"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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The "REAL" Behind the Scenes of our Adoption (for those who are considering adoption...) Part 1

We have had a lot of people ask us what it is REALLY like in this stage of adoption. They say, "It looks like it's going so well from your blog...but we know there must be hard times." Well, truthfully, this blog started out for our sweet Kaylee Grace to be able to SEE God's Glory in her life...it is still very much that AND now also an online journal for our family to look back and enjoy memories of our daily life. SO....when I post it's really just a snapshot of something FUN that we did that day as a family. 

However, I am all about honesty and being real and I know that there are many who read this blog who are either in the process of adoption or considering it and I would never want to paint a picture that it is "fairytale like." But really, life right in the center of Jesus' invitation to join Him in caring for the least of these (the joyful times and the painful times) is FAR better than any fairytale!!! 

The JOY of doing life with Jesus has nothing to do with "easy" or "happy"...these are things that the world tells us we need. Not Jesus. He told us, "In this world you WILL have trouble." (Jn.16:33) "But take heart! I have overcome the world." The JOY that Jesus offers has nothing to do with our outward circumstances but rather our persistence in fixing our eyes on HIM...no matter what our circumstances are. As Christ followers we REJOICE that we are His children, we REJOICE that He is always with us, we REJOICE that we will live eternally with Him, we REJOICE that in Him we always have hope, we REJOICE that He cares about us...really cares! He alone is where JOY is found. 

In adoption,  He is calling us into pain.....He is calling us into brokenness...."In this world you will have trouble".  

He calls us to a very broken little life and says, "Will you love this one for Me? I love these little ones so much and I just need someone who is willing to enter into their brokenness with them and show them My Love." 

We knew this from the moment we felt Him call us to adopt...which is why I had such fear and so many "what if's" at first. Now that we are in the thick of it, I really feel that this has been what has helped us the most as we adjust to our "new normal". I am so thankful that we SAW Kaylee's orphanage. It was such a hard day...but the images I saw will forever be etched in my mind. The oppression I felt there, the severe neglect that was so evident...I am immediately reminded of these things when Kaylee is "healing" (this is what I like to call it...Jesus IS making her whole, and she needs to go through the pain, go through the anger, go through the deep sadness and loss in order to heal). 

So, our days are full of "healing"! We have times of such sweet JOY and belly laughs (mostly thanks to her funny brothers). We have times of such sad tantrums...sad because they are unlike any tantrum that a normal 2 year old throws. They come from a much deeper place...a place of deep sadness, deep confusion, deep pain. Many times there is nothing I can do but sit and cry with her. Sometimes she melts into me and lets me comfort her. And then I cry tears of JOY!  JOY that Jesus is letting me SEE some of the healing right before my very eyes...healing that only HE can bring! We have times of learning...learning how to play, how to share, how to sit and listen when being read to, how to be nice to the doggy ;)  We have times of normal tantrums where Mommy wouldn't let her run into the street or play with the knife from the dishwasher :)  We have times that are overwhelming and difficult and times where we laugh so hard as a family that we feel like our cheeks will break off. We have times of dancing...lots of dancing, where we blast praise music so loud and jump up and down. Sometimes I can't help but lift my hands and just take a moment to worship Him with my eyes shut - and then I open them and look to see that her hands are up, too, with her eyes squinting half shut copying me...and I laugh and pray so hard that one day those hands will be lifted up to Him KNOWING that He alone is worthy, that He alone is her Savior!!!

