Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A new season...AGAIN!

It's been too long...it seems like a different lifetime when we were updating last. We had to make our blog private due to our adoption country requests. Long story short...we were expecting a referral any day for Maggie and things changed...AGAIN! The country didn't seem to have any little girls and things just weren't "feeling" like they were right. We changed our country! We moved our adoption journey back to China last January and after months of waiting, our dossier is in China and we are simply waiting for the email with the picture of our sweet Maggie we have prayed so long for! Another new season...I went back to teaching last March. I am teaching Kindergarten and I love it. This wasn't exactly in our plan for our life but it was as if God led the way for me to return to the classroom. I had been praying "Here am I Lord send me" thinking we would be going to another country. Much to my surprise I was called back to my home school where my heart is. After a lot of adjustments in our family we are accustomed to the new life with a working mommy and wife (most days LOL) Friday marks six years since Ian passed away. I knew this year would be a different experience with this grief because I am working now. I can't simply cry the day away and lay in bed or go on an adventure with Asher. I was praying on the way to school "Lord I hear of people "seeing" their loved ones or having visions. I want this Lord. Please let me see my sweet Ian or just give me a glimpse of what his days are like. Please give me open eyes and ears to hear You speak to me Lord. I'm looking!" Asher immediately said "I miss my bubba mommy!" He says this a lot even though they never met here on this earth as brothers. I wanted to become sad at this but it was as if God filled me with words to comfort our child. "Asher Ian is so happy! He won...you know how we are singing and praising God in our car? Well, Ian is getting to do this EVERY day with God! He is actually singing to God right now!!!" Asher responded with "I want to do that mommy!" I then led into telling my sweet four year old that if he believes in Jesus and asks him to live in his heart that one day he too will be singing praises to our Lord. There was my first glimpse today of what Ian is doing :) Next Asher says "I'm so happy God healed Ian!" I respond with "Me too buddy. Your brother can run and jump now. He can see with clear eyes and hear better than we can. He can even eat chocolate cake!" (all of this had to be explained of course that Ian couldn't do any of this. This just devastated Asher that he couldn't see or eat, etc.) Asher said "I bet he eats chocolate cake all day in Heaven!" :) I don't know if that's right but there was my second glimpse of Ian. Then it was if God said plain as day to me..."Mary, Asher is your glimpse of your healthy Ian! The way Asher runs, and plays...the way he tells an animated story...the way he has JOY in his heart...the sparkle in eyes. The pure sweetness that oozes from Asher as he says "Mommy you are still my best friend" Ian has all of this now! AND MORE!!!" It was as if God just showed me to look at Asher and that gives me a glimpse...a very small glimpse of what my sweet little boy is doing in Heaven. He is just doing it without any tears or sadness or sickness. He won the battle...I need to always remember Ian won! After all of this conversation Asher's favorite song "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me" came on. He said turn it up mommy I want to praise God like my bubba!!! He began singing so loud!!! It was as if God said "Look in your rearview mirror Mary and you can see a glimpse of what Ian is doing right now!" As I watched my sweet four your old sing his little heart out I was so thankful for the visual God gave me today to comfort my heart...Ian is fine! He's happy, healthy, and whole. Our hearts still ache for him to be in our arms but I know that I know that I know that my little Ian is perfect now. Just perfect! Photobucket

