Monday, February 27, 2012


The last several days have been such a roller coaster.

I would've never thought it possible, at this stage of our journey to James, that we would go days hardly thinking about our trip to China at all.  It's crazy.  Just haven't really been able to go there.  Our minds and hearts have been so consumed with worry and prayer for Emma.

Emma is stabilizing.  Thank You, Jesus.  Prayers are being answered and, my gosh! are prayers being said.  It has been overwhelming to see the body of Christ come together, far and wide, to pray for this precious child.  It was so touch-and-go at times.  I can't even tell you the fear and worry.

But God is faithful and He's carrying Emma through this time.  She is slowly, slowly improving thanks to a Christian neurosurgeon who's decided to 'break protocol' with her and be a little more aggressive in his approach (because in the middle of the night he heard that still, small Voice tell him to do so).  She had a shunt successfully placed yesterday and that is huge.

So it's time to get our heads around our impending trip!

Yes, it's time!

There is much to do!

Haven't put a single garment in my suitcase!

We're starting to allow ourselves to really imagine meeting James.  Please pray that he will not be terrified at the very sight of us!

What I really wanted to get on here and share with you is our flight arrangements.  I know we've expressed the need hunker down and withdraw from life a bit after we bring James home, but there is one exception.  I've had several folks express interest in being at the airport when we get back.  If this is something that interests you, we're open to folks being there.  We realize James may be a little overwhelmed, but it's also a very joyful time for our family and friends and we want to share it!  No pressure to be there of course, but if you'd like to consider it, please know you're welcome.

Our return flight will arrive at RIC on Thursday, March 15th at 6:21 PM from Newark.


It's truly amazing to imagine the moment when our feet will hit the ground here in Richmond with our boy in our arms.

17 days and counting.

Just 17 days!  

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today was not the day I thought it was going to be.

JD and I went to bed last night with such joy and gratitude.  God moved a mountain yesterday (more on that later -- it just doesn't seem to matter that much now).  But very quickly today, our focus was elsewhere.

Early this morning, I got a call from the mother of a dear friend to tell me that my friend's daughter (11-years-old) had been flown to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage at 7 AM.  Oh, the terror of this kind of news.

I'm so numb right now after a day of tears, prayers, tears, prayers, tears, prayers that I can barely write this.  My bed calls.  Peace calls.  A new day calls.

But, before I go and leave you with such heavy thoughts...know that God moved a mountain again today.  This sweet child, Emma, is going to make it.  After many, many, many moments of not being sure, God heard our cries.  It was the worst scenario laid before us, but He was merciful.

Will you join us in praying for a complete healing for sweet Emma?  She has a long road ahead of her.  But she has a faith that's stronger and wider and higher and longer than any road before her.

She will be fine.

I just know it.

We love you, Emma.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The love just keeps pouring in.

A surprise 'party'.

A gift card.

A photo album.

A 'Gotcha Day' picture frame.

A travel journal.

A super-soft, personalized blanket.

A sock monkey.

A 'Gotcha Day' plate.

A card.

A little note.

A handmade quilt with hand stitched embroidery of Jeremiah 29:11 on it.

His first bath towel and set of bath toys complete with a rubber ducky.

D.I.A.P.E.R.S (thank you, Jesus).

Intimate little gatherings to celebrate with us and pray over us.  Huge.

And our first frozen meal is already in our freezer!

Payton has even received gifts as she prepares for her trot around the globe!  Journals, MadLibs, chewing gum, toiletry bags (full of travel-size toiletries!), iTunes gift card so she can load up her iPod -- even a hand-me-down, hand-me-down KINDLE.  Yes, you read that right.  I know.  Beyond-beyond.

Every time I turn around, someone else is doing something to express their love and support of us as we get ready to bring James home.  The true excitement that our friends and family feel for us is palpable.

How do I process a love like this?  It's simple.

When I'm struck with the knowledge of how undeserving we are of such kindness and goodness, I remember that this is the love of Christ.

