Tuesday, January 16, 2018

To my child

To my child,

Having been adopted does not mean that
you are less than anyone else.

Having been adopted does not mean that
 you are not loved.

Being adopted does not mean that 
you don't know where you came from,
where you are,
or where you are headed.


Being adopted means...

You are loved by many people!

You have at least two families who love you so much.

 One family put their pride a side
to give you a life they knew you deserved,
but couldn't provide.

A second family prayed for you,
saw you,
chose you
and worked their tails off to bring you home!

Both families, moms and dads, grandmas, grandpas,
aunts, uncles, cousins...
are proud to call you son or daughter.

You are so much more than others see.
They do not know your story!
They do not know the pain that you carry daily.
They don't know the strength you have to get through
the disappointments you have experienced.

You are amazing!
You are beautiful!
You are a survivor that others can only hope to be!

Your scars on the outside only tell a side of your story.
Unless you decide to share with others,
it is no one else's business. 

Please know that your are beautiful!
You are loved!
You are being fought for! 
You are a treasure!
Cherished deeper than you may ever understand.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Why I share my story...

My daddy always told me, "When you walk through hard times... 
remember those times,
share those times,
because someone else may be struggling too. 
What you go through may not be all about you
but how you can help someone else."

My daddy wasn't the most open person with a crowd of people gathering to listen to him, 
but what we learned at his funeral was eye opening... 
(Daddy died almost 21 years ago - just so y'all know this wasn't recent.)

The funeral home was packed with people loving on my momma 
who stood so strong and welcomed everyone with grace!  
Amazing woman!!
In walked a lonely man, no one knew him.
He really didn't "fit in" with the crowd.
One of dad's friends went to chat with him,
and to maybe help him on his way...

What we learned was this man
struggled with a lot of things that my dad had struggled with.
I can't remember how they actually met,
but my dad met this man once a week for coffee and breakfast.
Possibly the only hot meal this man had each week.
My dad shared his weaknesses and his struggles
and this man didn't feel alone.
Didn't feel ashamed or disgraced,
if even for a short time of breakfast once a week.

Sometimes putting ourselves out there is not about us,
but about showing God's grace and miracles in our own lives to help others.

This is the main reason why I share my health journey with you.
I could keep all of my weaknesses from y'all and make y'all
think that I am just super woman!!
Believe me, my kids will tell you,
I am far from that!!

But when a few little supplements have changed my health
and help me daily to function
on some days that I soooo don't want to function -
but who is that helping?
I refuse to go back to "fake it until you make it!"
Instead, I want to live life to the fullest!!
And enjoy my family and friends as I do that!!

When I have friends tell me,
I'm having a panic attack, life is too hard -
I need my body balanced again,
do you have any supplements on hand?

or

I didn't realize how good I felt when I was taking your supplements!
I want that again!

or

I can get out of bed!
My body is regulating and my aches and pains are at a minimum
or even gone most days!!

or

My doctor took me off meds because my labs came back healthy!!!!


I praise God for the blessing to share
something like plant based supplements...
God's creation working with his creation!
Not working against it!
(and believe me I am not anti-medicine,
there is a time and place!
But if natural products help in bigger ways to
help heal my body - I'm going with that!)

We think we know better in so many ways!
But, that never pans out well, does it?!

So for those who think I share my health journey to make a few bucks
off of you...
you don't really know me.
My job of sharing and helping others means the world to me!
And I don't take it lightly!!
God's brought me through too much to keep quiet about this!!

Love y'all!!
Reach out to someone today!
Share a smile,
Share a little about yourself,
you may just make someones day a little brighter!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I didn't sign up for this... neither did he.

A week ago we received devastating news for Elijah
and for his mental health.
To sum it up,
medically speaking we learned what and why
Elijah has been suffering from
all of his life, 
We received the diagnosis and were told
he will never heal, this side of heaven.


Unless God gives us a miracle 
his mental health is incurable.


Psychologically speaking, 
we have been told that we are doing everything we can do to help him.

Neurologically speaking, 
we have been told that he will never 
be able to process socially in a healthy way.


Life in a family will be a constant struggle.
Residential and Institutional care will be part of 
Elijah's life journey.

I can't believe I'm typing this!
I didn't sign up for this!
I pray/beg to be his mommy to send him off to strangers!
I didn't fight for his well-being for 
the past 6.5 years to put him in the care of someone else!

