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