Thursday, June 28, 2012

further update on family in ghana

Gosh.  This story made national news.

International adoption can be such a precarious thing.

But so, so worth it.

And these situations and stories are few and far between.  There are thousands of amazing and wonderful outcomes.

Just look at this little guy!
He's transformed.

This is his squint.  ;)

This is the child who wouldn't touch grass.  

Or sand.

Or the water.

Now we can't keep him out of it.

Notice the scoot trail.  

If you are considering adoption or are in the process, please do not let stories like the Moghadam's scare you away from following the Lord's lead.  Yes, be wise as serpents.  But trust in Him.    

He is mighty to save.   

3 months of James

I can't believe James has been with us for three months.  In some ways, it feels like he's never not been here with us.  Then I look back at photos and videos of him in his orphanage and I just can't believe he was there.

He's such a part of our lives now.

In the beginning, we'd catch ourselves a lot.

Wait, I need to count five heads not four...

Where's James...omigosh, we completely forgot about James...James!?  (then we'd hear him off in the house somewhere saying, 'Hmmm?')

Don't get me wrong, I never left him in the grocery store cart in the parking lot.  I never left him in the car!  It's just the adjustment of having another child -- another little person to keep up with.  Your mind has to adjust.  

Now, it's just super normal.

He's really starting to show himself, too.

The other day, he threw a fit screaming at the top of his lungs on the floor in the middle of our family room because JD and I were busy doing things and he didn't want us to put him down or not be right beside him.  JD was picking up the house and putting things away and I was getting in the shower.  JD sat him down amongst his toys on the floor in our family room and he wasn't having it!  Well, he actually was having it because he had no choice.  :)  We just told him over and over again, as we passed through the room, that he was fine, that we loved him, but we had things to do!

Our OT appointments have morphed to OT/PT, which is cool.  But now he shakes his head 'no' and refuses to do things.  He looks at me with puppy dog eyes.  He scoots over to me when they ask him to do stuff.  He even breaks down full-on crying.  Poor guy.  It's not fun anymore, it's work.  And he's just not very compliant anymore.

My-oh-my is he an almost three year old.  And it's kind of hilarious.  And kind of annoying (just keeping it real, folks).  

The most beautiful thing is that he's really and truly comfortable with us.  He has separation anxiety when any of us leaves -- not just JD and me.  If Payton, Avery, Brooks and/or Jackson leave, he cries.  Especially if they ride away in a car.  It's like he feels the family is splintering.  Amazing.

This summer is proving to be a busy one with James' appointments, Avery's gymnastics which falls right in the middle of the day three days/week and must-have summertime outings.  I think it's a really good thing we didn't join a pool!  I was thinking about it today and I cannot imagine.  I can't see how we'd get there.  Thankful for the strong nudge that this was not the direction for our family.  At least for this summer.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

prayer please!

UPDATE: the latest I've heard is that Sol and Christine Moghadams have been released and reunited with their boys but are awaiting the adoption of the children they went to Ghana for.

Man, the adoption community is h.u.g.e. and yet so very small.  I heard about the Moghadams on Saturday from people in other states.  Then I was at a picnic/cookout later that day with a bunch of other adoptive/foster families and people there had heard of their plight.  Of course, none of us know the Moghadams personally, but to have our hearts break in unison for them is amazing because we all know it could be any one of us.  Community is a powerful thing.

Thank You, God, for your family and for adopting me into it.  


It's crazy to me how ignorant we are (including yours truly) about modern day slavery and injustice in the world, and then I hear about this.  Oh my heart.

Please pray for this innocent family, the Moghadams.  These precious parents have been falsely imprisoned in Ghana while traveling there to adopt four siblings and their sweet boys (pictured below) have been placed in an orphanage!

Lord, have mercy.

I can only imagine.