I signed up to parent my son in my house!
To love him, to help him heal, to hold him when he is scared.
I guess God is teaching me that parenting a child
comes in many different ways -
always doing what is best for him
and all of my kids,
is what I am called to.


When discussing the test results with our neurologist 
we were told that Elijah's disabilities manifest itself 
in labels like -
Autism, Schizophrenia, and RAD (reactive attachment disorder).
Along with his PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury),
this is not a good combination.

What I have said since I've been his mommy 
and at every evaluation for every therapist, doctor, teacher, 
really anyone who would listen...
is that,

 he tries soooo hard to make good choices, but he just can't!!
And now we know - Momma knows her boy!! 


Tomorrow morning we will drive Elijah to begin this visit to residential care.
(looking at a few months stay for him).
Leaving him there is going to be so so hard,
but presently life is not safe for him,
and we have no other choice.


We appreciate prayers for our miracle boy!! 
and for our entire family!  
We miss our boy and brother who can be so fun,
and so loving!
But struggles so deeply! 

We pray he can come home safely,
we pray for a long term plan
and for doctors and therapists who
will love our boy and
help us every step of this journey!

We cling to hope in miracles in our Lord Jesus Christ!
We will walk this journey with our son
and marvel in Wonder and Awe of HIS plan.



Monday, January 1, 2018

2018’s word of the year!!!

I like to choose a word of the year,
some years are easier to find a word then others. 

This year was quite different.

2016 was hard!
4 major surgeries for Hagan!
1 surgery for Elijah!
1 major surgery for Miles
and
2 hospital stays for Elijah!


2017 was hard!
we had a lot of things thrown at us that we were not ready for...

3 major surgeries for Hagan,
1 for Donovan,
Major panic attack meltdown for me,
4 hospital stays for Elijah
to list a few,
and more that we are still trying to wrap our heads around.

Though the past years have been hard,
there have been some amazing sweetness!!
God is always faithful to keep us encouraged and
to see baby steps in where HE is directing us!


A few weeks ago,
I was in the middle of a major temper tantrum!
Ready to cancel Christmas!
and definitely threatening to cancel acknowledging New Years!
I was sooooo NOT ready to do all of this all over again!!

Have you ever felt like staying in your disfunction is
better than moving into more disfunction?
Comfort in the disfunction!
Well, that was where I was!

But, God spoke to me and gave me the promise of WONDER!



Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and HE will make your paths straight.

Going into 2018 I am ready to see all the hard that we have walked through in 2016 and 2017
and cling to the WONDER of God's plan as HE will show us what all of our work has been for.

Allowing God to unfold HIS path for me is where HE wants me.


I've also been reminded, through quiet times,
that my work isn't finished.
The path I am on is rocky!
It has it's major ups and downs!
But, as I walk, sometimes hike,
places I'd rather not go -
I will cling to the promise that God is in control
and I will sit and gaze in WONDER and AWE
of all that HE is!!

Happy New Year,
and I pray you also,
will see the Wonder in all that God is
and how HE loves you!







Thursday, December 28, 2017

End on Empty!

Gymnastics competition season has begun 
and we are super excited about this season! 
New beautiful leo and everything!! 


Jailyn told me in September that she was going to 
take her coaches challenge and 
set her goal every practice to 
"End on Empty"!! 
To have nothing left in her tank,
to come home completely exhausted 
because she left all she had on the mat!

Jailyn has always worked hard, 
but ADHD gets in the way sometimes!

Her first meet was an Intrasquad meet,
real judges, real scores, 
no medals 
instead encouraging one an other 
to do their best!!! 

(blurry photo but THAT leap!!! 
She's never had such a good leap!)

Jailyn had a great meet! 
Room to grow but 
the first meet of the season can be nerve wracking - 
so this was nice to get through the nerves!

At the end of the meet our coach surprised 
the girls with a special award! 


The "End on Empty" Award!
Coaches hubby loved the challenge his wife set out for the girls
so much that he went to the mall and had 
shirts made to allow the coaches to award 
some exceptionally hard workers.

So proud of Jailyn and her growth as a gymnast, 
but even more we are proud of her growing 
work ethic!!


We are all soooooo excited for this fun competition season!! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Eve Eve!

With kids getting older and building their own holiday traditions 
we are so thankful for this time 
on Christmas Eve Eve!!


