Friday, December 21, 2012


It has been even busier than usual at our house, but we wanted to let everyone know that we are headed to China on January 3rd to meet and bring home both our babies!  We are amazed by how quickly Reese's paperwork has been processed on both the Chinese and American sides.  God has proven over and over again His power and love.  We are excited to tell our story and will do so when we have more time!  Thanks for the continued prayers! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is Tim's birthday!  We celebrated with homemade chicken alfredo pizza, grandma's salad, and cheesecake for dessert and a few presents for our China trip.  The girls love to make a big deal out of birthdays, so we had fun making a "fancy" dinner with candles and special glasses.

I was really hoping to be able to post our travel dates, but we got word today that there is no way we will be leaving on December 27th.  I am so bummed.  I felt like we were getting so close with less than a month.  I sat in church yesterday and counted the Sundays left of peace and quiet during the service.  I started feeling giddy just thinking about bringing our babies to church.  Now the soonest will be January 3rd that we will leave.  Even though it is just a week, it seems like an eternity.  It's one more week that Ethan and Reese are orphans and that is too much.  Not to mention the tax credit will not be a possibility for another year and that is only if the bill gets passed.  So frustrated and tired of waiting.

We have been working on Reese's room.  It was kind of a last minute decision to redecorate, but I absolutely love it and am so glad we changed it.  Her room was Ryleigh's original room when we built this house when she was 2.  It was cute and would've worked, but we felt like our baby deserved something new.  I'll post pictures when it is all done.  We did zebra stripes,  pink, and black. It is super adorable! 

Ryleigh and Reagan had their Christmas program at church last night.  I was blown away by how awesome it was!  We had been practicing for so long, but it was not coming together at all until this weekend and it turned out to be an amazing show!  There were over 600 people in the audience.  I know many were blessed by the kids' performance!  It's sad to think it's Ryleigh's last play since she will move up to youth group next year.  Not sure Reagan will ever want a big part like Ryleigh always has. 

We were very proud of Becca's basketball team for starting the year off winning the Waynesville tournament!  Becca played great defense and scored some points, too!  They are a great group of girls!
 We celebrated our Family Day (Reagan's "Gotcha Day")with our tradition of the girls getting new pajamas.  This year it was quite complicated to find matching ones, so I ended up (after spending waaaaay too much time at Wal-Mart) getting the three older girls matching and Reagan her own.  It will really be complicated to add 2 more!  (But I can't wait!) 
 We found a beautiful tree at the tree farm.  It is the perfect fit in our living room!  We also let the girls get a short chubby one for the basement!  I love real Christmas trees!  And I love walking around the tree farm trying to pick the perfect one! 
That's pretty much what has been going on! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessing!

Got a pleasant surprise this morning... our update on Reese (that was supposed to take weeks to get) was emailed to us today!  We got our questions answered (very general, of course) and got 4 pictures.  It's so nice to see her cute smile!  The bummer part is that the 4 pictures are all obviously taken one right after the other.  If you scroll through them quickly it's like a little movie!  She is the most animated I have ever seen a child in an orphanage be, which makes me feel like she is a happy and possibly ornery little thing!  She weighs about 20 pounds, which is less than what I was figuring!  It looks like they have shaved her head at some point and that just stinks because her hair in our first photos of her looked so nice and thick.  I guess we have a lifetime ahead of us for her to have beautiful hair like her sister, Reagan. 

We are getting ready to go to drop the girls off at my parents so Tim and I can celebrate my birthday on a date!  That's something that has not happened for quite some time!  I was super sick with the stomach flu on Saturday and Sunday, so I feel like I am so behind with everything, it's overwhelming.  This is not a good time of year to feel that way! 

We have a lot going on and it is all being overshadowed by the fact that I just want to leave it all and go to China to get my babies.  Praying we can leave on December 27th.  Pretty much we have been told that won't happen but I know my God can move any mountain.  I believe in His timing and His plan now more than ever.  And I know He knows my heart better than anyone and what my desires are.  He has brought us through so much and blessed us with our precious baby girl and given Ethan the medical treatment he needed to get him healthy and strong for us to bring home.  There's nothing I can be more thankful for this year than that!  No Christmas gift will top the moment I have both Ethan and Reese in my arms!  And then the moment I have all 6 of my kids home together will be such a blessing! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Introducing Reese Elizabeth Tucker

We received our LSC today!  So it is officially official!  We are so happy to share this news with the world, especially with our friends and family who have been following this story and praying for our family!  We are so blessed, I don't even have the words right now (shocking, I know!).  This precious little girl has been growing in our hearts for so long, I can't believe in a matter of weeks we will be holding her in our arms and kissing those chubby cheeks!  God's plan is so much better than mine... He knew all along that we had 2 babies waiting for us!  I give Him all the praise and glory!

Monday, November 12, 2012

God's Perfect Plan

When I was sitting in Nanjing, China on August 20th, I felt like my whole world was caving in.  I prayed that I could make it through whatever events were going to unfold and that I could hold on tightly to my faith and let God work it all out.  Nothing made sense and I was completely devastated that we were going to be sent back home without our son.  I was scared that they were going to let him die and there was nothing I could do, except pray and ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same thing.  And that is what countless number of people did.  Thanks to those prayers, our little boy is not only alive, but thriving in the China Care Home in Beijing, where his pacemaker is definitely doing its job!  Praise the Lord! 

Not so far away, Ethan has a little sister who will be coming home AT THE SAME TIME as he does.  We got word last Thursday that China is going to expedite our paperwork for Reese and we will be traveling no later than January to bring our babies home!  Praise the Lord!  This is something we gave completely over to God and I honestly got to a point that I was at peace with whatever the outcome of our request was.  I knew that God's plan would prevail and I decided to just not worry about it!  We are so excited to head to China to complete our family!  Yes, 6 is our magic number and we can't wait to have all our kids home together! 

We had the pleasure of being a part of an amazing fundraiser Friday night.  The "Band Together for the Fatherless" event was one of the most awesome things I have been a part of!  Almost $8,000 was raised last week for the Ledbetter family and a lot of that came from this concert of 5 worship bands in our community.  They each played 3 songs and there were adoption videos played in between.  The Spirit was definitely present!  I think Danielle said it best when she took the stage and said that it was a little glimpse of what heaven is going to be like when we are all just living together and worshipping our Lord.  What an enormous blessing to be a part of something so incredible!  Everyone that was there agreed we need to do it again and get even more churches involved.

I am so thankful to God for comforting us over the past few months and for giving us hope.  This is the only way we have gotten through moving on after the events of August 20th.  I hope that our story will be an inspiration to someone who may need to see a real life example of leaning on God during a difficult time.  We have been through so much on our parenthood journey, but through it all, God has been there working it all out, putting each piece of the puzzle together, and opening all the necessary doors.  He is so good, all of the time and I am humbled by His love for me and our family. 

We hope to receive the LSC letter tomorrow and are praying that we can travel by the end of the year.  Can't wait to post Reese's sweet pictures!  We requested an update today, but GW says it takes several weeks to get it back, so we may not know any new measurements or have updated pictures before we travel, but we thought it was worth a try! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ethan update, including pictures!

Today has been a great day for both adoptions!  We received our PA (pre-approval) for Reese.  Which just means that China has agreed to review our paperwork to be officially matched with her.  The next piece in that puzzle is getting our LSC (letter seeking confirmation).  This is the document that took 122 days for Ethan's adoption.  However, we are not expecting it will take long for Reese because we have been logged in for so long for her and it is supposed to be quicker in those cases.  We are praying that China is agreeing to expedite her adoption and that we will get the LSC very soon.  Then we can file all the American paperwork.  And we can post her picture, too, after we get the LSC!