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Rhizo Kids Mother's Day

When Ian was born there wasn't much information available about Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata. There wasn't many known families with RCDP and it was hard to find any other parents with children with this condition. It was a hard, lonely, and isolating time in our lives. Then God stepped in and showed me that Ian wasn't a "mistake" but a God ordained circumstance where he would bring me one of dearest friends in the world with Tracey Thomas. It was by no accident that our boys were born at the same hospital five weeks apart. It was no accident that the doctors and nurses who had cared for Ian were now caring for Jackson. God did that! He sent me a friend, a sister, and a partner in crime! Tracey and I decided we would start a non profit organization a couple of months after the boys were born. We knew three other families with children like ours and we all worked together to get this started. We started with a $150 donation from my uncle which paid for us to start the Rhizo Kids website. Through that website we have met well over 70 families have been affected by RCDP. Because of that first donation that got us off the ground we have doctors who come annually to our Rhizo Kids conference to meet our children. We have doctors who are doing research on treatments for our kids and we have doctors creating Natural History studies on children with RCDP. We are able to bring many families to Chesnut Bay Resort once a year to be welcomed into an environment where their family is "normal" for a few days. Here they meet with doctors and learn how to take care of their child's serious medical needs. I want to cry every year I see the new families come in...they are so scared. But by the end of our conference they are happy and laughing and it makes my heart smile BIG! You see this all started from one small donation that led to something big. Every donation we get counts...every $1, $5, $20, or every shirt bought. Rhizo Kids requires an annual budget of about $90,000 now. We are only bringing in about $60,000. We aren't going to be able to continue on this path for long. When my sweet Ian died a large part of me died. I wasn't able to continue doing the things I had done for Rhizo Kids. My heart was shattered and I was doing good to put one foot in front of the other. I dropped everything in Tracey Thomas' lap and I ran! I did the minimal to get by for Rhizo Kids and I tried to let my heart heal. The truth is I'm a mom who has buried her child and there is no cure for that pain. Running from Rhizo Kids wasn't the answer...Tracey has went above and beyond for Rhizo Kids and has made it an awesome organization. She applies for grants and has a lot of support from Honda. She has continued all of this work even after losing her precious Jackson. She is a hero to me!!! So this year for Mother's Day instead of just looking at Tracey and myself and thinking"Man I feel sorry for them! They have to endure this day without one of their children!" Will you do something for us that will make us smile on Mother's Day? You can buy a new Rhizo Kids shirt or send a donation to Rhizo Kids in our child's honor. We can't hug our boys anymore and we can't whisper "I love you" into their ears. But we can continue our work for Rhizo Kids in their memory and still be their MOMS! It will crush the Rhizo Kids organization if we aren't able to meet the monetary obligations that Rhizo Kids has now. This is all we can do for our boys in this life now that they are gone and we need your help. My uncle never knew what his $150 donation would do for Rhizo Kids...he never dreamed it would be this big. Maybe your donation or shirt order or help at our conference will be the next driving force for Rhizo Kids. Tracey and I will wake up on Mother's day this year and we will survive the day just like last year. It won't be a day all full of smiles...inside our hearts there will always be the missing piece but we will be able to make it through the day knowing that we are still doing something for our boys by keeping their memory alive through Rhizo Kids. This is our new shirt design we are selling. You can buy one for $15. They are gray and we can get them in infant sizes up through XXX. You can email me at maryellis96@yahoo.com for a shirt or you can contact me on FB to order one. If you would like to mail us a donation please email me and I will get you our mailing address. Thank you for your continued support!
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Walk by faith not by sight...

