Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dream Car

I can still remember the first time I rode in a 12 passenger van!

It was so cool!!

How much fun could be had 
in a vehicle that big!

I love road trips,
and I love driving!

But how much better with a big ole' van
to hold my big ole' dream family!


Well, after 25 years of marriage,
our dreams have grown together!
(Though I do see why Bryan likes his 2 passenger 
pick up truck! 
It's pretty quiet in there!)

A few weeks before we left for China
Bryan called to check on our "new" van to see when 
it would be delivered! 
We had ordered it months ago!

Needless to say, 
the dealer told him that there had been some mistake 
and the van had never been ordered.

Ummmmmmm -
we kinda need at least 8 buckles for in the back of a vehicle!
Our SUV only had 6!
Ummmmmmm -
what are we going to do?

After 6 other adoptions and 
our recent flooding drama -
we just laughed.
God knows our needs and He knows these kiddos need to be home.
HE's got it covered!
We'll just wait for him to reveal it to us! 

Bryan made some calls to other dealers and found out
that not only one big ole' van was on it's way
to our next of the woods -
but THREE!!!

That's right - we could take our pick!!

See, God is so good!! 
So, this past Saturday,
we picked up our new vehicle!

Technically, it doesn't fit all of our family -
but seeing that Brady and Kenzie are in college and
very rarely ride with us -
we are good. 

The kids love it,
and so do momma and baba!!!
and it's not too hard to drive -
though I am thankful for the handicapped parking! hee!hee!

 for now the kids chose their seats - 
momma will be making assigned seats in a week or so. 
You can barely see my Griggsy and Elijah!
Miles is happy - just giving one of his goofy faces!! 
And entertaining Miss. Lainey!
The big kids are normally buckled! Just stood up for the photo!

Party goers in our van!!! 
Coming home from Kids Praise Camp!! 

And a shout out to the job I have enjoyed for the past 22 months!
Bryan is not stressed about this car payment,
because it is easily paid with my Plexus pay check! 
Cause God is sooooooooo good!!!!  

Our new family motto: 
Have van will travel!!! 
Be warned we may show up when you least expect it!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's about to get real!

Today we travel from Beijing to our children's provinces!
Bryan and Conner have already left for Taiyuan
to meet Miles tomorrow (Monday, July 13th)
And Kenzie and I are waiting for our guide to take us to
Tianjin, by train, to meet Laynee. 

I am full of emotions today. 
Butterflies in my tummy are an understatement! 
I pray for them as they spent there last full day with their 
foster families. 
Praying they are being prepare for what tomorrow brings. 
But really, how can you prepare a child
for the unknown? 

As Jorja said, 
When we were preparing them for our leaving, 
and  we were sharing prayer request. 
Jorja told me that "she would pray that 
they liked us, 
and that they won't be afraid!"

With every adoption Jorja has gone through 
a little more healing, 
this adoption process has proven the same!

Even if it's not love at first sight- 
we are in this for the long haul!! 

Please pray with us for our kiddos!! 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Full of emotions...

Wow!! 
I can't believe we are in China again! 

The entire day- all 24 hours of it, 
Cause that's how long we traveled,
I was a hot mess! 

Often times super excited
with goofy energy 
and other times, 
brought to my knees in silence 
as I thought about this entire journey. 

I first saw our little girls face 22 months ago! 
But knew that our daughter was stuck in China 
29 months ago.
We just had to find her. 

I saw our sons photo 26 months ago
and knew from the first glance 
that he was my boy!

We have not have the smoothest, 
fastest, easiest adoption process.
Actually, this one has been the hardest
and longest. 

Yesterday when we were finally
on our way to our hotel
And as I smelt the familiar smells
sights and sounds of China, 
I was overcome with emotions. 

I wanted to just jump and dance around 
praising God that we were in Beijing!!!
And even better, 
Bryan and I were here with Kenzie and Conner!!! 
Eeeeeeeekkkkk! 
I just couldn't believe that in 
5 short sleeps
we will be holding our newest son and daughter!! 

