Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Birth Mother's Day!

I don't know your name, what you look like or even where you live. I don't know these things about you but, I do know our daughter has an amazing smile, the most beautiful Chinese eyes and a stubborn determination and drive like I have never seen before...all traits I am convinced she inherited from you.

If I could talk to you today, I would want you to know first that she is happy & healthy & has 3 brothers and a mom & dad who absolutely adore her!  She was an answer to much prayer and we promise to always remember that the answer to our prayers also came with loss & heartbreak.    I can't imagine how you feel, but we pray that you will somehow just know that she is well and have a peace about your decision.

I also want you to know that our daughter is a true girly girl, she loves anything pink or girly, she loves to sing at the top of her lungs making up songs as she goes, she is learning to write her name, she loves to play dress up & "do hair" and she has the sweetest, giving, affectionate & sassy soul ever!

Sometimes I imagine we are like 2 ships at sea. You carried our precious cargo (our daughter) for a short length of time but your journey was no less important. You carried her and gave her the gift of life. You brought her along for part of her journey that only you could carry her, then when it was my turn to carry our precious cargo; to take over in what you had started, I was able to nurture and love her like she is my own. We both had the same destination in mind: a happy & healthy baby girl but, it took both ships in order to get our precious cargo to that destination. Both of us loving this special girl who has connected us and captured both of our hearts.

HAPPY BIRTH MOTHERS DAY to Charlotte's birthmother! Because without her and her sacrifice I wouldn't be celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow with our 4th blessing; our baby girl. 



Thursday, August 08, 2013

Our summer in pictures...

 Our mischievious girl! :)
 Curious about everything! :)

 Fun with cousins!

 fun with brothers!

Will went to church camp! :)  And is a SOPHOMORE this year!  I can hardly believe it!  Plus he won't let me take his photo any more...I caught him off guard for this one. 

 The last few photos were taken at the lake.  We enjoyed swimming and having a picnic. :)

I love this photo of Ben.  It shows off his personality well.  So sweet & funny!  My new 3rd grader!

My serious Drew who is going to be a 6th grader in a few days!

 And our sweet Charlotte...who is excited to start pre-school in a few weeks.  She will be going 2 days a week from 10-2:15 at Lakewood. (the same school that Drew & Ben go to)  There is a speech therapist that will work with her (even though they don't really think she is behind in speech at all) & she really needs to have more time away from me.  She is SUCH a mamas girl and won't hardly let me out of her sight.  She still has alot of anxiety about not being with me.  I will miss her so much but, I know this is what she needs.

Looking forward to an AWESOME start to the school year!  

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Wherever you go, I go!

It has been a little over a year and half since we came home from China with our baby girl, Charlotte.  It has been a crazy ride at times during these past 18 months, BUT, we have seen Charlotte grow and change and become much more secure.  It has been amazing to watch this growth in her!  The very scared little girl that we brought home has become a talkative, sassy and confident little princess!

She is a total girly girl!  Her favorite color is PINK (of course!) and she is very opinionated about what she wants to wear!  She has an attitude, is very stubborn and determined and we wouldn't want her any other way!  She needs that personality to be able to handle her 3 older brothers! :)  

 Our little diva!

The little girl who wouldn't go to bed without food or a cracker in her hand, now knows that she will never go to bed hungry again. The little girl who was constantly worried that I would leave her, now knows that I am never leaving her.  I told her one day a few months ago that "Wherever you go, I go and wherever I go, you go!" and it really stuck with her.  Now we repeat that to each other whenever she has any anxiety about mama leaving her. 

She walks around with a confidence these days and is constantly singing all day long.  "Jesus Loves Me" is one of her favorite songs and below is a video of her singing it.  She is still fairly shy in front of people she doesn't know so, not many people get to see this spunky side of her.  

Lately, she and I have had many good talks about her being adopted and being from China.  Now, when its just the two of us, she will say "Mama, let's talk about China" with a sweet little smile on her face.  She loves to hear about us getting on an airplane to go to China and about us meeting her and her crying and being scared of her Baba.  She laughs now when I tell her that...she ADORES her Baba!  

