We are SO grateful for the love & support you have shown and for being SO very generous in your encouragement and prayers! If you are able, and feel led to do so, we still need funds for our travel expenses. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at adoptshoppe@gmail.com We LOVE sharing our story! We are SO thankful for you!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

God things?!

I still don't know --and may never know -- God's full purpose in allowing Kate and I to bring another child into our home. We are very thankful to have another son and are overjoyed that we have been blessed with the experience of adoption once again! This adoption seemed more difficult -- as if at every turn something was wrong. Was this God saying you've pushed to far or was this Satan attempting to stop us from introducing another child to God? Satan worked hard last time to stop us but he did it in different ways than what we experienced this time. After being here for two weeks it is obvious that Satan was working overtime trying to discourage us and make us question the choices we had made after much praying and meditation. We have experienced special things, been involved in inspiring events, and have worshipped God at every corner.

Holly asked me to lead a few team building exercises for an inservice for the nannies. I was nervous to stand before a group of women who do not speak my language and lead them in exercises that were designed with American multi-billion dollar companies in mind. I had no idea if it would help and even if they would understand the purpose of the exercises. I prayed and asked God to speak through me about being a team and being a beneficial team member. He did! I feel that it was a huge success to the glory of God! Satan did not want me to be a part of this. God - 1, Satan - 0

We've met, enjoyed spending time with, and have made some lasting memories with a wonderful family that is also here to adopt.

They share the same passions about orphans. They share the same love for Christ. This is a lifelong friendship that has been started with people that we are united with through the love of Christ. God is awesome! God - 2, Satan - 0

We were able to attend the Hero Games at Morrison Academy.

This is an event for children with special needs -- very similar to a special Olympics. The Morrison students help the children with special needs to compete in various athletic events. It was an awesome display of love by children who looked beyond differences in appearance and embraced the opportunity to share the compassion of Christ. We as a family were able to cheer on these children and view their smiling faces as they ran, jumped, and kicked balls. An awesome encounter with the Gospel in action! After the events were over we had the opportunity to speak with the directors of the home that houses these special needs children. In speaking with them we discovered that the wife is from Jamesport, MO. What's the chances we travel to Taiwan and run across and speak to someone that is from a town just 35 miles north of our home town? One hundred percent if God wants it to happen! Another relationship started based on the love of Christ for children! God - 3, Satan - 0

There are many, many more things just like this that some may say, "We'll that's just coincidence." I don't believe in coincidence anymore. I've seen and experienced too much to chalk it up as mere happenstance. The point is -- although sometimes painful and hard to bear God works things out just the way he needs to for him to be glorified. All we have to do? Get out of the way and submit to his directing.

----written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Syuefu Road,Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Monday, November 19, 2012

The little things.....

So often we take the little things for granted. Yet, the little things are what seem to matter so much when they're not present. Little things make big differences. I have a few examples:

Speaking the same language as the majority of the people around you. It makes a big difference but it is one of those little things we take lightly. It is so difficult to do many things when you cannot communicate. I had a conversation with a parking lot security guard today. I still don't know what he wanted me to do and he still doesn't know why I wasn't willing to do it. I ordered a corn on the cob at a night market after venturing out without anyone to interpret. I figured it would be fairly simple. I had two choices: white or yellow. I chose yellow and I thought it would be smooth sailing from then on out but I was mistaken. Now, I had to choose which seasoning to have put on and there is not an English word within miles of the stand. I still don't know what I chose and the poor lady still doesn't know why I had such a hard time deciding.

Being able to call your wife from the grocery store when you have a question about an item on the list. Little thing--big difference.

Coupled with that is the ability to read the writing on the items at the grocery store. I picked up something I think is syrup. We will determine at a later date what it actually is. Little thing but it matters much.

The ability to read the street signs. I get lost easy as it is, if I can't even read the signs it adds a new dimension to trying to find my way around. The van broke down and I couldn't even give cross street names. It was something like a pie sign walking a dog in an upside down house and a man in a boat fishing for an upside down 7 with arms. Little thing that makes a huge difference.

Having napkins at your disposal, say, in a convenient store like a 7-11. Little thing that is missed a lot when not available. For instance if a guy were to overfill a slurpee cup and not catch the explosion of icee coke from the lid he may need more than the one napkin awarded to him after purchasing said slurpee.

Having a designated area for showering/bathing in the bathroom. Without one many things get wet that you don't want wet. And the floor gets deathly dangerous because it immediately turns into what seems to be a sheet of black ice just waiting for you to take a misstep sending you into a death slide. Little thing--big difference.

Last but certainly not least. Your child looking you in the eyes and smiling big because they know you and know you love them instead of crying because they have no clue who you are. Little thing--unparalleled difference.

----written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meeting Maddox's birth family

Gonna be really long so I'll do a funny and serious and you can read just one if you want.

