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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer!

Hello friends!   It's SUMMER!  I love catching a break from homework, school, sports, and early bedtimes!  Unlike a lot of moms, I LOVE having my kiddos home with me!   I just wish summer could be longer!

Bronwyn graduated this past May!   So proud of her, she graduated with honors, and 2 years early!  She is spending her summer working at Cracker Barrel, and is going to RCC this fall.  She wants to be a pharmacist.  She is highly motivated and is very studious, I am sure she can do it!  She is meeting her birthmother for the first time in just a few weeks!  EEK~  No worries, it will be good!  <3 p="">
Keagan, Britt and Brianna will all be seniors this fall!   Wow, that will be an expensive year!  LOL  Keagan is detailing this summer, Britt is looking for a job, and Brianna is waitressing at SteakNShake.  But mostly they are just chillin!  And the girls are working on getting their drivers licenses.

Toby, Meng, Miles, and Rory are at Camp Coco this week!  They are all having a great summer, and are glad to have a break from school!  Toby will be a freshman, Miles 8th, and Meng and Rory 6th.  Meng and Miles are doing fairly well health-wise.  Miles had a bad break to his arm this spring, which required surgery, but he handled it SO well!  He is very brave and endures a lot.

Daley has become princess GIGGLES!  She is happy ALL of the time, even when she has reasons to be grumpy!  We have prayed for her healing for so long, but her happiness and joy is just as important to us as her healing!  Thank you Lord, for giving her such holy joy!

Wen and Wu.....well they are as affectionate, sweet, and silly as ever!  They still aren't growing much, but they will be starting Kindergarten in the fall.  Im not sure Im ready for them to be gone every day, all day!  I may have to spend some volunteer hours in their classroom!!!

Ok, and now important news.....Miles was granted a Make-a-Wish, so this past month we (yes, all 13 of us) went to DISNEY!!!   We had such an amazing time.....we did Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, Lego Land, Universal, and Hollywood.  We were completely exhausted by the end of the week, but it was such an amazing blessing!  Miles had a blast, and somehow....this boy who cannot tolerate long car rides without puking.....managed to ride almost every single roller coaster with no problem!  :)

Other news???   Well. we are praying about moving forward with adopting my Teddy boy.  I can't get him off of my mind.  I love that little guy, and he sits waiting for a family, waiting for some medical care that he can only get here in the US.  Waiting to be loved and wanted.  And here we sit, knowing that even though it would be crazy....we can totally give him what he needs.  So, we are inching forward.  Please pray for us.  And I will keep you posted!   :)

Ok, and here are some photos of my sweet kiddos!  I hope these smiling faces bless you as much as they do me!
God bless!!!







Saturday, March 11, 2017

So Blessed!

     Last Saturday night there was a Natalie Grant/Charlotte Gambill concert in Decatur.   It was a special concert event called "Dare To Be".  A few days before the show, my girls asked me if I would take them.  I will be very honest here.....I did not want to.   I had a very busy week, and I was tired.  Given the choice of staying home and chillin with my family, or spending the evening with 600 women, and I would most certainly choose chillin!   LOL  So, I told them I really did not want to go.
A few days later, my sister asked me to go.  She had some extra tickets.  I told her the same thing, but I did promise I would think about it.  And then my friend Michelle asked me to go. I was thinking, "What is going on with these people!"  LOL   Anyway, I finally reluctantly agreed to go.

     The day of the concert, I really didn't want to go again!   I kinda whined all day about it.  Poor Keagan got to hear the bulk of my whining!  But I went.

     The concert was really good.  Natalie Grant has a wonderful voice, and Charlotte is am amazing speaker, with such a cute British accent!   I was encouraged and uplifted by the praise music, and it was good to be with my girls and my sister.  Even my mom came!  And my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law!  I was surprised at how many friends were there!  Hmmmm......

