Special Needs

Exploring Special Needs

The Waiting Child

Thinking about Adoption? Have you considered the Waiting Childl?

When my husband and I first started our adoption process, these children were referred to as Special Needs which can be a scary term.

But what if instead we called them “Waiting Children”? Doesn’t sound as intimidating, right, and it is the truth as well! Furthermore, what if we thought of “Special Needs” kids as “special”, amazing children in “need” of or waiting for a forever family? What if God had said, “oh, I don’t want to save people with problems, only perfect people”? None of us are worthy of Him. We are all special cases in comparison to our great God. Praise God, that He, in His mercy, sent his only and perfect Son to die for all of us (John 3:16)!

When our caseworker mentioned this list as a possibility to us, we looked at each and said, “we don’t think so”, but God had other plans. He began to work in our hearts and brought people into our lives who had adopted children from China on the waiting child list and showed us that He had a completely different plan than we were thinking of for our adopted child. He showed us that we didn’t need be scared of this special list of children but rather to see them as beautiful children created by their creator, perfect in His eyes, and waiting for us to adopt them! The truth of the matter is that many children on this list in China have things that can easily corrected in the United States such as cleft lip/palate or limb deformities. Of course, there are children on these lists with more severe issues, so pray about God’s plan for your adoption and seek His will alone. Don’t focus on the fact that you want a “healthy” child but rather on the child God has for you. Step out in faith, knowing that His plan is far greater than any you could ever imagine. Yes, there will rapids along the way, but He has promised to carry you through those times of trial and difficulty that are inevitable. He will be faithful. WE CAN TRUST HIM!! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understand.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

Meet Grace Lihua

Grace Before and After Adoption

Grace Before and After Adoption

Grace is a vivacious fun loving three year old who makes friends everywhere she goes. She was born on November 12, 2009 and joined our family in May of 2011. Grace has deformities in her fingers and toes. She is missing her big toe on her left foot and the middle toes on her right foot are fused together as one. Additionally, her right foot was a slight club foot. Her index finger on her left hand is not properly formed and two of her middle fingers on her right hand are short. We took her to a renowned pediatric hand surgeon at Scottish Rite in Dallas who did some work on her right hand to help with mobility and will do on a follow up surgery on each hand in a few years. We also went through a series of casts on her right foot/leg to work on stretching the muscles and helping the foot straighten.  While all this sounds complicated, God has walked with us every step of the way, and we are excited to watch His plans for her life unfold!

Meet Anthony Jianyou

Anthony - Before & After Adoption

Anthony – Before & After Adoption

Anthony is full of life and energy with a flair for the dramatic! He is extremely intelligent and is picking up English with incredible speed. He was born on September 23, 2004 and joined our family in January of 2013. Anthony has a deformity in his right arm and hand. He is missing the bones in his right thumb and the radius in his forearm shorter causing his arm to slightly curve in. Additionally, the muscles in his right arm are very weak. The same doctors who worked on Grace’s hand will perform a surgery on his hand this coming September. They will be removing the limp thumb and moving his index finger to the location of the thumb so that he will have more mobility and ease when grabbing things with this hand. It is truly amazing! He is a little concerned about this surgery, but does want his hand to function better, so keep him in your prayers. We are excited to share with Him the incredible, unending, perfect love of God who created Him just as he is for a special purpose ordained by God.

Our greatest struggle will be dealing with our children’s hurt feelings when other children ask them why their hands and feet are different. We know and will always communicate to them that God see them as perfect and beautiful, but that we live in a fallen world, so there will be questions and looks. Haven’t we all experienced the cruelty of children at some point in our lives? Did any of us escape the teen years unscathed, without a hurt feeling stemming from ridicule by someone over something “wrong” with you? Of course, this will break our hearts, but we pray that we will use these opportunities to point our precious babies to the One who loves them more than any of us could imagine or fathom. 

My Children are BEAUTIFUL! See my post about this here.


“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

To quote Johnny Diaz, “More Beautiful You”,

“There could never be a more beautiful you

Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through

You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do

So there could never be a more beautiful you.”

 _____________________________________

Suzanne Meledeo

Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for five years, God led Suzanne and her husband, Adam, to His Plan A for their lives, adoption! Their three year old daughter,Grace Lihua, came into their lives on May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day) from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China, and their eight year old son, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family on January 14, 2013 from Shanghai.  After a career in Politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to work part time as a Pilates Instructor while spending time with Grace and preparing for the home schooling of their boy. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

Pin It

Questions of men. Answers of Him.