We don't deserve it, but He loves us anyways.

This is how He expresses His love for us.

This is what He does -- He uses His people here on Earth to be His hands and feet.  To reach out (literally).  To hug, to embrace, to provide for, to rally around, to support, to love.

This is how He moves in people's lives.  Through other people.

Oh, how easy it would be to miss it.  How easy it would be to claim people's niceties as just that: hollow, lacking, un-genuine acts or platitudes.  But it's more than that.  When people are just trying to be nice, the recipient doesn't feel a warmth behind their actions.  They feel a cool, empty action with no heart behind it!  These actions are warm.  They exude love.  They are love.

And for that we're so, so very grateful.

Y'all have no idea.

Friday, February 17, 2012

sunday, march 4, 2012

The day we thought would never come.

In the world of adoption, this is sweetly known as 'Gotcha Day.'

We will meet, hold, hug, embrace, and see our son for the first time.

Payton said this morning, 'I wonder what you'll do, Mama, when you first see James.'

I quickly retorted, 'You do?'

She quickly retorted, 'Oh yeah.  You'll cry.  You always cry.'  You gotta love ten-year-old girls.  Sayin' it like it is!  :)

I've become a full-on-full-fledged-in-public-in-front-of-an-audience-anywhere-anyhow-cryer.  Oh well. Staying composed is over-rated.  This process has made me raw.

I have so much that's stirring in me as I anticipate leaving to get James.  I so want to lay it all out here on this blog so you all can experience this with us as intimately as possible, but I have this voice that says 'It's a blog.  Why would you share all that there?'  Yet, I have so appreciated others who have.  They don't even know it but when they share their humanness on their blog it helps me remember that I'm not a complete freak.  What's whirling inside just seems to be too much too even encapsulate -- into words.  I can barely make sense of it in my mind and heart.  And it's good stuff.  But it's not always good stuff.

JD and I have had some fun conversations lately about James.

He's going to grow to be a man one day?

One day he'll be so comfortable in our family that he may be rambunctious like his brothers?

He's going to be with us from this day forward.  

Like a wedding vow.  On Sunday, March 4th, we will take a vow and commit to him for life like we committed to each other almost 13 years ago!

Of course, we've known all these things.  But you get so caught up in the production of what the adoption process is that you table these realities until, well, now...til you're getting ready to board the plane and start life with this person!

I cannot wait!  

I wish I could express in words how ridiculously excited JD and are.  Like school children.  How could I ever have adventured through life with anyone else at my side?  This man is it for me!  I'm amazed every day at how in sync we are when it comes to the big stuff of life.  I'm not worthy.

I'm seriously, seriously not.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a little valentine's day fun

Valentine's Day was extra fun this year.

I struggle with the 'smaller' holidays.  Sometimes I can't be bothered with all the fuss.  The pumpkins.  The hearts.  The shamrocks.  The Easter eggs.

Christmas is the only exception.  I love Christmas.  Including the decorations, the baking, the cards, the everything.   

As each holiday rolls around, my kids ask me to decorate and I begrudgingly oblige.  But something I saw on-line a month or two ago made me excited about Valentine's Day.

Think tooth fairy pillows with a twist.

I affectionately named them 'love pillows.'







I knew right away who I needed to recruit as my accomplice -- my sweet friend, Amy.  Who just happens to be an amazing seamstress -- she was on board from the get go.  

Several weeks ago, we ordered in, drank some wine and hunched over our sewing machines while burning the midnight oil.  Voila!  The goal was to give them to our families on February 1st -- okay, so my family didn't get theirs until the 2nd.   

But, man, were they a hit! 

It was so much fun to write little love notes to each other over the last couple of weeks.  So much so that we've decided we'll keep our love pillows out until the end of the month.  Two weeks just wasn't enough!  And to think that we have to wait a whole year to enjoy them again.  Well, we're just not ready to part with 'em yet.  :)

The other thing that made Valentine's extra fun this year was that JD had the idea that we should surprise the kids with a chocolate fondue spread after dinner.  

