Friday, November 30, 2012

it happened

Today was hard.  But it was good.  Let me explain.

Not to flippantly expose James' personal business, but he was circumcised today.  I'm just gonna say it like it is because if I said, 'James had out-patient surgery today', y'all would be lovingly emailing or commenting or calling wanting to know if he is okay and worrying unnecessarily.

He is fine.  

However, the anesthesia sent our sweet boy into a world of grogginess, cuddliness (yum!) and lots of crying.  Poor baby just cried and cried as he came to.

Today I was gently reminded of just how bonded to us/me James is.  He truly is.  It's miraculous really. He roared when they took him from my arms.  And cried, 'Mommmaaa!' as he dove from the nurse's arms in my direction.  It was so sad and yet so sweet.

Then as they rolled him down the hall into recovery and back into the 'stall' where I was, he cried and cried for me.  I could hear him coming and I sat there waiting on pins and needles.  Y'all.  My arms ached to get him into them.  I sat there during his time away thinking of how I would feel if anything happened to him and I had to chase the thought away lest I choke on the lump in my throat.  Then when he was in my arms and he wouldn't quite awaken and he was so clearly hurting, I yearned to take his pain away.

I wondered if it would happen.

I hoped it would happen.

I prayed it would happen.

But I was afraid to believe it would ever truly happen.  Like for real.  Because what if it didn't?

But it happened.

I love this boy.

And he loves us.

I heard a wise mother say once that she loves all her children differently -- just like she disciplines all of them differently.


That makes a lot of sense to me.

I love all my children differently.

But beautifully.  

James is no different.

He is mine.  

And just like it is with biological children, to hear him crying for me and calling my name and then collapsing in my arms and finally being able to calm himself down was powerful and primal to me as his mom.


God is good.

 I think back to how close he was to his nanny.  I'm so thankful for that.  His closeness with her is what makes it possible for him to trust us.  But adopting him gave us no guarantees.  We went radically out on a limb.  I know the outcome isn't always like ours, but it's more common than we think.  Children bond to the people who love them fiercely.  Over time, they trust.

And, today, I'm so thankful for that.

I'm thankful for James.

That we went out on a limb for him.

And that he went out on his own limb.

I conclude with these words that I stole from another blogger's pastor:

Aaron Ivey says,

The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'
To James, we're honored to suffer along with you.  Thank you for sharing yourself with us.  Thank you for being ours.  Thank you for allowing us to be yours.  

We love you, Jimmy Jam.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

we heart dolphin tale

Have y'all seen the movie 'Dolphin Tale'?  It came out about a year ago.

We love it.

It's the true story of a dolphin named Winter who gets a prosthetic tail.  I love true stories!  Especially when the plot includes things like missing limbs, prosthetics and lots of love!  If you haven't seen it, go rent it.  It's a great flick for the whole family.

A couple of weeks ago, James and I were invited to meet Mr. Kevin Carroll, the prosthetist who made Winter's prosthetic tail for her.  He still provides her on-going care.  In fact, he said she got a new tail a week before our visit.  Huh?  I asked if her tail had been damaged and he said she's still growing (!).  She's eight years old!  Who knew a dolphin grows for so many years?

A new friend of mine, Sharon, and I traveled down the road a bit to take our children to see Mr. Carroll (he's seated in the wheelchair).  Sharon's daughter, Hope, who was adopted from Thailand at the same time we adopted James.  Hope's been receiving services for her missing limbs through Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics just like James.  Sharon and her husband, Mike, have been a blessing to JD and me as they are veteran adoptive parents (like seven times over!).  When we committed to adopt James, Sharon's one of the first people I needed to talk to.  Sharon and Mike have two sons who were born without arms so they're experienced in raising kids who are missing limbs.  In fact, their son, George, has recently hit his stride (to say the least).  Knowing that Sharon and George walked this road before us has been so comforting at times.  

Here's James with his occupational therapist, Sally, Mr. Carroll and Hope.

Sally was James' new best friend because she let him play with her ipad.  The man to the left is James' regular prosthetist, Daniel, who created James' current prosthetics and orthotics.  He's done a great job!

This is the sweet gift Mr. Carroll gave James.  Notice how Winter's missing a tail.  Love it.  If you want to see Winter live, check this out.  They keep a live webcam on her.  Our kids love to watch her.

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  Ours was splendid.  Sad to see it end and to see the kids go back to school.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

big brother, but in a good way

Have you ever Googled your home address?  If you haven't, get ready.  It's kinda creepy.

You'll feel like you're on Big Brother.  That's the way our world's becoming.

But this short video made me smile and a little more okay with how things are.  I was glad to see this.

Friday, November 16, 2012

adoption awareness month

There are few things I love more than being in a front row seat when God's moving in people's lives.  And, boy, has He been doing some amazing things lately.

November is Adoption Awareness Month.

And Sunday, November 4th was Orphan Sunday.  Among other things, this video was shown at our church to recognize Orphan Sunday.


God is making His people aware of the orphan crisis.  And He's moving in the hearts of the Richmond community.  And around the country.  And around the world.  I believe there's an awakening happening.  It's a beautiful thing to see.  At our church on Orphan Sunday, folks gave $750 toward our adoption fund.  And we ran out of the forms to give monthly to the fund.  We had to print more.  