As we were driving to the hotel
and the family started fading fast with exhaustion from
the long flights. 
I had to pinch myself! 
I had to praise God,
who though Satan has attacked
from day one- 
God will prevail
and 
true love wins!!!

I remembered how Bryan and I told God
To call someone else!!
Our quiver was full!!
Really, there's enough drama and chaos 
in our house!!
Someone else should be blessed with that!! 
And, 
Where is this money supposed to come from?
Where is the energy coming from?
Where is the sanity coming from-
be cause we were seriously lacking in all the above!

It's all good and well to say, 
"God will provide!",
but to jump off a cliff and believe that God will
provide a parachute 
Is a whole different story!

Bryan wanted to wait to begin the process
for a few months, 
His company was expecting lay-offs,
so, let's be sure he doesn't get laid off.
God thought otherwise! 
And guess what God did!!
Yep, when we expected lay-offs...
Bryan got a raise!
Not a huge raise but still-
God is providing!
And God was proud of Bryan who was
following God's will, not his own. 

I began my little "stay at home,
keep Jodi busy,
hobby that won't bring in much income,
part time job"
with Plexus Wotldwide. 
Again, our ways are not His ways!
This little nothin' job
Has been the answer we have been looking for!
The gift that God had planned for us to
watch His provisions daily!
Not only did it provide finances for this journey,
But the health that I had been so fed
Up with and literally told God,
"You want us to adopt again-
You have to do something about my health!!"
HE listened and provided!

What a journey this has been!
When we first committed to Laynee. 
We told God, only one more. 
We told God that I would have to travel alone
because we wouldn't have the funds 
to travel with two people. 

But, here I sit in this van
with Bryan, Kenzie and Conner!!!! 
And not only will we be holding Laynee in 5 short days,
but our son, Miles, too!!

God is faithful!!
Sometimes the journey is long!
Sometimes, God wants us to work
and work hard for His provisions!

But, we have to humble ourselves
and allow Him to be in control!
Sometimes, HE has us think outside of the box-
and through that
May HE be glorified!

HE will supply the parachute!!

FYI-
Today, July 9th in China,
is Kenzie's 19th birthday!!
We will be going to the Forbidem Cty,
The Great Wall
and
to tour the Hutongs!!
Beware, lots of photos tomorrow!!

Thank y'all so much for your prayers!! 






Monday, July 6, 2015

What we will look like when we return home...

A conversation came up today from a good friend asking,
how soon he can love on our kids when they get home.


I loved this question,
as my friends are learning that we have to do things a little 
different when we bring our new kiddos home.


So, for those who are in our little community,
I thought I would share a bit of how we do things.

Our kiddos will only have known us for 2 weeks,
and even though we have been dreaming, praying and loving them
from a distance - 
they don't know us and haven't been dreaming about us!!
We are strangers to them.

Both Laynee and Miles have been in loving foster homes.
They will be grieving the loss of their families,
and everything else they have known all their lives -
smells, tastes, noises, 
and language to name a few!


I still don't know how these brave kids of ours do it!
I have a hard time being away from Chick-fil-A 
for 2 weeks! 
I can't imagine what they are going through.

So, with this -
we have to pull the kids closer to us!
They have to learn that we are their family
and learn the difference between family and friends.
They will be learning how our family works
and how our house runs.


Even Jailyn said today,
"I know that I can't feed or dress Laynee and Miles 
for 2 months, that is what you and Dad do for bonding...
but can I do it after 2 months?"

And that is a rule of thumb.
Our new kids need to learn that mom and dad are here to care for them
and meet their needs.
This can be time consuming and seem unnatural but it so worth the time for bonding.
The kiddos will be with either dad or I at all times.


We will be keeping the other kids daily schedule 
as normal as possible -
getting them to soccer and gymnastics,
and other activities,
and playing with friends. 
All along keeping Laynee and Miles near to us.

If things go as they have in the past,
we will be keeping close to home as much as possible.
Being away from our other kids for this long of a period -
regression can happen  -
so we pull everyone closer. 


We may be doing things differently than you would think 
we should be doing for and with a 5 year old and 3 year old,
but know that everything we do
is to begin to heal their wounds from their past 
and build the bond between all of us. 