And I continue to pray that through this process our 3 big kids will "consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus their Lord"!!! They too are learning that Jesus doesn't always call us to 'fun' and 'easy' things...following Jesus can be hard work at times and that's just how we learn to rely on HIM and not ourselves! It has been beautiful to see them begin to learn this :) And it has been such a blessing for Brodie and I to FULLY rest in Jesus and HIS WAYS...which are far beyond ours ;) We're so thankful for the privilege to join Him in this way. We love our sweet Kaylee Grace! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Toys

Since Kaylee LOVES water so much, we ordered her a  water table and it arrived today! We also got a small table and chairs (since we didn't have anything her size around here anymore). When the table arrived, we put it together and Sissy and Kaylee went right to work on arts and crafts (although, she isn't too into coloring and artwork yet, so that only lasted a couple minutes)  :)

But as soon as the water table was together today she headed straight for it and spent a good long while playing...and getting soaked!!!

Kolson and Kaylee in the water

This is fun!


Arts and Crafts!

Sis loves math and has been teaching herself trigonometry  just for "fun"  :)  She gave me a lesson today!

Loving her water table!

All wet!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nana Carol and Courages

Nana Carol and the Courages were in town so we got to hang out --- the kids swam and then everyone played kickball. Even Kaylee joined in :)

Kolson wanted to read Kaylee a story!

She started getting silly...

A pretty girl!

She's cracking us up!!

Upside down is New and Fun!

Love that giggle...

Kickball with the Courages

Kolson and Jace

Yeah, it gets competitive

Kaylee wanted to join in

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hand Surgery

We went to see the hand surgeon Tuesday out at Children's. We really like him a lot! He is a solid Christ-follower and does a lot of missions work all around the world with orphans! He has done many surgeries at orphanages in China! He does cleft lips and hands mostly. He explained to us that Kaylee's polydactyly is a bit more complicated as her "regular" thumbs are more like fingers. So we will do this initial surgery and watch her over the next couple of years to see how much movement she has and if there are any hinderances with her mobility then she may need a 2nd surgery --- praying that Jesus does MORE than we are asking or imagining with this first surgery! She will have surgery May 7th! They bumped her up and got her in since she is already 2 1/2 and they like to do this surgery at birth for the brain to function with using the proper thumb.

We went to the Occupational Therapist today - LOVE her! She is a feeding specialist and gave me some things to work on for the next month at home (since she will have her surgery and be recovering). She also pointed out Kaylee's ring toe - we have noticed that it pulls under her other toes next to it but didn't think much of it...she said that it is her tendon in her foot that is too tight and would need to be "clipped" in order to free up that toe to go up with the other toes - something she will need done sooner or later in order to walk correctly, so she suggested that we ask the surgeon to do it all at once. We have a call in to him and we are hoping that he can take a look at her to see what he thinks.
One thing the OT has me doing is "swiping" food into her mouth (like just inside her lips, onto her teeth). Things like crunched up Cheerios, cold vanilla pudding, apple sauce, other purred foods...she said to even try mustard and sauces! Trying to introduce various foods, textures and temperatures. I just casually swipe her here and there as we play (no eye contact - just supposed to act like nothing just happened). So far it is working - she makes funny faces but moves the food around...even when the OT had me give her a larger crumb of Cheerios she just worked it around and did not gag. We are praying that she LOVES all these foods and just wants more and more! I am also massaging her jaw muscles, as they are super tight and trying to get the toothbrush into her cheeks to stretch those out (with her mouth shut all the time she needs her cheeks and jaw muscles loosened in order to be able to chew properly). So we're working on it! Thank You Jesus for leading us to a GREAT OT who is so positive and encouraging!!!

Loving her time in the backyard!

Kampsens came by for a visit!

Playing kickball - running the bases with Sis

We found out that she LOVES to be upside down ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Go Cart Fun

Brodie drove our go-cart down to the Marini's so the big kids could ride with Mason and Kiki. Kaylee and I walked down a little later and as soon as she saw the go-carts she wanted on!

She hopped right in with Brodie!

Kolson's turn :)

Keegan and Mason

The girls ;)

Here they go!