We've known for sometime that we would more than likely meet with Max's birth family. I wasn't too nervous until I found out that THEY were taking US out to dinner and it wasn't gonna be McDonalds. I began to worry about what to wear, what to say and...........what am I gonna eat. If you know me even just a little bit you may say that I am a tad picky when it comes to food. However, Chinese food seems to be the one thing that I don't mind trying things with. In fact, Chinese food is about my favorite. But, you and I both know that the fancier and more expensive the food, the stranger it gets. Now I know, that as I explain this food that most of you will not find it strange which means that you may be strange yourself. Because seriously, you can't go wrong with beef, cheese and potatoes. It comes in several forms and you can get it just about anywhere. Anyway, I was worried about the food. I don't particularly like seafood. I can eat some fish but I don't like strong fishy tastes. For example: Long John Silver? Yes! Red Lobster? No! Captain Ds? Yes! Joes Crab Shack? No! Fried Catfish? Yes! Fried Shrimp? No! There are a few things in this world that I just pretty much refuse to eat/drink. Four of those are: shrimp, mayonnaise, sushi, and wine. I've tried them all from time to time and just don't like the taste and pretty much can't stand the taste. I'm trying to not offend Maddox's birth grandfather that is treating us to this meal so I may have to step out a little from my food comfort zone. We sit down for the meal and the first thing that is put out is Sushi and it is offered to me first while everyone eagerly awaits my response. So I refused.........in my head............and with my right hand picked up my chopsticks and picked up what had to be the biggest piece because I couldn't get the little ones because of these skinny black plastic sticks that the Eastern world insists on eating with are just impossible to work when you're nervous. Then Max's birth grandfather pops the cork on a bottle of red wine and motioned to me. It's okay though because I took classes in High School and I know how to say no to peer pressure. So I handed him my glass. (I actually thought maybe the twang of the wine would keep me from gagging on the sushi.) So we are into the meal about 5 minutes and I only have 2 of the things that I, as a general rule, refuse to eat. Then they bring out what is translated to us as a curry soup. I'm pretty sure it had every sea creature known to man in this soup. I didn't eat a bunch. Then fried rice which was a life saver because I piled it on top of the sushi and it did keep me from tossing my cookies. Then.......then.....yep you guessed it........fried shrimp topped with none other than a mayo based cream. I've already stepped way over my comfort level with food so it stands to reason that I will pass on this one, right? Not a chance in the world. My head was just not working right and no, I only had like 4 small sips of the wine so it wasn't the alcohol making the decisions. So, I have all this food on my plate that I normally refuse to eat and I have a glass of wine to the top right of the plate. I'm very uncomfortable but who isn't at this point? Normally at this point my sarcastic humor takes over and gets me out of or deeper into the mess I've created. However, only a select few speak my language so it's a no go on the jokes. A few minutes earlier, I spoke to our two oldest children and told them they "better not gag". At this point I am seeing how unfair of a rule that is but if they can do it I guess I can too. I almost gagged on the sushi but I held it in, literally, and made it through and then got lots more rice and noodles. They brought out something fried (which I found out later was oysters) with some type of red peppers. I thought to myself, "Oh yeah! Give me a pepper that will take some of this taste out of my mouth!". I mistakenly thought that it couldn't be any hotter than what I'm used to. It was the hottest pepper I've ever eaten and I had no drink besides wine to wash it down and extinguish the fire. At this point I felt like I would draw attention to myself if I downed the wine so I began to sweat profusely and started searching for more rice. I ate more rice last night than I 1have combined in all the rest of my life. Food crisis conquered but please don't ask me to do this again, God.

There is no way possible for mere human words to explain the emotions associated with this evening. I don't know exactly what I had in mind but this was not at all what I expected. As we arrived, before we entered the restaurant, Max's grandmother took him and his grandfather took Mia. They both did okay but as soon as we got to the room where we were eating Mia jumped back in my arms and squeezed tight. They sat Maddox in a high chair across the big round table from us. He was between his birth great-grandmother and his birth mother. It only lasted for a short time before Kate had to go pick him up to console him. I know many of you might think that to be a victory for us, but you don't understand. Yes, it felt good that he needed his mom. It felt good that he stopped crying when Kate picked him up but yet my heart still ached. This isn't about who Max loves more or who loves him more because without a doubt God loves him the most and I pray he will love God the most. This isn't about rescuing him from some terrible unloving family. Actually, as I sat there contemplating all of the commotion I realized that I don't even know yet what this is all about. I realize its all about God but I just don't know what He has planned. These people obviously love Maddox dearly. They wept, they laughed, they hugged him, they kissed him, and genuinely showed a deep care for him. They were extremely nice to us and did everything they could do to make us comfortable and happy. They extended to us an open invitation to come stay with them at anytime. At one point I was having a side conversation with the grandfather and he through an interpreter expressed his deep gratitude for us taking Maddox into our family. I replied through the interpreter that we were the ones that were forever grateful to have him as our son. He then teared up and said he was embarrassed for me to say that. This is not a very good description of events but my heart and head are still trying to process all of it and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to. At this point, it is difficult to think about it without becoming very emotional. Writing about it helps, but I assure you these words come nowhere near doing justice to this God-awesome-event. I hurt for Maddox's birth family. I in no way think that Maddox is not our child because he is (just watch him with Kate and you know without a doubt)! However, I will be praying for them often. I pray that their pain is eased because I've been through the pain of losing a son. I pray that they find God--not the one or ones they may worship now, but the one true living God that loves them so much that He lost His son that He might gain them.

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Syuefu Road Lane 200 Alley 1,Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The night we almost died.....

For several months before we were able to travel to Taiwan, Kate talked of she and I obtaining our international drivers licenses so if needed we could drive "legally". When it came down to time to leave she sent me to get mine but determined she wouldn't need one. After all, it was "just in case" we needed to drive ourselves and we shouldn't have to because we didn't last time. Well.....I've had these "just in case" times come up several times already and we've only been here about a week.