We will be getting to know them also,
so sometimes we may not be communicating well - 
but we will be trying. 
And we will find a way to communicate with each other.



So, if you see us around town -
please say hi! 
We love to chat and introduce our kiddos to you,
but please do not pick them up 
or give them gifts at this time. 
We want them to know how special they are,
but we need this to come from the immediate family. 
We thank y'all for your prayers and excitement for us!
We are so excited to finally be bringing our babies home!
Thank you for understanding 
and being patient with all of us during this time of transition!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Deep hurts

There are times when we think our kiddos are doing well.

Healing is going well,
transition is going well,
and 
life as our crazy, chaotic family 
is going well.  


Until, there is that one trigger 
that just rocks my child's world!!

Donovan is an amazing kiddo!
He has experienced more than I have,
and has seen more than 
I can ever imagine.

But, he holds our family together!

Until, the trigger - getting his blood drawn.

We are doing neurotransmitter testing on him,
our doctor is hoping that it will show his vitamin deficiencies 
that will help with his dyslexia.
(I'm so amazed at how supplements work and feed the brain!!)

Needless to say,
My boy and I were able to get some bonding time together.
Through fear we can hold each other closer -
and prove that we will get through the hurts together.

After the drama,
the sweet nurses let us sit there on the floor for a while,
just holding each other and crying. 
Donovan hasn't let go like this in a long time.
and I needed a good cry too.

Though I hated to see my son so fearful -
I was so thankful to be there for him.

When we were calm and came out of the room, 
the other kiddos were waiting for us -
everyone came to us for a treat from the nurse,
everyone but Jailyn. 

Jailyn was silent.

I went to her and gave her a hug and she melted.
She was terrified for her brother. 

I just love the bond that my family has!
God has built our family in ways I never thought possible!
To God be the glory!

Friday, June 26, 2015

4 years of forever!

This past week, we celebrate Donovan and Elijah's 
4 years of being in our arms!!! 




We love these days,
as we cherish how God has built our family.

But, we also share the grief of this day!


The day they walked away from their orphanage is joyous.
The day they became sons to us is a reason to celebrate!

But, the realization that no adoption 
is without major hurts,
and loss of their biological family
 is not forgotten.

I am so very thankful that Donovan and Elijah 
remember our time in Ethiopia with happy memories.

Memories of staying in the "fancy" hotel 
(as Donovan refers to it),
and driving Uncle JB "nuts" by pushing all the buttons
on everything in our rooms!!!
(Donovan still laughs about that!!)


The memories of Elijah constantly flooding the bathroom,
because we couldn't keep him out of the water!
And when Uncle JB almost had a heart attack when 
Elijah ran into the busy street 
right after their adoption was final!

 
Ohhhh that boy!!! 


The memories of flying home and the sweet teens on our flight 
who had just been on a summer mission trip and were on 
a wonderful spiritual high 
and didn't mind their seats being kicked every 30 seconds!
And having this new momma fall asleep 
as the teens entertained the boys!! 
(Total mom fail!!!)

The memories of getting off the plane and Donovan and Elijah 
seeing Daddy again 
and meeting the majority of our family!!


I love hearing their stories now of what they thought then!
(perk to adopting older kids!)

These two boys have forever changed our family 
and for that we are incredibly thankful! 
These past four years have brought us closer to our boys,
and closer to our Heavenly Father!
Learning more about PTSD has been very, very hard!
But, 
had we not said "yes" 
when God called us - 
we would not be who we are today,
and neither would our boys!


Looking back on the past four years I have to ask myself,
knowing now what I know now -
would I do this again? 

Absolutely!!! 
These boys are worth every ounce of energy that we have 
put into them,
and more!!!



Friday, June 19, 2015

Ten? Already???

I can't believe our Donovan is already 10 years old!!

We met him when he was 5 
and he turned 6 days before we were 
able to take him away from the orphanage!
Finally!!

(Donut cake requested again by the birthday boy!!)

