Wednesday, April 18, 2012

His 4th Birthday, but 1st at Home

On April 14th, my beautiful David turned 4 years old.  It was his first birthday home with us.  On his 3rd birthday we were getting ready to go pick him up in May 2010.  

I started the morning of David's birthday by laying in my bed and thinking of his birth mommy.  I know that she is thinking of him around this time of year...  wondering where he is, if he is okay or happy or if someone was able to help him.  I know that her heart is grieving and missing him. I know she probably thinks and rethinks her decision, or grieves because the decision was forced by circumstance.  So now it is also I that grieve for her.  

I watch this precious child grow and learn.  I have the privilege of kissing and hugging him goodnight.  I am the blessed one that gets to hear him call me mommy.  Don't get me wrong I am truly thankful for all of that, but I hurt for her.  She carried him in her belly for 9 months.  She was delighted to give birth to a son (the gender so desired in Ch*na).  Then, to her grief (I am sure) she saw that he had cleft lip/palate.  This amazing, strong, beautiful woman raised her son for a whole year.  I cannot imaging the pain as she could not find a way to help him and as he got weaker because he could not feed.  Oh how I wish I could let her know that he is beautiful, wonderful and thriving.  That her sacrifice and pain has allowed him this.  How I wish I could hug her and hold her as she cries and grieves.  

All these feelings and thoughts bring me to this...that I (we) as adoptive mommies have the responsibility to honor her.  We must remember her and pray for her and share her love and sacrifice with our children.  OUR child...her's and mine...there would be no him without her and I will remember and honor that.  

I am so thankful for David. He is gorgeous, happy, stubborn, and mischievous.  He is a blessing from God.  He is a reflection of his birth as I love him, I love her.  

You are a precious son,  loved for who you are and what you are becoming.  Daddy and I could not be prouder of you.  We have spent this last year in wonder as you have infiltrated our hearts.  You have learned to be a son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, a playmate and a stinker.  Your smile can brighten any day and your laugh is infectious.  You have opened up and started to become social.  You try your hardest to talk, and even continue to talk when we don't understand, but I love that.  All of this shows us your tenacity for life.  I think my favorite is when you sing.  You love to make noise and in the car you sing to yourself.  I have no idea what you are singing and you may not either, but continue my precious boy.

You are dearly loved by many and have been since your conception.  I am looking forward to another amazing year as you head towards 5.  Happy Birthday love.


First try on blowing the candles.  David still has two holes in the roof of his mouth, so it is hard to get the air to flow properly.  However, he is doing a great job, you can see one of the flames bending...that is progress. 

After a few tries of mommy plugging his nose so he could blow, I helped him so he wouldn't get frustrated. I am not sure he knew I was helping him because he seemed pretty excited that they were out.  

Happy Birthday Baby!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Post from Cydil Waggoner...Advocating For Joel

ad·vo·cate  (dv-kt)
tr.v. ad·vo·cat·edad·vo·cat·ingad·vo·cates
To speak, plead, or argue in favor of

Orphan advocacy is something I approach with a feeling of great responsibility.  To be a voice for 
one who can't speak for himself means that if I don't speak, that individual essentially doesn't get heard by those within hearing distance of me.  Rather than trusting in God's plan, I'm tempted to worry that if nothing comes from my sharing about a need, what does that say about me? Did I 
share this information too late?  In the wrong way? Will I disappoint those who have placed their 
trust in me to be an advocate on their behalf?

I know that after coming home from our adoption trips we would share how much we wished we could find homes for all the kids in Ellie's and Reni's orphanages. While we would still love to do that, but I've only been given permission to share about one particular child (actually, I've been implored by Sister R for nearly a year -- though not released to officially do so until February) and the responsibility feels heavy.  I know there are numerous websites that advocate for specific, adoptable children.  It's honestly difficult for me to see those photos and read about those kids.  Now that I've joined a Y*hoo group for families of children with limb differences, I DAILY receive e-mails of adoptable children with a variety of limb issues, many a lot less significant than Reni's, and my 
heart hurts.  What is my responsibility to do with that information?  For now, we do what we can 
to live out a testimony of the beautiful picture of adoption and pray that it touches others' lives to consider the need and open their hearts to that possibility.

Today, though, I'm going to share about one little one who I don't believe is being advocated for anywhere else.  Would you join me in sharing about this little guy and praying that his family 
finds him?  You can e-mail me at the address listed on the sidebar of this blog for more information about him and the Albanian adoption process.