Sweet picture Stacy took of the girls walking home :)

Rocking Kaylee to sleep at nap time :) Such a sweetie!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

One Month Home

Yesterday marked one month since we have been home! We are adjusting to our new normal and loving watching this sweet girl blossom! We are so thankful for our church family providing meals for us! It has allowed our afternoons to be more focused on the big kids ~ playing with them and helping with HW. We've enjoyed the slowness of this season...lots of outdoor kick ball games and movie nights ;) Kaylee is really coming along! She has started speech therapy where we are working on helping to grow her vocabulary and understanding of what things are...as well as learning some basic signs so she can communicate. She's doing great and picking up so quickly on sign language! Right now as I type this, she is taking a nap in her bed (that is pushed up against our bed in our room). We will eventually transition her to this bed at night time and eventually she will move out of our room ~ Sissy has said that she'd like to share a room with her, so we may try that! I'm thinking she will need to share for a while until she really learns to trust and feel safe.

Sleeping on her bed! She took a 3 hour nap!!!!! She wakes up every 45 minutes or so and if she sees me sitting there, she goes right back to sleep ;)  I try to stay in our room with her when she naps so that when she wakes up here and there she will go right back to sleep. This is when I do my Bible time and read :) She normally takes a 2 hour nap

Brodie and I were reflecting yesterday about how far we've come this last month being home. I get a knot in my throat every time I think back to her village and her orphanage. It reminds me every time of the ENORMITY of our God and the DEPTH of His Love...we can't even begin to skim the surface of knowing His All-Powerful Love.

Over and over I reflect on this unfathomable Love...

this Love that sent His Son to die...

this Love that has washed my sins away all because I trust in Him...

this Love that leads and guides me so mercifully everyday. 

Love that would call our family to adopt and say, "Will you love this one for Me?" 

Love that fills me with all that I need every minute of every day... when I feel like I'm not enough, He says, "It's ok...I am More Than Enough!"  

When I start to worry..."why won't she eat solid foods?", "why isn't she talking yet?", "what if she doesn't start to grow soon?" He presses again on my heart, "All I have asked you to do is love her with My Love" and He reminds me that we will see His Glory through the life of this little girl. 

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend Your works to another;
they will tell of Your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty;
and I will meditate on Your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of Your awesome works,
and I will proclaim Your great deeds.
The will celebrate Your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of Your Righteousness."
Psalm 145: 3-7

We needed to make a quick Costco run last night for school lunches this week :)

Stopped at Panera Bread for a quick bite on our way

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Wagon

Keegan put a towel down in the wagon today and brought it out for Kaylee to try...she liked it!

Kols and Kaylee in the wagon

She is learning to say "cheese" for the camera!

Sweet kids!

She got Mommy to go on a wagon ride with her, too!

Big kids going ahead of us

Auntie Julie and Claire stopped by for a visit and the girls got to play...it was so good for Kaylee. At first she had a really hard time sharing her toys but she began to figure out that we are "nice" and we "share" ;)
This girl is loving the wonderful spring weather that we have been having...she could live outside!!! We went out in the car to pick up dinner ~ she is really starting to do well in her car seat! Now, if we could only get her in her stroller!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Awards and Eye Glasses :)

The big kids had awards this week at school ~

Sissy got principal's honor roll

Kolson got presidential in PE

Keeg got academic all-star, principal's honor roll and presidential
And Kaylee got fit for her eye glasses :)
We got them a touch smaller than these in sparkly clear ~ the sparkles are multi colored ;) We couldn't even get her to keep them on for 3 seconds so we'll see how she does with them :)  They said once she sees how clearly she can see out of them that she will want to keep them on...hope so! 
The Eye dr. is trying to improve her vision in her right eye before surgery ~ her left eye is about 20/30 vision. Her right eye is about 20/200. This shows us that her right eye is the less dominant eye and is therefore the eye that wanders more often - in the picture it is her left eye wandering off. The good news is that she still can see in her right eye and if we can try to improve it before surgery than the dr has a better chance of lining her eyes up in surgery...so we are hoping she will like her glasses ;)