Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This was Liam's first Christmas and it was a great Christmas indeed.  All the kiddos were so excited for Christmas to be here.  Lily would ask me everyday if it was Christmas yet.  Morgan, my oldest, was even very excited for Christmas this year.  All the shopping and wrapping was done early this year and it left for a relaxing few days up to the big day.  We celebrated with friends and family and enjoyed the quite moments together as well. 
The morning began with Morgan and Mason (the oldest) waking up first around 7:00 am.  There was no turning back.  The little ones were woken up next and the fun began.  Lily and Liam were beyond excited to see what Santa had left.  They were very patient while waiting to open their gifts since we all take turns in this house.  Otherwise it is just too chaotic.

                                                                   Christmas morning!



After naps we went over to my parents house for Christmas with the rest of the family.  Aunts, uncles, nanas, pawpaws, sisters, brothers, cousins - that's us and we love every moment of it! 

                                                            Logan & Mason (cousins)
                                                         Liam opening his race car track!
                                                           Lily opening her princesses!!!
                                             All the cousins (my kids and my sisters kids)
                                                                      Our family

                                             I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

'Tis the Season

I haven't been out here in a while, so this post may be a little long.....
A few weeks ago Fred and I took a trip to New York for a little getaway.  The weather wasn't what we would have hoped for, but we got through it and had a wonderful time.  We had rain all day Friday and Sunday.  We went to see Elf on Friday night.  It was entertaining, but I was a little disappointed when they took out some of my favorite senses.  We were able to meet up with our first exchange student, Meishaung, while we were there.  She is going to college in NY right now.  It was really great to see her!  We hosted her in our home 8 years ago and have kept in touch with her ever since, seeing her periodically.

The Christmas tress are up (all 5 of them) and the house is decorated.  We will be having Fred's company Christmas party here tonight.  Hoping for some great pictures to share later.  I love Christmas time!

And last, but definitely NOT LEAST, we received our court date!  We will be leaving on Wednesday, January 9th for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  We will meet our son for the first time on Friday, January 11th and our court date is Monday January 14th.  I am hoping that we will pass court while we are there and I will be able to show you all our sweet little guy's face.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We went to see Santa last night out at Birkdale Village and then grabbed some dinner at one of our favorite restaurants there, Dressler's.  Lily was so excited to see Santa and was talking to him from behind the fence before we got up there.  A huge difference from last year when she wanted NOTHING to do with him.  Liam did okay as long as he didn't have to sit on his lap.  He was not cool with that. Lily's request this year was for the "Princesses".  She is very into all the Disney princesses right now.  I love it!  Liam's request was for Spider man of course! 
The weather has been in the 60's here for the last several days and it has been just wonderful to get outside and enjoy it.  Tonight we will celebrate my nephews 18th birthday.  I can't believe it.  I can still recall the day he was born like it was yesterday.  They grow up way to fast.  Can we slow time down a little????

Monday, November 26, 2012

Court Date #1 - December 7, 2012

We received our first court date today.  This court date is for Miles and on December 7th the judge will review the files, submit the case the the Ministry of women's affairs (MOWA)  for their comment and  then assign a court date for us (Fred and I).  Once we receive our court date, then its time to make arrangements to get on that plane and go see our boy!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


My kids and My sisters kids - All together
                                           Nana & Paw Paw with all the grandkids (minus 1)

We have so much to be thankful for!!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Today our file was submitted to the Ethiopian court.  One more milestone, one more step closer to getting on a plane and heading to Africa to see our little man. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life as we know it....

will be taking a turn for the better.  With two surgeries down in the last month we should be surgery free for a long time!  This has become "life as we know it" for the last 2 1/2 years.  It just becomes part of what you do.  Lots of doctors appointments and lots of love and care. But, this is going to become of thing of the past for us and I am so happy!  My little ones have been given the care and attention they needed and I am so happy to see them healthy.  Between the two of them we have had 5 surgeries in the last 2 1/2 years and lets not forget the transition of bringing two special needs children home during that time.  Its been a crazy ride, but a good one.  Some days are harder than others, but I wouldn't change anything - the good, the bad or the ugly.  They are all components of what make us who we are.  Teaching moments from God to grow us into the people He wants us to be.  I have grown and changed in so many ways.  Thank you to all my children who help make me the mom I am today and to my husband who encourages me and loves me through it all.