The Word is eternal and it is true.
And it tells us that these, days, and us, men, are like grass.
We are here today and gone tomorrow.
But, oh, how we often live as if that is not true.
And how we fill our heads and hearts with doubts, fears, and questions.
As if this was our home and our destination.
As if there was not Glory waiting on the other side.
Surely, I have seen my own tendency towards these thoughts.

Jessica Cooksey 2

September 18, 2011 is our oldest son, Adam’s birthday.
It came unexpected, to us.
Husband and I were playing badminton on that muggy hot Indian evening.
We did not know of the baby that was being born in our rural hospital.
That precious baby, whose unformed body had been created by a good God.
But, whose unformed body, puzzled us, mankind.
Our precious Adam entered the world without eyelids, a severe cleft lip and palate, a partly absent nose, and severe webbing of the legs.
There are diagnoses for these things.
And his is “Bartsocas Papas Popliteal Pterygium Syndrome”.
It is a bit overwhelming, is it not?
And if you really look into it, you will see it is often referred to as the
“Lethal Pterygium Syndrome”

When husband, a doctor, and I, a nurse, read those words, we grasped the severity.
Maybe you do too.

But, we also read something else alongside this diagnosis.
We read from the Word, Living
He said “Your eyes saw my unformed body, every day was ordained for me before one of them came to be”.
The psalmist, David, scribed those words.
So if the Creator’s eyes sees unformed bodies and brings them into this world with breath in their lungs, then He created this Adam for a purpose.
His first days were heavy, but a silver lining revealed a Hope unseen.
An adoption story that would move mountains.

For this husband and this wife, they had already been adopted.
Into an eternal family.
They knew that they were more like Adam than people realized.
Spiritually, they had been Adam.
They, too, had once been deformed, orphaned, and destined for death.
But a Holy Blood was spilt on their behalf.
And a Holy God became flesh and dwelt among them.
And gave Himself for them.
So they could no longer be orphans, but children of this God.

So, if this adoption was true of that husband and wife
And if they were called to be His ambassadors on this earth
How could they deny this abandoned, unformed child and his need for a family?

They could not.
His Spirit compelled them and empowered them.

But, I, that wife, had one question.
“How can I raise a dying child?”
“Could I knowingly raise a child with such a diagnosis?”
I did not know that I could.
But His still small voice pierced those depths of my heart.
“Jessica, you TOO, are dying”
“Raja, your beloved, is dying”
Yes, our Spirit’s will live. But this body, it is fading.
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day”
After all, didn’t Solomon tell us…
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord stands forever”
Yes, we are eternal beings. That I know. And in that I rejoice.
The idea that we are all dying is not some fatalistic idea.
Each year that passes, I see changes in my own body. We age and no man knows if he is guaranteed tomorrow.

Did I choose to not marry Raja because one day he may die before me?
No.
Do I love him or any of my family and friends less because of unavoidable death?
No.
I love them deeply in this moment.
Then why should I question loving, adopting, and caring for this precious boy because a diagnosis speaks of a shorter life?
There is no answer.
And one day, when other children enter our family, I should not look at them in a different way.
For their future, too, is uncertain.
I love each of them, my husband, and all my loved ones with love from Heaven. Love one day at a time.
We do not know what tomorrow holds. I know this moment. I know Jesus. I know what love is. I know His word.
And, after all, “the word of the Lord endures forever”.
Flesh fades like grass, but the Word endures.
The Word will give me the strength I need to love Adam.
No matter what tomorrow holds.

So, he became ours.
And this unnamed baby was named Adam.
And the one seen as a curse was a now a blessing to countless thousands.
And he was no longer alone but known by many.
And he is our son.

Jessica Cooksey 3

Many of my questions ended there.
His Word silenced my fearful heart.
But their questions?
From others you look and see…
They do not stop.
They come daily and it can unnerve me.
And it can bring up anger in me.
But He is teaching me grace in those moments.

And He uses the stories of others to remind me.
I am not alone.
We are not alone.
Adam is not alone.

Like this story.
It is incredible.
It is about a boy and a girl.
Headed for marriage.
He gets a brain injury from a car accident.
She still marries him.
And they say “it all works for good”
That verse Paul scribed in Romans 8.28.

