Friday, February 26, 2016

Ladybugs N Love - NEW Dossier Prep service.....

Are you ready to meet your new best friend?
Thats what Ill be if you need dossier prep service.....


Please visit our new site for more information

Yep....thats right - your new best friend....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Home - all the feelings.....

Hey friends - Hop on over to "No Hands But Ours" and see my guest post.
Its all about coming home and the feelings we have that are positive and negative....
I pray you are encouraged.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why aren't we sharing the hard stuff?

I am burdened for those that come after me.  I feel families are not at all prepared for adoption these days.   Yep....there, I said it.

Adoption is not rescuing a child and having them feel better
Adoption is not having the child walk into your family with a thankful, grateful heart.
Adoption is not easy for your children who are already in your home.
Adoption is not easy on a marriage
Adoption is not easy and it takes a long time to get to normal...if ever.

Think about these things.

You child is suffering from multiple trauma
Your child is not excited about being adopted
Your child is not likely to love you for awhile
Your child is being taken from everything familiar to them
Your child is being made to eat foods and do things completely foreign to them (hugs-what are they?)
Your child can't understand you and you look really weird to them
Your child may not be capable of things you ask because they area paralyzed with fear
Your child might steal food - it's trauma related survival skills
Your child might try to run away from you
Your child is probably malnourished and may not be capable of eating properly

Am I getting thru?  Your child is a mess and you have accepted the challenge of healing them.
Will they heal?  Maybe.
Will they love you? Probably
Are there any assurances?  No.

Please talk with other adoptive parents before proceeding with an adoption.
If you are in the process....EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THE HARD STUFF.

