Hebrews 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My birthday...

So today is my birthday.  After Olivia's therapy, which again her therapist was pretty impressed with how well she does walking(!), we went to get some yummy Chinese food in Chinatown. :-). We were going to get some cake and try a moon pie at the pastry shop after lunch, but I didn't have any cash (many places here don't take cards, which I never can remember), so we went to Target instead.:-). I must admit I have felt a little lonely today not being surrounded by the rest of my favorite people.  I did talk with them numerous times today, so that was nice and it warmed my heart when the kids sang Happy Birthday to me over the phone.:-) Don't get me wrong this is a special time for Olivia and I, and I am very thankful to have this time with her, but I can still miss the others.  

As I was feeling a little homesick this evening I saw this video on Facebook....
And then this one.....

Oh how my heart breaks for these kids, for all of the children in this world who have no family.  God was reminding me of what I have and miss, yes.  But He also is reminding me that His heart breaks for them as well.  He loves these children more than I could ever imagine and he wants us, ALL of us, to do something to help these kids.  In his name we have to fight for them.  I just can't imagine the feeling of complete despair that so many children live with every day. 
I pray....God, PLEASE help me help them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Physical therapy......

Olivia and I came up to Philly yesterday for a week of physical therapy.  Originally, the plan was to see the dr yesterday (Monday) and have PT all week then go home Friday.  Well, the dr ended up being out of town this week so they said I could still come up and do PT all week, stay through the weekend, and see the dr on the following Monday, or we could reschedule for October.  Since I had already gotten off work and planned for this week, not to mention the fact that I had already pushed this week back about a month more than when the dr wanted us to come, I decided it probably wouldn't be best to wait any longer.  So we're here, and I must admit I have somewhat dreaded this trip, Philly is not my favorite city.  However, we got into the Ronald McDonald House that I prefer, only because its closest to Shriners and has a tv in the rooms.  There's something about being in a strange place and no tv that makes me on edge, I like the noise at night.  What can I say, I'm use to a lot of noise....LOL.  Olivia has met another little girl with AMC here who is also 3, adopted, and just adorable.  They have had so much fun playing together. tonight after dinner Olivia said "Mommy, my friend" and pointed to the little girl as they were playing together.  So sweet!!! 

We had her first PT session today, they really just assessed her and got a baseline for her ROM, they seemed pretty pleased with most, she isn't able to flex her feet so that will be something we will have to work on, or she will have a hard time walking one day without braces.  Olivia did great, much better than I expected.  When we drove into the parking garage she turned her lip down and started whining.  I said "we're not getting casts, you're going to walk" and she said "Walk? No casts?" With a big smile......after that she was happy as can be.  Talking and singing during therapy, being cute, like always! 
Speaking of happy, over the past few days she will say "Mommy, I happy". It just melts my heart, I'll say "I'm so happy you're happy" and she just smiles the biggest smile!  
Tonight she was laying in bed and I leaned in to kiss her forehead and laid my hand on her chest, hugging my hand she said "My mommy." I know I've told many of you how she says "mine" for everything lately.  However most of the time when she says "my mommy" it's more of a question or a game she's playing with others (including her siblings) rather than a statement.  Tonight it was nothing but an assuring, absolute, this is "my Mommy."  Oh how thankful I am to have another daughter.  I get to love on her the rest of my life and will always be HER mommy! 

The beach!

We took the kids on a surprise trip to Florida over Labor Day weekend.  We stayed in Orlando and drove to Cocoa Beach and treasure island every day.  It was so nice to have a week of just the 6 of us.  We had a great time!  This was Olivia's first time at the beach.  She was not too sure of the waves. She liked sitting at the edge of the water and letting the water come to her, but didn't like it if Mike or I held her and took her out where the waves were big and crashing.  She also wasn't too crazy about the sand on her hands, she would play with the toys on the beach, being very careful not to get her hands dirty.:-) 
We had a great surprise while we were there, friends that we traveled with in China, who adopted a little boy were at Disney World.  They live in OK, so we have not seen them since China.  We met for lunch our last day at Downtown Disney, it was so nice seeing hem again. Olivia was a little hesitant at first, but soon warmed up to Jayden and they were soon playing together.  I hope we will be able to meet up with them again one day!