That same verse has pulsed life through our veins many days since September 18, 2011.

There are really not words to share to capture the Glory in their story.
Just watch.

They have a blog.
And I was reading an entry from September 2012.
It was titled “What If”.
The husband and wife are talking:

wife: “Ian, if the role were reversed and I had the tbi, would you still be with me?”

husband: “yes”

wife: “why?”

husband: “because you’re more than a brain.”

And it resonates so much in this heart of mine.
And it makes such sense.
So the more people ask me,
“Why did you adopt Adam?”
“Why did you save this child?”
And when they bring up future issues that, though we consider, are not relevant or important to Adam being Adam,
I have a new answer.

“Because a baby is more than eyelids”.

“Because a person is more than fingers”.

“Because a life is more than a nose”.

“Because a baby is more than full legs”.

And when that fails, the Word LIVING is there.

His eyes saw our “unformed body”
and
“What God calls clean, do not call common”

So my heart’s “how’s” and their “why’s” are answered in Him.
We are temporary bodies, with eternal purposes.
Not just the medically fragile.
But each and every one of us are temporary.
And we are more than perfect bodies.
So much more.

He became flesh to be among the likes of us.
To adopt us thru His Holy Blood.
So these weary, broken, unformed bodies.
Can one day join Him in glory.

_____________________________

Jessica Cooksey 1Jessica Paulraj loves to see the Light known and made much of. Bred
and reared on Florida shores, she now lives in north India with her
adventurous husband, Raja, who is a Psychiatrist. She was teaching
nursing in India when her son, Adam, entered their life through the
glorious ransom of adoption. Adam’s younger brother, Elliot, was born
this past September through the beautiful miracle of childbirth, and
these brothers are quite the force to behold, keeping Jessica busy all
the day long. Jessica is convinced that a steaming cup of spicy chai
is remedy for any peril a day may bring and she loves exploring by
bicycle. You can read more about her life with these boys and her
longings to see the Light pierce darkness at We: Unformed.

Identity

 

Our daughter is so proud that she can now write her name. She loves to practice. Her name and her ability to write it is important to her. Her name is part of who she is. What’s even more amazing is that she only has three fingers and no thumb and she just came home from China six months ago. She writes her name in spite of it all. No one tells her she can’t. She knows it is part of her identity, and she just keeps writing. How will she respond one day when that identity is challenged? How will she respond when she is teased or bullied? Or told she can’t do something?

The crazy thing is that we walk around every day letting others challenge our identity. When we choose to truly follow Christ, we claim a new identity in Him. Our entire mindset is changed, we are a completely new being. Romans 12:2 says, “ Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We now choose to be empowered by Christ, not by others. Our identity is in Christ.

I know that the day will come when Madelyn’s identity is challenged. She will be made fun of, she will be called names—it will happen. I want her response to be, “I am Madelyn, my identity is in Christ. My confidence is in Him, and He empowers me to rise above.”

Keep writing your name Madelyn!

___________________________________

Amy Kratzer

 Amy Kratzer’s identity is in Christ. She has been married to her awesome husband for seventeen years. She is a pastor’s wife, mom, and seventh grade public school teacher. She has three children, Harrison, 13, Cailyn, 6 and Madelyn, 4. The youngest, Madelyn, joined the family in February 2012. In her “spare” time, she loves blogging, reading other people’s blogs, and helping adoptive families with her ministry Forever Hope

Broken Little Child

He threw a rage at the hospital tonight. A big one. He kicked and screamed and threw a chair at the receptionist. His super-human fury-driven strength required five men to contain, an empty “time-out” room, a bed with restraints, a “burrito wrap,” and some emergency medications. And somehow, he still managed to spit on people, hit, and slap the doctor across the face.

Of course, we’ve seen this sort of thing before. Many times. At home. We aren’t surprised by his actions, just surprised that he finally lost control enough to show this very real side of himself to other people…the same people he’s been trying to convince that he’s perfectly compliant and well-mannered. He wants them to believe that this is our problem and not his.

We stand by the truth. We are not, have never been, and never will be perfect parents, but the responsibility for the behavior our son chooses does not belong to us. It belongs to him and him alone. The responsibility for the trauma that caused his brain to work the way it does also does not belong to us. It belongs to another set of parents that failed him many years ago.

