Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Are Breathing A Little More Deeply

There is so much I want to write about, but due to bad winter storms, we are being forced to pack up to leave tomorrow for our Texas Christmas as soon as Steve gets off work and then we will drive all night to get to Texas. 
Before we leave I wanted to write a few things...
-Thank you all for your comments on the last few post.  I can never truly tell you all how much your words of encouragement, support and prayers mean to me/us.
-Noelani and Clive are doing a little better each day, thus, I feel like we can breathe a little better right now.
-It is so cute because Noelani will look at Kiana (our other Chinese daugher, home since she was 11 months old) and talk to her in Chinese thinking that she will be able to translate, which, of course, she can’t.
-The children are really doing well with each other...Clive even began to play games with the children yesterday...big step for him.
-Clive has no concept of what will hurt him right now, and  accidentally  burned his cheek on the hot light shade...poor baby.  I must watch him even more closely, even though he was in the same room as I was.  I just had never thought of him climbing up on the back of the couch and touching the floor lamp with his face - honestly, I’m still not sure how he did it.
-There really are some pretty funny moments that come up with us trying to communicate with our new Chinese speaking children, but I’m to tired to think of an example right now.
-Which leads to the fact that I am may be getting 3-4 hours of sleep right now...I am so tired.
Again, thank you all for your prayers for us.  I am so grateful...I hope that I can blog more in the next few days...but I will as soon as I can.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hope Is A Fixed Anchor

I’m not finding it easy to post these pictures, or my thoughts when I see them.  Yet, this is the LORD’s story, and OUR story.  We do not know what the ending is yet.  But HOPE is our anchor.  
First meeting with Clive.

First meeting with Noelani.

She was very upset and scared.  

Our translators tried to help us with her questions and her fears.  This is so NOT like receiving a baby.  I can’t hold them or comfort them.  Sorry, I really have no words.

She is showing me her photo book from the orphanage.  It was so noisy and stressful in this room with dozen’s of children crying in the background.   

My thoughts here were “O.K. little girl, we are BOTH going to have to be brave...I’m scared, your scared, but we have to walk this thing through.  


Trying to talk with Steve at the hotel.  Things really went from bad to worse for all of us.  Noelani wrapped up in the curtains, mumbled in Chinese and wouldn’t come out.  
I can SAY that we prepared for this adoption of older children; we knew and understood how hard it can be for older children.  But, I can also now say that there is no way I could have ever been prepared for the EMOTIONS - both ours and theirs.  The next weeks placed this experience as one of the top three worse things I have gone through in my adult life.  There have been times in my life that I felt I was following the LORD’s will, and yet when I was walking it out, I would have easily told God that had of I “known” how hard it was going to be, I wouldn’t have done it.  I’m glad that I had those experiences to look back on and draw hope from as we woke each day and my raw emotions were saying “LORD, I can’t do this. I DON’T WANT to do this.”
Kalyn and I, our family, and being adopted were rejected and hated and this was certainly communicated to us in no uncertain terms. 
Shell shock would be the best way to describe our time in China.  And I just couldn’t find those “warm-fussy” mothering feelings anymore.  Kalyn and I daily encouraged each other with prayer, scripture and songs, yet mostly we just did the next things that had to be done and prayed that our time in China would end soon.  I have to say up front, our agency, ASIA, was AMAZING in their support for our family.  They saw this for the crisis that it was and truly went out of their way to help this adoption succeed.  I am very grateful to them and to Jacqueline, who allowed me to cry and express my fears and feelings in safety, and also listened to and tried to help Noelani and Clive.  How grateful I was that she was in the same hotel with us, and I often had to call her for help.  
I have been up at 3 the last few nights, thinking things threw and praying.  I read a beautiful devotional from E. Elliot in the early hours of this morning.  I’ll share from it later, but for now, I wanted to begin our story, because it is with HOPE and in FAITH, that I believe the ending of the story will be amazing, because I know that we belong to and faithful and amazing God.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I NEED a baa-baa...

