"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:3-5

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Revised T-Shirt Design

We have revised the design for our t-shirt fundraiser, removing the wording ~OurRoseInBloom~ on the back.  We wanted to provide shirts that are not so specific to our family, so that more people can feel comfortable wearing them.  They are still available by clicking on the link on the righthand side of the blog, entitled "Rose's Village".

With much love,
The Hadsell Family


Friday, August 10, 2018

It Takes A Village

The saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" is so very true, and even more so in the case of international adoption and orphan care.  We have launched a t-shirt fundraising campaign to raise funds for Rose's adoption, as well as a sizeable donation to her orphanage in Tianjin.  From the recent accounts of other adoptive families who have adopted from her orphanage, we now know that it is extremely understaffed, and unable to provide for costly surgeries and other medical therapies that many of the children are in desperate need of.  With not enough hands to feed all the babies, if a child cannot hold their own bottle to be fed, they simply aren't fed.  Without enough hands to hold all the little ones, they are simply left in their crib to soothe and entertain themselves, by any means they can--hand flapping, hand chewing, head banging, rocking, etc.  More caretakers would mean more one on one interaction, more eye contact, more physical touch and healthy stimulation, and more love.  The nannies do care about these children.  But they can only do what they can do with what they have.  There are children who need surgery, medicine, and therapies who simply go without for as long as their little bodies can hold on.  With donations directed specifically towards medical care, some of those children won't have hold on until it's too late.

While the orphanage donation is a completely voluntary expense, it is the one that holds the most value in our hearts.  The money goes directly to the needs of all the little ones we will leave behind.  Walking out of those orphange doors, holding Rose in my arms, will be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do.  Because I will be walking away from hundreds of other children just like her, some in much more dire need.  Some have faces that I have already seen, burned into my heart, which is aching to get them out too.  But just like the nannies, we can only do what we can do with what we have.

So we are asking all of you, our friends and family, if you will consider being part of Rose's Village--not only to bring her home, but to help all those that we can't bring home.  It will take a village to bring Rose out of orphanhood, a village to raise her, and a village to meet the needs of the children who remain in the Tianjin Children's Welfare Institute.  We are so grateful for the village that God is raising around us, and we know that He will continue bringing people to come alongside us as we walk out this journey.

To purchase a t-shirt for our fundraiser, you can click on the link on the righthand side of this page entitled "Rose's Village".  The shirts are available in six colors, in both youth and adult sizes.

Thank you for being part of Rose's Village!

With much love,
Ashley

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Glimpses of Rose




In recent days, we have gotten more tiny glimpses into Rose’s past, as well as a growing understanding of what her current world looks like. Through the wonders of Facebook (which I have avoided at almost all costs for many years), I have connected with so many amazing women who have walked this road of adoption before me, or are walking it right alongside me. We are complete strangers, and yet share a common ground that instantly unites us. It was through one of these fellow adoptive Mamas that we got the old pictures and videos of Rose that I talked about in the last post. And it was through that same friend that I have been connected with three other Mamas who are adopting from the same orphanage where Rose is. She knew that all four of us were currently in process to adopt from Tianjin, and started a group chat late one night. As it turns out, one of those Mamas was actually on the plane to Beijing at that very moment—she was three hours away from touching down in China, and with the amazingness of modern technology, she was able to chat with us via messenger from the air! It was incredible. She kindly offered to try to see Rose, and the other little ones in our group, and get pictures and videos of them for us while she was there getting her little girl. The adoptive community is truly like none other. The fact that she would offer to take the time to see our children for us, on the very day that she was receiving her own, blew me away. That was her Gotcha day, which was sure to be wrought with every emotion under the sun, and demanding of her full attention. And yet she was willing to carve out moments for each of our families, to give us the best gift anyone can give during the adoption wait—little tiny glimpses of our children, firsthand information about how they are doing and what their world is really like. It was a gesture that I will never forget, and I hope to pay it forward for other families when I am there getting Rose. We weren’t sure if the orphanage director would allow her to see our little ones, so we waited anxiously on pins and needles for any news from Tianjin.


In the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning, my phone dinged with the words, “Your Rose is so so so precious!!! I caught her at mealtime, but we got to see her.” Thank You, Father, for those words! Then, moments later, two pictures and a short little video popped up.