Additionally, there are two drives happening for items for foster children in our area.  One, specifically, was for the 15 foster children in the county our church is located in.  Our church's orphan care ministry, Fathered, snatched up those kids so fast!  What a joy it is to see God rally people to help those He loves so very much.

Then the week after Orphan Sunday, Fathered was invited to be the recipient of the proceeds of our church's 5K!  Y'all.  That is incredible.  This will help so many more families adopt!  Finances are definitely the number one barrier for people wishing to adopt.  The race is on Saturday, March 9th.  Pray that many, many will come out to run, walk or stroll so the Fathered Fund will burst at the seams and we can help lots of families grow through adoption!

JD and I have had the privilege of 'counseling' two couples this week who have decided to adopt.  It's a wonderful way to spend our time.

Of course not everyone is called to adopt or foster.

So what can you do?  There's so much!

You can love on those who are adopting or fostering.  You can offer to babysit for them, bring them a meal, coordinate an airport welcome.  You can help a family who's in the process of adopting by helping with fundraising (think bake sales, yard sales, silent auctions, etc).   You can pray for an orphan.  There are so many websites that show photos of children who are available for adoption, like or  You can print a photo of a child and pray for him or her to find her forever family.  And, of course, you can give financially to help reduce the burden of the costs of adoption.

Whatever you decide works best for you, just do it!  Take that first step.  And know that children like James, who were once orphaned, will have their lives healed and redeemed by the LOVE of others.  Including yourselves.     

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the james gang

Several weeks ago our placement agency, Wide Horizons for Children, asked if they could share James' story in their annual appeal to supporters.  Of course we said, 'Absolutely!'  James should be shared with everyone.  And I think he would say that himself if he could.

'Share my story, Mommy and Daddy!  I love everyone!'  

So, one of their marketing folks asked me to sign a waiver and I told them they could use any photo from this here blog.  Then I sent them a ton just in case they didn't have enough!  ;)

Here's what was going out in their mailer this week.

Our sweet baby James in his full-grin glory!

It's stuff like this that causes me to slow down a bit, step outside of my moment-to-moment mothering of a demanding precious three-year-old and remember what a true blessing he is in our lives and how grateful we are to have him.  He may call my name 20 times a day just to hear me say, 'What James?' in response, but he is here and ours and real and awesome.  

The reality is that adoption has been a much greater blessing than we could've ever thought possible.  I can't imagine missing out on what God had for us in giving us James.  

Love that boy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

lightning speed

It feels like our boys, who push me to the brink of craziness at times yet are still so amazingly near-and-dear to my heart (is that just boys?), are growing at lightning speed.  Heck, all of our kids are.  :(

Four 'rites of passage' have occurred.

1.  They turned six.

A week before they were born.  It's utterly amazing that I can even button my pants after that.  

Brooks (on the left) was 7 pounds, 12 ounces and Jackson was 7 pounds, 9 ounces.  They were perfection.

Their actual birthday was quite a day with birthday ribbons and crowns at school, picture day (!) and Payton and Avery having a mini party planned for them when they got off the bus (cupcakes and a birthday banner).  Here they are plopped on the front stoop after a looong* day of school.  

* Almost every single day since the beginning of the school year, Jackson has asked me why it is that they have to go to school for six hours everyday?  'Six!' he says.  

That night, we went out to dinner, just us, at one of our favorite family spots, the Silver Diner.  Brooks was not about to let us get out of there without making sure our waitress knew it was their birthday.  And that they sang to them.  This was a first.  Mission accomplished.    

A few shots of them opening their gifts after dinner.

And, much to our dismay, they woke-up sassy and too-big-for-their-britches the next day.  Oye.

2.  They had their first 'big' birthday party complete with friends.  With the exception of their first birthday (you always gotta hit that one out of the park!), we've always done small, intimate affairs to celebrate.  And they've always been fine with that.  But all year they've asked to have their birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, so we acquiesced.  And, it was really fun!

I thoroughly enjoyed having someone else serve the food, pour the drinks and cut the cake.  Okay, maybe cutting the cake I missed.  Yet it was kind of nice sitting back and relaxing while someone else handled all those details.  At least for this once.  We'll see what next year brings.  

3.  They got bikes for their birthdays -- and, well, learned how to ride!  Okay, so Jackson's fully riding.  Brooks is...working on riding.  We skipped the training wheels and went straight for 20" bikes.  It was time.  They're six for goodness sakes.  

Priceless reactions!

Simply priceless.

James insisted on getting in on the action, too!  
Don't worry, buddy, we'll get a super-cool bike just for you one day!

4.  There are new gaps in their sweet little grins.  Meaning the tooth fairy has been here three times in the month of October.  :)

And I'm thrilled to report that our boys have begun to adjust to kindergarten.  They still complain in the mornings, but it's much better than it was.  We have no more tears, no more stomping, no more pouting.  Instead we have mostly-cooperative attitudes and happy boys as they head out the door.  And parent-teacher conferences next week.  I can't wait to hear what their teachers have to say.  :)     


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