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!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy birthday

A very pink birthday cake this year - and one eager birthday girl devouring it. One year ago we were celebrating solemnly as our little girl was waking up on her birthday in an orphanage. Just another day passing her by, no cake, no presents, but more significantly, no adoring brothers singing loudly and no mama and dada cheering her on. 

Or at least she didn't know she had all those things and so much more- extended family, best friends, a home of her own, and a slobbering dog. So much has changed in a year. 

She has learned to eat solid foods, has started speaking a new language. She can ride a balance bike, pick out her favorite cartoon, and has a growing posse of adoring little boys who all think that she loves them best. But the biggest change- home. Family. Forever. She belongs. She is chosen. She is loved. And she knows it now. Happy fourth birthday baby girl!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why I have PTSD from Walmart.

Today I extracted a sliver from a finger, washed out eyeballs that got some thing scratchy in them, cleaned out an old foot wound, dealt with the 'fun' of a suspected uti, checked for broken bones when one of my tiny geniuses attempted flight, and had a blood- splurting gash on my hand from a broken glass-that actually made me consider how I would load up the kids and drive to the ER if I couldn't get the bleeding under control. That felt like a lot. Then this happened...

When I entered through the giant sliding doors and passed under the icy blast of air conditioning, I was an average Walmart shopper, just like so many others. I had my list, my three kids who were out dangerously close to lunch time, and the goal of getting in and out of there as quickly as possible with those listed items. And we were doing so well! My cart was full- yes I had two boys in the basket and my daughter in the seat but also nearly all the things we came in for. None of my crew were yelling, throwing things, or being otherwise obnoxious. That last elusive item was causing me to back track through the store when my youngest, who had gotten eerily quiet, let out a whimper and then threw up all over his brother's lap and down through the cart. 

Thankfully he missed all the items in the cart but Corbin let out a yowl and burst into tears to accompany Leo's . Mila watched on perplexed. I removed vomit covered boys from the cart and frantically searched for one of those clean up stations. A lady with a cart rounded the corner, beheld the carnage, and then made a hasty retreat. But not before making eye contact with me and giving me the look of horror. I grabbed  Leo's hand, told his brother to keep up, and pushed the cart to the nearest main aisle. Thankfully an employee with a cart full of cleaning supplies appeared on the horizon- I changed course and rushed up to her.  "Excuse me! We need a clean up a few rows over- we're looking for some paper towels but don't anyone to get hurt back there..."

I was answered with an icy stare. I motioned toward Leo- soaked and sobbing- and gestured back toward our puddle. She nodded and slowly pushed her cart of cleaning supplies away- without offering me so much as a paper towel. 

I pushed on- if we could find something to wipe off the boys, we could get to the front of the store with the cart, run into the bathroom, and return to check out super fast. That was not to be. 

Nearly every back to school shopper- nose buried in a list of supplies and weary- eyed children following behind them- proceeded to cut us off in our efforts to escape. Leo's pitch rose and I looked down in time to watch him hurl in front of the paint department. The employee I had seen just seconds ago restocking a shelf had magically vanished. Corbin whined louder and declared this to be 'very bad.' 

I pushed the cart a few feet further, still wondering if there was any hope in purchasing the things in there and Leo lost his cookies once again in front of pet supplies. 

Decision made for me, I unstrapped Mila, grabbed her and Leo's hands, and pointed Corbin toward the bathrooms. We darted around other shoppers, Leo pitifully crying the whole way and Corbin running with his legs spread wide to avoid feeling the nastiness. 

Mila stumbled about 100 yards from the bathrooms so I scooped her up mid-stride and barrel carried her under one arm. Any college football coach would have been proud of our darting and lurching.

At this point shoppers could NOT be oblivious to our spectacle.  Wide eyes followed our trajectory and came to their own conclusions. A few snickered. One stooped to wave at Leo and say hello. We blundered past and I gave the lady an incredulous look. 

The restrooms were blocked by the long line of customers waiting for returns. I shoved Corbin through a gap and dragged Leo behind. I think I actually leapt over a preschool aged girl who was sitting in the middle of the floor. We finally all tumbled into the bathroom and I got Leo to the sink. And realized there were no paper products to be seen. 'You're kidding me!' I blurted out to the universe or the powers of Walmart or the two teenagers 'hanging out' in the bathroom. I didn't  even know. Or care. I splashed Leo a bit and told Corbin tough luck until we got to the car. And turned and hustled my clan out of the restroom, back through the line of returners, across the lobby, and out the door where a clueless employee dared to call out "Thank you for shopping at Walmart!"  I stifled the millions of responses I wanted to shout back and made it to the car where paper towels and wet wipes awaited. 

All before 12:30. Contemplating a 1:00 happy hour...