Sunday afternoon there was a Walk For Life event in a city not to far from here and we decided to accompany Holly, Regan, their children and 3 of the nannies to the event. The Elder family is here to take their son, Levi, home. Therefore, we have a fairly large crowd. Nine of us to be exact because, well.... Kate and I have now produced a large family of our own. So, if we go anywhere, unless we take an airplane or passenger train, I am needed to drive the ministry van. This trip was going to be extra special because we were going to a big crowded city. I had some experience in a downtown area because I had previously made a wrong turn prompting a u-turn in the middle of a busy intersection the size of a coffee table. I also had the privilege of parallel parking while all of Taiwan watched with anticipation. So with a few difficult maneuvers under my belt here we went! Regan took lead with Holly behind him and me bringing up the rear. The first part of the trip was about a 2 on the difficulty scale but it continued to grow increasingly difficult as time and miles pressed on. Regan called at one point and said, "We'll take a right on Rende and go 3.7 km and then another right and then..........hang on!" One of my greatest fears is being lost so maybe the greatest fear is to be lost in a foreign country. I did all that I could possibly do to stay behind the van/SUV thingy that said "Savrin" on the back of it. I pronounced that "sovereign" in my head and assumed God would be with me. He was! I cut off people. I forced scooters onto sidewalks. I ran red lights. Forced my way into oncoming traffic and I'm sure broke at least a dozen traffic laws. But........ I never lost sight of the Savrin! In fact, I probably never got more than arms length away. Holly had to come to a screeching halt while entering a freeway. I was so convinced I was going to slam into the Savrin that I may or may not have let out a slightly girlish squeal. I was thinking the whole time that Holly was going to ask for the keys and exclaim that I was not allowed to drive anymore. Instead, she was quite impressed with my NASCAR driving in the mini van and Regan was as well. Kate has made me promise on several occasions that I will never attempt this maniacal driving in the United States. :( I know at some point that there will be some Taiwan driving needed in the States and I, my friends, am well equipped to get it done!

P.S. Maddow did great last night. Mason, Mia, and Maddox all have colds but are hanging in there. We're loving being here and have had some God moments that I'll write about soon.

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Syuefu Road Lane 200 Alley 1,Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Strategical Struggles?

Last night was rough! Maddox went to sleep easy, all was well, so we thought. He awoke an hour later, screaming. We weren't sure what the issue was that brought him from a peaceful rest to an all out hysterical cry. He could have been scared, could've had a bad dream, could be hurting, or a host of other things. I tried to console him and it took quite a bit longer than usual to do so but he was back in bed sleeping and all was well, so I thought. He awoke not long afterward and I tried everything that had been working and nothing was effective. Kate got up at some point and became involved in the process, as well. She whispered to me, "We're going to have to tag team it tonight so go get some sleep." It's was a change in strategy but seemed to be a good plan especially since she was taking first shift. So I got in bad thinking all was well. Then Mia decided to make it 2 on 2 instead of double or tag team. She awoke and began crying for no apparent reason. Kate and I went man on man! Kate keyed in on Maddox and I drew Mia. After a bit we were able to get them both back to sleep simultaneously so that we could get some sleep. Maddox awoke not to long after and started the process all over. We again were unable to double or tag team Maddox because Mia got into the game. Then it happened, we realized we are outnumbered significantly. We came to this epiphany as Mason awoke and began coughing, sneezing, and sniffling. We were able to play zone defense and take care of everything for the night but we learned that even when playing zone, if you are outnumbered you are going to wear down quickly. So............we had a team meeting and decided to recruit Madison! We are really excited about our new acquisition! We realize she doesn't have the experience that some others may have but we feel she has tremendous upside. A rookie indeed but one with huge potential.

Seriously though, Madison has been a tremendous asset. She has the instincts of a Mom and the caring and giving heart as well. She is an absolutely wonderful big sister. We couldn't ask for anything more. Hope she doesn't mind waking up all hours of the night to take a shift.... ;)

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Friday, November 9, 2012

What do you do?

Well....Maddox is definitely starting the bonding process (Especially with Kate)! Which is great but, during the night his attachment became strong enough that he decided instead of sleeping in his crib he needed to sleep with mom. This is not the end of the world but it can't last forever so I hope he enjoys it why it lasts. I know that Kate will! :) He went to sleep really well to start the night and then awoke at about 1:30 for a bottle which he ate very quickly and went back to sleep but did NOT want to be put back in the crib. After abut an hour and a half of attempts Kate opted to try putting him in bed with her. Success!

He is doing really well! He is getting somewhat used to his new family always wanting to touch and kiss him. He is now to the point that he even lets it happen while he is eating and he doesn't have to stop to figure out why in the world it is happening. Kate gave him a haircut before his bath last night. He thought it was neat for the first 17.3 seconds but then after....not so much.

If you remember with Mia, pooping is a really big step with bonding and attachment. Well he, like Mia, decided to prove he is comfortable with his new family while being held by me. I took him downstairs to see if he would allow me to put him down for his nap and then...........it happened. A very distinct contracting of the abdominal muscles while stiffening of the leg muscles and then a terrible smell!!!! Now last time, Kate was taking a shower so I changed Mia's first poopy diaper. I didn't want to be a poopy diaper changing hog so I called for Kate to take this one. She said it was bad.....I wouldn't know. ;)

Madison and Mason are having a blast! They've been playing with their friends they made 2 years ago and some new ones, too. We had a picnic at the school playground last night with the Campbells and the Muirs (the His Hands directors’ families) and 2/3 of the Hatcher sisters, Sara and Ashleigh. Holly was working so she was unable to be there but we were able to have fun anyway. The kids played and the adults talked. Good times with good people!

Mia is still having a rough time. She is not behaving like she knows to. She loves her little brother but I'm pretty sure she doesn't love the attention he gets from mom and dad. We are trying to be mindful of this and do the best we can to ease the transition. I think she is still jet lagging which is not helpful with the situation either.

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Syuefu Road Lane 200 Alley 1,Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Thursday, November 8, 2012

First night with the whole crew

Successes and failures...

Let me begin by saying my wife is the best mom ever! She already has Maddox eating out of her hand......(Come on give me a break, I'm suffering from jet lag. The pun was kind of funny, right?) Anyway, Maddox did great! It took him a little bit to go to sleep at first. He cried when we put him down so Kate held him for about 20 minutes and he went to sleep and slept until abut 1:30 when he awoke for a bottle. He ate well and went right back to sleep. He loves his Momma bunches, already! Madison and Mason are doing wonderful! They are sleeping well and don't seem to be effected to much by jet lag. Kate doesn't seem to be either. However, Mia and I aren't doing so well.

