"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!!

HAPPY EASTER!!! HE IS RISEN!!! Because He LIVES, we too can live with Him forever!!! Thank YOU Jesus for Your Sacrifice....and thank You Father for raising Him so that we too, by trusting in Him, can be raised to eternal life! We are forever GRATEFUL!!!

Funny girl!

Kaylee thinks this Easter stuff is pretty fun!

Off she goes ;)

Kolson made 3 crosses out of blocks for Jesus' Cross and the 2 crosses of the thieves who died next to Him. What a sweet heart for Jesus - he is sincerely thankful on a daily basis for Jesus Saving us!

Silly Keegan helping his baby sister to be silly ;) This could be why every time Keegan walks into the room she laughs ;) He's always up to something funny!

Racing to get more eggs in our Easter egg hunt! I can't even believe how fast this sweet girl is growing up! She is such a big helper with the little ones :)

Claire sees another one!

Since Kaylee didn't participate in the egg hunt, Claire helped her by giving her some

Happy 1st Easter Kaylee Grace!!!


Always playing her musical toy...the kids laugh because she always puts it up to her ear so that she can really hear it ;)
The 'big' kids and Claire...Miss Kaylee wasn't up for a picture ;)  These cousins have so much fun together!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet Kaylee

We had another great day of playing around here! Kaylee has SO much fun with her big brothers and sister! She plays non-stop with them...I have to break up the fun to give her a nap :)  She plays with me too...but really it just seems like she wants me there near her or in the same room and she'd really rather play with the kids! All 3 big kids are SO great with her - so patient and helpful...it's fun to see how God is using their little sister to form such AMAZING hearts in them! Each of the big kids had to get some of their school work done (from missing 2 weeks of school while in China) - so they all did their work as quickly as possible in order to get back to playing with Kaylee....I'm not really sure what Miss Kaylee will do next week when all 3 big kids are in school! She won't know what to do with out the FUN MAKERS around!!!

This is what I get to look at each night as I watch Kaylee fall asleep:

 Tonight I was just staring at how beautiful she is...her perfect little lips and beautiful long eye lashes. I was praying that one day she will come to know the truth about who she is - that God knit her perfectly together in her mother's womb for HIS GLORY! I was praying that her sweet beauty on the inside would always shine for Him. I know that He has amazing plans for her precious little life!

We had the sweetest evening with her tonight. My brother and sister-in-law had our big kids and it was just us and Kaylee all afternoon. She had so much fun playing with us (not quite as much fun as she has with the big kids - she didn't get as rowdy). But she had us come to her room where her play kitchen is and she "fed" us with a play spoon. Then she took the play knife and used it as a comb and brushed  our hair (funny how she thought it was a comb - it looks like the comb I use to brush her hair after her bath each night). So she went back and forth for a while giving us each a turn to have our hair brushed :)  She was so soft and gentle when she "brushed" our hair - she barely even touched our hair. Then we went into the family room where her toy basket is and she got out her musical toys (she LOVES music!!!) She would push the button and start clapping to the music and we would copy her and clap along. Then she would pat the toy box with her hands and we would pat along with her...she loved that we would copy each thing that she did. From all of the reading I have done, we know that playing where we copy her is a great form of bonding!

Later in the evening when it was time for her bedtime bottle she seemed to get sad. We keep everything the same each evening, so she knew that it was bedtime. At first she tried to get silly and play (like to avoid bedtime) and then she decided to just refuse taking her bottle. I read her book to her again (Goodnight Moon - which is what seems to be her favorite) and tried again. I tried to get silly and make a game out of giving her the bottle by pretending like I was drinking it, then pretending like the bottle was going to get her tummy, then her nose, etc. She thought it was funny at first and liked the game but still would not take the bottle. I kept trying to be silly and then she had finally had enough...she just started crying and got so sad. I knew exactly where her pain was coming from and that she is still grieving a significant loss. It made me think of when I was little and would go to a friends to sleep over --- I'd be fine all day while we were playing but at night I'd get sad and miss my parents and my home. That's where I feel like sweet Kaylee is right now - she has so much fun playing and getting to discover things she has never seen before during the day. But at night I can see the sadness in her and I know that she is still grieving the only life she has known for the first 2 1/2 years of her life. I just held her and told her I am so sorry for her pain and sadness and I couldn't help but cry right with her - I was really trying not to because I know she reads my reactions. I told her, "I know you're so sad, but Mommy made this really great bottle for you and I know you will love it...will you just try it?" And I put it to her lips and she took it! I know she didn't understand my words, but I think she knew that I understood a bit of her pain and she allowed me to see a glimpse of her feelings... and that may have helped her give in and take the bottle.