And yet, I concede to my son’s way of thinking on at least one point. Although not in the area of responsibility, this problem does belong to us as well as to him.

Because we love him.

Tonight, as I was putting our other kids to bed, Miss M, who is our troubled son’s biological sister and who is currently winning a long battle with an attachment disorder, got really serious.

“Mom, why did you adopt us if it was going to be so hard?”

“Girlie, we’ve talked about this before. Everything that’s worth doing- everything really important – is hard.”

“Do you wish you could change it?”

“Sweetie, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever go back and not adopt you, because then you wouldn’t be my daughter.”

I walked over to her bunk bed, reached up, cupped her head in my hands, and planted a few kisses right in the middle of her forehead. Those big brown eyes as dark as chocolate were sparkling with genuine joy as my voice filled with tears and I said to her,

“You are mine. Forever and ever, you are mine. No matter how hard things get, you are my girl. Forever.”

“I love you, Mom.”

“Love you, too. Now go to sleep!”

There was a time, less than two years ago, when I no longer had any idea what I was fighting for. When I felt like giving up. There was a time when that same little girl that hungers so much for her Mama’s love and approval couldn’t get through the day without throwing a tantrum about something, without hitting or biting or screaming, couldn’t let her guard down long enough to show us the real Miss M that she kept hidden inside.

There was a time when all things felt hopeless, when every thought of our daughter brought on panic and despair, when constant talk of her dominated our marriage, and when we couldn’t see God working through all the pain and anger and frustration.

There was a time when I couldn’t see the scared, broken little girl underneath all that spewing hatred; the little girl that I now love with all my heart.

I am convinced that there is a terrified, broken little child inside every traumatized, angry, unattached child.

Inside my son.

It’s that thought that allows me to feel sorrow for him tonight, in an out-of-control rage against people that he doesn’t know and have done nothing to him. How scared and panicked and all alone that little child inside must feel! And as silly as it sounds, he’s never been without my husband and me when he’s been in one of his rages. Does he care? Does he feel abandoned? Does he even notice?

I know God is working in this situation. I don’t know how yet, but I do know that when all seemed lost with Miss M, He showed up in amazing ways…in His own time. He’s healing my daughter. He’s changing who I am. He’s strengthening my marriage and my faith and my family, and best of all, He’s reminded me what – who – I am fighting for.

That scared, broken little boy or girl inside every traumatized child is His precious child. Not ours, but His…created beautifully and wonderfully in His image and for His glory.

And they are people worth fighting for.

_____________________________________

Lisa Barry

I’m married to a man that makes me laugh so hard that I usually end up in tears. He was saved four years into our marriage, and then we turned our union over to God and His plans. God took our offer and blessed it with four children in two years (two through the foster care system and two through good old-fashioned baby-making), and then (surprise!) gave us another little biological squirt three years later. If you did the math, that’s five children in five years. Did I mention I’m insane? No seriously, God is good. He’s gently leading me down the paths of mothering, partnering with my incredible, Godly husband, dealing personally with impulsive ADHD, homeschooling, and helping our adopted kids overcome Attachment Disorders. I’ve got a long way to go, and most days I wonder how God could possibly love me with the absolute abandon that He does. I’m so thankful. I’m so blessed. I write about my life and my journey to overcome the worst of myself. Feel free to visit, but don’t expect perfection…the only good in me comes from Him.

Cognitive Tests…Make it hard to come with a title

My afternoon yesterday was most likely your night…since I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific ocean. I read through Facebook posts and tweets about the Cardinals losing, Monday night football, Dancing With the Stars and some pretty nasty comments about the presidential debate. My mind was on other things. I was googling “mental retardation.” I engrossed myself in stigmas and causes. Medicinenet.com defines it this way, “Mental retardation: The condition of having an IQ measured as below 70 to 75 and significant delays or lacks in at least two areas of adaptive skills. Mental retardation is present from childhood.”

I read about studies done in orphanages in Budapest. Some said that for each month a child spends in an orphanage up to age three, their IQ score goes down 1/2 point. I read about stigmas of each name. How retard has become a dirty word. I know, I used it on just about everything growing up in the ’80s. Now, the politically correct phrase is developmentally delayed. Huh? That’s Jack’s special need according to all his paperwork.