             Swimming with sea rays!

              Diving into the sand....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

6 months.......

It's hard to believe Olivia has been our daughter and sister for just 6 months.  It feels like she has always been here.  We are constantly asked, how is she doing, how is she adjusting? And honestly, she has fit in perfectly.  She acts as though any 3 year old would act, the kids still adore her, and she has attached to both Mike and I. We couldn't be more thankful for how well she has done.  Yes, she is stubborn, and VERY persistent, and maybe even a little spoiled........but that makes for a very strong woman one day! :-)  Her English is coming a long, we are understanding more and more, there are still many sounds she can't say, like "k", or "th", or "f".  But I am sure with time and help, she will get it! Unfortunately she has not gained any weight......but I have stopped worrying so much about it.  She eats well, still not a lot but a decent amount, and she is constantly moving and pulling herself along, so I'm sure she is burning all the calories she eats.  Someone once told me that kids with Arthrogryposis are commonly smaller than their peers, so that may be part of it as well.  
The smelly casts are gone and she is in cute zebra print braces.  She is walking short distances with the help of a walker, and some whip cream.......(We have been bribing her to walk to a certain point with whip cream, no judgement please, she deserves it!)  Times have been a bit crazier than we had expected but so very worth it! Our weekly trips to Philly are done.....for now.  I'm sure we will be doing it again, her feet are already turning back in, which means she will need more casts, but for now we are enjoying the end of summer in the pool, and she LOVES it!  We do have another Philly trip planned for September, the week of my birthday.  She will have a week of "intense" physical therapy. 
On our last trip to Philly we stopped in DC...

These boys were adopted from China also, with Arthrogryposis.

Her new braces!

She LOVES the water!

Before and After!

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's been a while........

We've been a little busy.  Olivia and I have been traveling to Philadelphia weekly.  We have been leaving on either Wednesday or Thursday and coming home Friday or Saturday.  Some weeks we were only there for a night, some weeks we were there for 2 or 3.  I have been working 2-3 nights per week as well, so life has been crazy, to say the least.  BUT.....................So worth it!  Check this out......... 

Ok, I wasn't able to get the video of the first time she walked to upload, but I did get the second one.....:-)
Click HERE to see her walking!!!

We are in Philly now, enjoying some much needed family time.  Olivia gets her casts off tomorrow and her braces on......
Since I am leaving for Haiti on Wednesday we decided to make this a family trip and drive.  Otherwise it would have been about 2 weeks that I would have been away from the older kids, and I just couldn't fathom that.  It's a quick trip up and back in 4 days (all 4 days of driving), but so worth it.  It has been a great couple of days so far.  I'll post more later. :-)

Here's some pictures from the past few months.....

Saturday, May 11, 2013


So today is "Birth mom" Day........I have such mixed emotions. So many people post thanks and love to their children's birth mom, but I'm really having a hard time with it. The bottom line is the orphan crisis sucks, and I so wish "orphan" was a non-existent word. That babies weren't being left, abandoned for whatever reason or excuse they were or were not given. The truth is I have no idea why Olivia's birth parents abandoned her on a road in a VERY cold time of year. Am I thankful they didn't abort her, of course, am I thankful she's now my daughter, ABSOLUTELY. But adoption comes with trauma, the truth remains that she lived her first three years as an orphan, for three years she had no family, and for the rest of her life she will never know her biological family history or even her true birthdate. She will however know love and she will know God, who will give her the most comfort. Unfortunately life is never easy, many of us go through trauma. Mike's mom suffering from cancer for ten years and dying when he was 19 was a horrible traumatic experience for him and his siblings. Many know the sufferings of Cancer or the loss of a loved one, divorce, or even abandonment. Many people all over the world are starving or homeless, and don't even let me get started on the problem of children led homes. Did you know that America, being one of the richest countries in the world, is failing horribly in Faith? These third world countries of starving and homeless people and abandoned children have more faith in God (Christians) than us Americans could dream of having.......but that's another post for another day....
It is said over and over in the Bible that we (Christians) will suffer and we will have sorrow. Just google "verses about suffering", this one was my favorite.

Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Olivia is an amazing little girl, with indescribable character, she is determined, headstrong, and independent. I often wonder is that something she got from her birth mom or birth dad, or was it a God given gift to help her survive at 3 1/2 pounds while waiting for someone to find her that cold February day. There are so many unknowns, I have often wondered why and I have answered "hopefully it was because they just couldn't give her the help she needed, they hoped someone else could." I have anger too, I'll admit, and I HAVE to find it in myself to forgive them. God commands us to forgive others as He forgives us. I just love this little girl SO much and I think "How?" "How could you just leave her there?" Many what ifs run through my mind often. Then God reminds me "I love her more, I took care of her then and will always." So at the end of this day I have learned I must forgive. It doesn't matter why, it's done, and thankfully God lead me to her and I now have another beautiful, amazing daughter. As I watched her tonight specifically call each of her siblings to give them kisses and tell them "I wuv ooo 2, nat (night)!" I was filled with such joy, she now knows love. It was precious and wonderful and I am so thankful that God loves ME so much that He would trust me with another child to call mine while on this earth.
I don't know if Mother's Day is celebrated in China but I do hope that her Birth mom has some feeling of comfort and can rest that her baby is being loved and is no longer an orphan.

I use this blog as a journal of my feelings and experiences and even more a place to talk about God and His amazing works in our life. I felt the need to write the feelings I've had today without really knowing how this post would end. As I typed God showed me, I need to find forgiveness. What an amazing God we serve!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8th.......

May 8.......today has been a rough day for two parents miles apart. Today is Chase's birthday and as many of you know Olivia had her first surgery on her legs. I am here with Olivia and Mike is at home with the other three. All day Mike has had a hard time talking to Olivia, and not able to hold her and love on her, seems like he calls when she is the most upset. She had her Achilles lengthened in both legs and tendons in her hips released. Hopefully she will have more flexion in her hips and in return will help her to not hold her legs Indian style as much. Since she has always sat or laid with her legs open, her hips rotate out. We're hoping (praying) that this (and fixing her feet) will help her to turn her legs in. If her legs continue to be externally rotated then she will have to have the hip surgery that involves cutting the bone, turning it in, and pinning it.....sounds pretty rough. The dr said her feet are looking good. I wasn't able to see her feet out of the casts because they took the old ones off in the OR while she was asleep and put the new ones on before they woke her up. He said I will see a big difference next week when we're back. I can already tell a difference with her casts, her toes are pointing up and there is more flexion in her ankles. So I'm very anxious to get back next week and see the difference. Olivia has done ok today, she has had a lot of pain but the pain meds have worked pretty well. I think she has been the most traumatized by the IV and pulse ox on her finger.....she's sleeping well right now, praying for a good night!

God knew that we both didn't need to be here for Olivia's surgery. As upset as Mike has been not being here, I have felt the same with not being home. Today our oldest turned 12 and he probably had one of his best games of the season. I hated not being there to celebrate his day with him, but his Dad was, I would have felt even worse had neither of us been there.

With Mother's Day coming up, this is a perfect time to say how lucky I am to have my mom! She has helped us so much and never complains. This week she is running kids between karate, gymnastics, and school, taking pizza last minute to the school, making sure homework is done, and worrying about us up here. Not only does my mom help me A. LOT. She is also my best friend, someone who has taught me so much about life, about myself. She listens to me, still gives me advice, even when I don't ask......and always gives me an amazing role model to look up to as I continue to figure out this whole adult thing....;-)
Thank you Mom, I Love You!!

          We did get to celebrate Chase's birthday a few days early with Japanese!


They let me take Olivia back to the OR and get her to sleep.  I was so thankful, even with versed, she wasn't too happy.  I DID NOT want her to feel fear from them taking her from me.  If you've adopted then you understand, she's been "taken" once before, by me, and I don't want her to feel that fear ever again.