She looks so big in these new photos, she is growing so fast!  They said she looks to be wearing about a size 2T, which is much bigger than we had anticipated based on her last measurments from the orphanage.  And her sweet expression in the video, as she looks up at her nanny, oh my word...it melted me into a giant puddle.  It's just a brief glance, but it's a glance of recognition and responsiveness.  A tiny glimor of hope.

The next night, again in the wee hours of the morning (because Tianjin is 13hrs ahead of us), my phone dinged.  This time with another message, and more pictures of our Rose.  She said that she hadn't wanted to send this next group of pictures the previous night without an explanation first.  She said that Rose seemed to get agitated after they had been standing by her crib for a little bit.  She then started rolling around in her crib, which looked painful, so they decided to step away at that point.  That is behavior which is all too common in children who have spent years in an institution.  Though their minds and bodies need human interaction, physical touch, and mental stimulation...they are indredibly uncomfortable with it.  They resist the attention of others, and even the warm embrace of a caregiver.  They have recoiled into a protective shell of survival, wanting nothing to do with other people.  After all, people can't be trusted.  People haven't met their needs as they should.  People haven't cared for them as innocent children should be cared for and nurtured.  I have gone back and forth about whether or not to share the following pictures.  Some of them are not easy to see.  But it's not just the beautiful parts of Rose's story that will bring glory to God.  It's in the the most painful, the ugliest, most broken parts of her story where Grace will be found, and the Light of God's redemption will shine the brightest.  These pictures show the effect of institutionalization, and the lack of touch and loving interaction.  They show our very broken little Rose.










After hearing this new information about Rose, and seeing the above pictures, my "It's the middle of the night" brain fell right back into panic and fear.  All the doubts and fears and what if's came flooding back, again.  If a few kind, but unfamiliar, faces standing around her crib were too much stimulation, too uncomfortable for Rose to bear, then what on earth is she going to do when she comes into our loud and somewhat chaotic family?!?  There will be constant stimulation coming from  completely new people and places, with new kinds of sounds and activity going on all around her.  God, are you really sure you chose us to be her family?!?!  Did we hear You all wrong?  Have we made the biggest mistake of our lives?  Is this what is really best for Rose?  Can we really do this?  Is she too broken for us to help?  Have the effects of institutionalization shattered all hope for her future?  Will she ever be able to receive love?  Will she ever learn to walk, or speak even a few words?  Will she remain isolated, shunning human interaction?  Ya'll, I am trying to be as transparent as possible here.  I think that if we are telling God's story, we must do so with complete and total honesty.  This is hard stuff, with life-long impacts on everyone involved.  Not to mention eternal consequences in the heart of our Father.  

As the morning light came, and my mind started coming out of the dark fog of night, I started doing the only thing I know to do--diving into research mode, seeking out understanding and resources to equip me for whatever challenge I am facing.  I called the medical/developmental specialist that we plan to take Rose to soon after she gets home, to make double sure that our insurance covers their practice.  They do, which was a huge sigh of relief, but only a tiny balm to my aching, scared, doubting spirit.  That same morning we received an email telling us that our dossier had completed the review process in China, and that we should recieve our long-awaited LOA (letter of approval) within two weeks.  Had that news come a couple days before, it would have been the best news ever.  The news we have been waiting so long to hear.  But now, that news came amidst the merkiness of doubt and fear.  And we were at the point of needing to send in some of our final paperwork to our adoption agency, as well as another large payment.  Decisions had to be made.  

David and I talked over all of our concerns, all the things that had been brought to light, all that looked different now.  We talked to our three bigs, and explained a worst case scenario of what life might look like with Rose, and asked them how they felt about it.  Did it scare them?  Did they think they would be able to handle the amount of time and attention she would require from me?  Did it change the way they felt about her adoption?  I fully expected them to voice at least some degree of concern.  But they didn't.  They each said that they understand why she is the way she is, why she will need so much, why it may not be fun or cute or happy all the time.  They understand they will have to make sacrifices.  But they each believe that God has called us, our whole family, to adopt Rose.  And if God has called us to it, then why are we questioning it?  You guys, few things in life could be more humbling than hearing those words from your children.  That is what faith looks like.  No amount of doing or thinking or talking can replace true faith.  Faith is what happens when we place all of our thoughts and questions and doubts at the feet of Christ.  Faith is what happens when we trust in Him, not in our own understanding or abilities.  Faith is what happens when we say "Yes, no matter what."  Faith is what happens when...

