Saturday, November 24, 2012

Maddox enjoyed her time on the farm too!  We went exploring and I captured a little bit of her personality on camera.
She is naturally a curious little one....
and if you watch her expressions, she can be read like a book.
Her sweet smile will light up any dark room.....
I am so thankful for my children, the youngest, oldest and my two middles.  They are all such special pieces to our puzzle. 
Thanksgiving on the farm celebrating family with my grandmother who is 92 years old! 
 I love family photos....the black/white photo shows a portion of the chaos that most always evolves when one tries to photograph more than one grandmother's five children were all present for this day as well as seven out of her twelve grandchildren AND sixteen great grandchildren....PLUS her siblings and their families....lots of people, lots of memories.
 Growing up, we always went to the farm.  It is our family reunion of sorts each year and everyone comes from across the nation to visit the farm....our immediate family pictured above is only a portion of the attendees.  
 The children dove right in to arranging an afternoon game of football....
 and ladder ball was a hit as well!
 And more pictures were needed.....again, the chaos in arranging more than one subject - love it!
 The Fab Nine....
and my mom with her fabulous three! 

Friday, November 23, 2012


One little turkey....
 singing her heart out....
 decorating good eats....
 and showing her thanks!
Maddox has loved school this year and, for this, we are THANKFUL!  No tears, all smiles.  She comes home singing songs that I remember singing as a child, she has learned the Pledge of Allegiance, she has made friends, and she has stolen the hearts of her teachers and the director!  
 And, MK enjoyed some well deserved time off from school with one of her besties, SK.  These two never share a dull moment when they are together! 
 The love to dress-up, play house and babies, they love games and art has become a favorite too.  While together, they made cards for their brothers, just because that is what loving little sisters do:)  And little Maddox was right in the middle of it all too!
And, as tradition would have it, we all settled in to watch Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown - well, most of us!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six years ago we were officially waiting for a referral for a non-special needs baby girl under the age of 12 months.  We waited patiently for 10 months and realized we were not going to get anywhere quick. Six years later, and we would still be waiting.
So thankful God had other plans.
MK and Maddox.
November is National Adoption/Orphan Awareness month.  Be our little community alone, in just the last month, eight orphans have found their forever families - eight less.  An eight year old boy celebrated his Gotcha Day in China with his forever family - nine less.  A family in our neighborhood awaits their Letter of Acceptance for their three year old daughter in China - 10 less.  Dear friends of ours await their Travel Approval for their two year old daughter in China - 11 less.
I read a blog last night about a little girl whose family is going to China soon to pick her up.  The family had received updated photos and posted them on their blog.  The little girl was all smiles.  In the background, there were three babies, looking to be in the neighborhood of 8-10 months of age, laying on their backs, big brown eyes staring up into space.....three babies, on a dirty mat, on their backs, no toys, nothing.  These are the faces of the thousands of orphans that haunt me, these are the faces of the children who are left behind, who may or may not be considered for adoption, who may or may not ever be wanted.
My girls will always know they were wanted.  Always.  Their birthmothers wanted them to have life just as we wanted them in our lives.
Orphans truly are not real until you meet them, spend time with them, and experience their desperate pleas for your attention.  We had the privilege of visiting the orphanages of MK and Maddox though both girls spent most of their time with foster families while in China.  MK's orphanage was in the middle of a city, the two hour drive there was all highway, and the streets were bustling with energy.  The orphanage was small.  We saw maybe 10-15 babies ranging in age from 2 weeks to maybe 12 months, all dressed accordingly in five hundred layers and all seemingly having their needs met.  Appearance wise, there were toys, there were plenty of nannies fussing over them, and, if one chose to overlook the fact that two babies were sharing the equivalent of one-half the size of a US crib, all seemed well.
And then, three years later, we visited Maddox's orphanage.  Ten minutes into the one hour drive, we found ourselves weaving in and around potholes filled with mud....there was no highway, just dreary mud.  At one point we were so far away from anything that remotely looked like an area that would have outside communication, that I began to wonder where in the world our guide was taking us.  Frightened, I surely was, and then I saw the gate.  In the middle of what looked like a field with trash around it and a few abandoned (but probably lived in) buildings, there sat M's orphanage.  We walked into a quiet, dark, sterile environment.  No pictures were allowed.  After a moment, we were led into a classroom with children ages 3-5 years, I am guessing.  They immediately came to us, wanted to touch our hair, they wanted us to listen to them talk, I helped one little girl cut, the boys gave candy....I remember thinking I was in my element and I could have stayed their all day just soaking up their little small yet needy desires for love and touch.
And then there was the next room.  The room filled with cribs.  A room filled with cribs yet only the sound of one screaming baby.  The baby was not being held.  Instead, the nannie had placed it in a wooden chair on the floor while she heated the bottle in a microwave.  When the bottle was warm, the nannie took the bottle, sat down on a stool in front of the baby, never touched or picked up the baby, and began to feed it.  The tears ceased.  No touch, no love, no kisses.....a bottle, in a hard, wooden chair.
This is when it happened, my heart changed.  I was shaken by the reality that the children, who I had always seen pictures of on this tv show or this orphan ad, were real; their needs were real and the problem was huge by all accounts.  My heart continues to hurt for them, for their lost childhoods, for the love they will never feel.
Yet, I have two of them.....two beautiful baby girls who were wanted and prayed over and will never know anything but love.  And my girls have two handsome, adoring brothers.  The four of them have shared our story countless times with curious onlookers.  And we love to share our story, in hopes that our sharing will encourage others to step outside of the box and consider adoption for their family or become aware of the needs that adopting families have, both financially and prayerfully.
After all, sharing our story could mean another one less.