Thursday, November 28, 2013


This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the gift of adoption.  While we never had adoption as part of our plan in life, God had something completely different in mind.

When I talk to people about the little girl what I consistently hear is this: "Oh I could NEVER do that" or "If I had the money I would adopt".

We never thought about adoption.  
We didn't have $30k just sitting under our bed either.

I will be the first to tell you that this road has not been easy.  When she came home it wasn't happily ever after.  This little girl has challenge me in every.  single.  way.

But I love her.
She is real.
She is my own.
She is equal to her brother and sister.
And I am her mother.

She loves her big brother.  Nothing will make her face light up faster than when 'Emry' wakes up in the morning or comes home from school.  My heart overflows when I see her on the couch cuddling with 'Dopia'.  And when I see that precious little face asleep, her hands folded under her head as if she's praying, all the challenges of the day wash away.

I'm thankful that God had other plans.  I'm thankful that I really listened and followed this crazy path He is taking our family on.  I'm thankful to see so many other kids come home to their forever families.

I didn't give you the gift of life
but in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real
as if it had been so.
For us to have each other
is like a dream come true.
No, I didn't give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hello's been a while

Before we left to pick up the little girl I made a lot of promises.

I promised to email everyone from Haiti.
I promised to lose the pre-adoption weight.
I promised to keep up with this blog.

I'd be laughing at myself if I wasn't so tired, fluffy, and out-of-touch.

No one told me the waiting was the easy part.  No one told me the stress, tears, sleepless nights, and worry before she came home was a walk in the park compared to what it would be like when she was finally living under our roof.

The flat little girl - the picture - never had a tantrum.  She never talked back.  Never hit.  Never bit.  Never spit out her food.  Flat little girl had a sweet smile.  She was quiet.  She was...perfect.

Orphanages are no place for children.  Something happens to these little people when their whole world is disrupted.  When they're put in an institutional setting with too many kids.  When they lose the only family they have ever known.  When they wake up at night and someone isn't there to rock them back to sleep.  Or when they just want one toy to call their own but 60+ other kids are fighting over everything.

At 10 months the little girl lost her entire world.  She was admitted to this strange place with unfamiliar faces.  They did the best they could, but they were an orphanage.  A place we're thankful for, but a place no child should ever have to be.

For 2+ years this was her world.  And in a moment her life changed again.  She lost her entire world once more and flew home to a strange place with unfamiliar faces.  She has her own bed and clothes and all the food she needs.  She's got undivided attention and toys she gets to keep.  She's got a yard to play in, a swing set no one is fighting over, and 3 fuzzy things these people call kitties to keep her lap warm.

But she's a damaged little person.  It happens - no matter the care in an orphanage - it happens.  The 'fight' instinct is in hyper-mode.  The volume is turned up.  The reaction to scream or hit or zombie out in a stressful situation is a natural response. Raging tantrums happen.  All too often.

This afternoon one of those raging tantrums happened.  I'm not sure if she was tired or mad, but she lost her mind and started screaming and throwing herself on the floor.  I walked to her room and sat on her bed.  She followed me, still screaming.  After 10 minutes she edged over to me and touched my leg.  She was still so very angry, but she wanted to be on my lap.  As I picked her up, she melted into me.  Her little arms giving up the fight.  Her little head resting on my chest.  She gave in to the exhaustion and finally closed her eyes.

I'm tired, I'm stressed out, and I'm eating entirely too much chocolate lately.  But as I watch her little chest rise and fall with each breath, her tired little body napping after putting up such a fight, I realize that this life - this here and now - is not at all about me.  Right now it's about taking this amazing gift that God has trusted me with, and giving her the best life I possibly can.

He calls her his 'very best friend'.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Was it worth it?

Was it worth it - all the paperwork and hurdles?  Was it worth all of the money and added stress to our lives?  Or the tears and the pain?  The delays and lost fingerprints - was it worth it?  Was it worth the grey hair, wrinkles and the worry?  Was it worth two years of our lives?

Was it worth it?

Three weeks ago I was a stranger.  To her, I could have been anyone in a crowd.  A complete unknown.  In a matter of hours she crawled in my arms and called me mommy.

As she wakes up from her nap she cries out for this person she now knows as mommy.  When I lay next to her, she gently rests her head on my chest and instantly falls back asleep.

Once a stranger - now her security.

Her comfort.

Her mommy.

Was it worth it?

Yes.  It was worth it.  All of it.