"Life breaks and falls apart.
But we know that those are places
where grace is soon to be amazing.
It may be unfulfilled.
It may be unrestored.
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord,
just watch and see, 
it will not be unredeemed."

~From "Unredeemed" by Selah

Rose's life has been broken and fallen apart, it has been shattered.  Her purpose remains unfulfilled, her little spirit remains unrestored.  But we have laid these shattered pieces before the Lord, and we know that these are places where God's Grace is soon to be amazing, and Rose's life will not be unredeemed!  Though she resists love now, how much more beautiful will it be when she can melt into the safe embrace of her Mama and Daddy's arms.  How much sweeter will it be when she can cry, knowing that her voice will be heard, and her needs will be met.  How much more joyful will it be to see her smile, or hear her laugh.  How much more glorious will her redemption be, knowing how broken her life has been.  And how much louder is her Mama Bear now roaring to get her home!!!

I said earlier that we also received more glimpses into Rose's past.  We now have pictures of exactly where Rose's life started falling apart.  It's not just an idea in our heads, it's a real life place.  If the walls could talk, they would tell stories of agony and desperation.  Stories of parents making the hardest decision of their lives, to walk away from their children in hopes that somehow they would receive the medical care they so desperately need; or in hopes that they would someday be adopted by a family that could provide for them.  This is where Rose was left, the safest of all places in the hardest of situations.  This is the Tiajin Infant Security Island.  There is a sign at the front of the building telling parents that, "The only true safe island for a baby is at home."


This is the inside.  A tiny little room in which parents may spend thier last few moments with their children, saying goodbye in total privacy.
  

There is a crib for older infants/children to be placed in.


There is an incubator for newborns or more fragile babies to placed in.


There is a table with a notepad, and a sign asking parents to leave a note with their baby.



By the door, there is a doorbell that parents can ring if they want their child to be found immediately.  There is also a sign telling parents that the Island will be checked hourly to see if any children have been left.


There are signs posted around the room listing resources for various medical conditions and disabilities, last desperate attempts to get parents to reconsider abandoning their babies.  But unfortunately, all too many parents simply cannot afford to pay for those resources.  All medical services in China must be paid for up front, before any services are rendered.  This leaves so many parents feeling like there is no other option for their child than to abandon them, and leave them in the care of the government institutions.  This was Rose's reality.  This very room is where her mother or father brought her to say their last goodbyes.  We don't know if they left a note with her, but I doubt it.  In her file, her birthdate is listed as February 28, 2016.  She was found in the Island on March 28, 2016.  It is highly likely that they estimated her age to be about one month old, and thus assigned her a birthdate of exactly one month previously.  Had there been a note, there would probably have been an actual birthdate for her.  

This little pink room is the place where Rose's life first broke and fell apart.  But it is also the place where Grace was soon to be amazing.  The call was put out about a little girl named Jia Ning who needed a family, and Grace cast our eyes upon her sweet face on February 15, 2018--almost two years after she was laid down and left in this room.  Grace paved the way for us to bring her home.  Grace will fulfill her purpose.  Grace will restore her spirit.  Grace will redeem all that was shattered in this room on March 28, 2016, because Rose was not simply laid in a crib to be found by orphanage staff...she was laid before the Lord.

Thank You, Father, for Your amazing Grace.  Thank You for giving us hope when all seems to be lost.  Thank You for reminding us of Your merciful power to redeem the most broken of Your children, to make Your face shine upon them, and give them Life eternal.  Thank You for making beauty out of ashes.  Thank you for Rose, and the story You are writing in her life.  Thank You for choosing us to be her family, and trusting us with this most beautiful of Your treasures.  We are not worthy, and it is only in You that we will be able to walk this out.

With much love, and heart restored with hope,
Ashley

      

  

Friday, July 27, 2018

Mama Bear


Two days ago we received some new information about our little Rose.  It was actually old information, but new to us.  We went from being elated to have these new glimpses into her past, to being swallowed up by a wave of intense fear.  When we first inquired about Rose, we were immediately told that she was severely delayed, way behind other children with Down Syndrome of the same age.  We were told that she would never be one of those children that comes home and catches up to her peers.  I heard those discouraging words, and sat with them in the quiet of my heart.  I heard whispers of autism in the depths of my soul.  I asked God if He truly had chosen us to be her family, because autism has been one of my biggest fears as a parent.  I will never forget breathing a sigh of relief when our first son turned two, and then four, and finally coming out of the “danger zone” when many children are first diagnosed with autism.  It’s been this deep-seated fear for so long, and I’ve always thought that I could handle anything except that.  So, when I started hearing those internal whispers of autism with Rose, I felt an indescribable sense of panic and fear.  But we said yes amidst those concerns.  We knew without a shadow of any doubt that God was asking us to trust Him, and to say yes to even “the least of these.”