We also received an update on Ethan from Half the Sky and three pictures!  He was moved to the China Care Home in Beijing on November 1st and is doing great!  He needs one more check-up with the doctor in Beijing and then he will be cleared to travel.  They will take him back to the orphanage where he will wait for us.  He has been through so much and we just want to give him all the love and care he deserves.  What an amazing and strong little boy he is! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Becca!

Becca turned the big 1-5 today!  We started the day with her opening presents then went to church, where we got to celebrate Orphan Sunday by giving a little bit of our testimony.  Our new sermon series is called "Justice" so Tim talked about the Safe Families program we are hoping to get started and then I joined him on stage to talk about adoption.  It was a blessing to share how much we appreciate all of the love and support after everything we have been through.  It was especially exciting to share news about Reese!  We can never repay or thank enough all the people who have helped us in the process of adopting Ethan.  We are so humbled and amazed by how awesome our church is!  When God speaks, they listen and I am so grateful for that!  There are several families who have known us through our other adoptions as well, so it's fun to share those memories, too.  Becca wanted Chinese food for lunch, so we ate and then went to buy her new basketball shoes.  She made the High School team!  We are proud of her and excited for another season! 

Our other big event of the weekend was trading in our mini-van for a 12 passenger van!  Oh my, it is a big one!  It even makes the suburban look small!  We got a good deal for our trade and our payment is actually lower, so that helps our monthly budget, too!  It's going to be hard to get used to, but it is nice to know we have the space we need for our expanding family!  The girls like it, even though they weren't sure at first.  We have had a lot of laughs over it, especially when we pulled it into the garage and it barely fit!  Tim will drive it and I will take over driving the suburban.  I will miss having something smaller, but glad to have room for all the kids!  Carseats take up so much room and when we need 2 of them in both cars, we knew we needed to figure something out. 

We have not heard any news yet about either Ethan or Reese.  We are trying so hard to not be anxious about adopting them in one trip.  We want Ethan home so badly after all that has happened and it just seems to good to be true that we could bring Reese home, too.  But we know that our God is an awesome God and He could make it happen.  We will trust Him.

It's going to be a busy week and hopefully we will get some news early in the week!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5 Years, 7 months, and 21 Days

That's how long we "officially" waited for a referral for our 6th and final child!  Yes, you got it, we know who Reese is!  We received the call last night at 9:24 that GW had locked-in a file for a precious (and I do mean PRECIOUS) little girl.  We cannot share a picture yet or give all of her information, but she does share a part of her name with Reagan's Chinese name, she is in the same province as Ethan, and her birthday is in the Spring (she was born in 2011).  She was not healthy when she was abandoned, but is cured  from the bacterial infection that she had and seems to be healthy and developmentally on track!  She is so adorable!  She reminds me of our friend Lindsey Bauer but she has our friend Klaire Wilson's cheeks!  We are in love with her!  It's crazy to say that our family will be complete when we get home with her!  This is our last time waiting for a referral, what a FABULOUS feeling!  I think I can make it thru one more round of paperwork, knowing it is the last time to update a homestudy, the last time to pay for stupid fingerprints, the last time to spend a fortune on medical visits for all of us, the last moment of the unknown!  She and Ethan are very close in age so it will be kinda like twins!  I am so excited when I think about all the fun we are going to have with them! 

Our prayer is that we will be able to adopt them both in one trip.  Obviously, this is a financial help, but it will also be logistically difficult if we have to make two trips.  We do not want Ethan to wait any longer than he has already, so when he is cleared for adoption, we will go ASAP.  We are going to attempt to get Reese's paperwork done in record time and try to bring her home, too.  However, if we can't, it will mean Tim will probably have to travel alone to bring Reese home because we won't want to leave Ethan with anybody else when he will just be getting settled into life as a Tucker.  These are all things that we will be praying long and hard about in the next few weeks and we would appreciate your prayer support as well.

A little bit about last night...........  We knew it was a possibility to get a referral because GW had told us they would be looking for Reese during File Release Night.  We tried hard not to get our hopes up and I actually did a pretty good job putting out of my mind for most of the day.  Then after dinner I started really getting anxious!  Tim and I tried to guess what time the call would come, if it did.  He thought 8:00, I thought 10:00, so I kinda split the difference and thought maybe 9:00.  We got the girls to bed (or so we thought) and settled down to watch tv.  I was thinking we should do something to distract ourselves and just when I was about to suggest something, the phone rang.  It was 9:24.  We argued for a second who was going to answer it, I was so nervous I didn't want to, but he handed me the phone so I answered it.  Kim was on the other line and she immediately informed us that a file had been locked-in for us!  She told us all about her and we asked some questions and she said she would email her file, which included pictures!  During our conversation, Nosey Ryleigh appeared at our bedroom door.  We gave her the "get out of here right now wave and point".  When we got off the phone, she came back to the doorway and said all the girls want to know who called.  In typical Ryleigh fashion, she asked a string of 20 questions including "was it Great Wall, was it about Ethan, are you going to China"....  We were smiling from ear to ear and told her to go away while we looked at the pictures and read all the information.  The next thing we know she is bounding back up the stairs saying "I figured it out, it's File Release Night, and we got Reese's referral".  That little stinker doesn't miss a thing.  We hadn't even talked about it being File Release Night.  So we broke down and told her to get the other girls (who were waiting in the kitchen trying to hear what was going on!).  We pulled up the cutest picture and gathered them together and turned the computer around so they could see.  There was a lot of oohing and aahing and happiness all around!  We are so blessed!  It was a priceless family moment.


Friday, October 26, 2012

On the Road to Recovery

Thanks to all the prayers on Ethan's behalf, he is recovering in stable condition in Beijing.  We still hope to travel within a month to bring him home.  Here's the latest picture that Half the Sky took for us.  So thankful that they care so much and know how much pictures and updates mean to us!  I think he looks great!

We are enjoying a very rare day off for all of us today!  The girls had so much fun playing in the leaves earlier.  Their squeals of joy made my heart so happy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good News!

We got word that Ethan's surgery was scheduled for today at noon China time, so by the time we got the email, he should have already been out of surgery and hopefully on his way to a quick and full recovery!  Our hearts are heavy that we could not be there with him, but we are happy that he is getting the care he needs.  Please join us in praying for our little guy to be ready to come home soon and for all the people in control of our travel plans are working diligently to make sure there are absolutely no delays.  We appreciate all of you who continue to follow our journey and support our family with your prayers, gifts, and love.

We are so excited to be involved with an adoption fundraiser for our friends, Angie and Jason.  They are adopting a sweetie pie from Thailand.  We are helping them with an event called "Band Together" where several Worship bands are going to each perform.  Kind of a Battle of the Bands without the competition aspect of it.  We are hoping to raise lots of money for their trip and to plant more seeds of adoption in our community (although there are many adoptive families already!).

I'm also excited for our Bright Beginnings' Brainy Bunch Art Show tomorrow night.  The kids have worked so hard and Ms. Tiffany and Ms. Donnie have done such a fantastic job teaching them different art concepts.  I can't wait to see it all set up and watch the kids come in and show off their art work.  And then we all get the day off on Friday!!!!!!!!  WOOOOO HOOOOO!  It's been a long time since we have had a day at home. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ryleigh!

