Thursday, April 23, 2015

Genuine faith shelters the orphan

I have literally written this blog post 4 times...then deleted it 4 times because it just felt fake. I was asked by a friend to write about adoption. What it means to me and my family. How it has changed us in ways both good and bad. What it takes to be an adoptive parent. How did I know I was cut out for this life. The list goes on but you get the idea. 

So...I started writing. First I wrote a very matter of fact post but that isn't me...I like to keep it real. Then I wrote something extremely raw that probably crossed into the TMI zone...and that can be viewed as dramatic and I exist in a drama free zone. I just couldn't get it right, because I wasn't being authentic. The subject of adoption does not have to be super's an awesome roller coaster! Yeah there are low points, but those high points? Pretty fantastic stuff! So, here we go...what adoption means to a crazy lady. ;)


 First I need to say that all of these opinions are my own and what works for me might not work for anyone else. For me personally, the only way I survive in my chaotic world is by not taking life too seriously. Guys...ya gotta LAUGH! Find humor in the things that make you want to pull your hair out. When it comes to special needs adoption there will be days...days and days and days where you will look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back at you. Your hair will be gray, your wrinkles deep, you will have bags under your eyes and you will smell bad. can be the most prim and proper chica today, but get those kids home and you will be a hot mess sometimes. Reality hits hard and've been warned. Find the humor in it. I am 31 with wrinkles and I sport them proudly. Like the stretch marks on your tummy from carrying your babies, those wrinkles and gray hairs are your battle wound scars! Own them! 

Kind of along the same line as laughing at yourself,  you can't take life too seriously. There will be hiccups and things will be crazy and you're just going to have to go with it. I used to be totally OCD, a place for everything, everything in it's place...pinterest boards full of organizing tips and tricks. Currently...I have a pile of laundry that has pretty much taken over my hallway and my bathroom is gross because I'm hard core trying to potty train my six year old. Yup, you heard that adopted kid is six and still in pullups. We're working hard, she'll get there eventually. I will not allow myself to stress or compare her to other kids her age. She has different abilities, it is what it is...we'll get there.

While I might approach adoption in a light hearted way, I won't attempt to sugar coat it. I feel like this post might be speaking to a few specific people and I would never want them to say yes to bringing an orphaned child into their home because they had only heard about how awesome adoption is. Don't get me wrong, it's totally awesome. I love adoption, I love my adopted children, the entire basis of my faith is basically an adoption story...adoption is amazing. But it's not easy. Early on I made the mistake of portraying my daughters adoption as a fairytale. I thought that would help people see past her special needs, her institutionalization, and just see her as a regular kid who just happened to be rocking an extra chromosome who was orphaned in Russia. While she did kind of embrace the whole family thing, it was still really hard. Oh, and she hated me. Like legit hated me with a passion, would sink her teeth into me and rip out chunks of flesh zombie style. We nicknamed her "zombie baby"...I have barely any photos with her from when she was first home because she was constantly biting me, scratching me, or pulling my hair out. Let me just say it's really hard to bond with a child when they're trying to kill you, but it's not impossible. My daughter was hurt over, and over, and over again. She was abused, neglected, and violated. Her abusers were women. It would have been crazy for me to expect her to understand that I was her mother. She didn't know what a mother was, she didn't know I wouldn't hurt her, she had no reason at all to trust me. All I could do was show her that no matter what she did, I would still hold her, and hug her, and rock her, and whisper to her...because she couldn't hurt me enough to make me want to hurt her back. It took a long, long time...but she finally got it. Mom's stay forever. No matter what. For us that was kind of the turning point where things started to settle down and I started to believe that there was light at the end of the tunnel.