In May, we received an update from China, with one short little video of Rose.  In the video, she rolled over from her back to her tummy (a new accomplishment at 27 months old), she reached for and interacted with a toy, and for the briefest of seconds she smiled.  I cried when I saw that little tiny smile.  It was like a heavy weight was lifted off my chest, and I knew that no matter what, I could handle whatever needs she might have.  I saw a tiny little glimpse of joy living within her, and that was all that mattered.

And then, two nights ago, we received some old videos of Rose.  They are much longer than any of the newer ones we have.  I was first struck by how unbelievably precious she was.  Oh my goodness, she was such a CUTE little baby!!  But then I was struck by how lifeless her little eyes looked.  They are like two beautiful brown wells of deep, deep loss.  Like her little spirit is in there somewhere, but it’s lost in some kind of murky darkness.  It’s hard to find the right words.  It’s just like she is lost.  She doesn’t respond to her nannies as they try to call her name, get her attention, play with her, give her toys, love on her.  They do care for her, you can see it.  But she just looks empty.  Those whispers of autism came back, much louder than before.  And the wave of fear became impossible to overcome.  All I could do was ask God, “What do we do?”  We can handle anything.  Anything but this.  Not this.

I had heard other women talk about the intense grief they felt when they were told their unborn baby would have Down Syndrome.  They would say that they grieved for the child they thought they were going to have, the life that child would lead, the milestones they would reach.  It was hard for me to completely understand their grief, because I know that Down Syndrome is not a death sentence.  I see that extra chromosome as an extra measure of God's mysterious but wonderful blessings.  So to me, their diagnosis just meant that their child would be different than what they had originally thought…not less, or worse.  Two nights ago I felt their grief.  I now know their pain.  I get it.  Seeing how incredibly “different” Rose is from other children her age, even those with Down Syndrome, shook me to my core.  She isn’t the happy, bubbly, playful little girl that some of her peers are.  She isn’t just developmentally slow.  She isn't just cognitively delayed.  It’s more than that.  Much more.

After sitting with the grief, the loss, the pain, and the overwhelming fear of not being enough for Rose, I was finally able to utter those words to God, “What do we do?”  And He answered.  Immediately.  Indisputably.  He whispered into my spirit, “You go get her, Mama.  You love her with the fierceness that only a mother can.  She’s yours, and you are hers.  She needs you, and you need her.  She is beautifully and wonderfully made by Me.  Go get her.”  With those words, the Mama Bear inside of me raised its head and roared so loudly I wouldn’t be able to silence it if I tried.    I felt more in love with her than ever before; more determined to get to her as quickly as possible; more convinced that she is ours and we are hers than I ever imagined.  The fear and sadness are still there, but they are tempered by God’s Love and Grace.  My heart is broken by what she has endured for two and a half years, the impact that it has had on her, the loss of what could have been.  But that is part of the story that God is writing.  It’s all part of His greater plan.  And to Him be all the glory.

No, we don’t know if Rose has autism.  It’s just a suspicion.  We won’t know anything until we have her home, get through the initial transition, and start with medical and therapeutic assessments.  Even then it will likely take quite a long time to see the real Rose emerge...to see Our Rose In Bloom.  Either way, she is beautiful, made in her Father's image, crafted by His hands.

So, we move forward, one foot in front of the other, with the tenacity of a mighty Mama Bear.





We ask you all to pray for Rose in the coming months--that her nannies would continue to care for her to the best of their ability, and show her compassion despite her challenges.  That she would know Love, before she knows the love of a mother and father.  That she would find Joy, before she experiences the joy of a family.  That she would have Peace, before she knows the peace and security of a safe and loving home.  And that God would prepare us in any and every way necessary to be her Mama and Daddy.
 