My sweet little tummy baby is 12 years old today! Can't believe how quickly time has gone by. Ryleigh changed our lives so much and she is the reason we love parenting so much that we have continued to grow our family. Even though she has her moments of whining and she can be a brat sometimes, she is growing into a beautiful, caring, Godly young lady and we are so proud of her! I am so blessed to be her mom! Had some bonus time with her today because she got sent home from school with a headache and sore throat (but really she was fine). I have to admit it was nice to spend time at home with her and relax for a few hours. Here are some photos of Ryleigh party last weekend. When we thought we were leaving for China, we changed the date of it. And also pictures of her opening presents this morning and having cake after dinner tonight. Apparently we are stretching this birthday out as long as possible!

We started our day with an email from Half the Sky with new pictures of Ethan. So sad that somebody shaved his head. It makes me sick to think about the humiliation of that. He is still a cutie pie and I can't wait to hold him and kiss those cheeks. Take a look for yourself...

Our update from GW said that they will be scheduling Ethan's surgery for either next week or the week after and then there will be a 2-3 week recovery time before he will be cleared to travel. It is hard to know how to feel. I don't want to be too excited because things seem to change so frequently, who knows how long this will be the plan. It would be the best birthday ever for me if I could have him in my arms on November 20th. Lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and special days fall in November and December, so hopefully we can add Ethan's Gotcha Day to that list. Have I mentioned how ready I am to have him home???????????????????????

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ethan Update (FINALLY!)

We got news this morning that Ethan did make it safely to Beijing to a Children's Hospital. Half the Sky is taking his case over and going to pay the $16,000 that it is going to cost to do this surgery. If anyone feels led to donate to this amazing organization, please visit their website We don't really know anything about a timeline for us to travel. Nobody seems to care that he is going to have his second heart surgery without his family by his side. This whole experience has really made me see that to some people adoption is just a business. Some people can close their hearts and turn off any kind of emotion about orphans. I just have a completely different mindset, even if it doesn't involve my children. I see it at Bright Beginnings, at church, in our community. Some people just don't get that every child deserves an environment that encourages them to be the best they can be. My son deserves a mommy to comfort him when he is scared in the hospital and when he is in pain after his surgery. I don't know how to deal with all of my emotions related to this topic. I love children so much. I love working with them, teaching them, parenting them, watching them grow into little people. I am so blessed by my girls and I just want Ethan home so he can be a part of our family. It is tearing me up inside to not have him home. Specific prayer requests: Pray that the doctors and nurses taking care of Ethan will have steady hands in his surgery and caring hearts to love on him. Pray that GW will work on extending our travel approval and that it will not be a big deal to extend it (we have not heard from the travel coordinator even though we were told she would answer all of our questions. IMAGINE THAT.) Pray that somehow, some way Ethan will feel our love and that God will protect him from germs and complications. Pray God will heal him quickly. Pray that we can travel very soon and bring Ethan home. Pray for us to receive Reese's referral soon. Thanks a million for continuing to follow this blog. It will be so much more interesting when Ethan is with us.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Communication

We have heard nothing concrete about Ethan's trip or condition and quite frankly I am super mad about that. How hard is it to send an update for goodness sakes. We just want to know what is going on with our son. When we don't hear anything, we start to imagine things and go crazy trying to figure things out. Someone told me today that I am such a strong woman. I needed to hear that because I certainly do not feel strong. I feel frustrated, exhausted, and discouraged. The only way I am strong is because Jesus is on my side. I can't believe we don't get to leave on Thursday. How can things keep changing so drastically? It's so annoying. I want to hold him so badly it hurts. I want to kiss him and tell him everything is okay. I want to tell him how many people love him. I feel like for every person that is supporting us in our efforts there is another person causing delays. Yes, I am a Debbie Downer today... waah, waah, waah...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ethan's Moving

We were informed Friday that Ethan is being moved to Beijing. Two months ago that is exactly what we wanted so Half the Sky could be in charge of his care. It is absolutely infuriating that it has taken this long. GW has consulted with another cardiologist who believes the same thing Dr. Tong does. We heard every scenerio of what could go wrong if we travel with him before his pacemaker surgery. It is very scary and we do want to make sure we are putting his needs first and not just thinking about how badly we want him home. I am so frustrated that I got my hopes up on Tuesday. I dove into the packing and preparing because I really thought we were headed to China very soon. I don't know how much more of this we can take. Our prayer is that we can still leave on Thursday and that we will be there with Ethan for his surgery and can bring him home in a timely manner. Delays will come if it takes the doctors in Beijing a long time to evaluate him and come up with a plan. Please pray that everyone involved will work efficiently without making mistakes. Our family has been blessed in ways only God could have orchestrated this week. We will share all the details when our journey to Ethan is over and we have him home safe and sound. Our financial miracle has come also and we will definitely want to tell the story when the time is right. God is so good all of the time. We are experiencing blessings that wouldn't have been possible if we weren't allowed to go through the storm we have been in. God's plan is perfect! I am so thankful for the way He is working in our lives and the lives of people in our community. Ryleigh had her birthday party last night. She has such awesome friends. I am very thankful that she has surrounded herself with Godly girls. It's been fun to watch this group of kids grow up! They had stayed up most of the night and had a lot of fun. We survived and so did the basement, so I guess we can chalk it up to another successful party! So many things are going on and I can't seem to keep focused on things to blog about. We love hearing about how our family is impacting others. Please share if you feel like Ethan has changed you! Someday we will be able to tell him all about it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I do not like rollercoasters. When we go to Silver Dollar City or Six Flags, I really prefer to watch while the kids ride. That's the good thing about them getting older! I think it is more fun to watch other people screaming their heads off or smiling from ear to ear with pure happiness! I don't mind sitting at the exit watching and listening to people. I enjoy seeing happy little kids and goofy teenagers and adults acting like little kids and goofy teenagers. It makes me laugh to watch naughty kids and think about how lucky I am to have such great kids :) Anyway, the point of this is that we have been on an adoption rollercoaster for so long and I am ready to get off. I think we have done enough twists and turns and we are ready to come to a nice stop at the exit. My call from GW this morning did not go as planned. I was expecting them to call with a consulate appointment and our Gotcha Day date and travel arrangements. But that's not what we got. Instead we got somewhat of a lecture about how the CCCWA has been talking to the orphanage and the hospital and they are very concerned about Ethan traveling. They think that us being in China with him for two weeks will be hard on him. Here's the deal... we are concerned, too. First of all I am concerned that my poor son has been living with heart problems that can be corrected with a pacemaker for over a year and a half and NOBODY has been willing to give him the care he needs (well, at least nobody with any power). He has been given crappy care by doctors who do not specialize in pediatric cardiology. This is why God gave us Dr. Tong. I believe in him and feel so confident that he knows what he is talking about. He is willing and able to help Ethan. He has consulted with us and is willing to talk to GW tomorrow, which is what they requested. He is going above and beyond for no reason other than he is a good doctor with a good heart. I am so thankful for him. Second, I am concerned that my poor son has been sitting in a hospital bed for over 2 months. He doesn't get a chance to play or run or be a two year old boy. GW said one of the concerns is that he won't be able to walk around with us for two weeks. DUH!!! I am going to carry him. If he doesn't want to walk, he's not going to have to. We have a great backpack carrier to put him in and we are both willing to hold him all the time! He needs a chance to play for goodness sakes. Third, I am concerned about our family and how everything is on hold. This has been emotionally draining for the last two months on so many levels. We are concerned that is we don't get him home soon, there are going to be major problems. We can't spend any money because we are waiting on China. We can't make any plans because we are waiting on China. We can't commit to anything because we are waiting on China. We can't fully do our jobs because we are waiting on China. We are not serving at church as much as we would like because we are waiting on China. We are more on edge, more grouchy, more emotional, and more irritable because we are waiting on China. We are at the mercy of people who do not think the way we do about children. I am certain that they cannot possibly understand why or how we can love this little boy we have never met. And how we can want him so badly when he is so sick. Since we adopted Reagan we have tried to embrace the Chinese culture and want her to be proud of where she came from, but lately it is hard to feel that way. Obviously, China has blessed me greatly, but I am sad for the people who are missing out on so much because they do not have Jesus in their hearts. He changes everything and He is the reason I can love Ethan. I am praying in His name that we can get this adoption over with and move on with life. My heart, my arms, my mind ache for Ethan to be home. Please pray for all the necessary doors to be open in a timely manner and for Ethan's health to remain stable until we can get him home to the care he needs and deserves. We are planning to leave on the 18th, please pray we can! Thanks to all of you who are riding on this rollercoaster right beside us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GW called early this morning with great news! Ethan has been cleared to be released from the hospital and the orphanage doesn't want him in their care because of his condition, so they said there's pretty much two choices: 1. Go get him ASAP or 2. Have him moved to Beijing to the China Care Home (where they would assess his condition and decide if surgery should be done now). So, we are opting for going to get him ASAP!!!! Which means we will have to leave by October 18th for our travel approval to still be valid. It was issued in July and apparently if it expires it is difficult to get it extended, which would delay our travel significantly. We are going to skip all the tourist stuff and go straight to Nanjing. We are cautiously excited and really freaking out! The first thing I thought about was not being home for Ryleigh's birthday. We are working on changing her party to this weekend. Praying all of her friends can still come and we can get it pulled off. Ryleigh is very sensitive and she is nervous about us going back to China and sad that she can't go. Please pray for her to realize that Ethan is the best present she could ever get! I am blessed to work with such an amazing group of women who were so encouraging and happy for us today! I have complete confidence in them while I am gone. Ethan will be blessed to have the best teachers in Lebanon! He's going to be spoiled and home and school! Please pray for smooth sailing and no issues at Bright Beginnings while I am gone. I am so preoccupied by everything that needs to be done but I wanted to share our news with all of our blog buddies. Thank you for all of your prayers and for continuing to remember our family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Praying for Good News This Week