Why am I bringing all this up now? I just left Jack’s cognitive assessment. I won’t have the results for several weeks, but I know the test the psychiatrist was using needed to be changed to fit his level more than once over the three hours we spent in that little room. Jack was awesome. I think in the same situation I would have been irritated with someone asking me the same question in a sing song voice repeatedly. I didn’t do so awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lost my composure. Here’s the thing. It’s a standardized test and Jack, well, Jack’s not standard. We call those little wax things colors. Dolls are babies. I’m Mama, not Mommy. Grandpa is a bear. Things like that tend to skew a test. I can’t think of a time I’ve said, “Jack give me the _____.” I say, “Can I have ____?” or “Hand me the _____.” “Get your shoes.” “Find your cup.” I wanted to yell, “You aren’t asking the right way!” I did finally say, “In our house those are (and then I spelled out) B-A-B-I-E-S.” That’s when I got the standard rules for standardized test speech.

Jack can count higher than half the kids on Bria’s class but he won’t answer if you say, “Jack, how old are you?” He just learned to say “Mama and Daddy” not that long ago. Jack parrots our behavior. Matching something is an abstract concept for him. He shares. He tries to do what we ask. Today I was overwhelmed leaving the test when he patted my shoulder and said, “Woook! Is a train!” He is getting it, ever so slowly. The fact is for whatever reason he is delayed.

I heard all about the orphanage delay. I had delusions of grander. Apparently what I heard loudest was, “he will catch up.” Instead of that, can’t speak, low muscle tone, missing fine motor skills points. I heard he’ll be like everyone else. He’s not. Neither is Arleigh, or Hanan or Bria. We all come with our own set of kinks and quirks. Low IQ was off my radar. I thought this would be, show him a car, say car, he’ll learn car sort of deal. It’s not. I’m mad right now because I hear some people saying, “I told her so.” I hear the naysayers in my head saying, “Do you know what’s going to happen to your family?” or “Did you really count the cost.” When I am overwhelmed with Jack’s delay I’m reminded that there were people along the way of our paper chase who wanted to tell me it would be too hard. When I’m struggling, sometimes I wonder what they are thinking now.

This is what I would say to myself of almost two years ago when we were just getting Jack’s file…

Dear Self,

If you think the paperwork is scary now, you don’t know what scary is. Wait until they take him back for an MRI to look for brain damage. It is going to get a whole lot worse. It’s not blue skies and rainbows and sisters loving on brother the second you get off the plane. It’s hard. He’s going to get mad because he can’t tell you how he feels. You are going to get mad because all you want is a day at the beach and the beach is going to be the most terrifying place on earth the first few times he goes.

During this paper chase there is something about it. You are broken and want your boy home but you also feel like you are part of something bigger. You somehow really see your place in God’s plan. It’s easy now to shirk off naysayers. It’s a bit harder when Jack is in your arms and you want him to act like a normal little boy and he’s not. When you are holding him and he is tremoring like a seizure is coming on just because something is new and people are giving both you and Jack funny looks, try to remember that Wonder Woman feeling you have right now. It’s a bit harder to hold on to these days but it’s still there. Remind yourself that you are still part of God’s plan. You are helping the world see God’s love in a little boy.

Don’t quit. Jack will teach you so much about yourself. Some good, some bad. Jack is going to show you and those little girls a bigger world. He is going to win EVERYONE over even though he doesn’t talk much. The random guy at the school will come to love him. He will make people laugh out loud on a regular basis and you get to watch as he touches their hearts. Jack is going to open up compassion in Arleigh, Hanan and Bria like you’ve never seen. Bria will walk away from her little sister role to become a champion to her brother. You’re going to cry over all the tests. It’s going to be hard to watch him fail. Hard isn’t impossible. In his failing, he just gives himself more room to grow.

Jack isn’t going to be what you thought. He won’t be perfect. He’s going to be better. He may be with you until he’s 18 or forever. Either way it’s okay because you’re going to learn that when he’s around, you’re better. Delays are hard to swallow. It’s just one more mountain to climb. God wouldn’t have sent Jack to you if He thought you couldn’t do it. Somedays you may think you can’t. Remember that with God, you can.

Don’t quit! Sincerely,

B

________________________________________

Brandi Stiff

Brandi is a Christian, military wife and mama to four true blessings. After living in Iceland and Maryland she started blogging so their extended family could keep up with their life on the east coast. Two moves and two kids later, one brought home from China, it’s about faith and family, dealing with developmental delays and their misadventures in Hawaii. You can read more here.