I awoke around 12:30 as I received a phone call from my dentist (gonna miss that appt. on Monday). I tried to go back to sleep to no avail. I was sleepy but I couldn't keep myself from lifting my head and looking around at all the blessings that God has granted me. I'm so thankful for my family! At about 1, Mia woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed. I secretly watched her for a little bit to see if she was going to settle down and sleep. She didn't! Then I got up to make Maddox's bottle.

After Kate fed Maddox and got back in bed it was obvious to me that Mia would not be going back to sleep as things were. So for some unknown reason I thought it a good idea to have her climb in bed with me. It was a great idea for about 5 minutes and then it quickly went down hill. It is seriously like attempting to tame a tornado, it just can't be done. Sure, I can make her be still but we're talking about a law of physics here. At some point the energy will be released. Therefore, I let the energy be released through her hands and feet instead of mouth and lungs.

She decided it was a great time to work on: counting with her fingers, "here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and here are the people", the itsy bitsy spider, getting dad's contacts out with his eyes shut, covering every inch of dad's face with wet slobbery kisses, and many other numerous activities that she could get by with. Oh, and then she tried most of the stuff with her feet, too! (The itsy bitsy spider with her feet was cute). Now while I was impressed, I could only take so much so about an hour later I overcame the pouty lip, batting eyes, and whimpering voice saying, "Daddy, sleep......you?" And I put her back in her bed. She went back to sleep. Me? Nope. Here I am at 4:00 am typing away. But, at least I'm not up worrying and fretting about something. No, just up thanking God for being so good to me. I do not deserve his marvelous Grace!

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Those Feelings....

I remembered two feelings from last time vividly. One of them I probably could never get enough of and the other I wish never came. And there was a new one added this time!
When Holly walked in with Maddox and Kate laughed/cried/screamed I got really choked up. I let a couple tears flow and then pulled it back together because, well you know, I'm the dad. I love this feeling! It's addicting to say the least. I realize that I probably won't experience it again, (unless God says otherwise) so I cherished it as much as possible without breaking down into all out crying which may have sent my wife over the edge. Plus the kids (Mia) were wondering why there were so many tears from the women as it was.
The not so pleasant feeling of knowing your child doesn't know you and would rather have somebody else is heart breaking. I tried to prepare myself for it this time but I don't think you can prepare for it. I did Maddox's first feeding and it didn't go so well. He was great until he would look to see who was feeding him and then he would begin to cry.......a lot. I know it happens, I know it will go away, and I know I'm not suppose to take it personal but, it hurts all the same.

Also, this really cool feeling when Mary Joy saw Mia.... Mary Joy is the head Nanny and took care of Mia and Maddox. Ashleigh and Holly thought it would be neat to watch Mary Joy's reaction so we let Mia walk into the nursery and when Mary Joy saw Mia she smiled, she cried, she hugged, and then repeated. I've known for some time that the children are loved dearly and cared for well at the House of Hope but what a feeling this was when we witnessed first hand how much the Head Nanny cares for our child even 2 years later.
We have Maddox and all is well!

---written by Jason---

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Kaohsiung ,Taiwan

Well, that was...........something.

I'm not sure how best to describe it besides simple details.

Mia: Poor thing. She just can't be cooped up like that. It was probably the equivalent of lighting a bottle rocket tossing it into a 5 gallon bucket and sticking a lid on it. (Not fair to the bucket nor the bottle rocket). She did really well considering. She has only slept a fraction of the time she usually does. She only slept a grand total of 5 hours on the plane. Yeah I know!!!!! So in the last roughly 24 hours of her life she has less than 6 hours of sleep. I do believe we won't be making a habit of this.

Mason: He decided to liven up the trip a little himself. One of the very first things he did was to spill his sprite all over himself and the guy sitting next to him. Nope not me, the other one of whom we are not related. God's good though and this gentleman handled it very well. He said his son is autistic and he has been in my place many more times that he has been in his. He and I both had that awkward moment when we realized we don't know one another well enough for me to be helping him wipe the sprite off his pant leg with a wet wipe. Then, once I finally recover from this mess, Mason's nose begins to bleed! I have become proficient at tackling this problem over the years so it wasn't a huge crisis, but an ordeal none the less. And to top it off, toward the end of the flight mason decided to snuggle up to the guy's arm to do his napping. As we were "coming into our final descent" Mason says his throat hurts aka I need to throw up. Well in my OCD ways, I had already used our puke bags to collect and throw away all of the napkins and wet wipes for each of our previous episodes so I quickly and keenly grabbed a plastic bag that had been torn off one of our blankets and then asked the flight attendant for a "new throw-up bag" to which she replied "huh?" in an Asian accent but yet understandable in all languages as "what in the world?" After demonstrating and point to my son with a very pale face she got me a new throw-up bag! We survived without any cookie tossing! Praise God!

Madison: She had her hands full assisting Kate with the corralling of the human pinball we call Mia. She is a real trooper. A great big sister and wonderful help to us. She's going to be an awesome mom!

Kate: She had no time to get in trouble as she was trying to control Mia and keep her from exploding.

Me: Well a trip wouldn't be complete for me without some stomach problems, right? Ice cream for desert on an airplane is a terrible combo........just saying......... I woke up from a nap once in what felt like a Hop-ki-do induced pretzel so my back is pretty sore.

We had a creepy guy on the plane that looked like Kramer from Seinfeld that I know Kyle would have tripped at some point in his 107 passes thought the cabin. (I may or may not have inadvertently in a slumbering state stuck my leg out on one of his many trips by my row).

