Category Archives: Adoption

Mourn WITH Those Who Mourn

I’m so tired of stories, REAL stories involving REAL, LIVE human beings where Christian brothers and sisters PERSECUTE the very brothers and sisters who need LOVE the most. What is wrong with us???

We’ve lived this in our own family, the SHARP PIERCING, DEEP WOUND of persecution in the midst of unimaginable suffering within our family. When we need love and support the most, those whom we expect to provide and offer it are often the very ones who TURN AWAY and worse you SHUN and attack and isolate us. WHY???? You throw stones and you make us feel as if the world is even crueler than we’re already realizing it to be.

I don’t think most people realize the DEPTHS that adoptive families in particular go to FOR THEIR CHILDREN. When a tragedy such as suicide by a child strikes, DON’T YOU KNOW THE FAMILY MAY HAVE ALREADY WALKED OUT EVERY COURSE OF HELP IMAGINABLE.

“If only they had sought counseling … ” THEY’VE LIKELY BEEN TO TOO MANY THERAPISTS TO COUNT THEM ALL.

“If only they hadn’t left him alone … ” MAYBE THEY NEVER DID! Have you ever been in a position where you simply can’t leave your child(ten) alone or even in the care of other siblings? THIS IS LIFE FOR MANY.


As another adoptive family faces the heartbreak of the loss of a child, not even yet a teen, it GRIEVES my heart to read the words of the father who speaks of the “sharp words” of some, undoubtedly other Christians. STOP. JUST STOP. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

If you’ve never adopted for GOD’S PRECIOUS SAKE, just STOP and KEEP QUIET and PRAY and let those of us who get it in some very real ways come alongside. And if you haven’t adopted and truly want to be supportive, then say that. Say I want to help but I don’t know how. HOW CAN I HELP YOU? If you truly mean it, they will know it.

I am weary. So very weary. Just this week, yet again, the Prez had to filter out IGNORANT TALK by a woman, who has said the very same things to me IN FRONT OF OUR SON WHO WAS ADOPTED. She goes on these UNEDUCATED (and she is in every sense of the word) tirades of why they can’t adopt a child even though they’d love to adopt one. LORD, PLEASE don’t ever allow that to happen. She doesn’t have what it takes. Truly, she doesn’t. If money is her greatest worry about international adoption, well then as those who’ve walked it out can attest she has no business considering it anyway.

She went ON AND ON AND ON about how it costs $30,000 “up-front” and why does it cost so much? Now mind you, her husband manages a local, fast-food chain restaurant, and she stays home with their high-school-aged daughter, who is in school all day 5 days a week. But anywho, she said “we’ve got to pay off the thousands we spent on Janie’s off-road vehicle for her Christmas gift (who in the world spends thousands on a Christmas gift for a child???), we’ve got a $500+ monthly payment on my brand-new blah, blah car, and we just don’t make a fortune like THOSE PEOPLE who adopt all these kids.” WHAT THE WHAT? Did I mention she was talking to my husband and she knows we’ve “adopted all those kids.”

To my fellow Tennesseans, I apologize in advance, but if there ever was a person who fits the persona many in our great nation think of as Tennessean, this lady is IT. I would share some reasons, but in an effort to keep her identify protected, I will refrain. My point is, NO ONE would do such a thing about a biological child. They just wouldn’t. And they don’t. But when it is an adopted child, all bets are off and filters apparently as well.

As for the adoptive family whose tweenage son took his own life this week, I cannot imagine their grief. And to those who would actually have the audacity to persecute them in the midst of this unimaginable pain and grief and LOSS, SHAME ON YOU. You WILL answer for your actions. NO DOUBT. For those who persecuted our adopted son, YOU WILL TOO. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. His Word gives us SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS for how to walk out MINISTRY.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)




A Repost: Three Years Later! (Part 2)

**Three years ago today, February 5, 2012, our whole family met our Li’l Bit in Guizhou, China. I can’t believe it has been 3 YEARS! Here is another post I had on my original blog. Too many precious pictures to not post this one too. If you missed part 1 recap, it is HERE.**



God is so great!!!