So much seems to happen in our lives between each blog post. I guess it's because I go 2 months without posting now. I would tell you I will do better but I'm not going to lie. Our lives are crazy busy right now and plans change every day around here. I have tried to quit planning because every time I do God changes them...when will I learn :) Our adoption journey is...what's the right word...umm...kind of changing?!? Wae and I decided we wanted to take ourselves out of the planning. We decided "word of mouth" was going to be the route we would go for now. You know so we had no control over the situation. Ok...I will be honest. It's so I don't control the situation. We all know Wae isn't doing the controlling here. He is seriously patiently waiting for God to lead us instead of us trying to lead God. We have told a few OB/GYN doctors and nurses that we are interested in adoption. We have told all of our families and friends and I have obviously told our blogging world family as well. We have been praying with full faith that God would lead us to our baby through this method. I have made a book on shutterfly telling our story which shows our family life before Ian, during Ian, and after Ian. It explains the many ways God has called us to adoption and we plan to give those to a few doctors. Is this the route I originally told God I was willing to pursue? (insert laughter here)No it's not! However, this is where we feel like we are supposed to be going right now. I am not going to give all the details of our adoption journey right now. God is leading us in a way that is far too big for me to type on this blog. He is connecting us to people who only He could connect us with. He has given us a vision...the vision is being refined not changed. He is simply adjusting it to His will for our lives. We are totally following His lead right now and the only way I can describe it is that we are walking by faith and not by sight. It is as if there are hundreds of people praying for this God ordained vision we have and God is listening. He is answering and He is leading Wae and I down the path He has laid out for us. It is not what I originally visioned. It is actually terrifying just to be honest. However, something amazing is happening. Something that can come only from God. Wae and I are at such peace with the direction we are headed. We are so happy and honored that God is trusting us enough to allow us to be a part of a much bigger plan than we had dreamed. From the beginning of this new path we started my prayer has been that God would give Wae and I the same convictions...that we would always be on the same page. I read in a book that visions thrive in an environment of unity and die in an environment of division. I know if we don't stay on the same page that this is not the path for us. It's crazy how "together" we are right now. So you might be asking yourself...why is she sharing this but not telling us all the details?!? I just can't right now. But I shared because I believe many of you have prayed for us for years. I believe many of your prayers were answered and that's why Wae and I have our healthy little boy Asher. I believe you all love our family and have prayed without ceasing. We need your prayers now again...This path is so new and we just don't know where it will go. There are so many options and we need you to pray for discernment, unity, love, understanding, and I know you aren't supposed to pray for patience so be creative on that one. I need patience right now though :) We are walking by faith and not by sight and I pray God helps me each morning to continue walking by faith. The devil easily knows how to distract me and is trying to sidetrack this God ordained vision. I need prayer to remain focused on the path set before me. I don't know where we are going...I don't know if it's a "Maggie" we will be getting. Maybe it's Maggie or maybe it's another fun little boy. Maybe it's an option far from a new baby girl or baby boy. Maybe our "adoption" vision is larger than what we saw as adoption in the past. Thank you for your prayers. I believe they are one reason we are where we are today. Now a little update on Asher...he's a mess y'all. His favorite sayings are "4..5..6" (I have no idea why) If you say anything about time he says "10 minutes" in the sweetest voice you've ever heard. He calls himself a cowboy and a donkeyhead thanks to his pops! He loves to pray "God our father praise Jesus!" He lists 300 prayer requests at night and prays for them all. He had his first injury...he fell on the edge of the rock fireplace and it immediately started gushing blood right above his eye. He had to have that glued up. Mommy cried...no I panicked and totally freaked out! He loves to hug, kiss, and snuggle and yes he uses all those words. He comes to me and says "Rock the baby mommy!" And yes I drop everything and rock the baby. He says "Hold you mommy. Hold you!" This means he wants me to pick him up. He's a momma's boy and I love it!!! He has about 6 girlfriends already and is only 2 1/2 years old. I'm a little worried about this. He had a date for Valentine's this year :) He has the sweetest heart...if he thinks he did something wrong he says I sorry mommy I sorry! He is not all good all the time though...he is a ball of energy and he wears me down somedays. He never stops and talks 24/7. Half the time you have no clue what he's saying but you better figure something out b/c he won't stop until you recognize him :) He unfolds all the laundry I fold and laughs every time. He laughs a lot, he loves big, and he snuggles tighter than anyone I know. He's my heart! I love him with all I have and I"m so thankful he's mine. Photobucket

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where do we go God?