These were the first words that my darling baby Keshawn said to me today, right after he hugged me, patted my back, and said he was glad that I was home.  He also showed me his casted arm and asked me to kiss it.  After I fed him his bottle last night, just hours after we came home with our two newest children, Keshawn then threw up his supper and his bottle all over his blue casted arm.  (Laughing) I am so glad to be home!!!!  The warm “mothering”feelings that I haven’t felt for a few days, came rushing back up like a spring out of the dry ground.  
Noelani and Clive did “pretty” good on the way home.  I cried when the USA stamped their pass ports and said “They are now American citizens.”  
I want to thank you all for your prayers, and sweet encouragement to us.  You up held me while I was there.
Guess what we received today?  Just hours after being home, we found out that our family had been nominated and received the support of our church to be gifted with a Walmart gift card for several hundred dollars AND we got to “shop” in the church lobby for Christmas gifts given by the church for families.   Because of different things, we really weren’t going to give the children Christmas gifts.  How fun it was for Steve and I to look at all the toys and games and choose things that we knew the children would enjoy.  We were a little afraid when we first walked in and the lady asked us how many children we were “shopping” for.  Steve laughingly said “ummmmmmmmm, we have 13 children, but we could just pick for 10 if that is O.K.?”  The lady was sweet and said “That’s fine, we have your family down for 12.”  Even though we didn’t pick things for 12 children, it was certainly a blessing to pick things for the children.  
I am so tired!  LOL  Steve and I were up with Clive and Noelani most of the night.  I have not slept well for weeks!  When Steve took Clive down stairs around 5 a.m. I fell ASLEEP for the 1st time in almost 3 weeks.  And boy, did I sleep.  I kept thinking that it was may be 10:00 a.m. and then Steve came in and said it was 1:00 p.m. and he was afraid that if I didn’t get up, I wouldn’t sleep tonight. 
So, tonight, I am so glad to be home!! And to be with my family again.  
Please PRAY for my mom (Gommy) and my dad (Dandy).  A very heavy box fell on Dandy today, and at first he thought his leg was broke.  We are praying that it is just badly bruised.  And after years of favoring the one leg that was not damaged in the accident, Gommy found out that the “good” knee has pretty much collapsed.   She needs a surgery to replace that knee.  It had to support so much for so long that it just gave out.  We are praying our way though Christmas.  We are suppose to leave next Thursday for Texas....
I have so many thoughts about that and China.  I am praying to have time to write them down here in the next few days.  
BUT for now, there is a little baby boy, with his arm in a cute little blue cast, that NEEDS his baa-baa...
so I will write more soon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

From shonni

I have not figured out a way around the block here in Ch. so I have not been able to post on my blog.  However, that is really only half the reason for not personally writing anything. Many of you have probably “figured” out from Steve and Caresse’s little notes that things have been very hard here.  I honestly have had no words for what we all are going through. Some where along the way, my understanding and love for these little people has been murked up in the hard emotions and their extreme misbehavior.  Believe me when I say that right now, love IS A CHOICE for us.  If I did not have faith in the LORD’s good plans for our us, I am not sure how we would have gone on.   I still really don’t know what to say to you all except to share the thoughts of my heart ... the anchor that has help me the last few weeks.  The Lord reminded me the 1st few days that He loved us first, before we loved Him and that He loved us while we were still in our “ugliness” - our sin and bad attitudes.  Boy, do these two have some “ugliness” and bad attitudes that are hard to love “past”.  N. has truly done a very good job of trying to push us away and make us “hate” her.  C mimics her bad stuff and then adds his own little battles to the field.  Kalyn and I have slept very little, and are truly exhausted emotionally.  
I have also been remembered the words that He spoke to me earlier this Autumn...to be faithful in the work that He has for us to do.  “In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” Ps. 22:4-5.  My parents have certainly been an examples of “the fathers” who trusted the LORD, and now Steve and I have the chance to yet again, show, in action, our trust in God.  How many times I have prayed and asked the LORD to teach me His paths, His ways...”Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  Lead me in Your trust and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.” Ps. 25-4-5  Is He surely not answering that prayer and teaching me to love as He loves me?
Other comfort has come from these verses “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.  Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.  The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.  Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.”  Ps. 25”15-18.  
And the LORD has reminded me of my “field” right now...”The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely He has given to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”  2 Cor. 9:6-12
My eyes turn to the LORD right now, often with no words to even speak.  We must keep our eyes on Him and on His truth.  He has led us to this ministry - to parent these children.  My emotions don’t want to...my heart is seeking Him for the strength...it will not be by my might or for my praise, but for His glory and His praise.  
Today, we got up and breathed.  Last night the oldest threw a fit of epic proportions in the lobby that was out of control.  I wont go into to details, but she has been under “house arrest" today.  I just can’t trust what she will do in public.  Please pray us home sweet friends.  And thank you for your amazing support, help, encouragement and prayers through this journey.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Test OK