Every Once in a While

For some reason, this week has been a little tough for me. Usually I feel very at peace with how Ruby is, but once in a while old dreams crop up and the “what ifs…” creep in.

Sunday morning, as part of his message, our pastor showed a beautiful picture of his granddaughter up on the screen. She is adopted from Ethiopia and her huge smile and gorgeous brown eyes would melt your heart.  Mark and I both lost it when we saw that picture. We cried quietly together, in the middle of a church service.

I had no idea grief would hit me that morning, but the picture of this gorgeous, happy, little girl from Ethiopia reminded me of dreams I had for Ruby and for my future family.

Sometimes–once in a while–I wish things were different.  I wish my daughter could tell me she loves me. I wish I didn’t have to have a special vehicle to transport her around. I wish she could run in the park with her brother and sister.  I wish I didn’t have to worry about how I am going to lift her if she gets a lot heavier. These wishes cloud my thoughts–every once in a while.

Even so, God is faithful and I know He will continue to give me the strength and peace I need for each day.

And, at the end of the day, I still get to cuddle with my beautiful four year old whose huge smile and gorgeous brown eyes melt my heart. She makes this all worth it and I am truly thankful God trusted me to take care of her this side of heaven, even if it hurts sometimes.

___________________________________________________

Kelli TenHaken

After a trip to Haiti with our church, God placed adoption on our hearts. Sweet Ruby joined our family from Ethiopia four years ago and since then we added two biological children as well. Although all of Ruby’s needs were a surprise to us, we know God placed her in our arms for a purpose. We are so in love with her and we daily pray for God to give us the feet to walk the path He has in store for us. Follow her blog here.

Wayne waits

How can I describe him? Who can I give words to describe the 4-year-old boy who has changed my life?

Going to China this past summer opened my eyes as I got to see how these orphans live everyday. It opened my eyes to see what life could have been like for me. You see, 15 years ago, I lived in an orphanage in Anhui Provence, China. I lived in a building full of children like me; and we all lived alone. No parents, no families, needs barely met if at all. Sometimes I still wonder all these years later, what brought my birth parents to that place of abandoning their baby–me. I was only 1 day old when it happened; knowing I was unwanted and abandoned is an indescribable feeling. For 13 months of my life, I lived that way–unwanted and alone.

Now, I’m 15 and living in south Mississippi with the most loving and caring family. My life is filled with blessed relationships and I have the joy of riding my horse and singing and playing guitar at our church. And, I love God. With the blessing and support of my parents, He has led me back to orphans in China.

As I volunteered with Bring Me Hope this past summer, He led me to one particular orphan–Wayne, a little man from ZhengZhou. Unlike many of the orphans who come to these camps who are never made paper ready for adoption, Wayne is now available for adoption. He’s looking for a forever family just like I was. And, I believe I’ve been called to help him find it.

I will try to make words bring him to life for you (in case this video doesn’t do it). He LOVES to laugh and smile, and he is good at it too! During the camp, he was a social butterfly. I taught little Wayne how to peel off stickers, stick his tongue out, and even say “I love you” in English. He would run off to other people at camp giving out wet kisses and then would run to me with the biggest smile wanting another kiss.

Wayne has overcome so much already. His paperwork lists two special needs–mild retardation and hemiparesis. But, I can tell you from spending those 5 days with him, he is a very smart and capable little boy. His mind was so ready to learn and experience new things. In fact, he was always out smarting me! Wayne could do anything he set his mind to, priding himself on putting his sandals by himself and bathing himself in the shower. On Tuesday morning, we stepped into the elevator to head out for lunch, and he was just barely able to reach the button for the 1st floor. On Thursday, two days later, he was ready for it and managed to get up on those tippy toes and push that button! And he was so proud of him self for doing that! His left side of his body is weaker than the right. But, he can run and walk with only the slightest limp. His left-side weakness didn’t stop him from chasing the other kids around at camp or walking several blocks to a meal.

15 years ago, one family stepped out of their comfort zone to follow God’s call and adopt a baby who needed a family. Now, I’m praying that another family does the same thing for Wayne and that somehow God would use my voice to help make that happen.