It's been one month that Wae and I have known we were going to adopt. We have only been on this journey for one month. I'm sure by now you all know Wae and I both are not patient. We have gotten so cracked up at ourselves...we just knew we would follow God's calling and the baby would "fall out of the sky" into our "empty pouch" just like in the book we read with Asher. We think about all the children around the world living in orphanages and we know there are many children who need a mom and dad to love them. We just thought it would go something like this...God calls us to adopt, we follow the calling, we call an agency, they say here's the kid for you, and we bring her home. HA!!! Nope...it's NOTHING like that. We are determined to do this God's way and not our way. We are having to pray ourselves out of this process every day!!! I would have already completed the application with the first agency I found and be starting a home study. However, I am praying over every little thing we are doing. We do not want to go down the wrong path. I have never wanted to do something God's way as much as I want to do this His way. He has a certain child for our family. The child may be in China, or Kazakhstan, or Japan, or South Korea, or Thailand, or even in America. Today just might be his or her birthday! She might be laying alone by herself right now in an alley because her biological parents abandoned her. This thought haunts me!!! She might be crying in her bed in an orphanage because she just wants to be held. I don't know where she is but I want to find her!!! I want to pick her up and kiss her cheeks and tell her everything will be ok. I want to tell her I love her and that she will never have to be scared again. Asher lays on me every night as I look through the album of waiting children looking for our sweet sister (we really want a sister) Tonight our sweet little two year folded his hands and said "Pray mommy, Jesus!" Then pointed to the screen. I explained to him that these boys and girls are living in orphanages and that they don't have mommies and daddies to love. I explained that Jesus wanted us to adopt one of these orphans into our family to love. I realized at the age of two Asher is already being effected by the path of adoption we are headed down. I know he will love to have a sister to play with and I pray God leads us to her. I can't imagine all the emotions we are going to have as we travel through this life experience. Please pray for us. We are trying to decide what country God wants us to adopt from. We have a few we are looking at and we have one we really, really both agree on. The country has suspended adoptions with the US at this time. The two countries are meeting this month and hoping to raise the suspension. Please pray with us that this happens. If the suspension is raised we will know God wants us to adopt from here. Please pray over the country of Kazakhstan that if it is God's will for us to adopt from this country that the suspension will be no more and that God lays out the path for us to follow to find our child. Also pray that if this is not the country for us that God clearly shows us where He has our child waiting for us. Your prayers will be heard and God will answer us...we appreciate your prayers more than you know. Our first prayer to be answered is what country and then we will move on to our next prayer...what agency do we use? Do we use one agency for the home study and then another agency for the placing agency??? You can feel free to start praying for our second step as well. Night all...going to sleep hugging our sweet Asher tonight more thankful than ever God blessed us with this ball of energy and praying for our sweet little girl to be safe in our Heavenly Father's arms! Photobucket

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blessings from above...