The guy Mason and I sat by is in international sales for paintball supplies. Pretty cool job and he has seen a lot in all of his travels yet has never met a Christian who had adopted. Pretty sad that we as a group of followers forget about the least of these. He was excited and stated that after being educated by me on some of the scriptures about orphans that he was going to begin to educate others. I pray he does that God may receive the glory.

We had to again go through security for the 3rd time today with the same exact carry on items we have had all through our trip but this time there was an eagle eye! One that caught my wife trying to sneak on her tweezers! The is apparently a threat of her killing all 300+ passengers and 20+ flight attendants by stabbing them to death with tweezers and then patiently pick apart the 10 inch security door to the flight deck and hold the pilots at tweezers point to hijack the plane and demand justice for all.

We are now waiting in the Hong Kong Airport/Mall that is bigger than Missouri to get on the last leg of our trip.

----Written by Jason----

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Hong Kong

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

High Expectations!!!

Our experience with Mia’s adoption was nothing short of awesome!  I mean that in the very sense of the word.  Awesome is defined as extremely impressive or inspiring and a synonym would be “breathtaking!”  This is exactly the experience we had!  It is a time in our life that we still look back on and are inspired and our breath is taken away on many occasions as we try to explain this unprecedented event in our lives.  I recently came across a quote from Job, that he spoke to God at the end of his life changing trials, that describes well our feeling after we brought Mia home.  He states in Job 42:5 “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”  Through all the terrible things that happened to Job as he lost his family, possessions, and then his health he finally gets to the end of the tunnel and his statement to God was NOW I have truly experienced you!  This was a man that was righteous, feared God, and turned away evil but yet he hadn’t truly experienced God until this life changing event.  That is where we are!  We thought we had experienced God but now we know that we hadn't, at least to the extent that we have now. It isn’t just because we have adopted, but because of the entire process that we have progressed to this point.  It was the agonizing wait for every step to come to fruition.  It was the silly displays of happiness by jumping around with our children, like children, every time a step was conquered.  It was the joy of watching our child being carried to us in a train station in a foreign land.  It was the sorrow of our daughter being inconsolable because she wasn’t attached to us yet.  It was the delight in witnessing and being a part of the bonding process.  It was the eyeopening of being on the other side of the world, yet being treated with loving kindness even though we looked and acted different.  It was the experiencing of the Gospel in action!  You may be thinking that we may have the bar set too high for this second adoption.  But there is no possible way for that to be true.  I’ve thought the same thing.  I’ve even agonized over the thought that our expectations are so high that we are doomed to be disappointed.  But, you see, thats where God steps in!  As we found out last time, this is bigger than us.  This isn’t about us filling some void left by the loss of two children.  This isn’t even about us rescuing some helpless child.  No, this is all about what God can do when we step out of his way and follow behind we he begins to lead!  Praise God we are doing it again starting at 8:50 am on our first leg of what is a very long trip.

~Written by Jason

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I want to remember this day.

{I know it has been forever since I have blogged.  Hopefully, I will catch up sometime soon}

I want to remember what has happened.
So that later when I question and doubt,
I can remember this day.

We got good news today!!
Maddox is ours!!!
We got our final decree!!

Let me backtrack a little.

Our court hearing was September 26th.
Then we got our first decree just 8 days later on October 4th.
Wow!  God was making things happen quickly for us!
The judge we have has previously done things quickly.
But 8 days was fast--even for him!
So we just knew God was working on our behalf.
So I counted out the days that were "typical" for this judge
to take to issue the final decree.
11-13 days.
And he had issued the first decree faster than usual!
Maybe he would issue the final faster than usual too!
So, on my birthday {October 16}, I just KNEW it was coming.
But it didn't.
So we waited some more.
According to my calculations, it should come the day after my birthday.
It didn't.
We moped around and waited some more.
Finally, last week, I decided to fast and pray.
I did that for 3 days {Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday}.
On Wednesday night we went to church.
Jason and I were at the end of our ropes.
It was taking SO much longer than we had thought it would.
The next day was Jason's birthday.
I had thought that we would be in Taiwan by then
and that Jason would be holding his son on his birthday.
So, anyway, after church Wednesday night,
we all gathered around in a prayer circle and prayed.
We all begged God to remove whatever obstacles there were
that were preventing Max from coming home.
I cried--overcome by the long wait
and the love that everyone had for our son
that none of us have even met yet!
We woke up the next morning fully expecting
to finally have our final decree.
But we didn't.
It didn't come.
The doubts crept in.
It seemed like God didn't hear.
Like He wasn't listening.

Then, today we got it.
Our final decree finally came.
It was dated October 25.
Taiwan is 13 hours ahead of us.
When we were praying on Wednesday night,
the judge was signing Max's final decree.
God did hear.
He does listen.

I want to remember this--
--this sign from God that He was making things happen for us
so that we can bring our son home.

And when I need to
{probably often},
I will come back and read this post.
God listens.
He cares.
He sees the big picture
while I see everything from my tiny limited view.

God, please help me to remember.
Please help me to KNOW that you are good all the time.
That you love me SO much that you will withhold nothing good from me.
After all, you gave your only Son for me.


Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer
or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
Psalm 66:20

We should always pray and never give up.
Luke 18:1

And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9

The Lord will withhold no good thing
    from those who do what is right.
Psalm 84:11

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meet Maddox...

Our hearts are overflowing with joy to announce.....

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let's start at the beginning.

