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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Change of Plans...

Before Ian was born I was a PLANNER!!! It really does deserve all caps. I was a crazy planner. Every part of our lives was planned. We would have a baby boy at the age of 24 then a girl at the age of 27ish and we would adopt a child after that around the age of 30 or 31. I would be a teacher and a mom at the same time and we would have 2 dogs, a cat, and a pet fish. (LOL...not for real about the animals but y'all get the picture right?!?) I was so together...the laundry was always done, the floors were always vacuumed, the dishes were always clean and life APPEARED perfect. Well, Ian was born and my dear friends God taught me many lessons during and after Ian's life. One life lesson was that I cannot plan out life. I tend to get planning and leave God out sometimes and life becomes MY plan without a whole lot of God's plan in it. I am about to be so transparent so brace yourself. Not that you all haven't known that I'm transparent but here goes... Wae and I have felt led to adopt for a long time. It was just hard to take the plunge and be all in. It was hard to let go of us having another biological child. We did it though. I have always PLANNED that we would adopt from China. I have dreamed of my little baby girl from China for a long time. In my plan to adopt it was from China because it was what I wanted. What I wanted....When God started leading us to adopt Wae didn't really feel led to China at this time. However, I am persistent and PUSHY! So...we were going to adopt from China and Wae was excited too don't get me wrong. He just felt that God was telling him that we were going to adopt domestically and maybe save a child from being aborted. I chose to override what God was telling Wae because I forgot about the life lesson God taught me through Ian and I became a planner again. God is sovereign....God's will IS perfect and His timing is too. We had our first conference call yesterday and afterwards it was determined that Wae and I don't meet the requirements to adopt from China. Our precious social worker called to tell me and I instantly began crying as I saw our sweet "Maggie" slipping away from us. Our social worker was so upset and immediately prayed for us over the phone. China has very strict requirements for adoption. When Ian died my doctor gave me a prescription for some pills to help me with anxiety. Our two year old died from a rare genetic disorder and I needed a little help. That prescription of 30 pills lasted me 3 1/2 years. You can tell from how long the prescription lasted that I don't take the pills often. However, there are a few days a year where I get upset and anxious. For instance, the anniversary of Ian's death is hard...his birthday is hard....Christmas is hard! I had the pills refilled in February of 2013 and since I had them refilled in the past two years we cannot adopt from China. I do not take antidepressants daily, I don't drink or have a drug problem but I have a prescription for a medicine that causes us to be ineligible to adopt internationally at this time. We have prayed from day one that God would light up the path to the child He has created for us. We have prayed it would be so obvious when we find our child that we know he/she was sent from God. We are choosing to believe this door closing is a blessing from God. We are trusting that God has a child for us in America to adopt or maybe even that He is telling us to have another biological child. We don't know exactly where this path is leading right now...We are at a crossroads and we are going to have to be still and listen. I'm basically speechless right now. I was very excited about our adoption from China. Asher was too...he prays for baby sister Maggie all day long. I realize we can still get our "Maggie" but it's just discouraging. I know we are good parents. Ian died and we didn't lose it...we grew closer in our marriage and in our faith. I am so thankful Ian is our little boy...yes I have the prescription because of what happened through Ian's life. The devil is trying to make me angry..."If you wouldn't have had Ian you wouldn't need the prescription and you could adopt!" I repeat "For I know the PLANS I have for you declares the Lord PLANS to prosper you and not to harm you PLANS for a hope and a future!" I am the Cubbies teacher at Awana at church....our lesson last night was "God keeps his promises and "Great is your faithfulness!" This lesson was for me. I know God keeps his promises and I know He will be faithful to lead us through this journey. So...here we go again...Please pray for this journey to be led by God and that we listen and follow His direction and not ours. Photobucket

Monday, December 2, 2013

Here we go!

Wow...we have come a long way in our adoption process since I last updated our blog. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more and we chose our adoption company. We are using Lifeline Children's Services in Birmingham. After we knew which agency we were using the next step was to fill out our application. We started filling it out and the first question was where are you adopting from. HA! Back to being still at Jesus's feet...we prayed some more. We printed out the country guideline sheet from our agency and reviewed every country and it's requirements and prayed over this decision. After praying and analyzing every route we felt led to adopt from China. It took us about two weeks to complete our application because it was so very detailed. However, we completed it and mailed in our application fee. I thought we had accomplished a lot...HA!!! After our application was processed and we were accepted into the China program I got a 136 page China manual, and an Alabama manual along with many other forms. I decided real quick like that that application I thought was so hard to complete was just the beginning of many. We had to fill out form after form after form. We had to be fingerprinted and mail that in...I did it all wrong and it had to be returned to me and we had to do it again :)We mailed in our for real first "big" payment and I have cried and jumped for joy. This is for real y'all...Wae and I have talked for years about adopting. Before Ian was even born we both wanted to adopt. You know how sometimes you just "talk" about doing something but never really do it. I was afraid that was how the adoption was going to be for us. But God finally equipped us both with the courage it requires to jump out on a leap of faith and trust His plan when we cannot see where we are going to land. This week on Wednesday at 8:30 we have our first part of our home study...a conference call. I have already lined up Wae's mom to babysit so we can focus all our attention on the call and I'm a nervous wreck. Please join us in praying for our social worker and for Wae and me. Please pray our nerves don't overtake the real us and that she can get to know our family. Asher is warming up to the thought of a baby sister more and more. We pray for her many times a day. Wae said he really wanted to name her so we can pray for her by name. We've asked Asher what he wanted to name baby sister and he informed us her name is BACON! I'm not thinking we will follow through with his name suggestions. We want a biblical name but there aren't many good girl names in the bible. My name is Mary Elizabeth so I already have two good bible names :) Wae likes Mary Magdalene so we are thinking right now about naming her Maggie. Maggie means pearl...and our sweet baby girl who we are desperately searching for is most definitely a pearl to us. We are just thinking out loud right now but Asher is getting pretty good at praying for Maggie so that name just might stick. It's much better than Bacon. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving but as always we missed our sweet boy Ian. I don't think there will ever be a holiday, a family picture, or a Christmas card when I don't miss Ian. I will always think at the holidays that I am missing a piece of my little family...I will always see the missing link in our family picture, and I hate to sign the Christmas card without Ian's name on it. However, by the grace of God we choose to focus on our blessings past and present and rejoice in Ian's healing. We still miss him though... I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope your Christmas is just perfect! Remember to enjoy your family on the holidays and don't take them for granted. You never know what tomorrow holds!
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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.
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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