The CCCWA is open again so we are praying that we will hear a response to Dr. Tong's letter soon. We hope that common sense will prevail and the people in charge will release Ethan to be adopted to us ASAP. We also pray that Reese's referral will come soon. We are not thinking there is a chance to complete both adoptions at once, but at least we will be able to move forward and get this family COMPLETE! We had a week full of blessings... Monday morning I got to go to an assembly for all the 2nd graders who were being recognized for being the most responsible in their class. Yep, that's right, Reagan was the one chosen for her class! So proud of her!
She absolutely loves 2nd grade and Mrs. Bechtel. We are thrilled that she is learning so much and loving school! Isabella has joined FFA and she received her Greenhand degree last week. This whole world is new to us, but it was a pretty cool ceremony (except for the teenagers in front of us who wouldn't shut up) and we are proud of Isabella for getting involved. I have been very impressed with the ag teachers and so happy they can help foster Isabella's love of animals.
We were also blessed this week by some very generous people who gave us some gifts that are really helping us. We are overwhelmed once again by the generosity of friends and neighbors. We are so thankful! We are also excited about some ministry opportunities that have been placed on our hearts. We are looking into the Safe Families program and starting one at Lifepoint. God is opening doors, as well as our hearts to helping children in a different way than adoption or teaching. Praying for wisdom and guidance as we pursue.
Bright Beginnings had its 5th annual Wheel-a-Thon fundraiser and Saturday. Although it was very cold, it was a success! We have so many awesome families and so many people pitched in to make it fun for the kids! It's always fun to spend time with the families and watch the kids having such a great time! Reagan did fantastic riding her bike without training wheels! I love how all my girls and Tim help with every BB event. I am proud that this ministry means so much to them, too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

7 Years Ago Today...

7 years ago today, we saw Reagan's sweet face for the first time! Can't believe it's been that long! I will never forget sitting in our kitchen playing cards waiting for the phone to ring. Back then, parents knew that the call was coming, so Tim had taken the day off of work and my friend, Jill took care of picking Ryleigh and Brett (who I was babysitting)up from preschool. We were beyond excited and nervous and it was a very long morning. We got an email that said the package was there and we had a referral, so we knew without a doubt we were going to "meet" our little girl. When they called they told us her information and said they would email the pictures. We ran downstairs to the computer to open the pictures and couldn't believe how cute she was! Tim's first comment was that she looked like a Reagan! He printed the pictures in 16 x 20 posters so we could study every detail. We looked up her province, city, and orphanage. We had a list of people that we called to share the good news. I remember calling my friend and fellow adoptive mommy, Sheri first because I knew she would share our excitement! When Jill brought Ryleigh home, she and Brett and Jordan and Rylee (Jill's kids) looked at the pictures and oohed and aahed over how cute she was! It was such a special day! Over the past 7 years, our hearts have been changed so much and it all started with our little Reagy-rooster! So many lives have been changed and touched because of this precious child that God gave to us. She is growing into such an awesome, Godly young lady. Her school pictures are so adorable and she looks so grown up! I am so proud of her and in awe that God blessed us with her! I wish I could thank her birth parents for giving her life and making sure she was safe. I am sure they could never imagine the amazing child she is. I pray that God gives them a special peace and comfort when they think of her. Happy referral day, Reagan (Gan Po Xin)!
We have a new reason to celebrate this day now, too! My nephew was born this afternoon! Augustus Wayne joins my brother's other 3 kids and doubles the amount of boy cousin's my kids have! So glad Ben is not alone and that Ethan will have a cousin to play with! What a blessed day! No news from China. The government is closed until the 8th for some kind of holiday. We are praying the when they pass along the letter from Dr. Tong that they will release Ethan to be adopted. He is still in the hospital and still on medication, but his heart rate has been "well above 60" according the latest update. I get very sad thinking about him sitting in a hospital bed all day and night. I pray that the nurses find ways to interact with him and that they have a heart for him and try to do special things for him. It is so tiring waiting and waiting and wondering and wishing. Tim and I laid in bed last night and watched the video of him and laughed at how cute he is saying no and starting to get mad! I can't wait for the day that he is throwing a tantrum and I get to see it and deal with it! I got a taste of a great 2 year old fit today when Caysie was in my office with her mommy today. It probably doesn't make sense to anyone, but I would give just about anything to have him screaming and saying "no" to me like Caysie was to her mommy. It made me miss him. That is what I was preparing myself for when I returned home from China with him. I was ready for those moments, now things just seem quiet and lonely. God has given me the strength to keep going, though, and I know that His way is better than mine, even when I don't understand it. We really appreciate the love and support that continues to be poured out on our family. Our specific prayer requests are that we can travel soon, that our girls will be okay while we are gone, and that some or all of the grants we have applied/reapplied for will get us the financial means we need to complete Ethan's adoption. We would also love to get Reese's referral so we could possibly make just one trip to complete our family. That would be the best outcome from all of this mess! Thanks for the prayers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Hero!!!!!!