If you are called to adopt you owe it to yourself and your child to prepare and know this is hard.

~~~ the kids that are the hardest to love need you the most~~~

Some good resources :
Read every blog your can get your hands on that truly shows the easy and hard stuff that comes with adoption!

Adoptive families---   A special plea.   Share your stories and tell the hard stuff.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You are called to a worthy purpose

God has been impressing upon me my calling.  He has been showing me with His eyes that moms and dad are doubting their calling.   Parenting is hard.  Parenting a child with past trauma can make for sleepless nights and frustrating days all filled with the thought, "Am I really cut out for this?"  I don't think there is anyone out there in the trenches of parenthood that couldn't use a vacation away from their kids for a few days or a week....
Life as an adult is full of demands and days of makings life choices that impact others.  It's hard being  an adult and caring for your family.  Doing what is best for them takes a lot of sacrifice and sometimes we just don't want to make those sacrifices.  Sometimes we just want EASY.


God has placed you in a position of servanthood.  He has entrusted you with His very best.  Yes, our children are broken, difficult, and, sometimes, unloveable.....but He has faith you can do this and do it well. There is nothing more important to The Lord than this calling of parenthood.  We are shaping the future generation of pastors, educators, scientists, world leaders, and Gospel spreaders.

When you came home with your child completely overwhelmed at the magnitude of a newly adopted little person, God was right there with you.   Think back to your process of adoption.  Can you say He wasn't in it?   Can you testify to His miracles of timing, finances, and just plain getting things done?  You are CALLED.  He has made the way for this child to be YOURS forever and ever.  Has the depth and magnitude of that miracle been lost on you as you fall into bed every night thinking....I have to do this all over again tomorrow?

I am asking you now to CLAIM THIS CALLING and walk with confidence that He who has begun a good work in you will carry it to completion.  You are equipped by the God of the Universe to excel at this calling.  He gives you exactly what you need to parent your kids, help heal your kids, and love your kids above what you yourself think you can do.

Surround yourself with support.  Surround yourself with others in ministry.  Surround yourself with the Spirit.  Call on Him every minute to walk through the day with courage to go above and beyond your own ability. Gird yourself with His holy word and seek to learn thru Bible study and worship.  Tap into His desire for you to heal and lead your children.

You are a parent by divine appointment.  Don't get lost in the everyday "yuk" and forget who has called you to a Worthy Purpose and who is equipping you every day to shine His light.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Born in your heart"

Well, summer is in full swing around here and I am super happy to be able to squeak some time in to write a new post!  I am going to get back to writing more often now that summer schedules have settled a bit....

Today, I am going to do something a bit different than my usual ~~~  I have a friend who has asked me to help get her "kickstarter" off and running!  I am honored to share this God inspired project with you, however, Tammy does it best.  I ask that you prayerfully consider if God might lead you to help.  (very cool incentives for your gift donation as well)

Take a look!!  **OH***  Careful - wee one Gloria is a cutie and you might just fall in love!!

This is a photo of the finished product -- the craftsmanship is excellent and 30% of proceeds go to help orphans!  I love when friends and family do intentional being mindful of the affects of your purchase.

ok....did you watch the video yet???
What are you waiting for??  GO!

I'll be back tomorrow----

Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm spitting mad

 I am spitting mad.  I want to scream and shout and be heard.

 This child of God
precious and perfect in His sight
is being starved, ridiculed, and neglected
to the extent that he lives on scraps
from the table
of raw bamboo.
never touched or held
living in a dark world
the people who are charged with his care

Would you join my this morning to pray for the children who are suffering today.
Children who have no one to call for help.  Children that have given up because their cries are not answered.  Children that are bedridden because no one feels they are worthy.  Children who are suffering from neglect and hunger.
Christians - this is a DAILY occurrence here in the USA and abroad.  Languages may be different and culture but children need love and they need us to act when we see this injustice. 
I am beside myself this morning with grief as I see lavish vacations, cars that cost more than a year salary, houses that have the best of everything. People who have so much and don't know or feel called to help those who don't.

 Jesus has called us to pick up our cross and follow him.  
The cross is heavy and we don't want to sacrifice ---
                                                      I want you to be convicted today. 
                                           Convicted that YOU will do something to help.

Money - time - prayer - mission trip--  PRAY about it and don't turn your back on children who are languishing in foster care or orphanages or homes that are less than suitable.   God is bigger than any of these and He will challenge you to MOVE for Him. 

Let me ask you a question --- Does the God you serve want you to seek material things of no eternal value?  Does He love you enough to fill you to overflowing when you do sacrifice?
 I'm begging you - Move for Christ today... 
Seek Him and pray how you can serve Him.  
These children have NO ONE else to count on but those of us
 who know what a Savior can do when there is no hope in anything else.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our children and the loss they feel.

If you have an adopted child, you are raising a child who has loss in their life.  Our children were abandoned (or some other word that means "given up") by their biological parents for "some" reason.  Speaking strictly from the standpoint that my children are adopted from China, I try to paint a picture of selflessness on behalf of their parents; but, the situation still hurts and the pain goes deep.

Every situation is different when trying to address this loss.
 - maybe you are in touch with birth parents and have all the answers
 - maybe you have a piece of the puzzle and you can speculate