We had a great weekend around here.  We started it off with a bang on Friday night with Chris Tomlin!  He was just amazing.  On Saturday night Fred and I had yet another date night and headed out to help celebrate a friends birthday.  Two date nights in a row - well that NEVER happens.  I did enjoy it however.  And we ended the weekend with a beautiful day out at the barn for Morgan's horse show.  We had a rough start but ended the day very well!!  I am so proud of her perseverance.  This girl is growing up right before my eyes and I want to stop time immediately!  I love the young lady that she is becoming.

Hoping to hear that our papers have made it to the court in Ethiopia this week!  Then the wait will being for getting our court date.  I can not wait to be able to show you all a picture of our little treasure that is waiting for us in Ethiopia....

Friday, November 2, 2012


As you know we spent our Halloween at the hospital for Lily's surgery.  However, we were able to get in on the festivities prior to the actual day.  While Fred and I were out of town visiting family in CT my mom took the kids over to their church to get in on a little fall festival action.

And of course we had to get our pumpkin carving in!

We arrived at the hospital at 6:45 on Wednesday morning.  Lily did such a great job.  I was a little unsure how she was going to do with it all.  After all she has been through 2 major surgeries in the 2 years she has been home and seen her little brother go through 2 major surgeries as well in the last 3 months.  She handled it all like the mature 3 year she can be. 
She went back into the OR fine and woke up fabulous.  Never any tears - the entire time! 

Once she came to and had eaten a little we took her down to the Halloween party the hospital was having for all the kids.  I have to say they did a fabulous job!
We spent the rest of the day in our room.  Lily grazed on her spaghetti and watched TV.  My mom and dad came up to visit late that afternoon and brought Liam up to see his sister.  Lily was excited to see everyone and didn't want her Nana to leave. 
She slept through the night very soundly.  The doctor came in and woke us up at 7 am.  We were out of there by 9 am.  Wahoo!  Short and sweet that is what I like. 
We are home now and recovering well. 
Liam is also doing better.  We went back to see his doctor on Monday and he decided to put him on a couple different meds.  One to take the acidity out of his stool and another to slow down his bowel movements.  We were also able to get some more of the paste that we were out of when we were at the hospital with Lily.  It is just going to take time to heal, but it does look better.  Last night was the first night he has slept through since the surgery and he is still sleeping now!!!
We have also begun the daunting task of taking away the thumb sucking.  Lily can't right now because of her mouth so I thought it would be a great time to break Liam of it as well!  I put his "thumbkin" on last night and he did great.  Went to sleep like a champ and like I said slept through and is still sleeping. 
Thanking God today for the many blessing in my life and for giving me the perseverance, the strength and the courage to battle through these tough weeks.
Also a huge thanks to my family for battling through as well.  Everyone one of them stepped up and made sacrifices along the way.  I love them soooo much!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Home - Well for now...

We came home last Thursday with Liam from the hospital.  He was really doing well and then BAM, we hit a wall when he began to have multiple BMs on Saturday.  That is, 15-20 BMs a day.  By Sunday his bottom was red, raw and bloody.  I was NOT prepared for this at all.  Our surgeon said that he may have a couple "accidents" thinking he was potty trained, but that should be it. could have told me the amount of BMs he would be having!!!!  I would have totally protected his bottom and would have used preventative measures to keep his bottom healthy.  I called the doctor's office on Sunday concerned with what was going on and got the doctor on call who said that it was completely normal for him to be pooping this much. 
When Liam woke up on Monday morning two of his steri strips had come off and one side of his incision looked like it was opening, so I took him in the the office.  His incision was fine but the doctor said we needed to get Liam's bottom under control - You think????? (insert sarcasm)  I ordered some paste that they recommended because no pharmacy had it or could order it for me (national back order - of course right?)  We have started using the paste and he seems more comfortable with it on, but it is a wrestling match trying to get him cleaned up and the diaper paste on.  Now let me say that the paste has been great for comfort, but it is a pain in the you know what to clean up.  It turns to a glue like substance once he has soiled it and becomes very sticky. 
Believe me I have done my research and I am trying everything I can to get this under control while he is having so many BMs.  Baking soda soaks in the tub in the AM and PM, Maalox on his bottom for the acid, no stink barrier wipes and stoma powder (from his colostomy), Ilex & Vaseline.  No more wipes.  Only tissue and mineral oil to clean the bottom. 
Have any other solutions that have worked for you....please let me know.  Remember this is not your normal diaper rash - his skin is so broken down that it bleeds. 
Hoping and praying that we get a breakthrough soon.  Fred and I are leaving on Saturday to visit family in CT and go to his 25th high school reunion.  My mom will have the kids and will have to manage Liam's bottom while we are gone.  This is a large undertaking!!!  God bless her, she is an angel to do this for us.  I am a little nervous about leaving him like this, but we really need to go see some family that has had some really bad news recently.  We will be coming home on Sunday, so we will only be gone one night.
On Wednesday, Lily will have her bone graft done and possibly a revision on her lip (again).  I am still in limbo about the lip.  She will only need to stay one night in the hospital.  My mom will be helping out with the kids again.  I don't know what we would do without her!!! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 3