This little boy, Joel, turns 2 this month.  He is being cared for by the Sisters of Charity in Elbasan, Albania.  We met Joel the summer we adopted Reni, when Joel was just a few months old.

After bringing Reni home, Reni's sweet godmother and primary caregiver, Duzi (photographed 
above in the pink scarf),  'adopted' Joel as her next 'project child' after Reni.  Together, with the 
special love of Duzi and Sister R (who was his primary caregiver during his first few months), Joel has made strides developmentally, though he still lags behind his peers.

Here is a list of some of his milestones (sent to me by the Sisters on March 15, photos captured on February 11):
  • He can walk around the wall of a room without help
  • He has started to take two steps alone.
  • He is excellent at climbing up and on a chair (we witnessed this in February, can attest to his agility, and have video)
  • He climbs out of his bed
  • He can hold things in both hands
  • He can hold a spoon, trying to feed others (but not himself)
  • He can hold a crumb of bread with 2 fingers
  • He points to things which interest him

  • He presses music toys with his fingers
  • He understands 'goodbye' and waves
  • He calls 'come' with his hand
  • He claps with hands when he is happy
  • He is starting to speak 'ga-ga'
  • He is looking for the companionship of bigger children
  • Most of the time he eats only mashed food, and small pasta soup (not able yet to swallow harder food)
This is how they fed Reni because he wouldn't sit still in his high chair! ;-)
  • He is a very joyful child, loved by others
  • He likes to play hide and seek
  • He can hold a pen in the hand
  • He can pass things from one hand to the other
  • He likes to play with other children and is a very sociable child
  • He likes to move around a lot
  • He likes to go out and see new things
  • He is capable to learn new things
  • Shows with finger 'okay'

At the end of their last correspondence with me they wrote:
"It is a miracle [he] is alive. [He] gives much joy and love to others...
With love, Sisters from Elbasan"

Thank you for praying with us that Joel's family finds him! For more information about Joel, 
e-mail me at or you can link to her at

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Times, Family Times, Happy Times

There has been a definite lack of posting for a while.  I am still alive, but my mother came for a visit!  By the time I hit the bed every night there was no energy left for a post.

I am doing well.  My scars are healing and I am feeling stronger.  I am starting to lift my children again and thinking of starting to exercise again...amazingly enough, I miss it.

The kids really (REALLY) enjoyed the visit from their Nonna (my mom).  She stayed for about 11 days and they milked every minute they could with her.  Samuel keeps trying to think of ways to move her house over to Sweden.  This was the first time that she was able to meet David and he took to her pretty quickly.  He called her Yoda or Yoga...that was the best he could do for Nonna, but it was sooooooo cute.  I know that she really enjoyed being with her grandsons also.  It is a reminder how hard it is to be an international family...there are always family members that miss out.  However, we know that we are suppose to be here, so we will be faithful to our calling and remain in Scandinavia.  Not that it is a hard life (we quite like it here), but there are times that we do miss Wilmore greatly.

The was David's first Easter with us.  He did not quite understand what was going on, but he played along and I enjoyed watching him mimic Sam's excitement and wonder. This Easter was a bit different for me.  I really like the preparation for Easter.  I have a special devotional, we have certain traditions to help us remember how dark Friday was and the despair that was felt on Saturday by the disciples and then the glorious Sunday when Mary came running to tell the news.  However, since I had the interruption of my surgery, I felt like I lost a lot in my own preparations, so instead I am a little off kilter, but eternally grateful that He is no longer in the grave.  Where would we be without our hope in Christ, without the knowledge that we can be his children, without his guidance and love. I would be in udder may think that is a bit harsh, but it is perfectly true without any dramatics.  I am here because my Savior picked me up and has brought me thus far.  PRAISE be to HIM and HIM ALONE.

Enjoy the pics.
Mom and David having a jam session

We always dress in our international duds for Easter and Pentecost.  I was pretty impressed that I still fit in that sari.

just precious

Nonna's glasses were always a fun item to play with.

He loves his Nonna

Family pic in the church

Just too good out girls.

My little ninja...he was so cute!!!

I took my mom and the kids to Grebbestad and this was one of the sunsets...stunning.

More of the same sunset.

We also got the chance to pop up to Mysen, Norway (where we are moving to), so my mom could see the church.  This is the cross on top.

My husbands new charge as of August.  

I couldn't help sharing this pic, my mom gave me these microfiber turbans to put on wet hair and he looked so adorable.