I'm not sure if she remembers our time in China or, just remembers me telling her about it.  But, I asked her recently what I had given her when she came into our room to meet us and she responded that I had given her a sucker.  So, maybe she does remember some.  We talk about "China mama" (her foster mother) and how she loved her until mommy and daddy could get there and sometimes she asks to see a picture of China mama.  

In the past, when we would talk about China, I noticed that the next few days she would be clingy and insecure, as if remembering her time in China all over again, each time we talked about it together.  The last couple of months that has not happened and I am thankful.  I want her to always know that she is adopted and about China and for that to never scare or shock her.  And even more importantly that she knows that God has always loved her and always will...and I think she knows both now!  PRAISE THE LORD!

At church I taught her & the other kids in my class to say "God Loves Me" in sign language.  A few days ago I saw her saying and signing it for the first time, all by herself, without any prompting.  She had no idea that I was watching, but, it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen!  To see our little girl, that came from half way around the world to join our family, understand about the love of our Lord...well it was some thing I had always dreamed she would understand.  
 Charlotte (3 1/2) and Ben (8) at Kentucky Lake

We are at a good place but, it has taken us a year and half to get here.  We have loved her all along but, now she finally "gets it" and knows we aren't going anywhere.  She is such a joy to us and her brothers and honestly, anyone that meets her.  She is our little walking and talking advocate for adoption!  Which is ironic because when we started contemplating adopting I always thought I wanted a child that "looked like us" because, I thought it would be easier on the child.

God really convicted me of that one day in Target of all places!  I was sitting at the snack bar when in walked a beautiful little family with 3 little boys who were obviously very Caucasian and 1 little girl who was obviously very Asian.  God convicted me right then and there that why wouldn't I want to have my child not look like me??  Everyone that looks at our family, probably knows that Charlotte is adopted but, God showed me that it could be a very positive thing!  We have seen that to be true as it has prompted many conversations with complete strangers.  Yes, she IS a walking, talking advocate for adoption and we couldn't be prouder of her and that she doesn't look like us is an unexpected blessing.

So what is in store for Miss Charlotte next?  She needs another surgery next spring.  :( Her doctor at Vanderbilt will take some cartilage out of her ribs and use it to do a graft in her nose.  Because she is missing cartilage in one side of her nose, it makes it difficult for her to breath out of that side of her nose.  It is a big surgery and I don't look forward to it.  Our doctor said to plan on her being in the hospital a week, so, we want to plan it while the boys are still in school to make things easier.  After this surgery, she probably won't have another surgery until she is around age 10 or 12 for her bone graft.  YIPPEE!   It is hard to see her go through these surgeries, these dental procedures and everything she has had to go through but, I quickly remind myself that God made her and this is the hand she was dealt.  It isn't suppose to be easy to see your child wasn't for God to see Jesus suffer!  We just have to go through it with her and love her through it...and that's an easy job!

Her cleft lip & palate is something I totally forget about at times, especially in between doctor appointments. She may have been labeled "special needs" in China but, she certainly isn't to us at all.  She has never had to have any speech therapy and overall has been very lucky/blessed when it comes to her cleft surgeries.  I would not hesitate to adopt another child with cleft lip/palate! I shudder to think about the blessings we would have missed if we had let the fear of the unknown and her special need keep us from taking the adoption leap of faith.  It is a leap of faith and it is scary but, anything worth having usually is. God orchestrated us being matched with the perfect child for our family and for that I will always be in awe.

Charlotte and Hen-wee (Henry) her best fwend! (friend)

I had always heard that a child needs to home as long as they were in an orphanage or a foster family in order to feel really secure.  I am finding that true.  Every single day I see that she is just blossoming and becoming more and more secure. We have very little insecurities we are dealing with now, except the anxiety of going to the dentist which is normal for all she has been through.