With much love,
Ashley

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Introducing Luke





Where oh where do I start with Luke's story?!  He is our little firecracker who keeps everyone on their toes, and in constant wonder about what he will do next.  The fact that Luke tried to make his grand entrance into this world at just 32 weeks was our first clue as to just how much this little boy would rock our world.  God definitely broke the mold when He made Luke.  He blazes his own trail, marches to the beat of his own drum, does everything in his own time and in his own way.  If I had to describe Luke in one word, it would be intense—he loves intensely, hugs intensely, feels intensely, plays intensely, communicates intensely, and lives intensely.



Luke has kept us guessing from day one.  We were absolutely, totally, and completely shocked to find out we were expecting him.  Noah was only eight months old at the time, and we were definitely still adjusting to life with four kiddos.  After we picked our jaws up off the floor and started breathing again, we were so thankful that Noah would have a little brother to grow up with.  During his pregnancy, he was a very quiet baby; so much so that our doctor became a little concerned about the lack of movement.  I remember thinking that he was for sure going to be my quiet, studious, book-worm type child.  After all, I never felt him bouncing around in there, doing summersaults, or kicking my ribs out. 😉  Yeah…NO, that was just him keeping us guessing.  He is the farthest thing from the quiet book-worm type child that you could possibly get!  Other than him being so quiet, my pregnancy with him was filled with all sorts of crazy medical issues, which had everyone completely perplexed.  There were no logical explanations for any of the problems that were arising.  Then, at 32 weeks, Luke threw us all a curveball.  As my mom drove me to the hospital, just as a precaution to get things checked out, I told her in no uncertain terms that I knew everything was going to be fine.  I knew the nurses would just tell me I was being a typical paranoid pregnant lady, and to go home and relax.  For anyone who knows me, you know how odd that was.  I’m a total worry-wart to the bone, and I over analyze absolutely everything.  So it was completely out of the norm for me to be so convinced that everything was fine.  Well, needless to say, I was wrong.  They told me that my water had broken 8 weeks early, and I was in the early stages of labor.  In hopes that Luke could hang in there until he was a little stronger, I was admitted to the hospital to halt labor, and to receive 24/7 monitoring while on strict bed rest. The doctors wanted him to make it to 34 weeks, at which time they would re-induce labor because the risk of infection was too great for him to stay in any longer.  Thankfully he cooperated, and at 34 weeks he was born, weighing 4 lbs. 13 oz.  He was the tiniest of all our babies, but he was strong and healthy. 




The day before Luke was born, the NICU doctor warned me about the issues he would likely face—needing the help of a breathing tube and ventilator, needing a feeding tube to get nutrients into his body because he would be too weak to nurse, needing a warmer to keep his body temperature regulated, etc.  Just as I had predicted in no uncertain terms that everything was going to be fine on our way to the hospital, this doctor predicted in no uncertain terms that Luke was not going to be just fine when he was born.  Well, she was wrong too.  Luke was the strongest baby in the NICU.  He was able to breathe on his own, he started nursing immediately and was a total champ (he never needed any additional supplementation with formula or feeding tubes), and he quickly began regulating his own body temperature.  The doctors and nurses were all blown away by how healthy and strong he was.  He developed pretty severe jaundice, just like all our babies had, which was the only thing that kept him in the NICU.  After I was discharged from the hospital, I was able to stay in a little room down the hall from the NICU so I could feed him every three hours.  His little lungs were so strong that I could hear him crying inside his incubator all the way down the hall, through a series of walls and about three large rooms between us.  Let’s just say, the nurses never had to come get me when he was hungry!  That was another clue as to what this little guy’s life would be like.  And as it turns out, the reason my water broke at 32 weeks was because Luke had kicked a hole in the top of his sac…he was bustin’ outta there one way or another, in his own way and in his own time!  Again, that was just another clue as to what his life would look like. 😊

Tiny boy sunbathing under his bili lights. 

Going home after only 1 week in the NICU!

