Q: Tell us a little about your family.
Hubby and I where married in 1982. Between 1983 and 1993 we had five birth children, a boy, a girl and then three more boys! Our life was full and happy. We truly enjoyed parenting and spending time with our children. Between 2001- 2005 our family faced many challenges that were partially due to the economy and largely due to our poor choices. It rocked our world and almost destroyed our family. It was a hard time for all of us but hubby and I found solid ground in our faith.
We re-devoted our lives to Jesus and realized that a life without faith in God was no life at all. After seeing what we had done to our lives we no longer desired to be in control. God restored our family, our marriage, our jobs, our finances, and our faith. He broke us and then he rebuilt us. We were ready and eager to serve Him.
Q: What led you to adopt from China?
I have always wanted a large family. As the youngest of three by seven years, I played large family. Whether it was with my crayons, my marbles or my dolls – I was all about large families. I thought I already had one with five birth children but God had something more in mind. In 2006 my hubby mentioned adoption. I was shocked and intrigued. It wasn’t until we were in church a couple months later that the Lord made it clear that adoption was what HE had planned for us.
We proceeded cautiously but then took a three month detour and got a puppy to see if that would “take away” the desire to adopt. It didn’t and once again we were back on track. We went to the pre-adoption classes and were intending to adopt from the non-special needs program. This was in September/October 2006, just as the NSN program was undergoing dramatic changes. Once we heard the wait times would be increasing by months and possibly years, the Lord impressed upon our hearts that we should change programs.
Within a month was saw a picture of the most adorable little girl with cleft lip and palate. We were instantly in love. Our plan was to adopt two girls with cleft lip and palate.
Q: Which provinces are your children from?
Jiangxi (x 1), Jiangsu (x 1), Guangxi (x 3), Henan (x 3), Shaanxi (x 1), Anhui (x 1), Zhejiang (x 2), and Guangdong (x 2)!
Q: What special needs are represented in your family?
Cleft lip and palate, Hep B, cognitively disabled, HIV, spina bifida/incontinence, cataracts, beta thalassemia (originally diagnosed with myelodisplastic anemia/pre-leukemia), tetralogy of Fallot (and dextrocardia), visually impaired and imperforate anus.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of adoption? What is the hardest?
My favorite part of adoption is seeing God sized miracles within my own home. Watching children blossom through God‘s love and the love of a family. Seeing them physically healing through medical and dental care, surgeries, therapies, education and most of all love. It is miraculous and it’s all God!
The wait to finally get to our child was hard but in retrospect that wasn’t the hardest part. I would say the hardest part was when we met our new child and realized her real special need was one we didn’t think we could do. We didn’t know how to deal with that special need and the severity of it took us by surprise.
Being in China and trying to process all that was happening was very hard. Once again God brought us to our knees and through prayer and support we were able to get through it. Now we can look back and we can see God’s blessings through this situation but it was very hard at the time. Our daughter is home, she is loved, safe and happy in our family. We are thankful for the opportunity to be her parents and for the journey God has us on.
Q: In just a few sentences, share two tips applying to any part of the adoption process.
Pray and trust God throughout the process. It can be scary and overwhelming and it doesn’t always go as expected. Keep your eyes on Him and keep moving forward.
Hook up with others that are doing the same thing through FB, blogs and yahoo groups. It’s important to have support as you go through the process. The NHBO blog and the FB groups are great for answering most questions! You are not alone on this journey and other adoptive families want to help and encourage you!
Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?
Through God, I have done things I never thought I could do. Parenting 19 children, adopting 14 children, managing 14 different special needs, homeschooling 14 children. I believe life is to be lived, change happens, embrace it and move forward. Don’t be stuck and afraid. Fear belongs to the opposition. Love, encouragement and all that is good belongs to God. Step out of your comfort zone and serve HIM in the way that you feel called to serve.
Q: Can you share a few of your favorite blog posts shared on NHBO? Some from your personal blog?
My personal NHBO favorite that I wrote was The Best Decision We’ve Ever Made posted in April 2016. I really could go on and list more because I love reading all of the posts on the NHBO site!
Q: What is your favorite book? Quote? Verse?
The Bible is my favorite book but I actually haven’t read it cover to cover. It’s an amazing suspenseful story, it’s a manual on how to live life, it’s the best set of directions you could ever hope for, it’s tells us how to fix and repair what we have done and it’s filled with incredible wisdom. Other favorite books include whatever book I am reading with our kids!
I can’t pick a favorite verse because I love all of them. I also love it when people send verses to me! It’s soothing to the soul and so thoughtful!
My favorite poem is All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum…
All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I sometimes have anxiety but have learned to deal with it through prayer and positive thinking. I have a hard time sitting like a grown up, criss cross applesauce is my favorite way to sit! Sometimes I eat chocolate while hiding in the pantry! I always wear slippers! I love grapefruit, spinach and sunshine!
Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?
I talk to myself constantly and I’m not always a good listener (to me, that is)! When I’m writing a post or working on something important I tell me kiddos that Mommy is doing “her homework” and can’t be interrupted, it works! I’m way in over my head but I know God’s got this! So I work hard everyday and trust HIM!
Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?
Do it! Don’t over think it. It will change your life and the child’s life… for the better!
– photos by Kathryn Lee Photography