This crazy, sweet, shy, sarcastic boy
stole my heart with the first photo that I saw of him!

(Wish I had gotten my good camera out - but we were in a hurry to get 
to our last day of swim lessons)

But the more I get to know him,
my love for him grows deeper and deeper!!

This sweetie is incredibly kind! 

He is a nurturer! 
He is the best big brother!

(Best bud!!!) 

Daily, I find him snuggled with one of his brothers!

He loves to help me in the kitchen,
and help Dad and Conner with yard work.
He loves hands on learning!

Donovan loves being on the soccer field!
After almost every game I have a parent come to me 
and complement Donovan on his ability
to read the field 
and his strong leg that is almost always on target!

(T and Donovan have been friends since kindergarten! T was so sweet to Donovan
when Donovan had only been home for 7 weeks and started school!
The boys don't see each other very often but they are besties!)

Donovan does have some struggles,
and birthdays are always a bit rough.


(After soccer game, birthday celebration!!! )

Donovan was raised for the first 3'ish years 
by his biological family in Ethiopia. 
Birthdays always seem to bring up those memories 
and I cherish the conversations that we have about 
his memories,
and the silent moments that we share -
sometimes you just don't have to say a word!

Our family is forever changed by this boy!
We are so thankful to call him "son"!!!

(Mom and Dad couldn't decide what to get our sweet boy -
so we decided to let him pick for himself!
Love that he loves Lego's!) 

Happy 10th birthday Donovan!




Friday, June 12, 2015

Really?? You've got to be kidding me!!!

I have been really bad at blogging lately,
but I had to document this!
Our blog is used as my little family photo album,
and this just had to be in here too!!

This happened,


oh yes, 

just weeks before traveling to China to bring home 
our Laynee and Miles!!


At first we were told the water that we saw
in our bathroom was from a broken pipe 
in the foundation,
under a structural wall!! 
Oh, that is NOT good!

Then we noticed steam coming out of our dishwasher
when the dishwasher was cold!! 
Kinda freaky!!


I went out of town for a business convention...
hubby was home with 9 kids and water issues!!
Bless his heart!!!

He called the dishwasher repair man who quickly made the conclusion 
that the dishwasher had a broken valve,
and that was were all the water was coming from.
Better than water from the foundation!!


Needless to say, our floors needed to be pulled up,
and vans and de-humidifiers needed to be brought in 
so that no mold would grow!

We now wait on insurance to get this all together 
and we will get new wood floors
before we leave for China!! 

This is not what we planned for this month,
and I was in complete shock when I got home 
to see all the floors ripped up,
before we had a game plan!


But, nothing will keep us from Laynee and Miles!! 
Plane tickets are bought!
Visa's are in hand!
Packing has begun today!! 

In 31 days we will be holding this spit fire!!


And cuddle with this sweet pea!


To God be the glory!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kindergarten Graduation

Wow!!! 

What a year!!! 



All the fears I had in sending my boy to his first day of kindergarten!!


Worrying about how the kids were going to treat him!


Worrying more about how the adults 
were going to talk to their kids about him!
(adults can be really stupid)

To see him grow and spread his wings,
not allowing me to walk him down the kindergarten hall,

and then not even want me to walk into the school with him.
Really dude?
Give your mom a break!!


Then breaking the news to him that he would have to have 
major surgery and be out of school,
and away from his friends for 2 months!!


The anxiety of sending him back to school,
in his back brace!
Making sure everyone knew his limitations!


And watching him 
become more and more confident in himself 
and in his friends!!


The looks he got from people at the beginning of the year,
were always so inquisitive.
Innocent - just inquisitive for the most part.


To now, 
we can't walk near the school without students of all ages yelling, "Hagan"
and wanting a fist bump!
And all the girls squeal with delight when they see him!

He is the Super Star of the school!!


Watching my son enjoy his Kindergarten Graduation!! 



Of course, he now thinks he is so smart that 
he "will be going to college with Kenzie tomorrow!
He will bring his clothes and blankets too!"


Ohhh not yet, buddy!! 
I am so NOT ready for that!!! 

Congratulations Hagan!!


