long after they've left the room.

Five showers later, I wonder if you can still smell me after I leave the room. Guess I'll have to go ask my neighbor.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

Welcome Friday Followers! I love getting to know bloggy friends. Thanks for stopping by!

I love, love, love these pictures. They are part of an Adoption Celebration photo shoot by Maas Photography in Wheaton, Illinois. If you're in the area, and are looking for a photographer, they are fabulous.

Enjoy! And have a Happy Friday!

Pray for Chrissie

Bloggy friends and Prayer Warriors--

If you haven't heard about Chrissie please check out her mom's blog at

Chrissie just had open-heart surgery. And she's not doing well. She has technically died twice, they brought her back once. And the doctors aren't sure if they can get her back again. Check out the blog, and stand by this family in prayer. The blog is updated constantly. Just a few minutes ago they put her on a bypass machine.

They may be faced with making some impossible decision. Pray for them. Leave them a note of encouragement on their blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Talk to Me

My life revolves around speech therapy. I have to hurry up and get my Big Boy out the door and on the bus, so I can hurry up and take my little guy to preschool, so I can hurry to speech therapy. This happens three times a week.

Then there's the homework we do every day. All we do is speech. And there are some days I am so fusterated, I wonder if it's working. Today Princess had a meltdown because I didn't know what she wanted. Even with her pointing and grunting, I still couldn't figure it out.

She's also babbling like a baby and is going through the "no, no, no" stage. If you've forgotten what that is it goes something like this:

Honey do you want to go to the park?
She answers: no, no, no

Honey do you want ice cream and cake for dinner?
She answers: no, no, no

Honey do you want to ride the pony?
She answers: no, no, no

OK, we don't really have a pony, but you get the point. No is the answer for everything.

It's cute. The first time.

Every word is work. Constant work. Consistent work. Frustrating work.

So today, she really surprised me at naptime.

She folded her hands, shut her eyes, and prayed pretty clearly, "God is good." All by herself!

It took three words out of a three year old to remind me just how much God has worked in her life. Princess has come so far in eight months. I'm pretty sure before she got ear tubes in October she couldn't hear. And she didn't have a palate for the first two and a half years of her life. So she has made so much progress. I just need to be more patient.

God is good. And I have faith her will continue to be good in her life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Security In Red

The wait to bring our home was possibly one of the most painful four months of my life. There were days I just cried for a child, my child, that was waiting for me. And the thing that stood in the way of me holding my baby girl was the paperwork. We received our referral in January and I did not get to hold my girl until August.

I remember taking the boys to see Up in May and there was an empty seat next to us. I cried through the whole movie. I cried for a little girl I'd never met but loved so much I couldn't explain it. I cried that she was not with us, not sitting next to her brothers eating popcorn and sipping lemonade. Then there were the days I'd cry when I was making lunches for two instead of three. We had an empty seat at the dinner table and an empty room full of little girl clothes and toys.

My heart actually hurt as I counted the days she waited in the orphanage for me. I prayed alot and honestly that's the only way I made it through. I did find peace knowing that my girl's Heavenly Father had her in his arms.

Then I saw a piece of artwork my friend Cassie Swierenga painted. It's called "Security in Red." My husband bought it for me on the spot. And my girl hung in my living room for months. During that time, I also wrote the book 1001 Tears, which is coming out in late 2012. Cassie is busy illustrating it. But after months of persuading, OK nagging, Cassie has finally agreed to sell prints of "Security in Red."

While the painting is beautiful, so is Cassie. She is the mom to four grown children, a grandma to one sweet baby girl, and a professional artist with some serious talent. I first met Cassie at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and was just struck by her creativity and devotion to her family. I am so excited to be working with her on our book.

If you are interested in purchasing a print of "Security in Red" please email me at The options to order are:
print size: 12X24 16X32 24X48
On paper $51.84 $92.16 $206.16
shipping up to $20 up to $30 up to $50

On canvas $80.64 $143.36 $322.56
around $15 around $15 around $15

It is beautiful and made the wait just a little easier.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Spring Break Fun

I know I'm the Princess' mom, but can I just say this child is absolutely amazing. Six short months ago she could barely walk. She was 15 pounds (yes, 15 pounds at the age of 2 and a half). She was shutdown, she didn't talk, couldn't hear, could barely eat anything besides yogurt. She has never seen a pool (she was scared of the bathtub just 6 months ago), she's never seen sand, never seen the ocean. And just look at her now! Amazing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lucy's Day of Hope

Thank you, thank you, thank you for standing by Lucy and calling out her name before our Heavenly Father. Thank you for caring for this child who most of us will never meet. Thank you for loving the precious orphans of China.