Before Ian was born, during Ian's life, and after Ian's passing Wae and I have always thought we would adopt. Before Ian was born we knew we wanted to adopt because we wanted to help a child who wasn't being loved or cared for...a child who was possibly going to be aborted or a child who was living in an orphanage somewhere needing a mom and dad. When Ian was born and after he passed away we thought we would adopt and never have biological children because we were so terrified at the risk of RCDP occurring again. As you all know, God did bless us and we have a healthy biological child...our precious Asher. Our desire to adopt has not gone away. If anything, our desire to adopt has grown.We have been praying for quite some time now about God's will for our lives. I very selfishly have wanted to have another child in hopes of having a little girl who would be like me. (Asher is just like his dadddy :) However, after months of prayer and discussions between Wae and I God has confirmed time and time again that His will for our lives is for us to adopt. We recently started a new study at church. While reading my book I realized I had to abandon my own selfish desires in life. I was praying one morning when I was alone (that is rare all you moms know that!) I was praying out loud..."God, empty me and fill me up with you Lord. I want to abandon my own selfish desires for my life and I only want what you want Lord. Wae and I desperately want more children Lord but I don't want to do anything that is not Your will for our lives. Please just show us what to do Lord...please give us a sign. My heart is open...I am listening and waiting for You to reveal Your will for our lives." I went about my business and got ready that morning for church. Wae was already at church. Asher woke up about 30 minutes later and I got him up and started getting him ready for church. In the meantime I see him digging in a drawer he's never even opened in his chest of drawers in his room. It is full of books. I have a huge basket of books we read from but I had put the extras in this drawer. Now remember we NEVER get books from this drawer. Asher dug in this drawer and pulled out a book. It was Sunday morning...we were running late. Doesn't everyone run late on Sunday morning :) He insisted I read him this book. I finally agreed and sat down in the floor with him...plopped him in my lap and picked up the book. "Blessing from Above" I read the book with tears streaming down my face...it was about adoption!!! A mother kangaroo adopted a baby blue bird...it just fell out of the nest into her empty pouch. Remember one hour ago I prayed for God to show us what to do about children...I told Him my heart was open and that I was listening. He got me!!! He answered me within an hour. Wow! I took the book to church and made Wae look at it during church. I told him God sent us a letter and used Asher to deliver it. I tell you this story to let you know Wae and I are beginning the process of finding our third child. Our first child was a special miracle from God only loaned to us for a couple of years. He taught us how to love and about what was really important in life. Our second child is a double portion of pure happiness. God chose to bless us with Asher when the medical world said it was impossible. I cannot wait to see what our third child will be...a chosen blessing who I am praying for day and night. We aren't sure which direction we will head. We are praying and praying and praying looking for God to point us in the right direction...DHR adoption/foster care, private domestic adoption or international adoption. I have always wanted to adopt a sweet little girl from China. We don't have a clue what we are doing and we are fully trusting in God's guidance. If you have any advice please email me at maryellis96@yahoo.com If you know of someone who is pregnant or hear of a baby up for adoption please think of us. You just might be the way God helps us find our sweet child. We would appreciate your prayers as we begin this journey that can last for years. I am not known for my patience but I know this new journey will require a lot of patience and prayer. Thank you in advance for your prayers for our new family... Just a few pics from the past few weeks...dove hunting with daddy, kisses for mommy, and admiring the sunflowers on Ian's 6th birthday in his sunflower field PapE plants us every year.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Guess who?

I am laying in the bed beside my wild man while he naps. Yes...I lay down with him every day in order to get him asleep. Yes...I have done this since birth. And no I do not regret it :) I usually get up and get a lot of housework done while he is napping but today I am choosing to snuggle and update "Bubba's" page. I wish you could all know Asher. This sweet little boy is such a mess. At church last night I asked are all boys this active?!? Do they all go, go, go and never stop? Are they all so rough?!? Do they just run in circles and scream from excitement. Asher is the perfect mix of sweet and full of personality. He is so loving...hugs everyone and kisses all the girls. (Oh me...I'm in trouble) But then the little booger has a streak of meanness about him too. He's just so wild I don't know how to calm him down. I know what you're thinking..."Give him a spanking!" Surprisingly we do...maybe too many. I spank this poor child many times a day. Thing is he knows he shouldn't bite or pinch or hit but sometimes his emotions get the best of him :) God love him...I'm sure he'll "outgrow" it. I've heard this a million times. But the Asher Wae and I and close friends and family see is mainly pure sweetness. He will ask to pray for his friends. He wants to love on everybody and hug and kiss and let you know just how much you mean to him. He wants everybody he loves to think they are his #1 favorite person in the world. He loves so BIG! I love that about Asher. He has recently gotten to know Tracey (Jackson Thomas's mom...the other little boy in AL with RCDP) Sweet Jack Jack passed away in February of this year. Lately Asher has been asking to pray for Tracey and Jack Jack and he will tell me that Tracey is "sad" I don't know how our little boy knows this but it shows me his heart. That he cares for others and their happiness. He talks about his bubba a lot and he only knows Ian through pictures. However, he knows he has a bubba and that bubba is with Jesus. He knows where we go to visit bubba and he will hug and kiss bubba's pictures. His heart is pure sweetness and I hope he stays that way. He just turned two and we had a big tractor birthday party. He is OBSESSED with tractors. I have never seen a two year old so excited about his birthday. He was crazy running everywhere saying "Tractor, big tractor!" It was one of the happiest days of my life. We had a hayride on a tractor, big tractors everywhere, and Asher got a John Deere tractor to drive for his birthday present from all his friends. He was truly excited about getting "presents" He can tell me who gave him what presents and it cracks me up! I am still a stay at home mommy and I love it. Many moms tell me they could never do it but I don't know how I could do anything else. It's my dream come true every day...spending all day with my healthy little boy! We play outside, we have "mommy school" we snack, we watch Rio a million times a day, we play tractors and more tractors, we put together puzzles, we paint and color, we snuggle and we love each other. I love every second of it and I'm so thankful God has blessed me with this opportunity. Just wanted to share our sweet Asher with you and update you on his silliness. Maybe it won't take me so long next time. Photobucket