I feel like overall she is doing SO WELL! She loves to play and is really happy so long as things go her way...she has her moments of tantrums when I have to pull her away or not allow her to do something, but she lets me comfort her and usually gains control within minutes. She still has not said any words but tonight she started using the sign for "please" (we just started showing her this a few days ago!). She waves "hi" and "bye" and will blow kisses when we tell her to ;)  She understands SO much of what we are saying - it really is amazing how quickly she is learning!

She really has such a sweet side to her...she can also be so strong when she wants to be! It reminds me of her Big Sis and Bros- a wonderful mix of both sweet and strong! A great combination for leading people to Jesus!
This is how she was laying when Sissy came into my room this morning - she just had to snap a picture...Kaylee got all turned around in the night! She has been letting me roll her off of me to sleep - usually about 45 minutes after we go to bed and then stays on her own most of the night!

We went to the dentist today to have her teeth checked - good news! The layer on her teeth is most likely just build up and plaque so it doesn't look like he will need to pull any teeth! He didn't see any visible cavities (although he couldn't get an X-ray to tell for sure) so he thought a good cleaning is all she will need. We will schedule that for another time :) She wasn't happy about him looking in her mouth but he let me hold her the whole time and she was fine as soon as he let her lay on my shoulder. She was happy to get a balloon when it was all over!

Feeling much better now that we are headed home!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the Kitchen

Kaylee found her play kitchen all on her own today! We have kept her put of her room in order to only introduce her to a small space in our house...well, she took a little stroll all on her own (with us following right behind) and here's what she found...

Amazing that she figured out how to play with it - opening and closing the fridge and oven, putting things into the pans...she had SO much FUN! She played a lot more independently today and would even throw a fit if I needed to grab her and take her for a nap or to have a bottle. The Post Adoption specialist from Lifeline called to check in on us and told me that's a really good sign that she feels safe enough to play without me...and tantrums are a good sign too...showing she is comfortable enough to let us see her upset. More growth! Thank You, Jesus!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trying New Things...

Kaylee had fun playing more on her own today! She rode some more in her car and would walk around to go get the toys she threw...she even sat and played with a few toys without throwing them! My friend, Claudia, brought us a ride on scoot toy just like the one that Kaylee had in her orphanage. Kaylee had so much fun with that! She played a lot more on her  own but had a lot harder time if things didn't go her way. We are working on helping her calm herself when she melts down.

Checking out her new ride-on toy

Keegan is helping her to put her bag on the handle

Here she goes!

She likes to pull it too ;)
Playing on her blanket

Playing with her Baby Einstein musical toy or "IPod" as our big kids call it ;)

Drumming to the beat of the music ;)  Too Cute!!!
 We thought since she was loving the music so much we'd try teaching her to dance...she picked up on it right away!
More dancing....
She had a great day! We are LOVING this sweet time together as a family - such a blessing to watch her blossom!!! Our big kids are the BEST! They are doing such a great job playing with her and helping her learn new  things!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Fun Day

Kaylee had to go back to the doctor's office today and have a chest x-ray since she still had a cough and fever. After that Nana Carol and JoAnn brought lunch for us and as we visited, the kids brought out the little play car that we have. Kaylee looked interested in it and so Keegan asked her if she wanted to go in it. She reached for him and went in! She rode all around the house and LOVED it! The only problem was that she threw a big fit when we needed to get her out to give her a nap. 

Both Nanas and JoAnn
 After dinner we went on a walk around our cul-de-sac and we put Kaylee back into the car. When we got her out she walked holding my hand and we went around the cul-de-sac a few times!
Loving her car :)

 Each of the kids got a turn pushing her...