God has such a way of putting the right people in the right place at the right time! There is something about the bond that adoptive families have, but I have to say that there is one person that I am extremely thankful for in my life. Stacy and I met at church several years ago and we attended MOPS together when we each had one biological preschool age child. When we decided to adopt Reagan from China, I gave a testimony about it and I remember Stacy saying to me that she would love to adopt but her husband thought he was too old. I immediately commented that people adopt well into their 50's! Anyway, long story short, Stacy has been blessed by two beautiful little girls from Kazakhstan and she has dedicated much of her life to helping orphans all over the world. She is an amazing person and friend! She is also the person who asked me to pray for two girls from Latvia that she was going to host back in the summer of 2009. I am blessed to call those two girls my daughters now! When everything fell apart in China, Stacy graciously offered to help get us home. She worked everything out with the travel agent while we were dealing with our emotional breakdown in China. I could go on and on and on about our connection to this family, but I will get to the point... AFter our horrible experience last week at the pediatricians office, Stacy recommended the pediatric cardiologist that she takes her daughter to. She explained that he would probably look at Ethan's medical records. He has two children from China and is located in Springfield, which is only an hour from us. Tim called Dr. Tang yesterday and the receptionist told him to bring what we had and she was sure he could look at it. She said that she didn't know how long it would take him. We drove to the office last night and dropped off our package of everything we know about Ethan. It was after hours, so we left it in their drop box. Around 10:00 this morning, I got a message from Dr. Tang on my cell phone. He was so friendly and said he thought he knew what the problem was with Ethan and he would love to talk about it. I called him back and when the receptionist answered and I told her who I was and that I was returning a call from Dr. Tang. She asked my child's name and before I could explain, she said she should have known by the name Tucker that we were the family adopting Ethan and that he is so cute. She said the doctor showed his picture to her! What a huge difference in office staff! I was so relieved and thankful! When I talked to Dr. Tang he explained that Ethan's VSD was damaged during his surgery when he was 9 months old. To sum it up, his heart is compensating for the blockage that this caused and he needs a pacemaker. His heart is large because it is a muscle that is being overworked and it will shrink when the pacemaker is implanted! He said he doesn't like to criticize other doctors, but it's ridiculous for the doctors in China to think they need to wait 6 months to do this surgery. He also thinks he will be fine to travel, with or without a pacemaker! I wish I could remember and explain all the technical medical stuff he told me, but I can't. He did a great job of explaining it, but the main thing is that he is an expert in his field and he didn't hesitate in saying we should be able to go get him and bring him home! So, the next step was to contact GW, which I did and they said Dr. Tang needs to write a letter stating all of that. I called the office back and explained that and by 4:30 today they had faxed the letter!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing! I am thrilled that we seemed important enough to do things so quickly. I am certain he is very busy, but he made our family and our precious son a priority today and I will be eternally grateful for that! God is so good! Dr. Tang is a hero! Please pray that China accepts what the letter says and allows us to come get Ethan! We are so excited!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Early Morning Thoughts

I usually try to blog when I have something of importance to document about our lives, but occasionally I just need to start typing to try to make sense of my thoughts. It is 4:20 in the morning and I can't sleep. I have this nervous sick feeling in my stomach. I have been so anxious waiting to hear something, waiting to be able to do something about all this confusion, but there has been nothing. I am tired of thinking about the what ifs, the whens, and the hows. I am the kind of person who does not like "fake". I don't like when people try to be something they are not. A phrase I heard quite often from my parents growing up was "tell us what you really think" (said in a very sarcastic tone) because I was never shy about expressing my opinion. I prefer being around people who are the same in every situation, who love me for me, who are honest about their own faults and don't judge me for mine. That being said, I feel like I am walking around all day being fake. I feel like there is all this anger and confusion and heartache boiling up inside of me, yet I walk around with a smile going through the motions of my life. I don't like this feeling. Yes, there are moments of laughter with my kids and my friends and moments when I feel God's arms around me and I know He is still working out His plan. But right now I feel like it is Him and me at rock bottom. That's a lonely place to be. I want to keep faith and keep dreaming about the day when I will hold Ethan in my arms. I want to believe there is a doctor who will fix his heart and give him a long life, but then I have those moments where I wonder if he will ever make it out of China. God knows. God loves Ethan more than I do. He has plans for Ethan and for my family. It feels more and more each day like those plans are not the same as mine. This has happened often in my life and at the end of each trial, when more of God’s plan is revealed, it makes sense and I see how God’s timing, God’s planning, God’s perfect ability to see the whole picture is many times something I cannot possibly understand, let alone plan for. I really would like to stay in bed all day and not face the world. I feel like I might end up losing it somewhere that would be very embarrassing with people who won’t understand. It would be so nice to just be at home alone. Those first few days we were home from China, I got to do that. I got to sleep away the day and it numbed the pain because sleeping helped me forget. That was acceptable to people when we first came home, now it is expected that I should be “back to normal”. I hate that phrase. I think that is what I am having a hard time dealing with. Before everything happened, we were prepared for a new normal. Ethan was going to change lots of things at home, at work, at church. We were all ready to see what those changes were! I hate that we have gone back to old normal with the only difference being the broken heart that I walk around with. I think Tim and the girls feel it, too, but they are better at coping with it. Kids are so resilient and dads are just stronger. This mommy is stubborn and weak. I want to throw myself on the floor and have a good old fashioned tantrum, shake my fists and scream about how badly I want my son. For a few days, we had so much hope that we were going to get Reese’s referral. That made sense to me that Ethan was leading us to her and everything had to happen this way to get us to her quicker. Now I feel like we have been misled. That information about a possible match was just a carrot to dangle in front of us to keep us from being idle. She seems just as far away now as she ever has. I was letting myself dream about having both my little ones home together, trying to figure out how I would manage two carseats, two kids in my office, two kids in diapers, two more kids at the table, two more kids at Wal-Mart… To say I was looking forward to all that stress is an understatement. One of the best moments of my life was when we got home from Latvia with Becca and Isabella and we were reunited with Ryleigh and Reagan at the airport. It was pure joy for all of us to be together. I remember riding in the van on the way home and turning around to look at my four children talking and laughing. I felt overwhelmed by God’s goodness and blessings. Even though it was early March, we had Christmas when we got home because the big girls had presents waiting for them. We watched them open presents and we were all so thankful to be at home together. The next morning, we got up and had breakfast together and our new normal started. I was able to breathe a sigh of relief because all that we had gone through to get them here was over and they were HOME! The transition was so much easier than I thought it would be. We had prepared the best we could and we just let God take care of it. And He did. I know He will take care of everything. I just want to hide in a corner while He does. Prayers are still very much appreciated.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ups and Downs

As with any adoption, Ethan (and Reese's) adoption has been full of ups and downs. Unfortunately, the downs are extreme. My prayer is that when we finally do meet him, the ups will be extreme, as well! The video has brought so much joy this week. We have watched it over and over and over and over and never get tired of watching him and hearing his voice. Just seeing a little bit of his personality has been such a blessing. We all love him so much. We did experience another moment of down on Thursday when we visited with our pediatrician. I have heard many horror stories about the things doctors say to adoptive parents and now we have had a small taste of what that is like. After looking at Ethan's paperwork, he looked me straight in the face and asked "And why would you want to bring this kid here?" SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!? My response was "because he is my son." In my heart and mind this question was the equivalent to asking a pregnant mom is she wanted to abort a child with possible health issues. Is it really that hard for people to understand that we love Ethan and we will never give up on him. The doctor said that Ethan has congestive heart failure and even the pacemaker surgery will not fix this. He said he could die in 2 years. Although that news was shocking and upsetting, it doesn't change the fact that we love and want him so desperately. He has been abandoned once and we will not abandon him again. If we have 2 weeks, 2 years, or 2 decades with him, we will count it a gift from God. We will make every second count with him. I couldn't go back to work after the appointment, so I came home for awhile and had a good cry. I felt super alone and didn't really want to talk to anybody. It dawned on me that God was trying to tell me something, so I opened up my bible to Psalms and starting reading. In Psalm 37 I was reminded that I need to trust in the Lord and wait for Him to work this all out. He is not leaving us and forgetting about our family. He loves all of us and wouldn't have put this adoption in motion if He didn't already have all the details worked out. I want to have 100% trust and faith and I am blessed to be surrounded by people that remind me of that. Not saying it's not hard to be going through all of this, but I know God is giving us many blessings along the way that never would have been shown to us. The doctor did come up with a care plan for Ethan and said there is a 50/50 chance or less of being okay. Whatever that means. In his opinion, Ethan needs to have surgery now and there is no reason (other than financial or political for China) to wait until he is 2 and a half. Just like we thought, the Chinese doctors saying that is just ridiculous. We are praying and advocating for him to get moved to Beijing to the China Care Home so Half the Sky can evaluate him and do the surgery. We appreciate prayers for Ethan. He is sicker than what we thought and we need our prayer partners to pray him home safely. No news on Reese. Seems like we got our hopes up for nothing, which just adds to the sadness around here. Pray that the perfect match for us is revealed ASAP.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Letter to Ethan and a VIDEO!