They did x-rays on Clive and everything is all right! Still having difficulties with Noelani and her adjustments to her new life. Being very challenging and emotions are strained. Need to get her home where we can love and parent her and help her. Pray Jesus surround, comfort, protect, and minister to her and all of her fears/anxiety that are causing her to act out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Update from Shonni-Clive is having a reaction to the TB scratch test. Going on for the follow up today. May need X-ray depending on what the Dr. says. Maybe nothing, but don't know yet. Things still very stressful for everyone. Please keep praying! Thanks.

Adjustments, Alvin and Anticipation

So we are 5 days from us all being a family together again. From my talks with Shonni and Kalyn, they are more than ready to be home. This has been an emotionally challenging and draining trip. Not quite the “adventure” we had all hoped it to be. Noelani and Clive are still going through adjustments which are trying. Noelani; breaking out in hives, being difficult, testing the limits and resistant to bonding. Clive; loving and bonding, but also clingy to Shonni at times, to the point he makes her carry him everywhere, and yet not very nice to Kalyn. He does well in the hotel room, but becomes unruly in public.  Should any of this come as a surprise? These babies are coming from an orphanage environment and into a very strange world they no little of. The fear, anxiety, stress in these little ones must be enormous. We pray for the love of Jesus to shine through, His wisdom to know how to parent these children, their hearts to be softened, His peace to reign.

On the home front, all is essentially well. The kids just finished watching “Alvin and the Chipmunks – the Squeakqual”  - what more needs to be said? We are working to keep the house picked up and clean, to have no further injuries, and to keep the peace (we have had a few “negative attitudes” but overall not bad. We’ve been watching lots of movies, playing Kinects (even with Jace and Karlie over the internet), doing crafts, and just getting ready for mommy, Kalyn, Noelani and Clive to be home.

I think we are all anxious about the weeks that lay ahead with our new family, the holidays, traveling, and beyond. I am sure there will be more adjustments, not only for the two new little ones, but for the rest of us as well. But isn’t that what He has called us to? Not a life of ease and comfort, but one of risk and challenge? Stepping out in faith which more often than not will mean difficulties? It is in those times that we get to see God move and learn to trust in Him and not in our own efforts. For it is only through Him in us that we can accomplish anything.

We greatly appreciate your prayers and your notes of encouragement and support. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas shopping.

A shopping day with nine children can be pretty hectic, but no more then usual! Today me and Dad are getting all of our presents together for Christmas and birthday's! Thank you all for your prayers for Keshawn's arm. He is doing much better and being as much a little stinker as always =).  Here is a pictures of him with his cast. He wouldn't smile and open his eyes for me.Haha.

Kalyn and Mom are still going through some problems so please continue praying for them. Below are Pictures of my three latest sewing projects, a long silk dress,
                                                                      A green peasant shirt   

And a new pillowcase with a doe embroidery.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Trials continue- please keep praying!