There is so much more to say about Luke’s birth story, and our time in the hospital, but I will try to keep it brief.  Those were three of the hardest weeks of my life—both because of worrying about our tiny little baby, and also because of being away from my family and not being able to care for them.  I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, full-time mom and wife.  My entire life is devoted to caring for my family.  So to be taken away from them without warning was excruciating.  But early on, God showed me this was a time that He had carved out for the two of us to spend with each other—just me and my Father.  I had no other responsibilities or distractions or interruptions.  It was the most intimate and precious time I have ever had with the Lord.  I was able to spend hours on end in prayer, in His word, and soaking in His Love.  He guided me each step of the way, showing me how to navigate Luke’s birth, what to pray over him after he was born, how to care for him in the NICU, and how to move forward as a momma of five children once we were sent home.  He revealed His heart to me, and His plans for my life.  He renewed my strength as a mother, He renewed my passion for Him and my faith in His unfailing love and goodness.  He drew me closer to Him than I have ever been.  The Light of the world was shining brightly around Luke and I the entire time we were in the hospital.  The same NICU doctor that had given me such a grim prognosis before his birth, later said that Luke’s health was nothing short of miraculous, and that she could sense a strong maternal spirit within me.  She was an unbeliever.  But God shined His Light into her world, and then gifted me with some of the most encouraging words I have ever received.  I always knew I was born to be a mother, but my time in the hospital when Luke was born served as a cherished affirmation of God’s purposes in my life.  I feel that what God did in my life during that time is very much a part of Luke’s own story.  I believe it points to how God purposes to use Luke throughout the course of his life.  God keeps us guessing, His mysteries are ever growing.  He works in mysterious and unexpected ways.  He reveals His power and glory, His light, His strength, and His ways to all those with eyes to see, in accordance with His own time.  Just when we think we have it all figured out, He reminds us that He alone is omniscient.

We were forever trying to capture just how tiny Luke was as a newborn, but pictures never truly did him justice.
Luke at 1 week.


Momma's hand on baby Luke.

Luke's tiny hand on Momma.          


He was smaller than Addison's 15" Bitty Baby doll at 2 weeks old.

Look how tiny those little feet were at 3 weeks old!

Luke at 6 weeks, on his original due date.

The list of things Luke has done in his own way, and in his own time is endless.  We have gone down several medical and therapeutic rabbit trails trying to figure him out, and help him develop “normally”.  But the reality is, Luke is not typical.  And that’s ok.  He wasn’t created to be typical.  He was created to be a reflection of God’s intensity, power, mysteriousness, uniqueness, and sovereignty.  Luke is extremely smart, he is strong and capable, he is creative and vibrant, he is bold and courageous.  His love is huge (and so is his temper), his sweetness is enormous (and so is his mischievousness), his joy is boundless (and so is his energy).  He is such an amazing mix of polar opposites, all wrapped into one adorable little package with precious dimples.



Getting prepped for his brain MRI.


Having a brain EEG test done.  

Graduation day from Physical Therapy
(He had the sweetest physical therapist ever!!)
Luke is the smallest one in our family, but has claimed the largest horse on the farm as his, which is so fitting! 

This is Huey, our huge teddy bear.  Again, the picture doesn't quite do Huey's size justice, he is huge!


He loves to move and climb and bounce and squeeze and burst into laughter. For the longest time we had a 7 foot trampoline in the middle of our living room, because a normal playpen simply would not suffice for our bundle of energy.




His excitement for life is palpable. 




We joke that if God has a place for demolition in His kingdom, that’s where Luke is headed!  Put that kid on a bulldozer and watch him go…and get out of the way!!  He is notorious for breaking things, hiding things in the craziest of places, and making lots of noise with anything and everything he gets his hands on.  The name Luke means “Light giving”—and that is exactly what our little Luke is.  Not quite like a ray of sunshine, more like a splendid firecracker—bright, brilliant, beautiful, a display of glorious Light...and comes with a loud bang!! 😊 We are so blessed to be Luke’s Momma and Daddy, he has rocked our world from the very beginning, and brought excitement, joy, and wonder at every turn.  We might be slightly exhausted, but we are certainly not bored!  We are totally and completely in love with this little boy, and the bright reflection of God's intense vivaciousness that is our Luke.  Luke can't wait to meet his little sister, and is constantly asking me when Baby Rose is going to get here.  She is bringing out his sweet nature before she's even here (let's hope it stays that way once she is here!!)  

        

With much love and constant wonder,
Ashley

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tiny Adoption Update

We received word last week that our dossier has been moved from the translation phase to the official review phase at the CCCWA.  It's not a huge milestone, but one little step closer to Rose.  The waiting is getting harder and harder every day.  I had a dream last night that she had turned seven years old by the time we were able to get to her.  I can't even begin to describe the sense of panic that I had when I woke up!  The effect that five more years in an orphanage would have on her...gutwrenching.  I know that it will only be a matter of months, but seriously, those months feel like years right now!!  Be prepared if you ever pray for patience, just sayin...

