Friday, October 28, 2011

where's that sweet smile?

As much as I love receiving new photos of James, getting ones with his delicious smile beaming wide is definitely my preference.

So these?

Made me a little sad.

Doesn't our boy look a little blue here?

Don't you think he needs a little hug?


My hands are tied.

But, don't you worry, little buddy, pretty soon you'll be getting more hugs than your little self will know what to do with.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

sometimes he shouts

I hear it said all the time:

God's voice is often a soft, subtle whisper.

But the further into the adoption community JD and I go, the more we hear stories like this one.

Sometimes God just shouts.

Love it.

FamilyLife - Moments With You
October 21
Known by Name
The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, ... even Your altars, O LORD 
of hosts.
Psalm 84:3

I heard the story recently of a couple who, by their tenth anniversary, had been unable to conceive 
any children. Those of you who have experienced this heartbreak can readily relate to the frustration 
they felt, the void that remained so senselessly empty in their lives.

On days when they allowed themselves to think about it, they'd ponder what they might name a 
child if they were ever to have one. They had always been able to settle on a boy's name, but they 
both had a different favorite for a girl. The wife liked the name Autumn; the husband preferred 

But still, no child came. Boy or girl. So they went to Plan B and decided to adopt siblings.

You can imagine how they prayed for this opportunity to develop. They asked God to work His 
perfect will, to bind their hearts with just the right children from just the right situation. One day 
the adoption agency called with the news that two sisters--ages three and five--had been relinquished 
by their mother. Though she wasn't a believer herself, the woman had requested that her daughters 
be placed with a Christian family. That had moved this couple's name to the top of the list.

When they asked the social worker to tell them more about the girls, here's what she said: "They're 
both green-eyed blondes. The five-year-old is named Autumn. The three-year-old is named Amanda."

How amazing it is when God mends a broken heart and parts the curtain at times, showing us 
beyond the shadow of a doubt that He hears our prayers and knows our hearts. If you've been 
praying for a similar answer to your need, know that He never loses sight of you, that He knows 
where you are ... that He knows your name.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Now this is my kind of direct sales.

Look, I tried direct sales once.

I thought, 'What a great product!  This is meant for me to sell it!  What fun this will be!  And what a flexible schedule!'

Okay, so it wasn't for me.

I couldn't stand the feeling of 'pressuring ladies' into hosting a show or making a purchase (therefore I never did -- really couldn't have cared less about 'building my business').  Just wasn't for me.


This is the coolest reason to ever to sell a product.  This brilliant company formed out of a desire to help others.  Pure and simple.

And I mean help others.  

All over the world.

I've never known a direct sales company like this.  This was not started as a money-maker.  Read the story.  It's amazing!

And it doesn't hurt that they're stuff is beautiful and well-priced.  Buy something as a Christmas gift (starting with the Whitney earrings!) and help a woman across the globe support herself and her family -- potentially preventing her children from becoming orphans!

So brilliant.  Yet so simple really.

Introducing Noonday.

Monday, October 24, 2011


We have news!

I've been fabricating a post in my mind about what life looks like for us while we wait, but before I got to posting it...


An email?

Late this afternoon from our social worker?

Woot.  Woot.

Our dossier is (a-hem, finally!) done being translated.  Her words were:

I wanted to update you to let you know that we have confirmation that
your dossier is finally out of translation and back at CCCWA. I am not
sure when the Preliminary Approval/Letter Seeking Confirmation will be
issued but I will be sure to keep you posted.

We'll take it!

We're pumped!

It just feels good to have movement.

I do not like the feeling of being stuck.

Not one little bit.

Of course I'll let you know just as soon as we hear anything more!  By the way, JD and I were high-fiving in the kitchen when I got back from driving Avery's carpool, and he quickly said in gest, 'Maybe we'll get our preliminary approval this week!'  Eeek!

Amazingly, my innards now flip-flop at the thought of traveling before the end of year.  Talk about a reversal.  To think that I was pining so painfully to have James here by the start of 2012 and now the idea of traveling in the next eight weeks makes my head spin!  However, I believe to my core that we'll travel when the timing's right -- even if we have two days notice.  Ha!  I say that now, right!?  And, by the grace of God, we have such incredibly supportive and loving friends and family that we could leave on a dime and all would be well in our absence.  That is H.U.G.E.  I can't even tell you.

Love you guys.  ;)

{I'll still try to do a post about how James' family -- grin -- is surviving with his void!}  

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Well, it's been over three weeks since we heard that our dossier was 'stuck in translation.'  We also heard there were 'autumn holidays' in China a week or two ago and that we shouldn't expect any movement during that time.

So, naturally, we inquired about its status this week.