I was admittedly worried this little girl would be so overwhelmed with all of us. I mean we are quite the crew here. Continue reading



**The following was posted on my original blog at Room for at Least One More three years ago today, February 5, 2012, the day we met our baby girl Li’L Bit. GOD IS SO GREAT!!!**

AMAZING!!! is one way to describe it!!!

The appointment was very different than the one we had in Chongqing. I will say we were completely unprepared for how LONG the appointment would be. We left the hotel at 4:15 p.m. and did not get back until almost 8 p.m. We not only signed the harmonious agreement but also the adoption papers. Usually you are given one day to decided for sure if you want to adopt the child. It didn’t matter to us as we already decided no matter what, but it was sort of strange to be required to sign and post date a form. Like I said it was very different but we all survived and the kids all handled it well. Yes, we were all starving and the babies were beyond starving. We needless to say ordered room service! A club sandwich never tasted so good!

She is SO SMART and just a little live wire! It is hilarious how well she is receiving all of the attention from her brothers and sister. She is eating it up. She is a MOMMA’S GIRL it would seem!

I have to help get her to sleep so I will post more later. She has been happy until now. She is scared I’m sure. 🙁 We are so blessed!!!!


DSC_2221 Continue reading


A Day in My Life: My Kids Are Having Surgery

On Tuesday, December 2, the Prez and I rushed around our home after setting our alarms too late. 6:00 a.m. seemed early enough the night before at 11:30 p.m., but as time marched on we realized we had too much to do in too little time. I frantically packed the last few items in my daughter’s bag as they were just finishing up in the dryer. It was THAT frantic.

The surgeries for which we were rushing about would involve repairing the alveolar ridge in each of our 9-year-old children’s mouths. They were both born with congenital cleft lip and palate, and this surgery was the 3rd for our daughter and the 4th for our son related to repairing their mouths. This is also Lord willing the last major surgery either of them will face. This was our daughter’s 15th surgery since 2008 and our son’s 10th since coming home in 2010 (he had at least 3 surgeries in China before we adopted him), and some of them involved repairing their cleft lip and palates while others involved heart repairs for congenital heart disease.


Before the Prez left with Li’l Miss, who is now 9 years old, I hugged her for a long time and told her I would see her up at the hospital, and we all prayed a simple prayer together. Her brothers and little sister told her bye as well. Yes, thoughts do emerge in your mind and heart as you contemplate questions like could this be the time? what if there are complications? what if? what if? what if? With each and every surgery, which the Prez and I determined this would make numbers 24 and 25 between our three littles combined since September 2008, the anxiety level for me and I suspect Li’l Miss too, goes even more through the roof. It is horrible.

I don’t like good-byes anyway. I know, most of us don’t. It all seemed too real at this point. I wasn’t ready. How could December 2 have come to be so quickly? Wasn’t it just October 31?, I thought. And what happened to the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving? Why did we even schedule these surgeries on the same day? WHAT WERE WE THINKING?

Clearly, my mind was working in overdrive, though it wasn’t making much sense. At all.

Not fifteen minutes after the Prez left with Li’l Miss, the phone rang. It was the dreaded 343 number. And yes, on surgery day, seeing the caller ID display the hospital’s generic number was definitely not a good thing. How could this be? I thought. Cancellations had happened before, the week before, the day before, but never the day of. That would be a new first for us. I timidly answered Hello? The lady on the other end asked for Mrs. ___ and I said that’s me. She began to ask if we’d left yet and my heart sank. But just as quickly, I was elated to hear her saying the words: There’s been a cancellation and Dr. Kelly is hoping to move their surgeries up.


Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes! I told her the Prez had been gone at least half an hour and it would take them at least an hour to get there, maybe more with morning traffic. She noted this and said they would be waiting. I hung up and panicked all over again as I realized I was not nearly as ready as I needed to be with my bag, Li’l Bro’s bag and Li’l Bit’s bag. As it would turn out, my Dad met me at an interstate exit, which saved me a good bit of time not having to drop off Li’l Bit, and I threw her things in a plastic grocery sack. Li’l Bro, also 9, Li’l Bit, 4, and I were out the door within the half-hour on our way to the hospital for what would prove to be a very long day.