It's been a long, crazy, exciting, emotional, HAPPY day!  It started during the night, actually.  I was up LATE filling orders for my shop.  We're supposed to go see John and Cheryl next week and I wanted to make something to take Cheryl.  So, I messaged Holly and Trena both on FB to see if they knew of something that I make that Cheryl might like.  Trena responded.  We talked for a bit about what I could make for her.  Then I hesitantly asked about the birthmom that is at HH.  How she's doing.  Has she gone into labor yet?  No, not yet--Trena said.  But she went to the doctor today and all is well.  Then Trena started saying other things.  Something about another baby *might* be coming to the HoH.  She wouldn't say more than that.  Yesterday, I was chatting with Holly and she asked me about whether I thought we'd have a boy or a girl.  I told her we'd be thrilled with either one and told her the names we had picked out.  So, when Trena mentioned another baby, I thought it must be a girl, since I knew the birthmom at the HoH was pregnant with a boy.  And for some reason, I felt like we'd have a boy.  So, I pretty much disregarded this "maybe baby" that "might" be coming.  I was excited that it looked like there were TWO more babies coming--since that's how many HH needs right now.  Anyway, after that, Trena started talking about how she wanted us and the Elders to go ahead and process some of our paperwork.  I still didn't suspect a thing, because she wanted us AND the Elders to do it.  Trena and I Skyped at 1 am so she could explain to me what I needed to do.  I stayed up until 2:30am working on the paperwork.  Finally, I went to bed.  I woke up at around 7:45 am--too excited to sleep.  Then I woke Jason up and {excitedly} told him about the talk with Trena.  We were both pretty excited by then.  Two more babies were likely coming!  And I had paperwork that I could go ahead and do to cut out some of the time after we got our referral.  I'm all about some paperwork to give me something to do during this torturous wait!  Then Jason got up and checked his phone.  There was a message from Holly.  That's weird.  She and I usually talk.  Not her and Jason.  She wanted him to message her back.  Then, as I'm going downstairs, Jason tells me to get on Skype.  I get VERY excited!  Then, as he comes downstairs, he says that Holly wants to show us a book.  Holly had messaged me about ordering some books and having them shipped to my house to then ship to her.  So, I assumed that's what it was about.  My heart stopped racing.  It was another false alarm.  Nothing to get excited about.  Keep calm, Kate.  It's just a book, not a baby.  But, regardless. I was glad to Skype!  I love everyone at HH, and was thrilled to talk to them!  We sign on.  Call Holly.  No one answers.  So, Jason says that Holly was with Ashleigh.  So, we try Ashleigh.  Holly is there.  She holds up a book.  Asks if we like the book?  I'm slightly confused.  Sure.  I like the book.  It has cute cartoony Taiwanese little people and Chinese writing on it.  I think that I say that it's cute.  Then Holly swings the computer around and I see Ashleigh holding a baby.  An adorable little boy!  Is is Beckett?  Nope.  Not Beckett.  Surely that's not OUR baby!  I thought the one that the birthmom was having was going to be our baby?  I'm stunned!  This is so unexpected!  And I'm usually not this easy.  I'm very suspicious and guess things easily.  I think after talking to Trena the night before, I had reconciled myself to at least another week waiting.  I didn't suspect a thing!!  Wow!  So, this precious boy was.....ours!!!!!  So, I'm not really sure what all I said.  No doubt some really dumb stuff.  And my expression must've looked shocked/stunned!

After we got off, I couldn't remember even the most basic facts about Maddox--when he was born, how much he weighed.  I had to ask Holly again later to verify!!  Ashleigh sent us pictures of Maddox.  He. Is. PRECIOUS!  I quickly adjust the colors of the birth announcement I made up 2 weeks ago to match the clothes he's wearing and text the announcement to our parents.  Then to my brother and sisters.  Then post it on FB.  Comments start pouring in.  "Congratulations."  "He is beautiful." they say.  I am over the moon.  Giddy {for lack of a better word}.  I still can't believe it!  I have another son!  We get ready and go to get a big stack of papers notarized.  The woman is super nice.  She remembers us from when she notarized a big stack of papers from Mia's adoption!  She loves seeing Mia.  We go eat lunch.  Go back home.  Jason needs to go to St. Jo.  I need to go to Kansas City.  We run in the house for a minute.  After TWO tries on the UPS website, we finally print an overnight FEDEX shipping label for TECO.  I'm not sure what the kids are doing during this time.  Climbing on furniture or something.  Luckily, no one gets hurt, since we're frantically trying to print this silly label.  After starting to leave town and remembering just in time that I need money and copies of passports, I go back for them.  We finally make it to the Secretary of State.  We have SEVENTEEN documents for them to certify.  It will take an hour--they say.  We wait.  I make Mia lay her head down on my shoulder and take a short nap.  After an hour, and 2 tootsie roll pops, we're ready to go.  We find a Kinko's to make copies.  The kids and I go in.  We need a bazillion copies.  I sit Mia on the table thing to look out the window.  That lasts 2 seconds.  She's much rather shuffle the meticulously sorted piles of paper together.  I make her sit.  She cries.  Mason is all over the place too.  Madison is an angel and helps me.  It's pretty much a zoo.  People stare.  It's a good thing they don't know I'm there copying adoption paperwork.  They'd think "This woman doesn't need more kids!"  :)

We FINALLY get them all copied.  We load up in the car {again} and go to TECO.

I remember it well from last time and immediately feel at home.  The 2 Taiwanese women exclaim over Mia.  They talk to all the kids and ask them how old they are.  Ask them if they're excited to have a new brother.  They are so nice and friendly.  They hug us when we leave.  We drive through traffic and stop at Kohl's.  Our day is not complete without buying something for Maddox!  We find a 'little brother' onesie and a hat.  We eat a celebration dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and their daughter {she's having her baby boy, Bowen, next week}.  We finally get back home and put the kids to bed.  My phone has died twice today from overuse.  :)  I remember Ashleigh's journal.  Now...I finally have a quiet moment.  I didn't want to read it before--and just skim over it.  So, I read.  I cry.  I am incredibly humbled by how much everyone has invested in us.  That everyone's hearts were heave for...US....for me and my family.  It's hard for me to comprehend.  I am humbled.  I am grateful.  I cry for Maddox's precious birthmom.  Such an amazing, wonderful day for us.  Such a heartbreaking day for her.  I pray for peace for her.  I pray that somehow she knows how MUCH we love him already.  I still can't believe this has all happened!  I expected it every day.  But somehow, it seemed like it would never happen!!  Thank you, God, for my precious family.
I am blessed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh, how He loves us...