Dear Ethan,

Today I watched a video of you.  It is the first time I have heard your voice and seen you move.  I saw you smile and act a little bit stubborn!  I cried when I saw you reach up to a nurse to be held, because I want to hold you so badly.  I said a prayer of thankfulness for the ladies who were telling you "mama" and "baba" and pointing to the photo album that we sent you so many months ago.  I was so relieved to see your sweet face.  You are such a handsome boy!  I am so proud of you for fighting so hard to get better.  I thought you were going to throw the apple they gave you like a baseball and I thought about how someday you will be in the yard playing catch with your daddy.  Who knew eating a banana could be so adorable?!  You were so cute when they gave you an Angry Bird balloon!  I loved watching your sisters see you and listen to them talk about how spoiled you are going to be.  You are so loved, precious boy, and we are doing everything we can to get back to China to bring you home safely.  God is with you, I hope you can feel Him.  He is with all of us and He has big plans for you.  I love you, little man.  It is an honor to be your mommy. 

                                                 Love, Mommy


Ethan is back in the hospital.  We got a call last night from Kelly at Ladybugs N Love (they were trying to get Ethan's a birthday cake to him) and she said that the orphanage told her contact in China that he was sent back to the hospital.  Long story short, GW confirmed that for us today.  Apparently he never stayed at the orphanage because they can't monitor his heart and give him his medicine. So he is back at the local hospital.  We are trying to plead the case that he should go to Beijing to the China Care Home and have his pacemaker implanted so he can recover and come home.  We have an appointment with our pediatrician on Thursday to get his opinion and share all of Ethan's records.  Hopefully this will help to bring him home quicker.  The video they sent melted my heart and made me feel even more desperate to bring him home. 


We received more good news from GW that they will be willing to help our family with some of the travel expenses.  FINALLY, we are gaining a little respect back.  This whole situation has been such a nightmare and I feel like we are slowly waking up and finding the good in people again.  I feel like I can talk to Kim at GW now and she realizes that everything we have said and done has been because we want our son home.  I am a mama bear without my baby!  I am amazed at how many people want to help and we are definitely at a point where we have to accept help! 


Still no file yet on the little girl that might be Reese.  We know very little and are trying so hard not to get our hopes up.  We want to make certain that this is God's plan for us and not just us being impatient.  We are excited to learn more and see what God has in store! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ethan's 2nd Birthday

Yesterday was Ethan’s 2nd birthday.  Actually, it is his estimated birthday.  When he was found at a Post-Office on December 30th, 2010 and then taken to the orphanage, this was the day they chose for his birthday.  So, this is the day we will celebrate.  I’m sad for him to be alone, especially for special days. I managed to have a pretty normal day at work and kept busy, then had a great staff meeting (I am very proud of all the teachers for all the hard work they have put into the start of this school year, we are off to such a fabulous start!).  We all had lunch together, which is always fun and then had a productive time of planning.  We got to meet baby Gabe, Ms. Rachel’s precious son, who is only 10 days old!  I was glad to have some great distractions, but then on my way home I started feeling guilty for having such a normal day, so I had a little cry in my car by myself and then got it all together at home. 

This whole ordeal is just a part of our lives right now, we have been slowly learning to just deal with it.  Which meant we could choose to sit around and be sad about him not being home to celebrate turning 2 or we could have a party.  We chose the latter…

We have the most amazing friends!  I know it was weird and a little awkward to have a party for a child who is not here yet, but our wonderful friends came and helped us celebrate!  We kept it pretty simple and just had cake and ice-cream.  For those that wanted to, we had notecards attached to balloons to write messages to Ethan and we let them go all together and wished him a “Happy Birthday!”.  It was good to have some way to feel connected to him and to give everyone a chance to think about him and pray for him. 

We are very thankful for the group of people who came over.  We are so blessed to be so loved and supported by our church family!  It was a great night and we were able to get all the details about our friends’ referral from Thailand.  So happy that there is still good news out there in the adoption world!  It was nice to just sit and chat with them and realize how much we have in common (thanks for staying so long, Angie and Jason!).  I love talking about adoption and how God is working to bring families together.  There really is nothing better to talk about!  I cannot wait to see how little Lauren changes their lives!

We got Ethan’s medical reports yesterday.  We will have to take them to the doctor to make sense of all of it.  There was also a picture of a chest x-ray.  GW said there is a video, as well, but they were having trouble condensing it so it could be emailed.  We are assuming that it just of his heart, but we will see.  It would be nice to see new pictures of him.  We are supposed to prepare ourselves for a wait of up to a year to travel to get him.  My stomach feels sick thinking about all we will miss and how much harder it will be for him to transition into our family.  I really wish they would just do his surgery now instead of waiting 6 months.  He needs us and we need him.  I want to be the one to comfort him and hold his hand when he recovers from another heart surgery.  It is very hard to remember that God’s timing is perfect, but I will do my best.

We have talked with GW about a possible match for Reese.  We are trying not to get our hopes up, but they gave us a little bit of info and said we could view her file as soon as they get it, which should be “very soon”.  What a roller-coaster we are on.  We have talked about baby Reese for so long, it will be surreal to actually know who she is!  Prayers for this adoption are very much appreciated.  We will keep everyone posted…

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Specific Prayer Requests

We received word from our agency today that the CCCWA still thinks Ethan needs to wait (in China) for 6 months to have surgery and then he will be observed while he recovers and then we can travel back to China to adopt him (which would be spring or summer 2013). So frustrating and sad that we have no say in what happens. If he needs surgery, then DO IT!!!!!!!!! Or figure out if he is healthy enough to travel and let us bring him here for surgery, where he can be surrounded by people who LOVE him and will take care of him. It is such a helpless feeling. The Chinese government and all these orphanage officials make us prove ourselves worthy of being parents, they make us write letters that explain our plan to care for this child, they make us show we can afford the child, they make us jump through ridiculous hoops, pay fees, wait incredibly long for them to approve us, blah, blah, blah, and then they act like we should have no rights to this child who we were 30 minutes away from adopting when we got the devastating news he was in critical condition. We traveled halfway around the world for this child that they refused to let us see. I know there are cultural differences, but don't all human beings have hearts? We can't just turn off the love we have for him, the love that we had to PROVE to them starting almost a year ago. I have moments where I feel like we will never bring him home, like the Chinese government is playing some cruel joke on us. I know those thoughts are not from God and I need to have stronger faith, please pray for that. I know that God can move mountains, even in China. I am asking all of our prayer warriors to pray specifically for the people in charge to do what is best for Ethan. If he could make the trip and have surgery here in America, we need to find a way to go get him ASAP! If he needs to have the surgery before he can safely travel, then pray that the people in charge will allow the surgery to be done sooner, rather than later. And if he really needs to wait 6 months, pray for us to deal with this truth and carry on with our lives for the sake of our girls. Please pray for wisdom for this doctors, caregivers, and the government officials. There may be a possibility that we could get a referral for Reese soon and travel before Ethan is ready. We are having to give this to God to sort out. Our baby Reese has been growing in our hearts for over 6 years. We are excited to find out who she is. It makes sense to us that God could use this terrible situation with Ethan to lead us to Reese. His plan is bigger and better than ours and we know that. Please pray for this adoption, as well. As usual, the money is a large problem. Please pray that we can somehow come up with the necessary funds to complete these adoptions without going into even further debt. We know there is money out there that someone could spare. The huge amount we need is a small amount to someone who is rich. God is putting it on someone's heart, please pray they will listen and show generosity to our family. Thank you for caring enough about our family to read this blog. We are beginning to realize how far our story has spread and we are blessed by the support of so many people. We want to continue to fight for Ethan and Reese and share the story that God is writing for us. God Bless!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our First Two Heroes!