The Prez arrived less than an hour before us as he hit major traffic snarls and we seemed to come through Nashville just as rush hour had ended. He and Li’l Miss arrived around 9:15, and Li’l Bro and I around 10 a.m. And that is when the “fight” I imagined began. I knew they wouldn’t let me take Li’l Bro back as his surgery was scheduled on paper for 3 p.m., but I had Li’l Miss’s stuffed dolphin she had forgotten by the back door and I had to hug my big girl again if given the chance.

The Prez was texting me in real time saying they would be taking her back any minute, and I knew they weren’t going to wait because Momma happened to be having a mini freak-out out in the waiting room as “very nice but very rule-following desk attendant” said I could go back but Li’l Bro could not. Truth be told, I wanted all four of us in there together before they took Li’l Miss back. It was that important. So after taking a deep breath and calming down, I asked the “very nice desk attendant” to kindly call the charge nurse in the back and explain our unique situation, so she did. And the charge nurse said without hesitation that Li’l Bro and I could be allowed back immediately and so we were. Within 60 seconds, I had my arms around my big brave girl, and we were at once surrounded by quite a crowd of nurses and staff who wanted to see “the twins having the same surgery the same day with Dr. K.”


It is quite funny when Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro tell people “oh, we’re not twins, but we are the same age and we were born just four months apart.” Most people don’t even ask a follow-up, but rather say “hummmm.” It is quite comical actually. Soon after, Dr. K himself appeared with his reassuring smile and asked if we were ready. We said Team {Family Name} was ready and he said “let’s do this then!” Oh how I love that man! If there’s one thing I want in a surgeon who will be operating on one (or two as it were) of my children, it is CONFIDENCE thank you very much! And he has it. Which is good. Really, really good.

It would be impossible to retrace the many steps the Prez and I took over the course of this very long day, but I will try to hit the highlights with this graphic.


Our day as I stated earlier began at 6 a.m. when the alarms started going off on our iPhones and we both attempted to hit the snooze button before nudging each other to get out of the bed. And quick.

I’m going to be honest here. When faced with this kind of day, you just gotta put on the big-girl panties (or whatever the case may be) and face it. Nothing is going to motivate you to do it except sheer grit and determination. And when your kids are depending on you, you really do have to put on the game face and be the strong one. It really isn’t optional. No time for tears at this point. No time for IBS issues. No time for coffee even.

It is kind of weird to think about how each experience sitting in Vanderbilt Children’s 3rd floor waiting room is different. This time around, there wasn’t much sitting out there and waiting. Once we got Li’l Miss sent back for her surgery, the Prez, Li’l Bro and I had about an hour to sit and wait before he was called back. Oftentimes, my mother- and father-in-law are sitting there with us, but this time my MIL didn’t arrive until after they had taken us back with Li’l Bro for his pre-surgery intake and waiting.

IMG_5215 - Version 2

Li’l Miss Post-Op and finally resting.

She like us had planned her day and arrival around the original start times of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Normally they allow only 2 adults with each patient, but basically we asked if we could bring her back and they said sure, which actually worked out well because at this point things started hopping with us getting updates Li’l Miss would soon be finished and in recovery. And once she came into the recovery area, the Prez and I were literally fast-walking back-and-forth from recovery to pre-op and back again. We had a fast pass with a quick walk from his private room (which isn’t always the case but he scored one of the private TV rooms for pre-op) to her nook in recovery.

I knew it was going to be bad when a nurse hurried into Li’l Bro’s room and said, “Are you Mom?” to which I said “Yes” and she said “I need you to come with me. Now.” OK, so I hugged Li’l Bro and instructed the Prez to definitely come get me before they took him back. When I neared the double doors leading into recovery, I could hear her ear-pearcing screams. There was no mistaking these were the deep cries of our Li’l Miss and unfortunately, I’d heard them before. Many, many times. This is usually how she recovers initially post-op.