Wishing I could take my ladies place in China as they weather the storm of transition with the children. It is emotionally taxing, for all of them. Not the smooth, seamless process we all hoped and prayed for. But difficult does not always mean bad, but when you are in the midst of it, I know it is hard to see the other side. I can pray and encourage from half a world away, but what I wish I could do is hold them, comfort them, and even take their place. Lord, where their faith is challenged, may my faith suffice, for the hope lays not in the size of my faith, but in the greatness of my God in whom I have faith!

Need for Prayer in China

Just spoke with Shonni. She has Noelani and Clive, but they are having a very difficult first go of it right now. Big adjustment issues with the kids. Please keep them in prayer! Got to imagine it is a huge change for these two kids to be leaving their "home" at the orphanage to go with these two strangers. Shonni and Kalyn need wisdom and strength on how to love them through this process.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Beijing, Broken Bones, and Blessings

Caresse has been doing a great job giving some tidbits to keep ya'll up to date, Thanks sweetie! I thought I would try and fill everyone on a bit more of the happenings. Unfortunately, there will be no pictures, because Shonni and Kalyn took all of the cameras with them! Imagine that!

Beijing - So Shonni and Kalyn made it safely to Beijing on Wednesday. With the wonders of technology, we have been able to Skype with them a couple of times (usually first thing in their am and in the late afternoon for us given the 15 hour time difference). Other than being extremely tired the first day, they have been having a great time. They are more or less getting a personal tour since there is no one else in their group. Also since it is winter (yes freezing temps and snow) there are very few crowds at all of the tourist sites. Even their tour guide has commented that she is getting to see things she has not seen since she was a little girl. as would be expected, in some situations, Shonni and Kalyn have become the tourist attraction, with people asking to take their picture or discretely taking is to capture the foreigners on film!

They have gotten to see several temples, the great wall, forbidden city, the summer palace, Tienanmen Square as well as Kung fu and acrobatic shows. They will be flying to  Guangzhou on Sunday and then meet Noelani and Clive on Monday. These few days in Beijing have been a nice opportunity to not just see some of China, but also to adjust to the changes (time and culture) before they meet the children. There is still some anxiety about meeting the children; how they will respond, how they all will communicate, and more, but having a few days prep under their belts will certainly help.

Bones - of course our adventure has included the littlest one, Keshawn, breaking his arm the day Shonni and Kalyn left for China. Pretty traumatic to start things off, but life has settled down now (as much as it can with 9 little ones and daddy in charge!)   Keshawn is healing well, so much so that other than the cast on his arm you never know he had recently been hurt! Everyone else is doing well too, missing mommy and sister of course, but making the best of the time they are away. We have had snow and cold weather, which limits any outside play, but we have had inside play time, movies, and even sleeping out in the family room one night!

Blessing - What can I say, we have had numerous blessings to be thankful for: friends who came to help at a moments notice when I had to stay in the hospital with Keshawn ( Thanks Hannah and Theresa!)  Help from family with last minute adoption expenses, able to get a last minute loan to cover the in country fees (not what we planned to do, but thankful we were able to and well worth taking out a loan to bring our children home), finally got our full tax refund, unexpectedly and with interest! (now we can get some pesky bills paid off!) Lots of prayer support. words of encouragement, and well wishes. We are thankful for everyone who is standing with us as we walk out this journey of faith.

God is so good and so faithful. We see that each and everyday, through the good times and the tough times. For me the lesson learned (again!) is to always keep Him at the center and to not let the circumstances of life take precedence over Him as I am often guilty of doing. I too easily think I have to focus on the problems to try and find answers or solutions, when in fact what I must do is look past the problems to Him and let Him rule in my heart soul and mind. Whenever I finally get around to doing that it is incredible how He brings the answers and solutions!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Keshawn is doing wonderful, they got the bone set and put it in a cast and sling thank you all for your prayers. Mom and Kalyn have made it to Beijing and are doing great. They will continue to Guangzhou on Sunday, Which will be Saturday here. Again thank you all for your prayers.
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