So, even though we don't believe we will be adopting again, sadly mainly because of the cost.  We do know that if God convicts us to adopt again, He will provide and we will be obedient.  For now, we are loving our 4 little blessings and I try to evaluate every day what we are doing to make this world a better place for someone else and what more can I do?  I ask you to do the same...What are you doing for someone else who is less fortunate?  I will always have a heart for orphans in China & will constantly be praying & doing all I can for them half way across the world. I think I left part of my heart in China and, I will never be the same after having been there.  I look forward to the day I can return there with Charlotte & we can make a difference together day!

 In the meantime, every night I get to hear "Mommy?  You know what? I love you!"    I am SO BLESSED!


P.S.  I plan on taking the time to update my blog more often so, stayed tuned!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Well we arrived at the hospital around 10 a.m. and we were exhausted.  Charlotte decided to cut a molar the night before her surgery and was up from 1:30 a.m..  It was THE WORST nights sleep we have had since having her...we could tell it was hurting her but, because of her having surgery we
couldn't even give her tylenol or advil. :(  Poor baby!
Waiting to be called back to pre-op.

They took us back and we got her in her hospital pajamas and we waited.  They were at first reluctant to give us the "silly juice" saying they try not to use it if they don't have to.  Once the anethesiologist came in to talk to us, he realized he wasn't going to get her away from us easily so, he actually suggested we use the "silly juice"...I was so relieved!  We gave it to her and waited....
She got those cute little yellow pajamas on.

About 15 minutes later they came to the door and asked if we thought she was ready.  I gave them her little doll (the little doll you sent her Amber! :))  and she wanted it, so, she reluctantly reached for it and the nurse quickly took her in her arms.  She started saying "Mama, mama, I want mama!"  over and over again.  I kept hearing that phrase repeated until she & the nurse were out of sight. :(  So, the "silly juice" didn't work as well as I had hoped.  The nurses did say because of the silly juice though, that she would have no memory of leaving me.

They had told us the surgery would last an hour.  After about an hour though, we got a call from the operating room that they had just finished removing the cutis aplaysia and were now getting started on her lip.  About an hour later, they called to say they were still working on her lip and not to worry, that Dr. Kelly is a perfectionist and likes to take his time.  After about 2 1/2 hours, I was starting to freak out a bit.  FINALLY, after 3 hours, they called to say they were done and that the doctor would be out to talk to us soon.

He said the surgery went well.  They had removed some tissue when they had done her lip repair in China so he ended up doing more than he had originally intended to repair her lip.  She also had what he called "track marks" on her upper lip.  He removed them and made the middle part of her lip not as wide which he thinks will look better.

About 30-45 minutes later we were called back to see her in recovery.  We had asked beforehand to go back as soon as we could, because we didn't want her to have any anxiety about not seeing us when she woke up.  Thankfully, we got back there before she even woke up.  She was in the little crib and just laying there sound asleep. I picked her up and started rocking her.  I rocked her about an hour before she really woke up and she was not really agitated at all...just out of sorts.  I was so thankful for that!


We were able to come home that day because, she had done so good and because she didn't get naseous after the surgery.  If she had, we would have had to stay the night in the hospital but, she was the best patient ever!  The nurses said Dr. Kelly NEVER lets anyone go home the same day. :)

Since coming home she has been VERY demanding and GROUCHY but, who wouldn't be given all she has been through this week?  We go back Monday to get any stitches out that have not dissolved.
She is still very restless and demanding but, we are weaning her off of the pain meds and replacing it with advil and she seems more like herself, so that is good.  She will have to wear the no no's for 3 weeks and soft foods for 3 weeks as well.  Surprisingly, neither have been as big of a deal with her as I had imagined.  They had the no no's on her before we even got back in recovery.  She asked to take them off twice the first day and we just said no and distracted her.  So far, she is loving her jello, soup & pudding diet too. :) 

Thank you so much for praying for her!  Please continue to pray for her in the coming weeks...that she continues to be such a good patient and that we can keep her from falling or hurting her lip while it is healing.