They loved it!

We'd sent them downstairs to wait while we got everything set up.  They were squealing like it was Christmas!  Just put a little chocolate out and they're good to go.  

Funny side story:

The kids knew we had a surprise for them on Valentine's Day, but didn't know what.  I was running into Target with the boys for fondue skewers.  I knew the boys probably didn't have a clue what fondue is, so I let them overhear me telling someone, 'Well, they don't know it, but I need to get fondue skewers because we're going to do fondue tonight.'  

In the backseat, Jackson says, 'Brooks!  Brooks!  We're not supposed to know, but we're doing fondue tonight!'

'What's fondue?'

'I don't know.'

You just gotta love five-year-olds.  :)


Monday, February 13, 2012

slowly, but surely...

A load of wash is in our washing machine as we speak.

Full of James' clothes.

It was so fun to pull them out of his suitcase and pull all the tags off.

They're little.  Itty-bitty shirts, pants, vests and socks.

18 months, 24 months and 2T.

Sure, they're not newborn sizes like when our biological kids were born, but (praise God!) the anticipation, hope, marvel is the same!  We can't wait to put a little body in the clothes!

I bought our first package of diapers today!  Pampers.  Size 4.  Oh, the smell of Pampers.  I also bought our favorite baby wash -- Johnson & Johnson lavender bed time bath wash.  We've always bathed our kids with it when they were babies and toddlers.  And I've promptly sniffed them to death!

Now, I'm searching for a wrap that can be used with toddlers!  I found this video on-line today and it got me excited to wrap James around JD and me as we parade around China.  Pretty cool.

And then JD keeps making these comments about James maybe not attaching to him for a while.  When I asked him if he'd wear a wrap (gotta love a man who'll afix his kid to his body!) with James in it, he says without missing a beat, 'Sure!  If he'll let me.'

Silly man.  :)

Then again...pray that James will attach to both of us.  We've heard stories of children attaching to just one parent and then it's hard for both parents.  Go figure.

Friday, February 10, 2012

embassy appointment

Our embassy appointment is confirmed for Tuesday, March 13th.

Omigosh....we're really going.

Getting ready to apply for our visas.  We have our eyes set on certain flights.  Passports have been pulled out.  New sneakers were purchased today for weary feet after much walking.'s really happening.  

We are coming, James!  We are coming, sweet boy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

march 2nd through the 15th

[Insert Peter, Paul and Mary singing here...]

Leeeavin' on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again...

Well, we do actually know when we'll be back again...

March 15th!


Praise Jesus!

It looks like we're going to fly straight from here to Hong Kong.  We are over-the-moon!

That child's never gonna know what hit him!  God bless that poor boy!  I am going to have the hardest time not kissing those cheeks and staying out of his grill.  Ugh.  I just pray he adjusts so beautifully.  Pray with me, will you?

And you better get ready for some mad-blogging because, if I can arrange it (and have the energy and stamina for it), I hope to chronicle every stinkin' detail of our first days with our boy.  I cannot wait.

I feel like I've been bottled up lately with a lot of thoughts, but nothing worth sharing...ha!...well, that ain't gonna last long.

I'm stirred up, psyched, pumped, jacked, ripped, flipped, it whatever you want!

More soon.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

one sweet word...'mama'

Last night, we got about TEN videos of James.

I kid you not.

I can't even tell you how I want to post them here.

The best thing about the videos, aside from *seeing* our boy -- his smile, his progression, his happy-self -- is that he's talking.

To me.

They've taught him how to say 'mama.'  And he says it with the sweetest, raspy voice -- and crooked grin.

I could eat him up.

If you're on Facebook, one of the videos is on my wall because the ministry posted it on their webpage so I was able to share it there.

We should hear something any day on our travel approval!


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