Several nurses were trying different things to calm her down as she was writhing and trying to pull wires and the oxygen mask and … well, let’s just say it was harried in there. So I leaned in close and said, “Honey, Momma’s here now. I’m here. You’re OK. It’s all done. I’m HERE.” I remember hearing the nurse say, “Well, we should’ve gotten Mom sooner. Her heart rate is already going back down. Look, her oxygenation is much better. Just keep doing what you’re doing Mom. …. ” And I just kept stroking her forehead and speaking softly to her, telling her what she needed to hear.

It has been a rough road in many ways for Li’l Miss and me. Attachment hasn’t come easy. At all. She would much prefer her Daddy to hear her tell it, and so it was somewhat surprising she asked for me in her desperate state post-op, but the nurses were adamant that she came out of the OR screaming for Momma even before the breathing tube was fully removed. She wanted her Momma and everyone within 500 yards or more knew it. And I’m so very thankful she knows who will be there for her and who will bring her comfort like no one else on Earth can. Being a Momma is a big job, especially so when your little one is struggling and feeling the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

At this point, she was calming and I was freaking out inside. Why did we do this? What WERE WE THINKING? How can I make it through this day? And where is the nearest bathroom?

I knew Li’l Bro would be taken back soon. His pre-op nurse had told me they would have the OR turned over in 30 minutes, and that the surgeon was not taking a break other than the wait for the cleaning of the OR. He was game on and ready and waiting for the room to be readied. In fact, the surgeon went over both releases with us before Li’l Miss’s surgery and he told us if we gave him our blessing that he wouldn’t come back out to see us before Li’l Bro’s surgery, which we gladly gave because we knew the sooner he could do his thing the sooner Li’l Bro would make his way up to a room on the floor.

IMG_5220 - Version 2

Li’l Bro Post-Op and smiling as always.

I don’t really know how much time passed, but it wasn’t much and the Prez did make his way back to see Li’l Miss once she calmed down. He couldn’t have handled seeing her writhing, not on this day anyway, and his Mom came back too with him, and we did the switcharoo so I could go back to see Li’l Bro who was so patiently waiting for his turn. Soon after, they told us it was time, so the Prez made his way back to Li’l Bro’s room and we said quick and non-emotional good-byes (so much better for the patient) and prayed again silently. We always pray with them, but we do it well before the hand-off, because again, it is just better that way for them, and he was off just like that. And I was a hot mess. I held it in, but on the inside I was crying out and thinking I CAN’T DO THIS. I CAN’T DO THIS.

But we did, and the day was far from over. This post is getting so long, so it is going to be a part 1 of hopefully 2. I have another post swirling in my head titled “What Is Women’s Ministry?” and it will relate to this most recent hospital stay and a recent email response that quite frankly left my mouth gaping open. I know, what a cliffhanger, right?


Adoption in Hindsight

November is National Adoption Month, and around the web you may have seen many posts, tweets, status updates, and campaigns promoting adoption. Most of those are about the children who wait, and this is GOOD.

This post though isn’t about that.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who is at the end of her rope.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who feels utterly and hopelessly ALONE.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who has children in circumstances that rip this Momma’s heart in places she thought would be fatal … until she realized her heart had been ripped there.

This post is for the adoptive Mom who has given her all and yet … it isn’t enough.


I used to be much more involved in efforts to advocate for adoption. All out. No matter what. At all costs.

I honestly used to think adoption was the only answer for children who have through no fault of their own found themselves without the presence of their parent(s).

Hindsight as they say is 20/20.

In looking back and thinking about all our family has been through the past 6 years and 2 months since the adoption of our first of what would be four adopted children, I am challenged to share honestly about life as the mother of six children—two by birth and four by adoption.


Our family has been immensely blessed by adoption and our family has also been immensely challenged by the individual struggles and traumas our adopted children have endured.

This post will not be about our children’s traumas or their struggles. I cringe when I see some of the personal information that is all too often shared, and I shudder at times when I think of what these children may feel when they one day realize their adoptive mother or father has shared very private information in the name of education or awareness or {gasp} as some form of self-serving therapeutic release. Continue reading


I’m Back But I’m Not the Same: My Mission Trip to China

10 Posts in 10 Days turned into 3 Posts in 3 Days.

The days leading up to my departure for China were full of last-minute drug store runs and moments of freaking out about what I was about to do. I didn’t know on February 20 I would be leaving for China in less than 3 months.