 - maybe you have no answers at all.

Regardless of where you are in the mix, as parents we need to try to answer their questions as honestly as possible.  We may need to say - I don't know.  As a mom knowing the tender heart of my children I DO want to sugar coat the loss and try to make them feel better about it.
 The fact is that God designed a family to be together.  Whatever circumstance made the birth parents decide not to parent their child grieves the Father.  (This, of course, could be a whole blog post itself dealing with the "fall" of the family unit). Yet, we have to deal with the loss because it is real and in our face every day we are with our kids.

My children all deal with this grief on different levels.  Some have never broached the subject with me and one of my kids talks frequently about circumstances with his birth parents.  Of my adopted kids, 7 out of 8 have special needs.  That gives me the quick answer of, "Well, they wanted you but could not provide for your medical needs. The fact that they abandoned you was for you to be taken care of, healed from your special need, and put into a forever family."  They accept this but its kind of a "cover all" answer.

  My daughter with microtia (lack of the outer ear) probably wont accept this answer since her special need is really "NOT" a special need at all.  She could have stayed with her birth family, kept her hair long, and never had any intervention.   For years after we adopted her, she had no intervention for her hearing loss.  The need could be hidden and she would have been fine.  I can only guess that because she was a girl she was given up.  That's the tough one to explain to a child.   The fact that they are the undesired sex is why they were abandoned??

 There are also times when other people hurt our children by saying things that may be untrue about adoption.  I have had to really hold in anger when someone says to me, "Well they kill their baby girls in China!"  Gee, that's nice to say to a parent of a Chinese child.

I remember some years ago Lisa Ling did a special on the one child policy in China.  I remember her talking to school children and hearing the kids say "Having more than one child is irresponsible."
The children are told this from a young age.  They understand the policy and are led to believe it is what is best.  Culture, poverty, and lack of medical care play a HUGE role in the orphan crisis we see today. 

Recently, a baby hatch, was opened in the city of Guangzhou, China.  This is the city where all US citizens must pass before going home with their babies from China.  The US Consulate is located here and we must obtain our child's visa to enter the US.  There have been many articles and videos regarding the baby hatch.  This was a safe place to leave your child if you could not care for them and much safer than abandoning them at a train station or some other public place to be found later.

I watched a video about this and it showed the heart break of these parents leaving their children.  This was not a choice of convenience - this was a choice of necessity.  The video was narrated and spoke to the fact that these parents could not pay for their child's medical care  Their hope was rooted in the fact the government facility would help care for the child and get the treatment needed. These were not all babies...some were toddlers.  It was heartbreaking to view.

Regardless of circumstance, all of our kids have a missing piece.  They are not "the same" as our biological children or the "bio" kids next door.  One thing we can point out if that they are children of God.  This makes them the same -- same as you, me and any other person on Earth.   I pray that our children can feel God's redeeming love in their life.  That some day they can heal and accept the missing piece of their life.  For whatever reason, God's plan was to be adopted into our (your) family.  I believe He made this plan so that His glory would shine. 

Its hard to parent our children from hard places.  They are needy and  many times hard to love. Christ can be the difference in their life.  Pray for your kids and show them His love....even when they are unlovable.  ESPECIALLY when they are unlovable.  Its counter intuitive to our very nature to be pushed away and still love....but we do this every day to our Father in heaven.  Just as He never gives up on us....may we, too, love fiercely and not give up on our children.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Look for the daffodils

I have never pined for warm weather like I have this Spring.  Its been a hard winter in Central Maryland with more snow days than our fair share.  Living on a steep hill doesn't make it any easier to swallow even though it makes for incredible sledding for the children.

I remember when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the Fall of 2010.  A friend of mine said to me,"Just think, when you see the daffodils in Spring, this will be all over."  I cried that Spring at the first daffodil.  Never had such a simple statement has such meaning to me...such LIFE.   

When we go through the valleys in life, many times we are on "autopilot".  Our body just goes through the motions and we are not invested in life from day to day.  I know that's how I dealt with my cancer.  It wasn't until that first daffodil that I realized I had been pushing through each day trying not to dwell on the physical aspects of cancer and the gravity that I was living through a life threatening illness.

I witnessed how my family reacted when I was diagnosed. My family history was strong on my mom's side as her mother and grandmother had breast cancer. Logically, she was next - but it was me.
I cant really speak for her and her feelings but I would say she would have taken my diagnosis any day instead of watching me go through surgery, chemotherapy, and the resulting health challenges.  As a mom, we'd all rather take the pain than see our children suffer.

My adult daughters witnessed their mom being sick.  Reality strikes when you realize a parent could die and that they are not invincible as most children see them.  One of my girls lived the entire Fall without seeing me because she was far away at college.  As I think back, it was probably best for her to be elsewhere and I thank God for His ultimate hand in that.  My oldest daughter has recently moved back to the area and the fact she was around to help our family with day to day activities proved invaluable.  Gods plan was sovereign and each child was placed where they could best handle my situation.

Had I not had a personal relationship with Jesus, I would have had a much harder time dealing with my cancer and its treatment.  I would not have had HOPE.  I would not have known that He was walking the journey with me and that every small detail with under His authority.  I love the phrase that says:
Even if our problems seem OVER our head
They are always UNDER God's feet. 

Our Savior is there for any circumstance, and He is ready to lift us up and carry us to our destination.  Just imagine Christ gently wrapping his arms around you and guiding you to a place of safety and security.  Gentle. Kind. Loving.  This is our heavenly Father doing what He does best.

So, the next time you look around and realize you are on auto-pilot - basically, dredging through a situation - look for the daffodils.  Look around and see that God has taken care of the little things even when you don't recognize His kind, gentle touch.  It makes living through the valley a little easier.  It makes it easier to be thankful for the trial.  It makes it easier to survive the trial.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

He's the "God of every story"

When our world is shaken - He holds us in the palm of His hand.

I'm listening to the song by Laura Story called "God of Every Story".

One thing I have learned through my life, dealing with breast cancer and medically fragile children, is that He is Faithful....  He cares about me. He desires my life to be good.  He desires that I am happy. He desires that I walk with Him. He is with me through every struggle and every victory.

Here are Laura Story's lyrics:
(from her CD: Laura Story - God of Every Story)

Some times we want to raise a fist up high
blame all the hard things 
on the Father in the sky
But He hears when we call
And we can trust him through it all.

He's the God of every story

He sees each tear that falls
We may not understand
But one thing is for certain
 He is faithful
He's a faithful God.

The dictionary defines the word "Faithful" as
adjective 1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty

Can you imagine God as being "strict and thorough"?   I know my father was a dad who was kind and always wanted best for me.  He was not strict though.  He allowed me to carve my way through high school with just a curfew.  He really didn't know what I was getting into and He certainly would not have allowed half of my activities to go on if he had known about them.

Our Father in heaven knows it all.  Yes, we go through hard times because we have "free will".  God allows us to decide which path to take in life's decisions.  The wide gate or the narrow path. My teens years were filled with the wide gate and I went through some times that were very difficult.  Some of these decisions still affect my life daily.

So, Laura Story talks about "raising a fist up high to the Father in the sky"   HOWEVER--- many times the path is OUR chosen path not the Father's.  He allows us free choice and knows we need Him when we take a wrong turn.  He can always be found in the midst of our trials....even when we got ourselves there.

I like to think of God as our compass.   He directs us where to go...but we have to look TO Him for guidance.  He doesn't always direct us without us asking. He certainly isn't the reason we are going through the trial but He can always be found nearby if we seek Him.

IF we seek Him, He will be ahead of us directing the way...
Turn here.  Walk with confidence.  Trust me fully.
God is faithful and He is going to be thorough with His care.  He will not allow us to be somewhere He cannot retrieve us from when He feels the time is right.
Yes, we can get very deep in the pit but it is never our of his reach.  Never.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Mom Crisis

Motherhood has been part of my life for almost 26 years.  When I got married at the tender age of 19 my life became consumed with becoming a mom.  It was what many girls did.

 Grow up... get married...have kids

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, I told everyone where I worked that I would be tanning most of the summer after my baby was born in early June.   I thought I had hit the "high life". My baby would sleep all the time and need only a small snippet of my time during the day.  

Yep.....funny isn't it?  Did you laugh?

I quickly learned that having a child was a full time commitment with very little down time and very little sleep.  Zombie had an entirely different meaning then.  I was barely awake during the daylight hours and nighttime sleep was interrupted hourly. I was also the palest chick in Northern Virginia that year.  PHEW!!  Why didn't anyone warn me is was such a big job?

Fast forward to my life now.  Ten kids.  God sure has a sense of humor.  He gave me my "share" and a few others too.  I live in the trenches.  Nicely placed between the diaper trench and the teen attitude trench.  Yes, I have it going both ways.  My littlest is 6 and will never be continent.  My middle child is 10 but has the chemistry of a 15 year old.  My oldest daughter, still at home, just turned 18 and  is very young at heart. She seems to act like a child full of giddy wonder minute to minute.  The full scope of motherhood.  Toddler to teen and beyond.

So, can I get an "Amen!" that motherhood is the most rewarding job one can ask for and one of the most daunting?   Full of inexplicable joy, unending rewards and daily trials.  It's a thankless job and many times we feel under appreciated.  Worrying becomes a way of life -- whether we worry about our child being bullied or our child drinking at college.  Worry can really consume you if you don't have a grounding force like Jesus.

Christ has taught me many things in this journey:
  • I am called
  • I am equipped
  • I am qualified by Christ alone
  • He is with me every second
  • He carries me when I cant make it 
  • His Holy Spirit guides me
  • He is in control - not me.
Mothers in general are tired and strung out to the Nth degree.  Our days are filled with being a taxi driver, a referee, a house keeper, a chef, and a teacher.  (you know the list could go on...)
Some moms are dealing with children who are aggressive - they are punched, kicked, spit on, and scratched.  Some moms have children who don't communicate or cant even function without assistance to breathe.  This is the trenches in a very real way. No mom has it easy - EVERY mom has issues to deal with that they do not feel they can handle or that will break their heart in a million pieces.

Many moms plaster the smile on their faces and quietly suffer.  Some moms are complainers and feel all should be aware of their struggles.  No matter where you fit in this scenario.... if you are a mom you are important. loved, and you will make it. God has given your a ladder to climb out of the trench.  It reaches from Heaven to your deepest pit of despair and hurt