Adoption is close to God's heart.
He adopted you and I, after all!
We are Jesus' brothers and sisters!
God is our Dad!
I never realized before,
never fully comprehended--
until we brought Mia home.
Until I held her in my arms.
There is no difference
in the love I feel for her
and the love I feel for the children
I gave birth to--
the children that have my genes,
my DNA.
So, I realize now,
that there's no difference
in the love that God feels
for me and for you
and the love that He feels
for His Son, Jesus.
If we could all comprehend that,
this world would be a better place.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm still here....


A friend of mine wrote this on FB this morning:
"I'm not a fan of how the adoption wait can zap away days, weeks of your life.
I guess only if/when you let it but I have a very hard time balancing the here and now..."

That's exactly where I am right now.
Struggling to not let this adoption wait
zap away the here and now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How we got here.....

Jason and I got married when we were both 19.  We had dated for a couple of years and had been engaged for almost a year.  So, we got married.  Jason was going to school to be a respiratory therapist, and I worked at a bank.  Jason finished school after we'd been married for about a year.  We bought our first house and talked about having kids.  After we'd been married a year and a half, we decided to start trying.  We got pregnant the first month.  My pregnancy was pretty normal.  Morning sickness for the first trimester.  I craved milk and eggs.  Jason was amazing.  He started vacuuming the house when I first got pregnant (and now--almost 13 years later--he's still vacuuming!).  He went to ALL of the doctor's appointments.  At 23 weeks, we had a special doctor's appointment.  We were going to have a sonogram!.  We were going to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl!  WhooHoo!!  How exciting!  But when they did the ultrasound, the technician saw things that shouldn’t be there.  We were sent to a neonatologist, who told us the baby had severe problems and could not live outside my body.  Our baby boy was stillborn a few days later.  We named him Jay and buried him.
The doctor said he didn’t know what had caused the problems, but statistically speaking, we should have no more problems.  He said to wait 3 months before trying to get pregnant again.  So, we waited the 3 months.  We tried again after 3 months and again got pregnant immediately.  This pregnancy also went well.  I wasn’t particularly worried.  Statistics were on my side!  However, when I was 24 weeks, I was at work, and realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move in several hours.  I called my doctor and spoke to the nurse.  She said to drink a coke, lay down, and concentrate on feeling the baby's kicks.  So, I did that.  But there was still no movement.  We went in to the doctor, and he found the baby’s heartbeat.  He said everything was fine and not to worry (I know he thought we were just overreacting).  But we were worried.  He finally sent us on to the same neonatologist that we had seen before with my first pregnancy.  The neonatologist saw us immediately--the same day.  He did a Level 2 sonogram to look at the baby.  This time the baby looked fine.  I was so relieved.  But the doctor still looked concerned.  Surely there couldn't possibly be anything wrong--the baby looked fine.  But the problem was with me this time--not the baby.  I was in labor and didn’t know it.  My body was pushing the baby out before it was time.  (I was later diagnosed with an incompetent cervix.)  The neonatologist's office was in a hospital, so they rushed me to labor and delivery.  I was thankful that Jason always came to the doctors appointments--so he was there.  They gave my baby steroids for his lungs, but there wasn’t enough time for them to work.  My doctor had to do an emergency c-section.  Jayden lived 10 hours.  Jason stayed with our son most of that time.  I slept--trying to block out this nightmare we were living for the second time.  We buried Jayden beside his brother.
The next days, months were a blur.  I looked around me in intense anger at THEM.  You know the ones.  The ones that pop babies out like crazy.  The ones that can't stand the children they have, and yet they're having more.  The ones that are on drugs--that leave their children to fend for themselves--or worse.  I felt so isolated and alone.  I'd be lying if I said that I was an amazing Christian during this time. That I completely trusted Him and His plan for my life.  I didn't.  I screamed in anger at God about the unfairness of it all.  It was a dark time.  After a while, we we found a support group for people who had lost babies.  We went to several meetings and found that being with others who have been through the same thing helps a lot.  We read books on grief and loss.  We prayed a lot and and lots of prayers were offered up on our behalf.  We tried again three months later and got pregnant with Madison.  We went to the same neonatologist weekly for the whole pregnancy this time.  I was scared to death the entire time.  My doctor put a cerclage in and our sweet Madison was born by c-section at 36 weeks.
Two years later, we decided to have another baby.  Precious Mason was born by c-section 5 weeks early but (thank God) had no health problems.
However, when the doctor was doing the c-section, he said we could not have any more children.  He said my uterus was "tissue paper thin" and after 3 c-sections (one of them an emergency c-section) would not withstand another pregnancy.  If I did get pregnant again, my uterus would split and kill the baby and me.  And honestly, having no more children was fine with us.  We had 2 precious children.  A girl and a boy.  That's the American dream, right?  And it was fine--for a while.  But after a couple of years went by, we knew we still had love in our hearts for more children.  But we couldn't have any more.  I was convinced (for a while) that God would miraculously heal my body and we'd have more children.  That was not His plan.  And I am so grateful it wasn't.
We decided to look into adoption.  I didn't really know anyone that had adopted.  Where/How do you start?  I started looking at agencies and was soon overwhelmed--by the burden of choosing the right one and by the cost.  How could we afford it?  Jason is an evangelist/church planter.  We don't have $20,000 to $40,000 just hanging out in the bank.  We didn't even have a tiny fraction of that!  We pretty much had NO money.  But I knew in my heart that God had called us to do this.  To adopt a precious child.  HE would make a way (not me).  After doing lots of research and getting pretty much nowhere, I was discouraged.  Then, at a wedding, a friend told me that her sister-in-law was adopting from a mission group in Taiwan.  Since it was a mission group, there were no agencies--so no agency fees.  I must admit that's the main thing that made us see about adopting from His Hands.  Less money (since we had no money to adopt).  I didn't know then what I know now--that if God gives you a heart to adopt, He WILL make a way.  So, we applied to adopt through His Hands Taiwan.  After nine long months of waiting, we saw our daughter's face.
Five months later, we traveled to Taiwan to get her.
We are truly blessed.
We knew even before we brought her home that we wanted to adopt again.  The amazing experiences we had in Taiwan and with the wonderful people at His Hands only affirmed what we already knew.  If they would allow us to, we would adopt from His Hands again.  They said we could, so we submitted our application in January 2011--before Mia was even a year old.  We knew that the adoption process is a long one, so we applied before we were really ready.  And now, we've been waiting a little over a year this second time.  Mia is 2 now.  I am ready to see our next son or daughter's face!!  Thanks for traveling along on this long, twisty, amazing journey with us!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