With much love,
Ashley

Introducing Noah





Noah is the first of our two little miracle boys, and is simply the sweetest four year old boy in the whole world (completely unbiased opinion of course!)  God’s fingerprints are all over Noah’s life, right from the very beginning, defying the doctors’ assessment that I would never be able to have any more children.  He came after the hardest, most painful, but most beautifully profound time in our marriage—a precious gift to remind us of what God’s vision is for our relationship, with each other and with Him.  In many ways, we felt like we were starting all over, even though he is our fourth child.  We had given away all of our baby and toddler gear, and we were no longer in the “little” years with our older three children.  Everyone was out of diapers, sleeping through the night, walking, talking, reading, feeding themselves, etc.  But we knew how quickly those little years had flown by, how precious they were, and we were overjoyed with the chance to experience that again with our little miracle baby.  Addison was especially excited to have a little sibling, a real life little baby doll to love. 

As we mentioned in our previous updates, we had originally thought that Noah was going to be a girl.  We had so clearly heard the Lord speak of a daughter whose name was to be Rose, and so we were lost as to what this sweet little boy’s name was to be.  We began praying, asking God to reveal his name to us in some clear and definite way.  Noah was the first of many names that came to us, but we never felt certain any of them were “the one”.  We were still completely unsure of his name as we drove to the hospital for delivery, and during the 24 hours of active labor it took to get him here.  But once he was born, we immediately knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that his name was Noah.  In the last trimester of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios, which means there was a lot of excess amniotic fluid in his sac.  As he was born, a nurse exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, he came with a flood!”  And thus sayeth the Lord, his name shall be Noah. 😊

Shortly after he was born, God used Noah to defy medical science once again.  The doctor told us that his cord had been tied in four separate knots, one of them being a double knot.  Every single nurse on the floor had to come by our room to see it, and to meet the little boy that was born perfectly healthy despite having four separate chances of being deprived of all oxygen and nutrients in utero.  Everyone told us how fortunate we were, and that he truly was a miracle.  Once nurse said, “God must have great plans for this little boy!”  We couldn’t agree more!


The name Noah comes from a Hebrew word meaning comfort and rest.  The sense of pure joy and comfort that Noah brings is indescribable.  I can’t say that I have ever felt more at peace than I did during those first precious days with him as a tiny little baby resting on my chest.  He brings a smile to everyone he meets.  There is just something about him—he’s magnetic, inviting, and so incredibly lovable.  From day one, he has been extremely expressive; it has never been hard to know exactly how he is feeling.  We used to have so much fun coming up with captions for all his little expressions when he was a baby, before he could talk and put words to them for himself (which he is quite adept at, sometimes too adept!!)  He was slow to speak, which was concerning initially.  But we soon realized that the reason he was slow to speak was because his mind was going so fast, observing all that was going on around him and absorbing every last drop of it.  His mouth couldn’t get the words out fast enough to keep up with his mind.  That is still the case even now.  Sometimes it takes him a little while to get a sentence out, because his mind is thinking ten steps ahead of the where the words are in his mouth.  Nothing gets past this kid--including things like Mommy's chipped nail polish on one measly little toe for example!😆  He is so smart, so observant, and incredibly attuned to other people’s emotions.  He is relational to his very core.  He loves big, thinks big, feels big, and expresses big.  We are just so blessed to get to be Noah's Momma and Daddy.



His little years have indeed flown by, faster than ever.  But this time around we knew to cherish every single second of it.  We treasured every single baby snuggle, even the ones that came in the middle of those unending sleepless nights.  We would be absolutely exhausted, but we knew that that phase would pass, and that all those countless midnight snuggles were nothing less than an opportunity to spend one more moment with our sweet baby.  Now that those moments are behind us, we are so very glad that we had them.  We delight in him every single day, and we absolutely cannot wait to see what God has in store for his life.  No matter what he grows up to be, we know one thing for sure—Noah will greatly impact all those around him with the bright reflection of God that radiates from deep within him. 



Noah has the same gift with horses that Addison does.  They all gravitate towards him, and seem to be at such ease in his presence.  He loves with such a pure heart, and I firmly believe that animals can sense that.  They know they are safe with him.  They know they can trust him.  It’s amazing to watch this little guy move in that gifting from such a young age.




With much love, and a very grateful Momma's heart,
Ashley