____________________________

Currently, Wayne is on the shared list, available for adoption for any family using any agency working in China. If you want to learn more about him or how to find him on the list, please email Laura at laura.m.knoll@gmail.com. She will gladly talk to you about Wayne.

____________________________

Laura Knoll

Hi my name is Laura, and I am 15 years old. I live in good ole south Mississippi. I was adopted from China as a 13 month old, and God has allowed me to bloom and grow with my two younger siblings and parents. I accepted his call to go back to China in the summer of 2012 with Bring Me Hope and was able to meet kids and other volunteers who changed my life. I ride horses everyday and sing in our local churches for His glory. God is the only reason I am where I am today, and I am so very thankful!

No Regrets

The family I’m praying for tonight has no idea there is a storm brewing over the horizon. A storm so violent, life will never be the same for them again. They will lose one of their most prized possessions–their child.

How do I pray for a family like that? I almost feel as if I have some inside information on their lives that even they are not aware of today. They will go to bed tonight and without thinking about the tragedy that lies ahead. Who knows what will happen tomorrow as they go about their day? Their child will likely disobey, talk back, whine, or have a stinky attitude that needs to be addressed. There will be sibling rivalry, fighting, and disputes over who gets to ride up front or get their turn next. Will Dad lose his temper and escape to the golf course? Will Mom utter things she swore she’d never say? Maybe.

But mothering a dying child brings a new perspective to everything. I still lose my cool and say things I wish I could take back. I still wonder what in the world I was thinking when I brought home three little girls all the exact same age. But, suddenly, in light of the reality looming on my own horizon, I am compelled to live a life of no regrets.

When we brought Rachel home from China, we simply didn’t know how long we had. We decided ahead of time that what we could not change in quantity, we would make up for in quality. More than anything, we wanted Rachel to know the love of a family, to know that she had a mommy and daddy committed to walking through the dark days with her. And, above everything, we wanted Rachel to know that the love of Jesus was with her, no matter what.

The reality is that parenting a house full of children demands a lot discipline. Rachel had much to learn in order to “unlearn” some of the terrible habits formed inside the walls of an orphanage for 7 years, not to mention the many things she must learn for the very first time. Living within a family unit requires a lot of work, even when learning begins at birth. Our home is certainly not all hugs, kisses, and chocolates, and I’ve yet to be nominated into the Parenting Hall of Fame, but our home feels so much different than ever before through the lens of a new perspective. When you are committed to living a life of no regrets, you make different choices all together!.You choose to see life differently and to live it differently. If that heart never comes and we end up losing our Rachel, I want to remember this time for what it was–precious. I want to embrace every precious moment and look back with no regrets!

We could be the family I wrote about at the beginning of this post, living life completely oblivious to all that lies ahead for myself or for the people I love so much. I have not been promised any special immunity to loss. I am humbled that as I pray for the healing of my own child through a new heart, I will only receive it through another’s indescribable loss. And I wonder, why should God give life to my child and yet take life from another? Kate has offered her own heart for Rachel several times! I tell her that is unacceptable. But, is it more acceptable only when it happens to someone else? This subject makes me terribly uncomfortable, but it haunts me every time my thoughts turn toward the “new” heart we pray for so many times a day.

Tonight, as I pray for a new heart for Rachel, I am strangely not in such a hurry anymore. God has been so merciful and has kept Rachel strong while she waits. “No hurry, God!,” I whisper, “Thanks seems enough for the sweet summer we’ve shared and for the joy that fills our home, simply because Rachel is in it! Let the parents who will soon face the fate none of us want enjoy this summer with their child too! Fill their home with laughter and sweet memories so that when the impending storm blows through, they will look back with no regrets! And if your plan is to take Rachel home instead, Lord, help us to embrace each moment you choose to give, so that our lives will be filled with love and no regrets.

 ___________________________________

Lori McCary

Lori McCary is a full-time Mom to 6 children, a writer, and a speaker for ministry groups across the country. Lori writes and speaks from her fascinating set of life experiences and has a deep passion for adoption and ministry to orphans. Her testimony inspires woman to be “real” and brings encouragement and hope to her audiences. Weaving powerful stories from everyday life into memorable messages, her transparency will bring laughter, tears, and a fresh perspective on trusting God. Lori has shared her journey with her husband, Doug, for over 28 years. Her three biological children have all left the nest, but Doug and Lori continue to enjoy their three adopted daughters from China at home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Follow Lori’s blog or contact her at www.LoriMcCary.com.