TWO {mia}

Our sweet Mia is two today!
It's hard to believe.
Time goes by so quickly.

Here's a little bit about what she's doing lately:
-18-24 months clothes
-Size 5 to 6 shoes
-loves Elmo
-sings along to music
-holds a pencil/pen correctly
-potty-trained {except for sleeping}
-still doesn't eat much--kinda picky
-ADORES her "Bubby" and "Sissy"
-asks "Where's Dad" a MILLION times a day
-calls dogs "Ruff-Ruffs"
-pretty sure she could scale Mt. Everest with ease

We love you, sweet girl!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

another mother

On this day two years ago {it's March 1st in Taiwan now}, a woman across the world chose LIFE for her daughter.  Well, she actually chose life for her much before that.  This amazing woman went against friends and family to give the most precious gift to her daughter.  She chose not to abort her.  Even though she could not raise this baby herself, she made the ultimate selfless decision to let her daughter live--even if it meant that she had to give her up.  I have so much respect for this amazing woman.  She loved her daughter so much that she chose what was best for this baby--even though I know it broke her heart.  I know she must think about Mia on this day.  I pray that she knows how much we love Mia.  I pray that she feels peace in knowing that she made the right decision.  We cannot imagine life without our sweet Mia.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How it all began...

In May of 2010, I made my first Scrabble tile necklaces.
It was really just a trial thing--to see how hard it was to make them.
I had ordered a little "kit".
There was enough to make 10 Scrabble tile pendants.
What to put on them?
We were in the process of adopting from Taiwan,
so why not do a map pendant?
They seemed easy enough, and I thought they were cute.
I thought maybe others that were adopting would be interested in them.
I sold ONE.
Then, at a church meeting, a good friend 
asked me to make a map necklace for her.
She wasn't adopting or anything.
She wanted it of the town she lived in.
She said she'd hang it on her rearview mirror.
Well, I may not be a genius or anything,
but I could tell she was just trying to help us out
{by purchasing something she really had no use for}. 
She's sweet.
Then I got to thinking about what else I could put on these Scrabble necklaces.
God gave me the idea to put Scripture on them.
So, I did.
And everyone loved them!
I sold more of them than I ever {in my wildest dreams} imagined that I would.
Soon, I started customizing them--putting names on them.
I did photos.
 I figured out that I could design these necklaces with pretty much anything on them!

At this time I had started an Etsy shop, but had photos of all the necklaces that I had available in a personal Facebook album.  I started getting friend requests from people I didn't know.  They wanted to see my necklaces.  I decided it was time to start a Facebook page specifically for

My brain seemed to always be thinking of more things that I could make.
More ways to raise money for our adoption.
I made some braided fabric bracelets with hand stamped tags.

Again, everyone loved them.
I never dreamed how much people would love them!
These turned out to be too hard on my sewing machine to make.
So, I redesigned them.
Now I sell these:
I sell a variety of things now.
Word/Number Art Prints.
Leather Bangles:
Stamped Leather Cuffs:
Uganda Bead Necklaces:
The beautiful beads in these necklaces are hand made by Ugandan women.  The women carefully roll strips of magazines by hand into lovely, unique and earthy looking beads. Prior to learning how to make these beads, most of the women "picked trash" or turned to prostitution to provide for their children.
I absolutely LOVE these His Eye is on the Sparrow Necklaces:
I recently started making some hand-stamped sterling silver jewelry:

 And, of course, I still make the Wooden Tile Necklaces:
Since I opened my Etsy Shop in May 2010,
I have sold 2,286 items through my little shop.
I have 1,000+ people following my
little Facebook page.
We paid for our first adoption and
we're now raising funds for our 2nd adoption.
How did I do this?
I didn't.
God did.
I've never done anything like this before.
I've never made jewelry.
I've never started or owned a business.
I'm simply a stay-at-home mom of 3
{soon to be 4},
who homeschools her kids,
has a never-ending pile of dirty laundry,
who struggles with doubts and failures
just like you.
But God loves me.
He loves you.
He sees my pathetic attempts
and He uses them for good.
Maybe you are on your own adoption journey
to your child.
Maybe you are discouraged.
It costs so much.
Satan hates adoption.
So he attacks you,
your marriage,
Your friends don't understand
why you're doing this.
They quietly drift away.
You have doubts and
wonder if you are really
supposed to be on this adoption journey at all.
You feel alone.
But you're not.
God is there.
He will stay by your side.
He will help.
He is there when it feels like no one else is.
God is big.
Bigger than you and I.
Bigger even than our perception of Him.
He will help you do things.
Big things.
Things you never imagined.
Just trust.