Our well-meaning social worker offered to have a conference call with us.  She thought it might be helpful for us to hear all they're doing to advocate for us.

No need for a conference call.  We just want to know where things stand.

We want to assume our agency is doing everything they can to advocate for us (and for James).

We want to believe that this standstill isn't because of lack of attention and effort on their part.

So we asked...

Is our PA (preliminary approval) on the horizon?


Well, surely our dossier is at least being reviewed now?


Okay.  (sigh)  Then please tell us it's at least done being translated...


So there's been no change whatsoever?


Well, okey-dokey then.

Here we are!

Just a-waitin'!

And if I do say so myself, waiting quite well, I think!  We have peace with God's timing.

It seems that with every day we wait, we grow to love that boy even more.  God's so smart.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

i'm a fruitcake

I wasn't sure I would ever publish this post.  I started writing it last week and it's kinda sat here.  Then I got an email from a friend who I'd confided in recently.  She was passing along a blog post she'd come across about a very real, yet difficult to put our fingers on, reality.

Spiritual battles.


It's true.

Despite the movies that Hollywood puts out there depicting evil, not everyone believes in good and evil.  Sure most of us agree that bad things happen.  And sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Actually, very often bad things happen to good people.  But are the movies just 'good entertainment' or is there some truth to it?

I'm a firm believer that we live in a physical world with a very real spiritual element to it.  I can't remember who to give credit to, but I've heard it quoted that we're not physical beings with spiritual natures, but spiritual beings with physical natures.  In other words, we're spiritual first.  Our spirit is who we really are.  Which is a good thing because with what's happening to this body of mine physically (a-hem), at least I can cling to the knowledge that my spirit will exist {unchanged} forever!    

What about the belief that spiritual battles exist?  I never used to give it much thought, but over the years I've grown more and more aware of this very real happening.

There is an enemy.  He wants to harm us.  He is out for no good.  He is evil.

There is a Friend.  He wants what's best for us.  He loves us.  He created us and wants to protect us.

The very character of the enemy is to create pain and suffering.  His mission is to remove all good in the world and eliminate any and all glory that God may receive.   He hates God.  And wants God to be small and he wants himself to be big.

God is BIG.

The enemy is small.

But if we don't keep our armor on, we're in trouble.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.                 

Ephesians 6:12-13

There it is.  This is not a physical struggle.  This is a spiritual struggle.   

Friends, I have been in a spiritual battle of late.  I share this because I want to be transparent here.  I want you to know that I'm human.  I have struggles.  I am someone who falls short.  I'm a mess and always have been!

I've been battling vertigo for the last couple of months.  And then I started experiencing anxiety around very regular, day-to-day activities (grocery shopping, going to church, meeting up with people).  I'd even feel anxious just being at home!  I've never been an anxious person.  I've never had vertigo.  I've had multiple appointments with an ENT, tests and more recently, an MRI.

As you know, our adoption of James is in its final leg.  We have seen God's mighty hand so many times through these months -- not just in our lives, but in the spirit of that sweet little boy I'll get to call my son.

There is no question in my mind that glorious, miraculous, mighty, powerful displays by God are something the enemy would like to cloud.  He does not want, for one second, God to receive the glory He's due for redemption efforts like James'.  He, frankly, would love to foil our plans to adopt James.  Or make me feel like a basket case who's ill-equipped to raise my current four, let alone another child with special needs.

But I know otherwise.

I know that God's Word says that with God anything is possible.  And that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Boy, have I felt his MIGHTY HAND on me over the last week.


In the last two weeks -- just in the last 10 or 14 days! -- I didn't know what was going on with me.  From what others describe, I likely experienced two panic attacks.  Once going to church (shortness of breath, heaviness on my chest and sweaty palms).  Then I almost didn't get through my MRI.  Suffice it to say, I prayed non-stop and sang 'Amazing Grace' off and on for 30 minutes.  I have never been so panic-stricken in my life.

I felt like I was losing it.  I was not Heather.  Period.  I was not myself.  And I didn't know who I was becoming.

Then a dear, sweet friend spoke truth to me.  I told her what had been going on over the last couple of weeks and the horrific experience that was my MRI.  She said she thought I was under spiritual attack.  That with all that God's been doing in my life, in my family's life, it made sense.  I burst into tears.  She and the other friends who were there prayed over me.  And I felt this immediate lightness.  I felt hope.  I felt empowered.  Because I know that once the source of suffering is identified as the enemy, I have the power of God on my side and He would ultimately have the victory.

Starting one week ago today, I have spent time praying and literally on my face on the floor asking God to take this from me.

I found these verses and they spoke to me in my time of need:

 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
   “God opposes the proud
   but shows favor to the humble.”[a]
 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:5-11

I don't know what else to say, but it. is. gone.