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What IS Ian's Reason?!?

I am thankful for my life. I am thankful I have grown up in America where I am free. I am even more thankful I have grown up in a small town in Alabama where Christian values are the norm. I am thankful for the blessings God has given our family. I am also ashamed that I do not do more for others. I am ashamed there are children going to sleep hungry tonight and I have done NOTHING to help them. I haven't witnessed to their families, I haven't helped them get food, I haven't bought them clothes, or taken them the clothes I have "outgrown" :) I've sat here in my "comfortable" life and continued to do things to make myself and my family happy. I haven't went on a mission trip and served others and I haven't given any effort to making a difference. Wae has just returned from Brazil on a mission trip. Before he left I was terrified! I was scared he would die in a plane crash, I was scared he would be murdered there for sharing his faith, I was scared he would get sick there, I was scared. I should not have been so afraid...I should have PRAYED!!! I was scared he would come home and say we had to go back and adopt all the children he met and just to be honest I was scared he would say to pack my bags that we were going to become full time missionaries. I wasn't worried about me being so touched and changed by the stories he would tell me. I have soaked in every story he has shared and I have loved listening to him share about people accepting Christ. I didn't realize that I should be scared that HIS experience would change MY life! I love children! I have a very soft spot for them and I have always known that my calling in life involved working with kids. I CANNOT stand the thought of a child going to bed hungry. It makes me sick to think that a child is living on the street tonight alone and afraid about what their next few hours of life might entail. And it infuriates me to no end that there are children being prostituted in countries. There are kids who have no toys and probably don't even know what a matchbox car is. What can I do? How can I help? Ian's Reason...when Ian was born his "reason" was to help other Rhizo families. We did that with Tracey as we started Rhizo Kids and brought families together from around the world. This is still a ministry of ours but we are not as involved now that Ian is no longer here. I know there is more to "Ian's Reason" I have been praying for so long for God to reveal my purpose in life. Am I supposed to return to teaching God?!? Father, do you want me to be a mom and only a mom...forever?!? Lord Jesus do you want me to go back to school and get a new degree?!? OR...do you want me to simply serve you?!? I have prayed and prayed along with Wae I'm sure that we would know God's will for our lives. I have a stirring in my heart and a yearning in my soul to not let Ian's Reason die. I want our sweet child to make a difference even though he is no longer with us. I want to start something through God's calling on our life. I am waiting...I am feeling a push to start a program "Ian's Reason" Maybe this will be here at home or in Brazil where Wae went on his mission trip. Maybe we can send Christmas boxes of presents there for children or maybe we can start a program to sponsor children there. Maybe even bigger...could we open a place for children to go as a refuge if they are homeless so they don't have to be afraid at night...so they don't have to be prostitutes?!? We could minister to these children and tell about our Lord and Savior and try to make a difference in their lives. Dreams can start small and grow big right?!? I'm just tired of watching others follow God's direction and me just sitting...and sitting...and sitting!!! When I stand in front of MY Savior I want to know that I used all He gave me while I was here! Please join me in praying that God's will for our lives would be revealed and that I will only pursue this if it is God's will. As I am scared again as I try to listen and follow God I will remember what we taught our kids at VBS this week. "God helps me. I will not be afraid!" Photobucket