For the full story, go here and here

And here is their personal blog.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

emma: {update}

There are so many wonderful things going on around us these days that I've written multiple posts in my mind.  If only I could get on here and type away as much as I'd like to.  Just know that I yearn to share what's happening with y'all, I just simply can't seem to find the margin to do so.

One of the most amazing updates I must share is about Emma.  Many of you have asked over the months, so here's a much overdue update (with permission from my dear friend, Amy, Emma's mom).

Many of you may remember my plea for prayer several months ago when Emma awoke one morning with her brain bleeding.  I don't think I shared a lot of details about this situation because we just didn't know them.  But now we know more.

I could sit here all day and night typing and listing all the ways that God moved through that horrible time.  Oh how I want to.  But let's just say that from the very millisecond that Emma's brain began to bleed, He was intimately near and orchestrating every minute detail of the events that followed.  From the nursing and medical staff God arranged to be working at that two hospitals that Emma went to, to a critically-timed helicopter ride, to a protocol-breaking neurosurgeon who listened to God's quiet voice in the night and chose to be aggressive in his treatment, to the multitudes of people who prayed nonstop for days, weeks and months.  I am so very grateful to be living and witnessing miracles in front of my eyes.  And Emma's recovery is definitely one of them!

Let me give you a little of the story so you can appreciate all God's done!

Emma woke up earlier than normal on February 23rd.  Her mom went into Emma's room and found her complaining of a splitting headache.  When Amy came back from getting Emma some Tylenol, she found Emma's speech impaired.  She started asking Emma questions and quickly learned that Emma was confused and disoriented.  Amy and her husband rushed Emma to the hospital where she was very quickly flown to another hospital across town.

Emma was almost immediately placed in a medically induced coma and many, many tests and scans were performed.  All the while, her brain continued to bleed profusely.  

The prognosis was grim.  There were moments of hope, but statements like this were said, 'If Emma makes it then...'.  It was terrifying for us as friends to watch.  I can only imagine how terrifying it was for Amy and Chris to live.

Generally, patients like Emma are in the hospital for months (sometimes as many as six months) with in-patient rehab to follow.  There is usually the goal of performing brain surgery once the bleeding subsides (normally many weeks after the incident).  Full recovery can take years, if ever.

Here are some photos of Emma (and other sweet friends!) before the incident:

Sleepovers are the best!

Really?  They can put two bodies on one swing?!

As if we didn't already love Emma enough, she encouraged Payton to accept Christ as her Savior on the night this photo was taken.  It was P's 10th birthday.  Payton had been stirring for some time, but Emma encouraged her to go for it, so she did!  What a pal!  When Payton told us the next morning, I told her (over my snorting and sniffling tears back at my girl's sweet decision) that she just gave herself the best birthday present she could ever have!  

Love little girls!  

Emma had surgery one week after the bleeding started (which was caused by a rupture in her brain -- very uncommon in children).  She was moved to in-patient rehab just two weeks later.  And was home just a month after the incident.  

Our first visit together after Emma and James came home!

Sweet friends reunited.

James, right smack-dab in the middle of the girls!

I've saved the best for last to demonstrate just how powerfully God is using Emma's life.  Not only was it uncertain whether this precious child would live, but it was uncertain what at all she'd be able to do (walk, talk, write, read, etc).  Check this out!

If you've never heard this song ('The Hurt and The Healer' by MercyMe), then go here and listen to the words.  It's incredible.  And to hear Emma sing it made us all bawl.  By the way, the woman who was announcing the talent show could not get her composure back to carry on with the show after Emma left the stage.  A very long, long moment passed before she could introduce the next act.  The whole room was a sniffing, eye-wiping mess!  It was amazing.  

We love you, Emma!  We're so proud of how hard you've been working.  You keep on fighting!  We'll buy tickets to your concerts one day to come hear you sing -- think you can throw in a backstage pass or two?  :)  You're one incredible little girl and God has big, huge, monstrous plans for your life!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is the day the Lord has made; we will be glad and rejoice in it!  Psalm 118:24

The Holy Spirit has been on the move.  Big time.  

