Friday, March 3, 2017

Things you should know - 14 months home

-We have more good days than bad.

-I don't get as many headaches because I am not constantly clenching my jaw for hours on end.

-I love adoption even more than when we first started.  Its complicated and messy and not for everyone but its absolutely beautiful.

-I don't love my kids all the same.  Its completely different.  But I do love them.  All of them.  

-I ask for help more.  And I still feel guilty about not being able to 'do it all' but I am also reconciling that God made us for community to help one another.

-Trauma is still a very big presence in our house.  We see it every day.  

-Some days trauma looks like filling a backpack with all the toys and refusing to share.  But also refusing to play with any of the hoarded toys.

-Some days trauma looks like going bat-poop crazy when she gets hurt.  And instead of being comforted, she fights for her life against whoever is trying to help.

-And sometimes trauma visits us at night- in fitful rest and inconsolable sobs in her sleep that no amount of rocking or back patting can wish away.

-I still marvel at how far she has come.  When she eats a whole meal and asks for seconds.  When she  initiates play with her brothers or friends.  When she skips off to school with her classmates.  When she uses words- a complete sentence!- to ask for something.  

-I can now look back a few months ago and see the way God was taking me apart.  The pain of that is still sharp but it is no longer confusing.  I see why I was broken.  And why the cracks were allowed to show- and not be repaired exactly as I once was.

-Certain memories from those past months still cause a -brief- physical reaction of terror from me.  We were not ok and it left its mark.

-But scars are important.  Mila constantly shows me past scars- small scratches and bumps from normal childhood play- and declares them 'bad owie.' And though I acknowledge them and still kiss her 'bad owies,' I also know that they no longer pain her.  Her owies do not hurt anymore but they take time to fade.  And fading scars can serve as a reminder of how far we've come together.  

-I live with the conflict of desperately wanting to see Mila become 'typical' and fiercely defending, protecting, and celebrating her uniqueness.  

-I would do it all over again in heart beat.  And I pray that we will someday soon.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Feeding Challenges... Guest post on NHBO

My introduction to the world of feeding challenges coincided with me becoming a mother. 
My firstborn son – a perfect, squishy newborn – refused to eat. He had no physical limitations or reasons for refusing food, he just didn’t see the need nor possess the desire to fulfill his hunger by eating. 
The first six weeks of his life were the longest of mine… and are honestly a hazy blur of frustration, exasperation, and of feeling utterly helpless to provide for my baby. We persevered but the scars from our first tango with feeding challenges went deep. 
My picky infant turned into a picky toddler who morphed into a picky preschooler and is now a ‘particular’ kindergartner. We should have investigated things with an occupational therapist, but my son managed to sneak back onto the growth charts, and we got busy with having another baby and ultimately bringing a child into our home through adoption. 
Our second son ate like a champ. I took great pleasure in watching him gleefully experience food and was relieved to learn that my other son’s feeding issues were not really about me. I wish this lesson stuck.
And then we set out to adopt. And of course, we made the terrible-in-hindsight joke that as long as we don’t have to deal with food issues, we would be golden.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mila Day!

Happy Mila Day! One year of family looks good on you #mightymila !

Monday, November 28, 2016


We walked on to the playground to wait for the bell to ring and send your big brother off to his classroom. As soon as you rounded the corner, they saw you, calling out "Mia! There's Mia! Hi Mia!"
That's how I knew that you had introduced yourself- all on your own without help from me or your brothers to insist on the 'L'. You're never far from my side and certainly not out of eye sight and yet somehow I missed you making new friends. 
They tower over you but they're probably only a couple months your senior. You ran around the playground, new playmates giggling and chasing you. You perceived that they were teasing and you threw your tiny arm out and yelled 'Stop!' And they did. 
And then you were off again with your posey. Swings were next. They waited with you, counted the obligatory 30 seconds for the next turn on your behalf, lifted you onto the swing, and gave you a push- all on their own, no grown up intervention or prompting needed. 
And you squealed and called out to me. And when I caught your eye you grinned and proudly pointed to the kind little girls giggling with you. 

Kindness matters. To the parents of these little ones- you have done an amazing thing. You have taught your girls to look beyond physical differences, perceived age differences, and limitations (speaking is so overrated anyway!). Thank you. From #mightymila and her mother, thank you. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Then and Now: Mila

"This before and after is so clearly beyond any of our human efforts – it’s so obviously God working in the walled off heart of a hurting little girl. And even more hidden, His gentle touch on the insecurities and fears of this mama’s heart as well."

Read More at of my guest post at No Hands But Ours

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Love... hard fought, bravely chosen, slowly grown. Our relationship has never been easy. Maybe someday we will look back and remember the hard but maybe it will always be a battle- but one that's worth fighting. Love isn't feelings, hugs, or sappy words. Sometimes those things are there, but often they are absent and what remains is resolve, showing up, going through the motions. And allowing God's love to be enough- because God's love is always enough. And it is slowly transforming, reshaping, remaking my heart into something beautiful through this little girl and all her mischief. Good things come in little packages- #mightymilasized ones to be exact! #wecouldhavemissedthis#adoptionrocks #adoptionawarenessmonth

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Our first trip to the beach she clung to us as if her life depended on it. She refused to touch sand, water, or crack a smile. Our second trip to the beach we were too loaded down with gear to carry her so she cried pitifully behind us as we trekked to the perfect spot. At one point her shoe fell off and she suddenly no longer had use of her legs. I recall dragging a wagon full of beach chairs and umbrellas and a tiny Chinese girl who had gone completely limp over the dunes. And here we are, 11+ months since that first beach trip soaking in a warm November evening. She asked me to burry her and when I dug a hole for her feet, she slipped her whole body under the sand and squealed as it covered her. If only all of her transitions and adjustments to family have been as monumental and easy as her appreciation for the beach. Adoption is hard. Much harder than a tiny Instagram square can truly accurately depict. But it is so worth it. November is #nationaladoptionmonth and we are tagging #wecouldhavemissedthis to show the joys and the reality of adoption. Hard? Yes. Worth it? As many grains of sand at the beach yes!