Brady, Terrinika, Hakia and King came over to 
celebrate Brady's 24th birthday and Christmas!!

Jailyn is getting good at running family games!!!



Brothers in serious conversation that 
didn't end in an argument! 
Christmas miracle!!! 

(my Christmas lights didn't make it through the season! 
Mantel lights out and strips of lights out on the tree! 
Whatever!!) 


I love my grands!!!



I can't believe I didn't get a photo of Terrinika! 
Stole this one - 
cause Girl, you are beautiful! 
Inside and out!! 


or  my beautiful Kenzie!!! 
(stole this photo too!!
Hey, it's my blog I can do what I want!! Haha!!)


Friday, December 22, 2017

Detour

Have you ever sat in traffic and have your GPS begin beeping at you,
trying to tell you to go a different way?

A better way?

A shorter way?

A quicker way?


Mine did the other day. 
This was the mess I was caught up in the other day...



My GPS was warning me,
I have a better way for you!! 

You see, I hate driving to the city! 
I hate driving somewhere I'm not familiar with,
and in traffic - makes it even worse!
I can be patient but there are so crazy drivers out there!! 
This has been the traffic I have been in 
for 2 weeks and the reason I'm there is not because of my choices.
So, yes, there is a bit of resistance there too! 

Anyway, 
As my GPS beeped at me,
I was given the choice - 
get over to the right hand lane and get off the highway,
or stay here in this mess.

If I stay where I am - I'll be late for the appointment.
If I get off this route - I'll make the appointment with time to spare.

BUT...
I know where I am going on this route!
I know what exit I need to get off! 
I know what to expect! 

What do I do? 

As I weighted the pros and cons, 
God said to me, 
"I'm giving you detours. 
Detours that will get you to the same destination,
only with less pain. 
With less anguish.
With less frustration."



HE wasn't talking about the traffic, 
HE was talking about my every day life! 
Am I listening to God beeping at me? 
Do I even have my GPS on, 
in other words am I reading his word, 
am I in constant communication with HIM?

Am I willing to take this detour that is before me?
Am I willing to let HIM guide me?
Even when I have no clue of where I'm going?
or 
Is sitting in the drivers seat, 
doing the same thing that I have always done,
not allowing God to lead me through the unknown,
is it worth missing out on the detour God has for me?

God reminded me of these verses,
Luke 12:22-32

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat; or about your body, what will you wear.
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens:  The do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; 
yet God feeds them!
And how much more valuable you are than birds!!! 
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing, she do you worry about the rest?

Consider how the wide flowers grow.
They do not labor or spin.  
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today,
and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
how much more will he clothes you - you of little faith! 
And do not set your hear on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it. 
For the pagan world runs after all such things,
and your Father knows that you need them.  
But seek HIS kingdom, 
and these things will be given to you!



Friday, December 8, 2017

Mental Health Day

I get asked a lot “what do you do for yourself?”
Or told,
“You need to take time for yourself.”

And I get that!
And I so appreciate friends and family keeping tabs on me
to take care of myself while I care 
for my family, and the trauma that we have been going through. 


So,  I took a Mental Health Day!
I didn’t get my nails down, or get a massage...

Hagan had some follow-up appointments and one in particular,
I had a gut feeling, could be a little stressful!
(unfortunately, I was correct.)

So, I took these boys with me!! 



Laughter is the best medicine, right? 
And these boys make me laugh, giggle and just enjoy life!! 
Such a great mental health day!!



I was just going to bring Griggs with us, 
but, both Hagan and Griggs asked if Miles could come too! 
Nothing does a mommas heart better then 
to see her kids love and want to be with each other!!


The threee Amigos!! 


They can find fun wherever they are!


I didn’t get a photo, 
but these theee can make up games in any doctors room! 
I love their imagination!!! 

We even had time for a quick lunch, and everyone agreed
on where to eat! 
Thank you Jesus!! 



My sweet Griggs, 
as we were eating he looked across the table at me and said, 
“Mom, this is a blessing.”
“A blessing that we can just spend the day together! 
I love you, 
You are the best momma!”

Melt me!!
and really just what I needed!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

E

My boy needs more than I can supply.

This is so, so hard to say! 

We have had our share of medical issues with our kiddos-
But, there always seems to be a good answer.
A medical way to help heal our kids and their pains.