And I'd do it all over again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

One Less Orphan

She's home.  I can't believe it.  After all the tears, prayers, money, paperwork, sleepless nights, worry...she's home.

We are getting to know our new family dynamic.  The first couple of days were challenging.  She was hyper-stimulated by her surroundings.  Just imagine going from nothing to everything - a bed, clothes, toys, siblings, and food.

Her big sister has wanted to hold her since she got home.  Today the little girl was all smiles when her sister got home from school.

This, my friends, is what it's all about.

One less orphan.

There are 152 million children in the world without a mama to rock them to sleep at night.  152 million little souls without a daddy's lap to cuddle on.  152 million sweet faces that deserve a family.  Would you consider opening your heart to one of them? 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Truth:  Haiti is noisy and chaotic and dirty.

Truth:  Haiti is quiet and peaceful and clean.

Truth:  Most of the people on this planet are good.  Even if they speak a different language and don't look like you.

Truth:  There is absolute joy in nothing.  You don't need stuff to be happy.

Truth:  You can go without sleep for 40 hours and then have a hard time falling asleep.

Truth:  Not all street food is going to make you sick.

Truth:  There are many luxuries not afforded to most people in this world:  warm showers, a bed, electricity, medical care and Kleenex and so much more.  Be thankful for what you have.

Truth:  If you live your life worried about what could happen or afraid of being uncomfortable, you aren't living your life.

Truth:  Most people in the US have never seen true poverty.

Truth:  I am an overweight, spoiled American.

Truth:  Haitians work extremely hard for almost everything in life.

Truth:  Because I have seen this so much, firsthand, it makes me embarrassed for all I have and all of my gluttony.

Truth:  I have decided it's time to get in shape.

Truth:  I miss Henry and Sofia.

Truth:  We save too much for when we're older.  We need to give and trust that God will work out all the details.

Truth:  You didn't choose to be born in the country you were born.

Truth:  Haitians didn't choose to be born in Haiti either.

Truth:  We aren't put on this earth to be comfortable.  We're put in this earth to take what we have and make sure others have what they need.

Truth:  I mean it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh the things people say

The big news of the day:  SHE'S COMING HOME!!  

While I won't believe it until she's in my arms and her little feet are on the carpet in this house, she really is coming home.  I can't even describe how this process has changed me.  I've aged.  My hair has more grey in it.  My face has more wrinkles.  I may have put on a couple more pounds.  Oh how I wish I was a stress exerciser.

As I approach the most significant trip of my life, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the things we've heard and been asked during this journey.  I have a response to all of them, but I'll let you imagine what it would be.  Some are shocking.  Some are clueless.  Some are said out of genuine caring and compassion.  This is only a partial list.

I could never adopt.

I'd love to adopt, but it's just too expensive.

How could you do this to your kids?

What if she has issues when she gets home?

How much did she cost?

You have to PAY for a kid?  You'd think they'd give them away for free.

Why does it take so long?  (If I had a dime every time that was asked...)

I could never love a kid that wasn't my own.

You have lost the most critical years of her development.

Your kids are going to just wake up one morning and a new kid is going to be there.  Don't you think that will be hard for them?

You understand that you're just supporting corruption, right?

Is she one of those lost kids because of that tsunami?  You know, the one where all the parents died.

What happened to her real parents?

She is so lucky!!

Ok.  I've got to address one of them.  I know this comment is said out of love and excitement.  It's one we hear all the time.  But I feel it needs to be addressed - the little girl and her luck.

Adoption is born out of a tremendous amount of loss.  There is significant pain in adoption.  The little girl lost everything.  She lost her world.  She lost her family.  For over two years she hasn't had a mommy to rock her when she had a fever.  She hasn't had a daddy to kiss her boo-boos.  She hasn't had a brother or sister to teach her the alphabet or her colors.  She hasn't had her own bed, her own clothes, or even a warm bath.  

No.  The little girl is not lucky.  We are the ones who are completely blessed in this process.  The adoption journey has changed our family.  It has changed the way we talk.  It has changed how we spend our money.  It has changed how we view the orphan crisis.  (I cannot sleep at night when I think about 152 MILLION children who don't have a parent.)  I have made friends with amazing people I never would have met if it wasn't for this journey.  The relationships with my friends here has strengthened as they listened to my stories, helped wipe away my tears when there was another setback, and gone out of their way to make sure the little girl has everything she needs when she gets home.  We have felt love and support from friends, family and strangers.

There is no luck.  Only blessings.

Stay tuned.  The big event is almost here!