You are one in a million!!
We love you more than you will every know!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another option!!!

We are excited to add another t-shirt design 
to our fund raising!!! 


Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance 
about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

FAITH - is Laynee's middle name!

The poppy flowers on the front have special meaning too.
Miles "John" is named after my father,
who was called to heaven before meeting 11 of his 12 grandkids.
But they all know him by his grandpa nickname of "poppy".

This scripture verse is one of my favorite verses.
Though we don't know God's plan, 
we can be assured that HE is in control
and has a plan
far beyond what we could think of. 

Like our Superman tee's we will be holding our first round of sales until June 1st.
And have a goal of 75 tee's for each design!
The Faith tee's can be ordered in regular fit or fitted.
Superman tee's are only regular fit.
They are both soft fabric tee's, very comfortable!




Thank you for your support!





Monday, May 18, 2015

Miles turned 3!

When I first saw my boys photo 2 years ago,


I couldn't imagine missing one of his birthdays!


We've now missed 3!


This year we celebrated a world a part - 
but never, ever again buddy!!!



This was your last birthday 
without your forever family!! 


We're sooo excited to get you home
and celebrate the amazing treasure that you  are
every single day!!!
(though there probably wont be cake every day -
but with our over-sized family,
there is a lot of birthday cakes throughout the year!)


FYI - our fundraising to help bring Miles and Maklayne home is still going on!
June 1st is our last day to take orders. 



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Superman was adopted!!!

We are so excited to announce our 
t-shirt fundraiser!!!


Isn't that so cool!!

Fund the Nations has done an amazing job
of designing this for us!! 

You can go to our 
Gofundme account 
to place your order,
and make your donation.

Our goal is 75 shirts by June 1st!

Thank you so much for helping us bring our babies home!!
We are so grateful for each and every gift!!
To God be the glory!


Ohhhh my goodness!!!
They are just too cute!!!



Monday, May 4, 2015

Jailyn says, "Never quit!"


Jailyn had her gymnastics State competition 
this saturday,
and though she did really well -

it was more than her medals 
that brought this momma to tears!



Last year's state meet was a rough one!

Jailyn and I were focused on her upcoming 
surgery.
We were both really nervous and 
sometimes it's just hard to focus on doing any flips!

After Jai's craniofacial and bone graft surgery,
she was out of gymnastics for 3 months.


(Jai's bear, "whitney" in her 2014 state t-shirt)

When she finally got back to the gym,
she was very nervous about hurting her hip
and mouth.

She has spent the year fighting back!

She has had many, many ups and down!!!!

Struggling through the long work out hours,
when she just wanted to stay home and play
with her friends.

She absolutely loves this sport,
but the emotional ride can be a rough one on a 9 year old!

But she never gave up!!

She saw friends achieve their goals 
and be successful,
she was always happy for them but often struggled 
through the tears, asking me 
if the sacrifice will be worth it?
I tried to tell her that "what if?"
What it she quit now,
just when all of her work was about to pay off.
Of course she had to make that decision.

After meeting with her coach, 
she decided that she would commit to another year!
And work her hardest to succeed at the State meet!

But that darn beam,
was her nemesis!!!  
Falling at least once at each meet 
(which she hadn't done in seasons before). 


And that she did!!! 
All of her events were the strongest she has ever done!

Bars 8.90 - 6th place!!!




Beam 9.225 - 2nd place!
Her nemesis!!!!

2nd place, y'all!!!!




Floor 9.075 - 6th place!!! 




Vault 9.275 - 8th place!!!


When I had realized that she had made the podium for
every event -
I thought maybe she will get something for
All-Around!

And she did!!!
She got 3rd Place!!!
 

This girl was ecstatic!!!
And her momma was in tears!!!


Jailyn has taught me so much since the first day I held her
in Nanjing China!
But today, she reminded me
to never give up!
Never quit!!

God has given us all such amazing talents and gifts,
sometimes we have to dig deep
to get through the bumps in the road -
but when we stay focused
we will succeed!!

To God be the glory!!
We are so thankful to HIM for bringing
our little champion home to us!



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