We have said many times since August 20th that we need a hero. We know that Jesus Christ is the #1 hero and that he is capable of working through people. Our prayer has been for someone to be used by Him to help us. Today that happened twice! And our agency also called with good news.

Where do I start? Okay, first... Ethan has been moved back to the Changzhou City to the orphanage. This means he is stable and able to be off of oxygen and healthy enough to be around the other children. Praise God! While I know there is no better place for him than HOME, I feel happy that he is back with people who know him and care about him. He is back to the only place he has ever known and is probably feeling less scared and lonely. We received word that we will be getting copies of all of his medical records so we can take them to the doctor here and come up with a plan of how to care for him. He does, for sure, need a pacemaker and the doctor in Nanjing wanted him to be older before they did the surgery. However, two organizations, Half the Sky and Tomorrow's Plan, are working together to get him moved to the China Care Home in Beijing for the surgery. We are hoping and praying that he can either have the surgery soon OR come home soon and have the surgery here. We are not sure until we talk to the doctor and read his records what will be safer for him. We are very encouraged by all of this news!

After the good update from GW, Tim got a voicemail from American Airlines. He had emailed several people that work there, in hopes of getting some kind of reduced airfare for Ethan's trip here. This amazing lady, Debra, called him and said to call her back. When he did, she explained that she was really sorry about everything that had happened. She thanked him for what our family is doing and asked if she could put us on her prayer list at church. She kindly explained that at American Airlines, they get 100-250 emails a day asking for help and they just couldn't help. Tim thanked her for the prayers and told her that was more important anyway. Then a few hours later, he had another message from her to call ASAP. When he returned her call she was very excited to tell him that after their first call she felt like she should talk to her supervisor again about us. He said "let's just do it" and gave us 4 vouchers for $740.20 (this was the penalty that was charged to us for changing our flights home) each, for a total of $2960.80!!!!!! We can use them any time in the next year and the can be combined, so this should cover the tickets for Tim and me! Praise God!  Debra at American Airlines, you are our HERO!!!  Thank you for listening to God!  We will never forget it! 


It has been weighing on my heart that his birthday is Friday and he is not with us. Now that he is back to the orphanage, we have the option of sending him a birthday cake and having the person who delivers it take pictures of him with his cake and friends. With such short notice, we weren't sure what to do. We looked at a few websites that have been recommended to us by other adoptive families. We found the Ladybugs N Love sight, which is one we looked into earlier in the process, but it was shut down at that time for health reasons for the in-China person. Anyway, there was a phone number of the American contact so Tim called and left a message. She called back and as soon as Tim started to explain our unique situation, she already knew all about us. (this must be our 15 minutes of fame!) She has a son with heart issues who came home very ill, so we know that she understands! She said she would do everything she could to get Ethan a cake for his birthday, even with the short notice! God Bless her!!!!!  Kelly at Ladybugs N Love, you are our HERO!  Thank you for being connected to the adoption community and for knowing how important it is to waiting families to send care packages to their waiting children.  You are the hands and feet of Christ.


We continue to be overwhelmed by all the prayers for our family.  We have been able to cry on the shoulders of some of the most amazing people who are lifting us up and walking right beside us through this storm.  We are so thankful that we have had good news to share with everyone.  We are thankful to God for being patient with us as we have been struggling with His timing.  And for all the people who have used His words to comfort us, God bless you.  I am teaching the pre-k class the Pledge to the Bible and it is such a good reminder that His word is a light unto my path.  So blessed to be surrounded by these reminders each day.


We are hoping for another hero that has the financial means to help us.  With all the money that is wasted by rich people, if just one celebrity or millionaire could just find it in their hearts to give to us, we would be so thankful.  We are confident that God is working on someone somewhere who could spare some money.  It’s uncomfortable to talk about and silly to dream that someone like Brad Pitt is going to say, “hey, I’ll give a fellow adoptive family $30,000, that’s pocket change to me!”  But I know that God can move mountains and I will continue to ask him to help us find  a way to bring Ethan and Reese home where they belong.  So, if you know a celebrity that wants to do something good, send them our way! HA HA HA!


We have planned a little party for Ethan’s birthday on Friday night.  We have asked our friends to join us for cake and icecream and then we are going to write messages and prayers on cards attached to balloons and send them into the sky for Ethan.  I know I will be an emotional wreck, but I thought this idea was the best way to celebrate our little guy.  Someday we will be able to tell him about this party and he will know how many people loved him and couldn’t wait to meet him.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I'm angry.  I know I shouldn't be.  I know that our sermon series at Lifepoint has been on Outrageous, Contagious Joy, but I feel so angry about so many things tonight.  My family is asleep and I am so tired, but I can't sleep. I am angry about how my brain cannot turn off at night and I have to sit here alone trying to cry quietly, playing solitaire and watching The King of Queens.  I'm angry that that is my bad habit now at night because I just want to not think about China, GW, adoption, heart problems, and all the little reminders that my little boy is not home.  I am angry that I don't understand the big picture yet.  I want this to make sense because right now everything is just confusing and everything that we find out just leads to more questions and more anger for me.  I am angry that nobody has swooped in and become a hero for us and then I am angry because I know that Jesus has done that and I sometimes forget it.  I am angry that the world is moving along and people are forgetting that my little boy is all alone in a hospital and that my heart is breaking every second that I wait.  I am angry that my conversation with my husband right before he fell asleep was almost a fight because I am so grouchy.  I don't want to be.  I want to be thankful and joyful and appreciative, but all I feel is angry.  I am so tired of thinking about the money that is wasted in this country and that I will be in debt for years and years and years because I am trying to do something good and right.  I am angry that an agency can take all the money we have worked so hard for and throw it away and act like it is not a big deal.  They are trying to settle with us with a small refund so we will shut up and tell people how great they are.  Great would be fixing some of this mess, not putting a bandaid on it.  I want to know exactly what is wrong with my son and how long they have known about it.  I want to know if they let us get on that plane and pay all that money, knowing we were going to turn right back around.  I want to know everything they know about my child.  I want someone to tell me that they love him and care about him and they will stay with him in the hospital so he is not alone.  I am angry that there are children in this world without a mommy and daddy and people aren't angry with me.  I am angry that adoption is so expensive and people make huge profits off couples who just want to provide a loving home for an orphan.  I am angry that I feel like I can't fake it one more day.  I am angry that I am not being a good mom to my girls and I can't figure out how to balance my broken heart with my thankful heart for the blessings that I already have.  I am angry that I can't make myself look at our DTC group on Facebook because I am jealous that they all have their beautiful children and I don't.  I am happy for them, but so sad for me.  I am being selfish and that makes me angry.  I am angry that I haven't been able to properly thank all the people who have helped our family during this time.  All the meals, prayers, cards, phone calls, visits have meant so much and I am angry that I haven't written thank you notes or returned calls.  I am angry that this whole ordeal isn't making me a better person, but a grouchy, tired one instead.  I am angry that potential adoptive families are hearing what has happened to us and are changing their minds and that families in the process are scared and nervous about their adoptions now, as if adoption wasn't stressful enough, now people have to worry about something like this happening. 