 If they didn't go fast enough she would rock forward like she wanted to go faster (she also did this anytime they would stop...like, "giddy-up horsey")

Faster Keegan

And here is a shot of her walking:
She is definitely feeling more comfortable at home and we are SO thankful for that! It's so fun to see her feel safe enough to explore a little. She has begun to throw more fits and sometimes has a really hard time calming herself at all - it's like she just gets to a point where she looses all control...and as Keegan would say, "It's ok, Mom, that means she's bonding and feels more comfortable to try and get what she wants."
We feel like we have a front row seat to a miracle that unfolds more and more each day! Such a blessing....God is so good and faithful.
Again, it just reminds me of my own salvation. Psalm 18 says: "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy...He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me." (vs 16,17,19). When I least deserved for Him to reach down and save me, He did. And His Word says that He RESCUED me because He DELIGHTED IN ME. That overwhelms me every time I read it. When I think of where I was when Jesus saved me...the path I was on...the choices I was making...and to know that in the midst of my sin He delighted in me!
It is the same with Kaylee Grace. I watched Him reach down from Heaven to a tiny village in China where she lived in an unknown orphanage. I watched Him call our family to adopt her. He RESCUED her - just the thought of her in that orphanage crib for 23 hours a day...and to see her now learning to do so many things. He brought her out into a spacious place. He did all this because He delights in her! Not because of anything she has done or because she has earned His favor in any way. He delights in us because of who HE is...He is LOVE. I can see a glimpse of His heart through our adoption of Kaylee. We delight in her...even in her tantrums. We know she has come from a hard place and we rejoice in who He is molding her into and we are thankful to play a small part in that.
Our prayer continues to be that she will accept His even greater RESCUE gift...Salvation. That one day she will see that there is an even more Spacious Place offered to her which is the free gift of eternal life through believing in God's Son and making Him the Lord of her life!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


We went to church today as a family :) It was so good to see everyone and thank them all for their faithful prayers! However, it was just too much for sweet Kaylee--- she shut down right away in the carrier (I think she has gotten used to either sitting in my lap or burring her head into my shoulder and not having to make eye contact with me). We were going to sneak out the back at the end of service but she seemed to do okay once I took her out if the carrier and let her look around so I decided to let all those who have prayed so fervently say hello to her :). Even though she seemed ok with it, after we left I could tell it was too much for her- she completely shut down and wouldn't eat and was very agitated and fidgety :(. She fell asleep and as she was sleeping I got out some of my adoptive parenting books and we are going to get ourselves on track and start really following them in order to best set Kaylee up to win! The thing I have noticed the most with adoptive parenting research is that it is CONSISTENT! When our bio kids were young I bought every parenting book there was and learned right away that there were MANY different theories of how to best raise kids... Brod and I prayed and came up with a plan that seemed best for our family. Well, with adoptive parenting I did the same thing- went out and bought every book and read them all as we waited for sweet Kaylee to come home- but right away I noticed that every book said the same exact thing over and over ---all that to say that I am so thankful that God has given these doctors, psychologists and leading experts such wisdom and He has made it so clear what is BEST for these children who come from broken places. Therefore, we will do our best to follow what all the research says in order for Kalyee to learn to trust and form secure attachments. When she can begin to learn to trust, then she can begin to catch up developmentally and things like eating and speech will begin to develop. When these children are in a constant state of high stress or fear (when her world isn't small enough or when she feels unsafe) they can't learn or grow or bond or attach in that state- it's like their brains freeze up and growth just can't happen until they begin to feel safe --- this will take time. Now that we have had Kaylee home for a few days, we can see that she is still just in "survival" mode---we haven't made her world small enough for long enough so this is our goal for right now. It is the very opposite of our personalities :). We are all so social and connected with our friends and family. But more and more we are seeing that Kaylee needs this---so if we are a bit anti-social for a period of time, you will know why :)
I am also SO thankful for friends that God has placed in our lives that have gone before us and  have beautiful attachments with their adopted children :) I talked with one of these sweet friends today and she really encouraged us to not go anywhere or do anything for the next few weeks and let Kaylee just adjust to us and our home. She also gave great advice for when visitors come - to ask them not to make eye contact or pay her any attention (just for this first little bit where she is learning to feel safe with us). She also encouraged me to pass her off to Brodie here and there now that we are home so she can start  to bond with him. Here they are - I snapped this picture when I got out of the bath...