In general, special needs parenting is hard, but you're treated much differently when you adopt kids with special needs...after all you CHOSE to ruin your life, remember? For me, special needs parenting means I can never vent, I can never get frustrated, I can never cry, I can never say that things are really hard sometimes...because the response I will always get is: well you chose this. It's really hard to exist in a world where you are only allowed to have happy emotions. In an effort to protect my heart, and the few friendships that survived adoption, I learned to put emotions in a box. I became very guarded and gave up the whole acquaintance thing. I'm not interested in "knowing" 1000 people. I'm interested in having a small circle of amazing friends who I can be honest with when things are good, as well as bad. It's vital to have a support system. If you aren't an adoptive parent, I urge you to find a friend who is, and be their rock. They will return the favor, trust me. Good friends are hard to find when you're going against the grain with your life, so when we crazy adoptive mamas find someone who truly loves our kids for who they are and wants to be there through the good and bad, there is nothing we won't do for those friends in return. Seriously, I can count on one hand the people I consider friends, the ones I want to make time for and hang out with...those people could call me for help at 2am and I would be in my car at 2:01. Friends like that are like family, treat them as such. 

Wow this is sounding like a real downer...why would anyone want to adopt?! 

I truly think adoption is a calling. Sure anyone can say "hey I have an extra bedroom, lets adopt an orphan!" and that would be great, right? One less orphan in the world...but it's so much more than that. Your entire view of the world has to change. Your goals for your life have to change, the way you live day to day has to change. Adopting a child with special needs means you're going to be invested 100% in the care of a child for the rest of your life. When they aren't cute and little anymore, when they're possibly bigger than you, when they're raging, and when they're crying because someone made fun of them. The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. You really have to know what you're getting in to, and when you feel that calling, and you've weighed all the options, and hear God calling you ransom one of His children and make them your own. The world becomes brighter. You see everything through new eyes. Your heart expands, your patience grows ten fold, you find beauty in the most mundane things. I remember the day my daughter, 4 years old, picked up a cheerio, put it in her mouth, and chewed it. I remember the day of the week, I remember the outfit she was wearing, I remember every detail about that moment because I had never in my life been happier, prouder, just....joyful. I was crying real tears and thanking God that my kid who really should have been in preschool learning shapes and colors...picked up a cheerio, and put it in her mouth. Your world just changes, and it's incredible. 

I think there are a lot of people out there who would make amazing mothers for these broken kids...who understand seeing beauty in the ashes...who could fight through the struggle of raising and teaching a child that wasn't born to them, and celebrate all those tiny milestones with them and have one little breakthrough, the size of a cheerio, melt their hearts and undo months of struggle. I know these waiting children have mothers out there somewhere...I know they were born to one woman while God was preparing the heart of another woman to make that child their own. I just don't know how to help people overcome the fear of all the bad stuff I mentioned in this post. Yes, there is struggle...there is so, so, so much struggle. And it's's not very comfortable when people stare at your child and whisper...but look at their faces. Should our comfort be more valuable than their lives? I don't think so. The absolute bottom line when it comes to adoption is this: you're going to struggle...struggle in your marriage, struggle in your finances, struggle in your parenting style, struggle in your're going to fight with insurance companies, with doctors, with your spouse, with all the people who have an opinion about who you adopted and where you adopted from and why you adopted. Life is not going to be rainbows and kittens. But...and this is a huge're going to be given the opportunity to walk into an orphanage, pick up a broken, sad, neglected child who is just hanging on by a thread...a child that no one has ever lovingly touched before you, who has never been rocked before you, who has never heard "i love you" before you...and you're going to get to save a life. You're going to bring them home and you're going to get their first genuine "wow I have a mommy" smile. They're going to eventually trust you so much that when they're hurting, they'll reach for you. You will become their person, their world, the love of their life...and they're blossom and thrive and sparkle. Nothing beats it, not a single thing in this world is more beautiful than buying back a life.

I truly feel like God was leading me to write this, like there is someone somewhere struggling with a huge decision about adoption. Whoever it is, just jump in. If you feel pulled to these children and their plight...go all in. If it's meant to happen it will, if it's not meant to happen it won't and you will know you were intended to be an advocate and prayer warrior...but really, just go for it! You have everything to gain... maybe not in this life, but it's Kingdom work and you will be so rewarded. If any of my friends, or anyone for that matter, has any questions about adoption and how to get started...please talk to me! I could talk for hours about adoption! I will be in your corner, I will be that friend that supports you through the ups and downs. The money comes together, everything comes together when you're answering the call. I hope whoever the Lord intended this post for reads it, and decides to say yes. <3

Saturday, April 18, 2015


So a lot of people have asked me why I don't blog on a regular basis. Apparently I've given the impression that my family is interesting. ;) I'm actually a very boring person who sits at home and does dishes and sweeps up 10,000 messes a day and yells at short people to keep their clothes on. Not so awesome right? 