Why We Are Not Adopting Again

Three years ago, my husband and I stood in front of the orphanage in Beijing, China, and promised we’d be back. We knew it was full of children who were dying, who went to bed hungry every night, and cried for someone, anyone to love them.

We’d always wanted four. It seemed logical: two boys and two girls. Everyone would have a best-friend for life. And Evie would know the bond of a sister from her birth country.

It sounded beautiful. And we honestly thought that was where God was leading us. He had given us Evie. He had shown us over and over that Evie was our daughter. We had prayed for months, “Bring her home. Bring her home. Bring her home.”

And then we landed in Chicago. And discovered Evie’s undisclosed special need– developmental delays. Not only did she have tetrology of fallot and cleft lip and palate, but she could hardly sit, stand, walk, talk, chew, turn the pages of a book. She was completely and utterly shutdown.

We saw hints of this in China. But we assumed she would wake up and start acting like a two year old. But she never did.

So my new life–the one with only 3 three kids–consisted of juggling them so we could go to PT, OT, developmental therapy, and speech multiple times a week. Plus, all her other doctor visits.

I was exhausted. And that fourth child seemed further and further away. And the guilt of ignoring my two homegrown kids weighed heavily on me.

As time passed, I got into the rhythm of my new normal. And now three years later, things seem almost under control.

But, still, we won’t be adopting again.

Evie needs too much. She is too traumatized, too emotionally fragile, too needy. The honest, bitter truth is another special needs adoption would take too much of my time away from her. There is only so much of me to go around.

We’ve prayed about this. We’ve agonized about this. Because we know there are kids who need parents who love them. We know there are kids going to bed tonight with empty bellies, who are cold, alone, and afraid. We know, because that was Evie three short years ago. She was starving–not only for nourishment, but for human touch.

We aren’t done with adoption. We just aren’t adopting.

So now we are praying, “Use us. Use us. Use us.”

And I wonder, how God will use us to care for the orphaned.

 ___________________________________

Amy Adair-Bode

I am a Christ-follower, wife, mother, and writer. I have two wonderful boys and a princess from China. We became a family of five on August 28, 2009. My new book, One Thousand and One Tears, is now available on Amazon.

Testimony

When we began this journey the number 1 question or concern people had were for our bio children. This past weekend proved that adoption is possibly the single BEST thing we could ever do for them!

Our big boy is 13 and spent last week away at a church camp with 5 other of his buddies from school. WE didn’t sign up with them, this was just something that happened. BUT once we found out that all six were going we made sure that they were in the same cabin (already taken care of). I only tell you this because my son was surrounded by his peers.

At the very last minute, I decided to take both Brahm AND Cav, even though we didn’t have room for his wheelchair or stroller.

As we walked into the chapel area (me holding Cav) and waiting to find a seat I noticed a boy walking around us looking at Cav’s amputated legs. Now that isn’t unusual and we are fine with it until they are rude or direspectful.

Suddenly, he looks at me and says, “I know what happened to him, your older son gave a testimony!”

Hmmm, that was interesting I thought.

Finally, after hearing about how incredible camp was for TWO days, I asked my son about this encounter.

My larger than his momma, kind hearted son told me how he felt led to present a testimony about Brahm being born little and how we got Cav and FeiFei.

He didn’t tell me much more than that – cuz you know he is a 13 year old boy.

When I told him about my encounter, I found out that this boy was actually a very small 6th grader. Not as in small due to dwarfism but just a late bloomer.

I stand in awe of my sons obedience of sharing when led
and how God has already used a 13 year old and 4 year old.

Two boys who were separated by an ocean,
became brothers,
looking past differences,
to do God’s work,
and affect the life of another.

 _____________________________________________________

Yvette

I am so thankful for my sweet husband of 17 years. Truthfully, we never expected to have five children . . . with a little one waiting in China. We laugh at God’s plan for our family, for only HE would bless a 6’3″ man, with a little person. Just like jewelry, we have found that sometimes the most incredible gifts come in the smallest packages. In December, 2011 we brought our newly adopted children home from China. Little did we know an “oops” adoption was in the works just months later. We will soon be the parents of 3 children with dwarfism, a double amputee, and a whole lotta personality. We welcome you to follow along on our journey of learning to walk in faith.

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