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.