I truly have no idea how to write a blog post about myself but I understand the desire to know the person behind the adoption story and all that so I'll do a little "10 facts about our crazy family/life" and hope that works. So here goes.

1. I love my people unconditionally. What do I mean by "my" people? My family, obviously, but my friends as well. I was raised an only child after my brother died when I was 3, I had no extended family in the area, so I grew up truly feeling like my friends were my family. I don't have many friends...I'm not the girl with 100 acquaintances she calls friends...but I have a tight circle of friends who are like my sisters. Once I find someone I connect with and want to be *real* friends with, I love them like family and there is absolutely nothing I wouldn't do for them. 

2. I have no filter. I don't know if this is a blessing or a curse but just know if you ask for honesty, you're going to get it...I'll be kind in my delivery though. :) My mouth has been known to get me into trouble, because I can be...opinionated? My husband says I'm bossy but that be true...right?! :)

3. My kids are my life. The sun revolves around these people as far as I'm concerned. Everything I do, every decision I make, every person I allow in our's all done with my children in mind. I get 18 years to teach them to be productive members of society. I take that responsibility very seriously so I'm often really tough on them when I know they can do better, but there is always time for hugs and kisses and being goofy, too.

4. My husband is my best friend. I know, I know...we all say that. :) I haven't been around many functional marriages in my lifetime (which is kind of sad, right?) so I don't really have anything to base our marriage off of but we just have a lot of fun together. I would always choose him to spend my time with over any other human being on this planet. I think he kinda likes me too. :)

5. I work from home selling hair accessories and handmade jewelry, but I have 3 degrees. After high school I went off to college and double majored in Political Science and Economics. I wanted to study corporate law and was accepted into Northwestern's Juris Doctorate program but ended up moving to Tennessee. There was really nothing I could do with my degree field here so I went back to get a Criminology/Public Service degree, and because I'm a crazy person I'm getting ready to start a master's degree. I guess you could call me a professional student but I love learning and I can't stop myself. :)

6. Speaking of learning, I've homeschooled my kids for six years. My oldest has always homeschooled, my youngest is being homeschooled now for preschool (he will go to public school next year), and my daughter with special needs homeschooled with me for two years before going to public school this year. I try to gauge each kids needs, and when I feel like I'm doing them more harm than good, I send them to school. My daughter was mostly learning life skills with me, and when I did all I could for her on a full time basis, I felt professionals would do a better job. My youngest son asked to go to school, so we are trying and if it doesn't work we can always pull him. My oldest loves homeschooling and will probably homeschool through high school.

7. We love Jesus. That's probably a really weird thing to say nowadays, right? It probably sounds really weird to people who knew us "back then" too...but people change! We, as a team, decided a few years ago to turn our lives over to God, and we haven't looked back. We are by no means perfect Christians, we get more wrong than we get right on any given day, but we're trying to use our lives to better the lives of others. When people ask why we adopt, why we choose to be really cheap so we have more to give away to others, why I invite homeless guys to have dinner at random restaurants with my family, why we're so weird haha...the only answer I have is Jesus. I don't need stuff, I don't need money, I don't need to keep up with the Jones'...I need my Jesus to say "well done" when the few years I have on this earth are over. 

8. I love DIY projects! (I'm just really bad about finishing them...) I love painting and distressing and building...but I get a little busy and tend to have half finished projects everywhere...

9. I'm a speed reader. I have to get books from the library or go sit at the bookstore and read, or find freebies in the Kindle store because otherwise reading gets really expensive haha. I tend to finish a book a day when given the time.