Well it is day 3 in the hospital with Liam.  His procedure for part 2 of the pull through for his Hirschsprungs Disease went well.  We arrived at 5:00 am on Monday and he was taken back at 7:00 am.  The surgery was supposed to take any where from 1.5 - 3 hours.  However, the sugery took a little longer than expected.  He did not get out of surgery until around 12:15 - 5 hours later!  The portion of the colon that had to be removed was larger than expected, so the surgeon had to go up and release some tension further up so that we would not have any tightness. 

We have kept the pain to a minimum with doses of morphine in between his other pain meds.  For the first two days he has had nothing by mouth - only IV fluids.  He has been a real trooper, never even asking to eat.  He did get a little upset yesterday when he wanted something to drink, but we just had to devert his attention and he was fine.  He truly is the best patient ever!!

The first night my sister came up and stayed with me and brought Liam these...
Thank God for sisters!  In the midst of emotions and exhaustion from sugery, she takes my mind off of these things for a period and we talk and laugh - laugh a lot!  Thanks for always being there for me sis, I love you.
The next day my mom and dad brought Morgan, Mason and Lily up for a visit.  Liam could not wait to see them!  He has missed his brother and sisters very much. My friends Kim and Elizabeth came up and brought me lunch and hung out for a while.  Thanks girls for good food and good friends.  Fred stopped in before heading to Mason's parent/teacher conference and my mom and step sister and her family came up that evening.  I think the 3.5 hour nap that afternoon did him some good!

Liam slept through the night and woke up happy this morning.  After the surgeon came in this morning he released him to popsicles, ice chips and water.  He also had the catheter taken out and wants him to get up and move around.  Hoping to introduce more liquids tonight as long as he tolerates the other stuff today.  So far so good. My mom and Lily came by and visited this morning and brought Liam a cars balloon that he has not let go of all morning and is still holding onto it as he sleeps.  Thanks mom for bringing me coffee each morning and visiting with me.  Sure does help the time go by.  My mom is the BEST!  She arrives at my house at 6:45 in the morning and juggles the kiddos all day until Fred gets home.  On Monday and Tuesday she had my kids and my sisters kids with lots of running around.  I don't know what I would do without her. 

Thanks to all my family and friends that have reached out and called, texted, visited or reached out to us in some way.  It means so much!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exciting News!!!

At precisely 5:30 pm on Tuesday evening, we received "THE CALL".  Yes, that's right we are no longer waiting!!!!  We were finally able to see the little boy we have been praying for for so long - OUR SON.  Unfortunately, we are not able to give any details or show his sweet face before we pass court in Ethiopia.  We hope to receive our court date in 1-3 months.  Please pray for a speedy process and that everything goes smoothly.  I don't think my heart could take anything less at this point.

Today we went to the pumpkin patch with my sister and her kids.  It was a great to have the distraction with Liam on his bowel prep today for surgery tomorrow.  We have been fasting and dosing MiraLax every hour.  Truly not fun!!!  The kids had a lot of fun and it was a beautiful day to boot.