Today Miles asked me if Elijah would have 
surgery to fix him.

How I wish this could be so simple!
Unfortunately Elijah’s hurts and pain are too deep! 

Though I don’t have an “E” tattoo, 
I told Elijah that I will have an E written on my hand 
until he comes back home
from the hospital.




Every time I see this “E” we will,
think of him,
will pray for him,
will pray he can come home,
will pray that he can love himself,
will pray that he can heal,
will pray that he can be safe.
We will pray that he can find peace.


God has reminded me that I am not Elijah's rescuer...
but that HE is!
HE loves Elijah more then any of us!
HE is Elijah's creator and Savior!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"I want to be normal"

Holding my 96lb 10 year old baby boy while he fights his pain
and anguish in the only way he knows how. 
As nestled into my chest,
his body melts into my body. 
His heart is racing faster than I can count.
His tears begin to flow.

His screams drastically change from anger to deep anguish. 
Holding to me as I rock him,
his grip on me gets tighter and tighter.
"I want to be normal." he cries out.


Because Elijah's past experiences, he suffers every minute of the day to trust,
to regulate his emotions as he tries to "be normal",
and is unable to see his own worth.
Yet, he is one of the strongest kids I know!

Unfortunately Elijah cannot articulate his aches and in many
ways he can't even process what is happening, 
and where the pain comes from.

The last month has been really hard on our boy. 
He has put himself and others in unsafe situations.
Thursday was a particularly rough morning yet, God 
orchestrated every step throughout the day.

We had been calling crisis treatment facilities in the area for weeks - 
only to be turned down with every phone call and every evaluation, 
hearing ...
"Yes, your boy needs help, but we don't have room.
Our beds are full. 
We will put Elijah on the waitlist."
(waitlists are 4 - 6 weeks long!) 
This breaks my heart in so many ways!! 
Y'all, we need to do better!!
OUR children are suffering!!! 
Why our psychiatric beds full for 10 year olds???


On Thursday we were able to get to a Dallas hospital that Elijah 
has been to before and where he felt comfortable. 
As we wait hours in the ER we again hear, 
"We have no beds available."
But there was no way we were leaving without help! 
I was ready to camp out in the ER for days if needed.

Hours later the social worker came to tell me that a facility that she 
had called that morning, and was turned away - had a bed open up!
She had already grabbed it for Elijah. 
Like I said, God had this day completely orchestrated!! 

Elijah didn't get settled in a bed until 3:30am. 
Sweet boy was completely exhausted but aware that I was leaving him.
When the nurse asked him to come with him,
he gave me a huge bear hug - like only Elijah can give. 

This is a short term facility that will help support Elijah for this time.
I've spoken to staff and love that they have seen his sweet,
compassionate side. 
My boy is loved by so many! 

Elijah's plea to be "normal" just breaks me! 
To him "normal" means to control his anger.
To be able to be on a soccer team and take instruction from a coach.
He wants to be successful with his school work. 
He wants to be safe. 
He wants to show love with an open heart 
and accept the love given him.

We are praying for peace for our boy! 
Peace from his hurts and 
peace for him to love without fear!
and for him to love himself. 
To understand he is worthy of unconditional love. 

Elijah is my miracle boy 
and God is moving mountains for him! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

One more week...

Only more week and this face will change.

This boy has had his share of surgeries but none have hit us as hard as this upcoming surgery.

It is so hard to talk about on so many levels.

Craniofacial surgery is scary (especially with Hagan's small airway, any surgery is scary!) but more then that it will drastically change Hagan's appearance.

This face that we first saw in an email when we were in Ethiopia meeting Donovan and Elijah.

This face that we had on our refrigerator and prayed over for a year and a half before God told us we were his family.

This face that made us laugh when we finally met him 4 years ago!


This face that shows compassion and pain all in one glance.


Those puppy dog eyes that can wrap mom around his chubby, ittle pinky!



This surgery is needed to enlarge Hagan's airway.  As Hagan gets older his airway is not getting larger.  His tonsils and adenoids have grown back, which will no doubt continue to do no matter how many times we remove them because we can't take all of the tonsils out, as his carotid artery runs through the right tonsil.