Kaylee is SO blessed to have such a loving and gentle Daddy! A great example of her Heavenly Father's Love!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Day At Home

We had our first day of not having somewhere to go...so nice to just be at home! We had a few visitors and just relaxed as a family :). Kaylee still is trying to get used to her new home. This evening she had her fever come back and her cough got worse :(. She seemed more tired and grouchy at times today and this explains why. Hopefully she will feel better tomorrow! If she does we are going to try to sneak into the back of church so we can worship with our church family- we miss everyone! We will see how she feels. We are trying to be good about staying home and keeping her world small- we know how important it is for her to have as little stimulation as possible- and the 5 of us seem to offer more than enough stimulation ;). Can't wait for a week off of school (Easter Break) where she can he a chance to become familiar with her new home and bond more with her family! We know the plans He has for her are great!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kaylee's First Doctor Visit

We took Kaylee to her first doctors appointment today. Dr. Martin thinks that she seems to be doing well considering how dramatically her life has changed in the last week and a half... Hard to believe that it hasn't even been 2 weeks with her yet...she is such a part of us! She had a ton of bloodwork done for all the testing they need to do :(. She did great- the second they were done she just laid on my shoulder and stopped crying right away. Dr. Martin couldn't believe how safe she seems to feel with us as he watched her get calm as soon as I held her and as he watched her "help" Brodie as he was getting her dressed after her check up (she helps by lifting her leg up to your hand when you are putting her pants on, etc) We were concerned with her diet (formula and rice cereal) and how she won't even let us put a spoon to her mouth to get her to try other foods---he thinks a couple more weeks with her being surrounded by love may make all the difference- if not we will go back to him for plan B ;)

Kaylee seems to be doing well now that we are home- maybe because we are more relaxed and comfortable??? She slept great last night! Only woke up a couple of times to climb back on top of me---this is HUGE progress- the last 6 nights before that I could barely get her to sleep and she never really got into a deep sleep until the early hours of the morning...thank you to all of you who are praying for sleep for us! We will see how she does tonight - I have been trying to get her to sleep for a few hours now and she wakes right up when I try to roll her off of me....so I thought I may as well update the blog while I try to get her to sleep ;) Brodie keeps saying, "Babe, you are so patient...I don't know how you're doing this with her never letting you put her down all day and night." Honestly, it is all Jesus and His strength and patience. I do fine as long as I set my daily expectations to 0 ... I have to keep reminding myself that this is just a season (and as my friend Jami reminded me today to just get through one day at a time). And what an important season it is for Kaylee! Her first time ever of having love and beginning to learn what love is.  It is a season of allowing God to use us to cover her first years of trauma and pain. I keep hearing in my mind, "It's not spoiling - it's meeting needs."  I also keep remembering God's promise that we will see His glory! We already have! Every small victory is celebrated! She spent most of  yesterday with her head down on my shoulder; pretty much just shut down. Today she had her head up looking around and watching the big kids most of the day...we got a lot of high 5's, she threw the ball a lot and we even got a few smiles. Jesus is helping her to feel safe with us little by little and every little bit counts!

My mom came again today to help with laundry and watch the big kids while we went to the doctor- such a WONDERFUL blessing! She does all the things I would be doing if my hands weren't full ;)
Kaylee is making progress with Brodie- she still screams when I first hand her off (and arches her back and kicks ;). But she calmed right down this morning and laid on his shoulder while I got dressed and brushed my teeth :)

We have changed the attitude hand swipe (from the video we posted in China) to "Kaylee, blow kisses" - so if she blows a kiss from her nose, you will know why ;). We were encouraging the sassiness a little too much so we're changing it to something sweet ;)

She seems to do ok with visitors ~ she may even give a high 5 ;) Nana Carol is coming tomorrow and we are all excited to see her! We are still really just keeping her world small - so many changes for her in the last 12 days...new people, new county, new sights and smells (today we were walking our friends who stopped by out and the wind blew on her face - she wasn't quite sure what to think of that...at first it bothered her, then she thought it was funny. We just have to keep remembering that pretty much everything is new to her!)

on the plane

sleeping - we left at 1 am so we were all ready to crash!

After sleeping, Kaylee was ready to play!

Playing with the snack they gave us

Ben and Alese welcomed us with signs and Chipotle! 

So thankful to be home!

We were greeted with more signs when we got home...thank you everyone for making us feel welcomed back!!!

Nana had some gifts for the kids

Mike and Stacy came by for a visit this morning and Stacy snapped this picture....such a sweet gift to have! Kaylee likes getting kisses ;)

Ready for our doctors appointment
Eating at an outside restaurant in our backyard that our big kids made for us