February 21 came and I read an email referencing this post on our adoption agency’s blog. They had an urgent need for more team members for an upcoming mission trip. Our agency has a mission-sending aim in addition to helping families adopt children from several countries including China, where we found four of our children waiting for a family!

I read the excerpt from the blog post in that email and it was like I knew. I didn’t really dismiss the prompting I felt, but I did wonder how in the world would I go to China and the logistics of all of it. I sent an email that night to the email link not really knowing for sure who would receive it. As it turns out, a lady, who had followed our journey to our first daughter in 2008 and is an adoptive parent herself, is now working for our adoption agency to coordinate all the China mission trips. She emailed me back that evening with answers to two specific questions I asked.

In her email back to me, two things she said stood out:

The purpose of this trip is simply to serve wherever we are needed in this orphanage.  Because we have not been able to work in this specific orphanage, we are not exactly sure what the needs are of this orphanage.

We will need to decide if this trip is a GO or not in the next week, or less.

OK. Breathe I told myself. A week or less? Serve where needed. I can definitely do that I thought, though the emotions and depth of that service proved to be one of the hardest and most rewarding five days of my life thus far. Continue reading


This Christmas

I love Christmastime. This year though, my heart hurts. I don’t recall a Christmas like this one where I honestly am looking forward to it all being over. If not for my little ones especially, I think I would just skip it. Thankfully, the Prez and some of our children decorated one afternoon while I was gone. I came home and found many things already out.

We all decorated the trees together, but a lot of things just haven’t been the same. You see, I had this wonderful dream that this home would be so special because it would be the first home where all eight of us have lived from the beginning TOGETHER.

But now, that dream has died because in all honesty so much sorrow has happened here already. The vision I had of this first Christmas in our new home, the one we dreamed of for years, didn’t work out. Since just before Thanksgiving, everything we knew to be true has been clouded with the reality that more was broken here than even we already imagined.

I know Christmas isn’t about family times only, far from it, but since 2008 and especially since 2010 it has felt like we are trying to be the family God has brought together through birth and adoption … and we just can’t quite get there.

But now I realize I can’t force it. The Prez can’t force it. Sure we are a family, but the roots I had hoped and prayed … oh how we’ve prayed (yet people will say “if you just pray”) would develop … so many of them that appeared to be there were not rooted as I thought and then others … have never taken root. I love all of our children so deeply, and that is why it hurts so much I think. When our children war against one another in one form or another, oh how it breaks a Momma’s heart.

I don’t know about anyone else, but if you like me, have dreams that have been dashed, a heart that feels like it has been broken in multiple places, a home that just is filled with reminders of all that is broken, a grief that seems almost too much to bear ... just keep holding tight to Jesus and never, never let go.

If you are suffering from a broken heart, maybe one or both of these songs will be a blessing to you.


I do sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas. May 2014 be filled to overflowing with HOPE for you. I know I’m hopeful for the sun to rise and I will continue believing in Jesus’ promises, particularly that His mercies are new every morning.


The Rollercoaster of Life

While I had hoped to do some school updates, life has gotten too busy for that. Life is full of twists and turns. I am so thankful we can’t see into the future. If I had known the trials our family would be enduring at present a few years ago, I’m sure I would have made different decisions. However I’m sure of this: we have walked out God’s call to adopt each of our children and we have trusted Him to lead us in that.

Maybe someone reading needs to read this quote today. Surely all have heard of Corrie Ten Boom, but if not goo*gle her because knowing her story gives the quote its power.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. –Corrie Ten Boom

A Different Sort of Post

When I began this new blog, I knew it would be a lot less about the topics that seemed to be the meat of my other blog. I don’t talk about adoption on here for the sake of talking about it, promoting it, advocating for children or for any other reasons that I used to talk about it.

I also don’t talk about God much on here. I know that is probably a turn-off to some and probably welcoming to others. It is not that I don’t want to or don’t feel I should. I guess I’ve just been in a season where I didn’t have much to say. And I still don’t I don’t think, because I don’t understand a lot of what is currently about our family. Continue reading