Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another question for our homework

As we have talked about questions that we think we might be asked, every now and then I'll throw one out to my kids to field.  Ryan's answer to one of my questions cracked me up, so I thought I'd share it.

Me:  What will you say if people ask why she looks different than us?
Ryan (16 year-old):  I'll just tell them that our whole family is Asian!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ranger 11/12/2004-10/14/2012

We had to say goodbye to one of our much loved furbabies on Sunday night.  I don't want to share the details, but I will say it was completely unexpected and we are very sad.  It's been a few days and we're starting to feel better.  The kids want to put together a memory box and I thought I'd list some of my favorite memories of our boy.

1.  Every morning he would get in bed with me when Kyle would get out. He would make this little excited squeeky sound and try to kiss me to wake me up. Kyle called him "the other man" on occasion.

2.  The boy absolutely LOVED bubbles!  He would try to catch them in his mouth.

3.  For years, I thought that he had stumpy ears.  It turns out that his ears were normal, but his body was a little extra big. 

4.  He also loved ice from the ice maker.

5.  He never met another living thing that he didn't try to befriend.

6.  For such and oversized dog, he had the wimpiest bark.

7.  He thought he was a lap dog.

8.  There was a game he would play.  We would call him in from the backyard and he would just look at us.  We would go out to get him and as soon as we got close, he would come bounding in all goofy and crooked.

9.  He was my cooking buddy and always laid in my way as I made dinner.

10.  He was completely made out of sweetness and love.

11.  Pixar may not claim it, but I secretly (and now not so secretly) believe that he was the inspiration for Dug in the movie Up.

12.  He would lay there and watch something and his eyebrows would take turns being raised.

13.  He loved hugs.

14.  There was a game he would play with Ryan.  It would go something like this:
      Ryan:  Rangerrrr
      Ranger: RRRRRR
      Ryan:  Rangerrrr
      Ranger:  RRRRRR
           etc...... They both loved it.

15.  We loved him as much as you can love a furbaby and we will miss him deeply.

This was from several years ago, but I LOVE his grin. 
He's sitting with Cailey and one of his fursiblings, Sophie.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who will love me for me?

A friend sent me this video and I wanted to share it with you all.  They hosted one of the girls in the video this past summer. 

Something happened to us when we started our adoption process.  We really began to want to see other families adopt.  Every child deserves the love of a mommy and daddy and, while we can't adopt them all and we'd only be another orphanage if we did, we can tell other people and (hopefully) encourage them to pray and ask God what His plan is for them in the lives of these orphans we're called to love.  It's so easy to limit ourselves based on what we think a good adoptive parent should look like.  I'll warn you, too, other people may possibly tell you these things.  Let me tell you, though, God doesn't use perfect people!  He uses the flawed ones, like us.  So, if you're reading this, pray and seek God's will for your life.  You may not be called to adopt, but maybe by sharing this video, you'll reach someone who is.

I love the lyrics to this song.  When I watched it the first time, my youngest recognized the song and crawled into my lap while we watched it together.  She smelled like the soap and shampoo from her bath and she was wearing her most favorite princess nightgown and eating her breakfast.  The stark difference of her life and the lives of these orphans hit me hard!  My heart breaks for them.  In pictures that my mind really didn't want to grasp I began to wonder about those details for them.  I think part of me wants to turn off those emotions and not cry, but as I saw those faces in the crowded room with the beds I cried and cried.  I guess this is what "Break my heart for what breaks Yours" means.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Since I'm no expert on the subject of Down syndrome and I'm 7 days late to the party, I'll do homestudy homework instead.  When we had our family homestudy visit, our caseworker asked us to make a list of questions and answers to have ready when people wanted to know things about our adoption--especially those awkward questions.


So, this blog post will be question #1.

Why would you adopt a child when you already have 5, especially one with Down syndrome that you may have to parent your whole life?  You did know that didn't you?

I think I'll answer the first part of the question with a quote.  I've heard that Mother Theresa didn't actually say these words, but she's the only one to whom I can give due credit,
"Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers."
Yep, you caught us!  We really love being parents.  The thought of more brings us happiness, not stress. The other answer to that first part of the question is simple.  God called us to this. 

Now, for the "Down syndrome parenting our whole life" question.  Yes, we knew that when we started considering a special needs adoption.  You know what?  We're okay with that!  I want to be careful here with my words, so be patient while I stumble over myself.  We want the absolute best for her and our other children.  If that means she will live independently as an adult, great!  If that means that we get the honor of parenting our whole life, awesome!  Love never gives up! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Savannah is 6!!!!

Well, my little redheaded spunky girl is 6 as of today.  It's always bittersweet for me.  I love watching them get older, but I want each year to last longer.  The years really do zoom right on by.  Savannah just wanted a quiet family night with some Chick-fil-A and turtle pie.  The kids are upstairs playing with all the new treasures so I have a few quiet moments to post some pictures.

Oh, on her very last day of being 5 she read her very first book!  Sorry if you got that same message in an email.  I'm only clever in random spurts. :)

officially 6


Happy Birthday, sweet Savannah!  We love you right up to the moon and back!  I love Josh in the background blowing out the candles with her.  Nothing like a little moral support.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Letter for Future Spouses

When we first had Ryan back in 1995 we read some wonderful books.  One of the best bits of advice we ever read was that, in parenthood, you start with the "full on" parenting and then slowly let go.  You let them begin to make their own decisions as you watch from the sidelines.  To go in reverse, to be lax in parenting and then tighten up, will only cause rebellion.  So far, this has proven true in our family.  We don't have rebellious teens.  We have teens that are in the process of gaining independence and planning for the future.  Of course, we're still parenting, but we're allowing them to grow-up.  Yes, this means less advice and much more listening as they work through new stuff.  Guiding where needed, but letting go bit by bit.  In the process of raising children into adulthood, there are some topics that we've been talking about lately.  Sexual purity, God's calling for a job, choosing a spouse, being a spouse, etc...  The hard stuff.  In this quest to raise Godly children we're looking to walk with the wise.  To find people who have "been there, done that" with success. 

I found this letter a while back and I'm going to share it.  Let me preface it by saying that there are no double standards here.  The spouses we want our children to find reflect the kind of spouse we want our children to be.  I love this letter.  It's the pursuit of Holiness rather than the pursuit of Happiness. 

This letter can be found at  It was written by Kelly.  Her blog is

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your church may not even tell you.
Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:
Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.
You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:
Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please ;-) only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:
If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.
Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:
If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because they won’t.
The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.