No vertigo.

No dizziness.

No lightheadedness.

No anxieties.

No tightness in my chest.

No shortness of breath.

No sweaty palms.

No mistaking what just occurred in me.

The Holy Spirit intervened.

The enemy retreated because, frankly, it's not much fun to battle against God.

Listen, I know how weird this sounds.  I have been there.  I have been privy to these kinds of conversations over the years and thought, 'That person's a fruitcake.'

Perhaps you won't read this blog ever again, but call me a fruitcake then.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

5 years

I know this is an 'adoption blog', but I'm a mom!  A mom of four other children who are ripping my heart out with the speed at which they're growing.  So, I just have to show you.

Our boys turned five today.

I don't know how this happened.

Well, actually I do.

It was through lots and lots of diapers changed, bottoms wiped, spoonfuls fed, toes scrubbed, mouths swiped, laces tied, zippers zipped, buttons buttoned, cheeks kissed, hairs combed, necks nuzzled, loads washed, toys picked-up, snacks packed, backpacks lugged, jackets fastened, scrapes band-aided, tear-streaks cleaned, and piggy-backs given.

Oh, how I've been pushed to the brink of my mothering prowess with these little guys.  But God has been so good lately to give me a fresh appreciation for the unique and amazing little people they are.

Thanking God for the miracle they are.  From day one, I was blessed by them.  

So, in honor of these last five years, a few photos (some oldies, but goodies had to be resurrected):

From this...

 I think this was taken about a week before they were born.  My midsection has never been the same.  :)

 Baby B (aka Brooks) and Baby A (aka Jackson) 

To this...?

Such big boys.  We're getting ready to start working on shoe tying!  How can that be?!

Gotta love Monticello and Miche Tavern. 

Oh, how I love these little rascals!  Wouldn't trade you for the world, Jackson and Brooks!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


If there's one thing I've learned from this adoption process (besides my not having a lick of control over anything!) it's that what is, isn't for long.  Things are ever changing.






Even laws.

We've heard absolutely nothing about where our dossier is.  Still in translation?  Starting to be reviewed?  Who knows.

But we did learn this week that the CCCWA changed the post placement requirements for families adopting children from China -- just in time for our post placement to begin!  Post placement is when the adoption social worker comes to the home for a number of visits over a set period of time.  Until recently, the requirement was that three visits would occur in the first year the child is in the home.  Now, it's six visits over five years.  

Good gracious.

We'll have our social worker still making home visits when James is seven!  That is hilarious.  I absolutely understand that these 'authorities' need to do their due diligence to ensure that children are being placed in safe, loving homes, but we've been probed, tested, reviewed, investigated, inspected, checked, fingerprinted and fingerprinted, oh, and fingerprinted again.

Don't get me wrong, we're happy to do all these things because the reward is greater than we can probably imagine.  James being part of our lives forever is so worth it!  But, I just need to say...


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

great strides

A little somebody's getting stronger.

And more and more irresistable with every photo and update we receive.

This is the first time we've ever seen him on his feet.  Whata peanut.

FYI: the Chinese government is shut down this week for the autumn holidays (?) so it'll be a while before we get any news on where our dossier is.

Hanging in there...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

good morning, lisa ;)

The title of this post will only make sense to one person.  Great to see you, Leese!

This weekend, my high school class celebrated 20 years since we graduated!  How is that possible?!  In so many ways, it seems like just yesterday.  Yet, it also feels like an entirely different lifetime.  My life couldn't be more different now than it was 20 years ago.  And I'm so grateful.

I wouldn't change a thing because God has moved mountains in my life.  My childhood home was broken before I was old enough to understand what 'home' or 'broken' or 'intact' even was.  Being back in my hometown brought forth all kinds of memories -- sad, wonderful, lonely and sweet ones.  Nonetheless, it was beyond wonderful to lay my eyes on many old friends.  To hug their necks.  To know that in so many ways, time has stood still.

Something amazing happened -- something I was totally not expecting...

Everyone I talked to knew about James -- without a word from me.  The words of congratulations, encouragement and support were endless.  And overwhelming.  The love I felt from all these friends of my youth, many I hadn't seen in at least ten years, was sweet to my soul.  Our little guy a world away, who doesn't even know we exist, has a fan club!  His sweet little life is already impacting others.

Friday was a great day.  Not only did I have the treat of reconnecting with old friends, but I was able to see James in a new video.  I wish I could share it here.  Don't worry, when I can, I will!  He is the most delicious, scrumptious, precious child!

Counting the days.

Also, I did the raffle for Katie Davis' book, and, Sally, you're the winner!  The book comes out on October 4th, so I'll give it to you as soon as I receive it!

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