10. I'm an open book. I share everything! I'm on facebook a lot because it's my only grown up interaction most days...I can only watch so much Doc McStuffins before I want to snap and choke those little toys out. :)

So there are 10 facts...not super interesting, but a little insight into who we are. <3  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Giveaway update

More winners! Again I'm sorry for the short blog post. My daughter gave me quite the scare this week which included an ambulance transport to our closest Children's hospital (2 hours away). She is still very sick so prayers would be greatly appreciated! Here are the latest winners in our giveaway:

Kindle- Natalie K
Scrapbook stuff- Gigi G
iPad- Amanda S
Chrome book- Sam R

If we aren't Facebook friends, please email me your address at: I am shocked by the number of people who have shared and donated to this fundraiser. I thought it would take months to finish and we are at the tail end already! God is faithful and provides! 

Thank you thank you!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

For my friend

So, I know we've had this conversation before but I think it's worth repeating. Adoption is hard. We often don't hear about the hard parts because those who have the guts to go back again and again  tend to be tough...or stubborn...or just really courageous and brave...and they keep a lot of the hard stuff bottled up inside. So with that in mind, meet my friend Jamie.

Jamie is on her 3rd adoption in three years and will be bringing home adopted kiddos number 4 and 5 around the time Cliff comes home. This will make a total of 8 kids for her family! Somehow she finds time to homeschool, cook amazing meals, and fundraise her tush off for her boys who are waiting. As if all of that isn't enough, she also welcomes her friends into her home anytime and makes them feel like they've always been there. She's a great person, and I'm lucky to call her friend.

In true tough adoptive mama fashion, Jamie won't tell you how rough things are right now so I'm going to do it for her. She had a loss in her family, she's not only in the middle of moving but fixing up her current house to put it on the market. I'm not talking touching up paint but like installing flooring and cabinets and hard labor! Did I mention she has 6 kids? Homeschools? Half of them have Down syndrome? She is a beast, right?! Well unfortunately the list doesn't end there. One kiddo had surgery yesterday and is thankfully doing great, but another little one, her tiniest (size wise) is having major open heart surgery next month. Obviously with all of this going on fundraising is going to be hard, and that's where I could use some help. 

I want to see her fully funded. I really really want to see that burden lifted as she deals with everything else going on. She needs roughly $10k more and I know the number is scary but I've seen it happen before. Yes it's typically right at the end but this is kind of a unique case where you have a hardworking mother who has lots going on that is out of her control and it would just be really nice to see the community rally and get this done and show her that we care, because she has shown time and again that SHE cares. She cares about the kids she's bringing home, the kids others are bringing home, the waiting kids, and Reece's Rainbow as a whole. She donates when she has needs herself, and this is a person who would truly give you the shirt off her back.

She will protest but I don't care, but until
Her boys are funded I'm putting half of my sales into her FSP, and half will go towards Cliff. God provides, I will get funded, I'm not concerned. I love her kids like they're my own so Evan and Raymond are a priority for me as well.

Please search your hearts, drop in $5 or $10 and get her closer to the finish line! Here is her FSP where you can make a donation and I'm going to get an auction set up and 1/2 of the proceeds will go to Jamie too, so check back for that announcement! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Round Two!

Winners Round Two!

Hammered By His Hands Jewelry - Annie Trenda
$50 Target Gift Card - Lindee Griffin
$50 Amazon Gift Card - Melissa Moos
Rock City Passes - Lisa Smith
$100 RR Donation - Catie G
Fitbit Flex - Sandy Shepherd

We're SUPER close to giving away a Kindle!!! Thanks for helping us get this far!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's a bird, it's a plane...'s Super Cliff!!

Please help us get closer to bringing Cliff home by ordering a super cute cape. They are cheaper than the ones you could buy at the store yet 100% of the profit goes to Cliff! 


These are $10 if you are local to the Jackson, TN area or $12 if you would like them shipped.

You can send your payment to PayPal email: or you can leave your PayPal email in the comments (they are moderated so your email will not be made public) and I can send you an invoice.

I need to sell at least 20 so please help! I will close the fundraiser on May 1st and place the order. I was told they ship within 2 weeks. :)

When ordering, please specify which superhero cape you would like!

Thanks for helping Cliff come home!!