This past Sunday was quite a day for our family.  And for a group of friends we've been walking through life with over the last year.  And for our church.  

What started as a small group has grown into a thriving ministry called Fathered.  And it launched on Sunday after much planning and effort.  A team effort.  We're fans of team efforts.  :)   

Emily and Brandon created this amazing display to indicate the children who've been adopted already into families within our group and church.  

We're especially fond of this little guy.  :)

A map to indicate where around the world these children began their lives.  

See that bottom pin on the right?  Yep.  That represents our James.

A bunch of the Fathered gang.  

A bunch of the Fathered kids!  
(Notice Jackson and James in the sweet, right?...)

When I get to Heaven, one of the questions I'm going to ask God is, 'Why do big brothers have to bully their little brothers sometimes?'  

Fortunately, James can dish it out too -- often with a swat at the face (that one little finger is dangerous!) or a swift kick.

This video is of a scooting race that the kids initiated with James.  Is that not the most precious thing to see how inclusive young children are?  The others were running up and down our church's concourse and James was doing his scoot as fast as he could, but the kids decided to take it down to his level (literally).  The adults were standing around tickled pink.  Precious.

As if launching Fathered wasn't enough excitement, our church was having baptisms and dedications that morning.  We said the next time they did it we would dedicate James so we got to do it on the same day that our adoption ministry took flight.  It was just an awesome day all the way around.  We felt God's hand all over us and throughout this community that we do life with at HOPE Church.  So grateful for God's abundant grace and blessing.  
James startled to puddle when David, our pastor, took James in his arms, but it was so precious to hear David's words about how much God loves James.  

Man, do we ever too.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012


JD and I love to sightsee with our kids.  We love to explore.  But the reality is that we have a large family and a family our size requires a lot of logistics -- including two hotel rooms depending on the hotel.

Plan A was to go to Philly with just James.

Plan B was to take Payton and Avery with us to do some sightseeing (hopefully some of which would be educational even if they didn't know it).

Plan C was to take all the kids.  Brooks and Jackson enjoy traveling and sightseeing too, but we would definitely need to take my mom with us because expecting Brooks and Jackson to sit through hours of doctors' appointments is just unrealistic.  Avery barely survived it!  Oye.

My mom was willing and we were set...

...until we started hunting for hotel rooms that were convenient to Shriner's and the sites of Philadelphia.

$250-$300 per night.


Two rooms, two nights.

Do the math.

Not happening.

So I called Shriner's and they gave me a great hotel recommendation.

An historic hotel on the campus of Temple University.  With a 'Shriner's' rate of just $115 per night.  Bingo!

The catch?

They only had one room left for one of our nights there.

There was no way we could all fit in one room, so we went back to Plan B.  My mom, being the ever easy-going and flexible Gramma she is, was more than happy to come with us or stay and keep some or all of our older kids.  Brooks and Jackson were thrilled to stay at Gramma and Papa's, so off to Philly we went!

Here are some photos of our sightseeing excursion, including a double decker bus tour.  We chose the upper deck because it was a beautiful summer evening.  The weather was sublime.

Avery catching a ride with City Hall in the background.

Max Brenner's was Payton's favorite part of Philly.  Go figure.  
The girl's got her mama's sweet tooth for chocolate.  

Man, does he love his sisters.

And, boy, do they love him.  

Love this gaze.

Omigoodness...and this one.  Love his chin on his arm.

This mural is a tile mosaic.  Notice how enormous it is.  Amazing.

Up close.

Independence Park.

Our 'little' girls (who aren't staying little!) in front of the Liberty Bell.

This is what James thought of the Liberty Bell.  :)

William Penn (who founded Philadelphia) statue on the top of City Hall.

The most famous Philadelphian who never lived.  Rocky.  

The stairs Rocky climbed (the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

A great visit!  We were able to take care of some 'business' with James, but also have some fun too.  And that's how we like to do things!


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