God has this.   ALLOW Him to work in your life.  Yes, thing are hard. Yes, we don't like it. Yes, you want to scream.  (By the way - go outside and scream if you need to --- it makes you feel so much better!)

I can attest to suffering for my kids.  Sacrificing my "self" for the betterment of their lives.  I am not the only one who has given their all for the sake of their children.  MANY mothers do this.  Giving of ourselves is done freely because we love.  God is the same way.  He doesn't have to give to us.  He does it because He loves. YOU are His child and He gave the ultimate sacrifice for you.

This crisis is real.  Moms are on the edge.... every day we need edification and we need our sisters to rally around us.  We need our spouses to rally around us.  We need time away from our children who sometimes suck the life out of us.

We need Christ.

 I find it interesting that the word crisis and the word Christ are so similar.   Just remember --- put Christ at the center of your crisis.  Seek Him daily and without fail.  Allow Him to guide you and pour into you. No matter how down we are. And when we fail ourselves or feel we fail Him... run to Him and allow Him to heal your heart.  He loves you no matter what. 

No. Matter. What.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Hands and Feet of Jesus!

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were involved in the 5th annual R.O.C.K. event at a local church. It was a joint effort between members of four churches to plan a day long conference for Orphan Care Education.  It was very successful and God was so evident there during that day.  My heart was full to overflowing just seeing all the children represented who were once orphans and now are precious chosen children that He has placed in families!

I am not gonna lie - this is where I thrive.  The adoption "arena" is like oxygen to me.  It drives my passion and fuels my desire to educate and advocate.  Many of my close friends in the adoption world helped with this project and I was "all in" from the start.

Right before Bill and I began our session on "Special Needs", I was introduced by a friend to a lovely lady named Darlene.  Many of the other faces in the session were familiar to me as they were already parents to special needs children.  Our session was informational and had a "pick my brain" Q&A at the end.  Bill and I told stories of our calling to adopt children with special needs and how God has equipped us for these children.  I know its not everyday you meet a family with 10 children so we always get some funny discussions revolving around family size and our kids abilities (which some call disabilities)

Some of our discussion was based on how to pay for services and other adaptations after we get our children home.  We have been investigating the opportunities out there for our family based on non-profit and government help.  Something as simple as an accessible home may keep a family from adopting a child with mobility issues.   Where do families find the cash to pay for things such as ramps into their home or a vehicle equipped for a wheelchair?  

The answer is complicated.  Many times you have to apply for help and wait for the funding.  Meanwhile, your child has a hard time getting from place to place and the grunt work falls on the parent.  (such as lifting/carrying)  We have faced this with our kids.  Even though we are still able to physically help our children up steps or into our van....they are growing and getting heavier every day.  Driving a 15 passenger van is a necessity in our family due to its size.  The van is awesome but sits very high to be lifting a boy about 43 pounds up into his booster seat who is dead weight and top heavy because of hydrocephalus.

Once into our home, our children who have mobility issues are able to navigate the main floor of our home.  Two of our girls share the main level bathroom and bedroom.  We do have to carry our son up and down the steps once a day but everything he needs can be found on the main level of our home except his bed.  Ideally, one day we will have a stair lift but we are doing fine right now.

The ROCK event was a huge success and I was filled to overflowing with the new faces I met and the knowledge that more people left the event informed about adoption, foster care, and orphan care in general.  The event was God breathed and surely promoted His command to care for orphans and widows. 

James 1:27   King James Version (KJV)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 As soon as I got home I checked the computer for new e-mail and jumped on Facebook for a few minutes.  I noticed I had a new friend request and after checking her profile realized it was the same "Darlene" I had been introduced to at the event.  I "friended" her and closed the computer.   Later that day, I was notified that I had a message on my phone.  I have the Facebook "messenger" app on my phone.  

Darlene had sent me a message.  Not just any message either...
 It said, "Hi Kelly! I met you thru Donna F. just before your session today and then sat in the session with you and your husband. My husband and a friend (very experienced men in construction) and some of our family (sons, grandsons) would like to build 1 if not two of the ramps you need for wheelchair access and can do it next weekend. When you get a chance could you call me please. They'd need to stop by to see the area and what materials they will purchase to do this. Honored to serve! xoxo Darlene

WOW - a complete stranger with a heart to serve!  I am certain she had NO IDEA what a difference this would make in our day to day activities!  Quite frankly, until I loaded all the kids in the van for church the following Sunday  -- even I didn't know how much it would help!

So Pete and Paul came to our home the following Saturday set to serve the Lord by building a ramp into our home.  Not only did they build a ramp.....they allowed our children to help them.  It was amazing to watch my kids screw in nails with an electric drill.  It was amazing to watch them feel a part of this process to become less dependent on us.  We were SO BLESSED!

Eli watching Paul (Darlene's husband)

Cassie helping with the nails

Elijah taking his turn with the electric drill!  

 This, ladies and gentlemen, is God using people for orphan care!!  You are right, they are no longer orphans but, let me tell you, this was serving the orphan!  If you wish to serve the orphan and you have a skill....maybe this is the way!!  Use your skills to help a family.  BE Jesus hands and feet.

Oh, what a blessing you will be to the family.  Praise God for those of you who have a heart for Him.  May He use you mightily today in someones life.  It might be a smile, a much needed meal or a ramp for a family with special needs kids.   Praise God for your willing heart!