Lucy is already a miracle. That she has survived and is stable with her complex heart condition is only by the hand of God. That instead of letting her perish in an orphanage someone somewhere in China decided to get her paper ready for adoption. God is working. He will continue to work in her life.

We may never know how Lucy's life turns out. We may never see an answer to our day of prayer. But we can take comfort that God does hear our prayers. He loves Lucy more than we can imagine.

Like all of you, I pray for a family to step forward in faith. I pray that whatever Lucy's medical outcome is that this extraordinary family will find strength through Christ to love her, care for her, and be blessed by the joy of parenting this precious child.

Yes, today is a hopeful day! Thank you for praying!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lucy's Day of Prayer

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. –Psalms 139:13-14

The outcry for Lucy has been awesome. But ASIA is still looking for a family who already has their paperwork done to step forward and claim Lucy has their forever daughter.

Lucy’s best chance to survive is to come home and have lifesaving open-heart surgery with a mommy and daddy to support and care for her. Lucy has a long road ahead of her. She may even need a heart transplant.

Lucy needs a miracle.

I cannot stand by and do nothing for this child. Like so many others, though, we are not in a position to adopt again right now. But I can pray for her. I can pray for a family to step forward.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we as a community could come together and cover Lucy with prayer for 24 hours? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what God can do through this child?

Honestly, I don’t know how God will answer our prayers. I don’t know how Lucy’s life will end up. But what I do know is God will not turn his back on Lucy. She is not alone. While we may not understand it, her life has a purpose.

Will you join me on your knees in prayer for Lucy? Will you pray:

That a family will step forward and claim her as their daughter? Will you pray that once the family submits their letter of intent that China and the United States will expedite all their paperwork and they can hold Lucy in record time?

Will you pray for peace for this extraordinary family? Will you pray that even though Lucy has significant medical challenges ahead of her that they will find strength and support they never imagined.

Will you pray for Lucy? Pray she remains strong. Pray she can hold on for just a little while longer until her mommy and daddy find her.

The 24 hour prayer chain for Lucy will be on Thursday, March 18 starting at 6:00 am and will end on Friday at 6:00 am. If you can commit just one hour of your time, please list it in the comment section of the blog. Please list the hour you’ll be praying and where you’re from. I hope people all around the world will pray for Lucy.

Please help to get the word out by reposting this on your blog, yahoo groups, and facebook pages. Please have people link back to my blog ( to comment, so we can see just how many people love and care for Lucy.

I think God has amazing things in store for this child. Please be a part of it.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.--John 14:18

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help Lucy

Meet Lucy. She is 2.5 years old and has a very serious congenital heart disease. She needs medical care, or her life will be cut short. This little girl is waiting for a forever family AND lifesaving medical care. She is listed with ASIA, a wonderful agency in Portland, Oregon. ASIA is looking for a paperwork ready family to come forward to adopt Lucy. Please email Marci at if you are interested in adopting Lucy. You can read more about Lucy on ASIA's blog at Evie was listed with ASIA and they were wonderful to work with. If you have any questions about the agency, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This morning I flipped on Sesame Street for the Princess. She started started screaming. It wasn't her usual tantrum, I wish I could tell you what I want scream, but a deep, fearful howl. I've heard this howl before--in China right before she completely shut down.

I immediately thought she was hurt. But she ran to the door in an absolute panic and screamed, "Bye, bye!" When I shook my head she then ran to the stairs and said, "Night, night." I took her back into the family room and she started to shake, her eyes darted back and forth, and she held her hands in tight fists and shook them.

I turned toward the TV. Elmo was singing. I flipped the TV off and Evie relaxed. I turned it back on and she started screaming again. I held her and told her that Elmo wasn't real. That we could turn him on and off. And that he would never, ever hurt her.

She eventually calmed down and we had to leave to pick up the Middle One. On the way, I watched her in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were almost swollen shut. I wondered what her eyes had seen. What had happened to her in the orphanage that made her so scared of Elmo. Was she stuck in a crib with only Elmo as company? Did they play Sesame Street for her while she was in the hospital all alone recovering from open-heart surgery?