I thought it might be therapeutic to put my feelings out there, but I am not sure anything at this point is going to help all this anger subside.  I need all the prayer warriors out there to pray for my attitude and my heart.  I want to wake up a better person and only God is going to make that possible. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Isabella!

Believe it or not, we have a 16 year old in our house! Yikes!  Luckily, driving is not in the near future, so it's not as stressful as it could be! 

We started the birthday celebration on Saturday when we took her to get her ears pierced and had her family party at my parents' house.  Then this morning we started the day with pancakes and presents.  Isabella seemed to really like all the gifts her sisters picked out for her.  She is very appreciative of anything she gets, which is so nice. 

We are having her birthday party with her friends on Sunday afternoon at the bowling alley. 
Want to keep this post about Isabella... will update about Ethan tomorrow...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Missing My Little Boy

How do you miss someone you have never met? I'm not really sure, but I do. I think it has a lot to do with the calendar. When we were first sent home from China, everything at home was surreal. We didn't have any plans and even at work I was just piddling around, not really doing anything super important. So many people brought us food (what a huge blessing!) that I wasn't worrying about groceries and cooking. We somehow made it through the time period we were supposed to be in China. And then Friday came. The day that we were supposed to step off of a plane in Springfield and be reunited with our big girls and a huge crowd of our family and friends. Then Saturday was supposed to be our first breakfast as a family of 7. We had already talked about having Tim's yummy waffles and wondered if Ethan would like syrup or peanut butter on his. I missed him on Saturday. We went to Springfield and we didn't have to take a stroller or buckle in a carseat. There were no arguments about who was gonna push him in the cart at Wal-Mart. I missed not having to pack a diaper bag even though it has been several years since I had to do that. We celebrated Isabella's birthday with my family and I missed not having to watch a toddler at my parents' house. He would have been super messy with the chocolate cake I am sure! I had a hard time getting up and getting ready for church Sunday morning. I really wanted to stay in my jammies and watch it online. But I knew I couldn't hide. It was supposed to be his first Sunday at Lifepoint. I missed not holding him and singing praise and worship songs with him. We sang Bless My Soul and I couldn't help crying. That is the song Reagan sang out of the blue at the Shanghai airport and a song that I just love. Singing those words "Bless the Lord, oh, my soul, oh my soul, worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul..." made me feel closer to God than maybe I ever have. I am not musical at all, but there was something about that song.

We came up with a plan if we do get a referral for Reese soon and we need to rearrange bedrooms. Tim and I enjoy working on projects like that together, but I almost feel like we will jinx something if we get too excited about her. Unlike in the past, we will work on this in baby steps.

Today, we went to Ha Ha Tonka to go kayaking with some friends of ours. The girls had so much fun and it was nice to be all together having fun. But, again, I missed my little boy. I wished that he was sitting in the kayak with his daddy in all the pictures I took. I wished I could have watched him get muddy and dirty in the lake. My arms just feel empty without him.

Please keep praying that we can jump on a plane and bring him home safely and that somehow we will have the money to pay for the trip AGAIN.

Pray for his little heart to be healed in the name of Jesus. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ethan Update

While we anxiously await news about Ethan, we are trying to have a normal life.  I am so blessed to work in a Christian environment with great Christian women and families who have been amazingly supportive.  Being back around all the sweet kids has been very helpful.  Even though it is hard to see the toddlers that are the same size as Ethan, I love them all to pieces and am glad I am getting back into the groove.  One God moment was when Ms. Megan brought the Mini-Monkeys in to give me some Welcome Back balloons (made out of paperplates and pipecleaners) that they had colored pictures on.  Precious Boone told me that he drew a picture of me looking at a rainbow because that is God's promise.  I teared up and hugged that sweet boy so hard.  I love kids!  What a perfect reminder of God's promise to never leave us or forsake us.  He's with us through all of this heartache, waiting, and uncertainty.  I also came back to work to brand new carpet in my office!!!! Most of you probably have no idea what a fantastic gift this was!  All the teachers worked with Dave and Kevin to give my office a much needed and appreciate make-over.  Awesome!

So, we are still "discussing" our refund with GW for all those fees we prepaid and didn't use.  I am praying (and ask you to join me) that God will speak to their hearts to do the right thing and give us a refund.  Mainly because we need it to give right back to them to travel again.  It is absurd to me that they are expecting us to believe that they gave all of our nearly $9,000 to a "vendor" in China to distribute to guides, drivers, hotels, etc.  Since the last 9 days of our itinerary never happened, those guides, drivers, and hotels didn't get paid, so where is all that money?  Haven't gotten a straight answer yet.  Again, I am praying that GW will make an exception and help us out with this matter.  I understand it is a business and the money is supposed to be nonrefundable, but our adoption is not like any other and requires a little bit of extra compassion and understanding.  I am hoping to see this situation bring out the best in everyone involved.  Please continue to pray about this.

And now the best news...  we did get an update on Ethan today. GW found out that he has been in Nanjing since the 23rd, which was the day after we left Nanjing :(  .  He has not had surgery and the doctors decided they wanted to wait until he was older, like 2 1/2.  Which is still 6 months away.  He is stable, with a heartrate of 55.  GW agreed with us that we should try to bring him home for another surgery, so they are working to figure out if he is stable enough to travel.  The plan is to work with Half the Sky and the China Care Home (look those up if you are interested because they are both amazing organizations that do wonderful things for orphans and China) in Beijing to move him there.  They have excellent people working there that can take care of him until we are allowed to go get him.  Everything still has to go through the CCCWA, but hopefully people will keep advocating for what is best for our little boy.  I just want to be the one who comforts him and we want so badly to be a part of his healthcare decisions.  I know God is the one who ultimately heals and we trust that He will be with each and every doctor, nurse, nanny, and person that is with Ethan.  God will guide their hands, hearts, and minds as they make decisions about how to care for him.  There is so much comfort in that. 

I am trying not to be anxious about thr trip back to China and bringing Ethan home.  I am not a very good traveler and that long plane ride is tough.  To add to it a medically fragile two year old is very stressful, so I am praying for the best possible route and an easy trip home.  I wish we could afford to pay for a doctor to go with us!  None of our girls will go with us this time, so I will have to coordinate their schedules and all that again.  This is a time to ask for help from family and friends and I am definitely getting better at admitting we need help.  Thank God for all the people who volunteer to help in so many ways!

We discussed with GW some of the special needs that we are comfortable with so they can begin looking at baby girl files for Reese.  It is exciting to think about completing our family with two China sweethearts.  And then we are done.  All the seats will be full in our vehicle and around our table.  We are so blessed!  Please be in prayer for us as we work with GW for the perfect match for our family. 

I am feeling so thankful for my husband today.  We were talking about how much we have been through and how this isn't at all what we dreamed about when we met and got married.  God has definitely made our lives exciting and wonderful and He has helped us through some very hard times.  I can't imagine going through any of it without Tim by my side.  We have had to lean on eachother in the last two weeks like never before and I love him more than ever for working so hard to help our family stay positive and move forward.  He has been smart, sweet, and strong through everything, but especially when I was being irrational, emotional, and weak.  I pray that all of my girls will be able to find a husband like their daddy and I pray Ethan will grow up to be just like his daddy.  Pretty sure I don't deserve him!