God has blessed us with the perfect surgeon!
10 years ago we met Dr. Fearon when we brought home Jailyn, for her cleft lip and cleft palate.
We love Dr. Fearon on so many levels!
Little did we know that 10 years later we would need the best surgeon for our son!!
And guess what?  Dr. Fearon is the man! He does this surgery more then anyone in the US.  
People travel from all over the world for Dr. Fearon to do this specific surgery!  
And God placed him in our life 10 years ago!!
God is so cool!!


Our hearts hurt for our son!
But we rest in knowing there are no surprises to God!!
He knew of this need for Hagan long before we even knew Hagan!!

The surgery Hagan is having is called Le Fort I.
We will be in the hospital for a week, unfortunately a different hospital then we normally go to.
Hagan will have a Halo device and feeding tube for 8 weeks.
His surgery is scheduled for March 20th.
And another surgery scheduled to remove the halo may 17th.
Because of the halo, Hagan will not be able to use his CPAP machine.  
We are praying that he will not need a temporary trachea and that this procedure will open his airway enough that we can trash the cpap machine!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sometimes it's hard to see

I love to show photos of the growth my Miles 
has made in the 19 months that he has been in our arms!


But often we forget that his sweet heart is still broken,
still doubts, 
and still fears.


If I go out without him, he constantly asks if I will come back.
When he goes to bed,
he asks if I will be there in the morning.

Though some of his questions may seem "normal",
when we think of his beginnings 
we know where these doubts stem from.


Miles attends speech preschool for 2 hours twice a week.
He has been so brave going with a smile on his face,
well, after the first week! 
He is constantly growing! 


The first week, I told the aide that he had food in his backpack.
I was aware that they don't have time for snack during 
this class, but he feels safe when he has food.

Her response, "Ohhhh - just like Griggs!" 


Yep!! Just like Griggs did! 


I am so thankful that our teachers allow our kids to bring food 
in their backpacks! 

The other day, 
we were running late, 
almost forgot Miles' backpack -
and unfortunately forgot his food.

And then, 
I did the unthinkable!
During his school time, I had made an appointment for Jailyn and Hagan 
and we were late to pick up Miles.
I knew he was safe,
but fear set it for Miles that I had left him.


(I love to watch him embrace life!)

When I got to his school,
he was safely with his teacher but the look on his face
was piercing! 
Every fear he ever had weighed heavily on him.

I chatted with the teacher a bit,
apologizing for being late.
She was super sweet, and let me know that Miles 
had a rough day - 
very whiney and not wanting to participate, 
not like Miles at all!
She feared he was getting sick. 


I explained to her that I thought it was the lack of food in his 
backpack and the fear of not having food
that put him in this mood. 

Thankfully, before going home  Jailyn shared her snack with Miles 
and all was right in Miles' world again.
Though we see this sweet smile and 
his "stinker" look!
A part of his heart still looks like this...


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"You brought the circus with you today"

This post has been on my heart for a while,
it's a hard post.
But, I have to share,
hopefully it will help someone.

Visiting new places with our family is always stressful!

We have to go over
 where we are going,
why we are going,
what the surroundings will be like,
who will be there...

and do this about 8 times!!! 
(9 if Conner is with us)

Going to a restaurant is stressful for some
because making choices are just too hard!
For some, the noise level is too much!
For some, just the excitement is too much! 

Everyone responds differently,
so mom is on point when we go out! haha!
Well, I try to be! 

So when we enter a supposedly friendly, welcoming place,
Kids are all behaving themselves,
and are actually all pretty nervous so they are 
attached to mom 
and very quiet...

and we get 
"You brought the circus with you today" -
 mom's blood kind of boils more then any of my kids!

I am sharing this, 
not to complain about a certain establishment,
I'm sure others there who are lovely,

but, I share to remind all of us -
when someone comes into our lives that may be 
a little different then what society says is "normal" 
please be kind! 
And think before you speak! 
And know that little ears, 
no matter how little - they hear! 

And their hearts hurt! 



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A little help goes a long way!

Lessons from my boys!!

Yesterday, 

Some one had put Griggs' wand light saber,
on the top to the mailbox.


Griggs was tired and frustrated and walked off 
trying to hold back the tears...

Why would someone put it there?
Why am I short?
It's frustrating not being able to reach my things!

Hagan came to Griggs and told him he would help!



Miles saw this and came to help too.



These three weren't getting very far -

 Elijah noticed that they needed a little more help!


There we go!! 
Sometimes it takes a village to help one person!

And that is okay!! 
Infact, it is beautiful!!!


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