We will be arriving at the hospital at 5:00 am tomorrow.  Liam is scheduled for surgery at 7:00 am.  The surgery should last about 2 - 2.5 hours.  Please keep him in your prayers tomorrow.  I pray that we are in and out of their quickly and his recovery goes smoothly. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Retreat, Fall Break & Surgery Update

On September 14th Oaks of Righteousness hosted their second women's retreat.  God showed up in amazing ways once again and once again I was blessed with family and friends that attended.  And a huge shout out to my dear friend Melissa Smith for traveling all the way from Louisiana and leaving her 5 kiddos behind to attend. Check out her blog at  I can't believe that I didn't get a picture of us together when she was here...really bummed about that.  Our sons were foster brothers in China together and we had the privilege of traveling together to bring them home in January.
Here is a picture of my sister (founder) and I (co-founder) on the last day of the retreat.  So blessed to be able to be in ministry together with her and an amazing team of women.


We headed to the Tennessee mountains for Morgan and Mason's fall break from school last Friday.  We had a great cabin and enjoyed just being together with no "life" distractions.  We didn't have the great weather, but made the best of it.  Our first day we went to the flea market, antique shopping and some down time.  The day was rainy off and on, so took it easy.  The next day we headed to downtown Gatlinburg and spend the day there.  The weather was great and it was nice to get out and walk around.  On the way back to our cabin we did the corn maze and hay ride with lots of other kids activities.  On our last day, it rained all day so we took in Wonderworks which was a lot of fun for all. 
We finally heard from the doctor's office regarding Lily's surgery.  They had a cancellation on Halloween, Wednesday- October 31 at 8:45 we took it.  At her age, she won't even miss trick or treating. After this bone graft is done, she should be surgery free for a LONG time.  Hallelujah!!! 
Liam had his pre-op appointment today.  All went well.  The surgery should last from 2-2.5 hours.  He will go in through the same incisions as before.  Pain should be less than the first surgery and we should be in the hospital for 3-4 days if there are no complications.  A little over a week and we will be done with this colostomy bag for good!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Playing catch up

Morgan and Mason had their annual checkups a couple weeks ago.  I am just now getting around to writing about it.  Everything was good and my kids probably haven't seen their doctors since their last annual visit (thank goodness). 
Morgan comes in at a whopping 4', 9 1/4 " and weighing 81lbs.  She is still not even in the 1% for height, poor thing, but she did grow 4" over the last year so that was wonderful.  We are hopeful that she will have another growth spurt like that.  Being short is a struggle, but it is just part of how God created her and I am 110% ok with that.  I just hope one day she will be too...

Mason comes in at 4', 5 1/2" and 77.5 lbs.  He still ranks in the 25% for height.  He is not far behind his sister with 3.5 years between them.  He grew 3.5" this past year which was wonderful as well.  I really need to get him out and get some pictures of him.

We hosted our first exchange student from China 8 years ago when Morgan was in Kindergarten.  Well, she is now 23 years old and going to school in New York.  She came to visit us over Labor Day weekend.  She is an amazing girl.  She is strong, independent, caring and a pleasure to be around.  I pray that she will follow her dreams and live the life God has set before her to the fullest.

                                                                         Making Pizza!

                                                                Watching Morgan ride.....

We had another visitor as well over the weekend.  Our friends The Leonards were traveling through NC on their way home and stopped by my sisters house.  When my sister and I traveled to China in 2010 to bring our daughters home the Leonards were in our travel group bringing home their little boy Benjamin. Then in 2011 they were in my sister's travel group once again when they brought home another little boy Alex.  An amazing family with 4 amazing children adopted from China. 

                                                      The Men - Fred, Keith & Guy

The Kids - Liam, Grace, Benjamin, Anabelle, Francesca, Olivia, Lily & Alex

                                                      The Ladies - Kelly, Shelly & Dawn

And last but not least, Fred and I celebrated our 16th Wedding Anniversary on Friday night.  We went out to dinner and then stayed uptown at the Ritz for the evening.  We had an amazing time catching up with each other!  I have the most amazing husband in the world.  Thank you Fred, for 16 wonderful years.

Surgery update:  Liam will have his next surgery on October 15th.  Still waiting to hear on Lily's surgery.  It has been over 3 weeks and no surgery scheduled yet.  I had to call and, lets say, LET THEM HAVE IT yesterday.  Not one of my finer moments, but necessary. 
                                                Have a Happy Tuesday!!!