I wish she could tell me. I wish I knew her past. I wish I had been there for her.

By the time we got to school, she was happy again. As we walked to the middle one's classroom I noticed a new picture had been added in the Kindergarten hallway. A child had written Psalms 23. I couldn't help but focus on the words: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me."

Maybe I wasn't there, but she is a child of God. I have to trust that he protected her in the orphanage and will continue to. And when her old orphanage demons come out, he will help her heal.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Love Amoxicilian

It's off to school we go tomorrow!

The Big Boy took his third dose this morning. When we dropped the Middle One off at preschool, I told the Big Boy to "look sicker" while we were there. He looked like he could have been at school, but I think his body needed a day of rest.

We drove all the way downtown to get  Princess' ear drained. The ENT came in, took a look, and said her ears were clear. It took less than five minutes.

So tomorrow we're up early. The bus comes for Joshua at 7:51. The two little guys and I head to speech at 8:15. Then off to Little Lambs at 9:00 and MOPS at 9:15. I usually hate Tuesdays because it's such a hectic morning getting them all out of the house by 8:15, but I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

We'll be back with the living!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sick, Sick, Sick

Three kids. Three different antibiotics. Three confirmed cases of strep throat.
It has not been fun.
The Middle One has tested positive for strep twice in 15 days.
Princess was very grumpy, so I had her tested, too. And sure enough she's positive. She also has an ear full of gunk that has to get drained tomorrow. It only takes 30 seconds, but she has to wear a straight jacket--they call it a papoose, which sounds much nicer--to have it done.
And then there's the Big Boy. He woke up at 5:00 am complaining of a sore throat. By 10:00 am he was throwing up so much, Jonathan took him to the Urgent Care center. They finally got the vomiting under control, and he came home around 3:30.
Meanwhile, I washed everything. I mean everything. I filled pillowcases with Legos and threw them in the washer, bleached doorknobs, bathrooms, walls, tables, chairs, anything I could.
This is the first time since Princess has been home that's she's been really, truly sick. It's hard for Jonathan and me to juggle all three of them. But tomorrow, Jonathan heads to work. Which leaves just me. I will, as they say, be deep in the trenches of motherhood.

Monday, February 15, 2010

When Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I'm talking about what to do when adults behave badly. Check out my new post at and join in on the conversation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Year Ago

January 22 will always be an important date in my family. It was the day we accepted Princess' referral. Today she is a happy, healthy, full of life, into everything toddler.

Princess wasn't always the happy girl she is today. I believe when we accepted her referral her life and future were very fragile. To understand how far she has come you have to see where she was. The pictures below were her referral pictures. The one in the red shirt is still painful to look at. I think this was before her heart surgery. She was a very sick little girl. I post these not to make people feel sad or bad. I post them because I get so many emails from people who are considering adopting children with cleft lip and palate or congenital heart disease. It is hard to imagine a child who is malnourished and sick thriving a few short months later. My girl, like so many other special needs babies, is no doubt, a miracle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why China?

I'm talking about why we went to China at

Check it out over there and join in on the conversation!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Princess has discovered swords.

These were once banned in my house. As were guns, camouflage, and any other war-like toy. But when my oldest started school he was the only boy in the class without a water gun. So he built them out of paper, Lego's, blocks, and anything else he could get his hands on. So my husband decided that Joshua was getting a water gun and then he wouldn't be so obsessed with them.

He was right.

And over the years our arsenal has grown. We now have enough "weapons" for a party of 20. They are mostly Nerf, and I still insist if it looks real it can't come home with us. The boys battle every night. And Princess has started to join in. She whacks them on the head, it's ever so gently because she is so tiny, and they fall down and play dead.

Tonight this went on for hours. And they giggled and giggled and giggled.

Dare I say they are siblings who like (notice not LOVE) each other. Love and like are two different things. Like means they want to spend time with each other, they want to play with each other, they look forward to seeing each other.

When you bring a child home, in your head and heart they are part of the family. Period. But in reality, at least in my house, it has taken time for the kids to adjust and to see her as one of the gang.

She's getting there. She is slowly becoming one of "them."

She's a princess with two princes for brothers. She proudly showed me her Hello Kitty purse today. Inside was a Nerf bullet, a rubber snake, and a Star Wars Lego guy.

That's my girl!