Wow. 2 Months since I last updated. Time flies! I'm finding it so hard to believe that Emmi has been in our family for 8 months! We also met the big boys 7 years ago in September - they have grown from tiny toddlers to 3rd graders and Titus came into our lives when he was born 5 years ago in August. We are blessed.

Recently, the boys have been asked if they are brothers and if I am their mom with some confusion. We have all affirmed our relationship and the subject has been dropped but I asked one of the boys why we were asked - he matter-of-factly answered, "Because we don't look alike." It did not seem to concern him at all, it's just a fact, just the way our family is. I acknowledged his answer and let it go - he seems to be handling it right now.

We have hard days and hard weeks but overall we are seeing maturing and growth in all of our children. Emmi has been going through another transition stage coupled with a new toddler stage - fun times. She is testing us at every turn, screaming, shouting 'no,' and exhibiting all kinds of lovely behavior. The rest of the time, she is sweet as can be but very independent. She definitely keeps us on our toes and definitely has the whole family wrapped. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds and she sees a new ophthalmologist this week.

We enjoyed the local Chinese Festival with great friends of ours last weekend. It was fun to celebrate our girls.  We've had a few changes around here but I think things will settle into a really great place. Life keeps moving on - I feel like if I blink, I'll miss it.

Calvin - always the actor

Yeah, getting all 4 to look the same direction = nearly impossible.

Looking all grown up - she LOVES her "boots."

Chinese Festival fun - who knew pirates would be there?! Patrick was so proud of that face!

Titus Batman - adore that smile.


6 Months

Dear Emmarie,

6 months ago you were placed in our arms. Precious girl, you cried your eyes out and then fell asleep on my shoulder. You were so scared and confused and my heart wept for you. Those first snuggles while you slept were amazing though - I couldn't believe I was holding you! My daughter, I had prayed for you for many months and longingly gazed at your photo - missing you before I even met you.

When you woke up, you decided that maybe we weren't so scary especially since we had snacks and toys. It was so fun to see your sweet smile sneak through. You were kind to the other children there and your mothering instinct was instantly evident as you graciously shared your snack with another scared little girl.

I can't believe it's been 6 months. Our mother and daughter relationship took a little while to start blooming but oh how I am loving seeing it deepen! We have so much fun together - teasing, laughing, tickling, doing hair, finding clothes, admiring shoes, painting nails, and sharing our own private jokes (yes, even at 2 you have quite the sense of humor). Emmi, I can't imagine life without you - your brothers adore you, you are Daddy's little girl, and you are the beautiful fourth child in our forever family. How thankful we are to be your parents. How thankful to be a part of God's story of your life. You have certainly amazed us.

6 months ago, our lives changed and we are so glad! I love you sweet baby girl - a forever love.

Love always and forever,



Today I am frustrated. Frustrated with the medical professionals we have trusted. We had a disappointing appointment with Emmi's ophthalmologist - we will be finding a new doctor asap! She had not even looked at the MRI report - the MRI she wrote the order for and we did 3 months ago. That is a complete deal breaker - not to mention the fact that she does not answer our questions, is not good with Emmi, and completely changed what she said last time (aggressive vs. conservative).

We also learned today that our developmental pediatrician (who we really like!) did not send the vaccine reports after titres and did not send any report after the MRI. We found out last week, that she left her practice and is working elsewhere in a different type of medical work.

FRUSTRATING all around!

Thankfully we have a fabulous pediatrician - she spent 15 minutes on the phone with me today. She listened and empathized and helped make a plan. She gave me referrals and personal references for ophthalmologists. She is having her nurses call and get information we need and we will reconvene next week to chat. I LOVE her.

It's been a long day. It makes me all the more grateful for the awesome doctors that have really been advocates for our family!

At the end of the day, we have these four, sweet blessings! They make me laugh and smile (and sometimes cry :)). I love them with all of my heart and we would do anything for them!



Building Trust

Emmi has been sick this weekend and it breaks my heart - this is the first real illness that she has had since coming home. It was clear when she first started feeling bad, that she didn't expect to be held and cuddled. I just can't imagine. Life has changed so much for her. We love her, we want to meet her needs but sometimes it's still hard for her to let us. Amazing how much must be unlearned from that fight-or-flight/independent attitude that is so common (and necessary) among orphans. Thankful (despite the whine and tears of the past few days) for the chance to show her again that we are here no matter what - it's all part of that unconditional love and part of building that trust.

What a sweet girl we are blessed to parent!

She is so pretty - even when she isn't smiling. :)
Funny girl! She has a fantastic sense of humor!
Mommy & Emmi - 4th of July!
Cutie pie.
Daddy & Emmi - 4th of July 


A Year Ago

Last summer, we were in full adoption mode. Everything we did (almost) was related to it - we cut every expense we could think of (and felt guilty every time we spent any not-completely-necessary money), we worked as many hours and did whatever jobs we could, we filled out paperwork, and we waited. It took its toll - we were exhausted and stressed. I constantly battled God - struggling to know if we were doing the right thing. We were determined to work hard for this adoption - an adoption that we KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was something God had called us to. 

She is SO FUNNY!
This summer, we have our delightful daughter - a precious gift from God - running around and keeping us busy. I'm enjoying this summer a lot more. :) But through it all, we saw the gracious hand of God. Over and over, He showed me that this adoption was not about me, it was about Him. He challenged my heart and humbled me. I was brought to tears more times than I can count. This journey was about so much more than adding a child to our family - it was about orphan care and awareness and trust and grace and mercy and humility and trust (yes, I said that twice). God showed us in no uncertain terms (it was actually incredibly amazing) that Emmarie was our child but it was a huge step of faith for us on the medical side of things. Today we stand in awe at the beautiful child we are privileged to call our daughter

One year later, I am glad to be on the flip side, thankful God called, and so thankful for the way He provided through so many people and so many means. Our desire is to pay that forward over the coming years. We were (and are) truly blessed. We have seen God in new ways and He not only called but He led and provided every step of the way. Our hearts failed, our faith was weak, but our God carried us through. He is faithful and He did not leave Emmi as an orphan - she is an orphan no more! That is a story that only He could write!

Beautiful Daughter.

These two have a remarkable and special bond - it melts my heart every time.


A Heart Full of Love

Some days I just have to pinch myself - four beautiful children who call me mom! Never in my wildest dreams did I know how beyond blessed I would be in this life. I look into each of their faces and feel privileged that God chose me - He brought us together. We may not share the same eyes or skin color or hair color or build or genetics but we share a love - a forever, stick together, heart kind of love. We certainly have hard days and my children have experienced loss and hurt and stress from hard beginnings that are tough to overcome (and that no child should experience), but we are unconditionally committed to one another. I watch each child experience life and I have noticed my tears are often near - joyful tears, sad tears, thankful tears, loving tears.

This week has been a favorite of mine - full of reading, swimming, playing outside, learning together, laughing, playing games and so much more. We truly love nothing more than to spend time together. I have happily sighed each evening, knowing that I have thoroughly enjoyed being their mom this week. It hasn't been perfect - we've had meltdowns and tempers flare and tears of hurt and unkindness but what championed through? Forgiveness, faith, fun, love and sweet dreams.

How thankful I am that God turned my heart to adoption when I was still a child myself. I had no idea what He would do with my desire and I stand in awe. These gifts. These children. What an amazing God. This is my dream - I wouldn't want it ANY other way.


Favorite Picture!

Seriously, does it get any cuter than this?! She is so cute, so funny, and so gorgeous...not that we are biased at. all. :) Love her so much!