    After intermission, another part of the concert began.  They talked about how every show, they choose to honor someone from the community.  They began talking about a woman who had two biological children, and then adopted several children.  They began to talk about special needs children, and the trips to China.  I was pretty shocked that this woman was living in our community, and I did not know her!  I feel like I know most of the adoption mommas in our area, especially the ones who have adopted from China.  And then they began talking about this woman adopting a daughter with Cerebral Palsy and a son with sickle cell......and it hit me.......I think they were talking about ME!  I looked around, and everyone was looking at ME!   Everyone was smiling, some were crying!  I was completely and totally overwhelmed!  I literally had NO IDEA!  NONE!   NOT A HINT!  I still cannot believe that my family and friends pulled this one over on me!   WOW!

    I was called up onto the stage, and these two ladies kept on praising me, and it was SO awkward!  I hate attention being called onto me!  I didn't know whether to cry, or laugh, or try to escape back to my seat!  LOL   They gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and a basket full of their books, DVDs, and other merchandise.  I hoped then I could escape back to my chair!  But there was more.  They mentioned all of our hospital trips, out of town and out of state, and they presented me with a $500 GAS CARD!  And there was MORE!~   Then, they said they wanted to bless me further, and they told me that my mortgage WAS PAID FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR!!!!!   I am totally serious!  Again, I wanted to cry, laugh, and run back to my chair!  It was this weird mixture of feeling excited, embarrassed, honored, overwhelmed, scared, thankful, and I don't even know what else!   But most of all BLESSED,

     I am not special.  I don't deserve this special blessing.  I am a momma whom God has called to mother a few orphans.  I have tried my best to answer that call.  Some days I love this calling, other days it makes me crazy!  But I don't ever want to stand before our Lord one day, and for Him to not be pleased with me.  When He moves on my heart, I want to take action.  Thats all.

     So, here we are!
We can breathe a little easier around here right now, because of this blessing.  Our finances have been stretched and then stretched some more, mainly just due to the size and financial responsibilities of parenting the 11 children still at home.  This blessing is allowing us to pay off some debt, which will help our monthly budget  immensely.  This blessing is allowing us to get caught up a bit, and to be able to build back up our emergency savings.   We are so blessed by this gift, and I simply do not know how to thank everyone who was involved.

    So, from my heart, THANK YOU!   From my family's hearts, THANK YOU.  And I would ask that instead of just thinking about what a "great person" I am, you please consider what can YOU do for God!  Is He calling you to adopt?   The need is so huge....the orphan crisis is SO big!  God wants His children in families!    Are YOU that family?   PLEASE, pray about it!  And if you need guidance, encouragement, or a little "push", please let me know!  It would be my honor, to let this blessing bless others!<3 p="">


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Another Goodbye.............

Bryson AKA Ronan is leaving tomorrow.  Going back home with his birth mom.   So here I am, once again, saying goodbye to this sweet boy that I love.  First time when he was a month old, and now, at almost 11.

Bryson is hard.  Bryson has severe autism.   He doesn't like noise.  He doesn't like busyness.  He doesn't like little kids who annoy him.  He eats only a few types of food.  He hates school.  He doesn't accept authority from men, including Dale.  My household has been in chaos these past few months, as we all try to adjust to him, and allow him to adjust to us.  There have been some very, very difficult times.  But there have been a lot of really awesome times!

Bryson is fascinated with old cars.  He can tell you the make, model, and year of almost every car he sees.  He can draw logos from memory, and he is really good at it.  He loves to collect rocks and will spend hours admiring their beauty.  Bryson doesn't smile much, but when he does, it is priceless!  Bryson loves animals.  Bryson loves clouds, and can tell you the names of the different ones.  Bryson is unique, and that is refreshing!  He is fiercely loyal to Rory, even when Rory is being a brat to him.

I have asked his birthmother if we can kind of "co-parent".  She can keep him during the week, and I can pick him up and keep him on the weekends.  Hoping we can have him over the summer, and can even take him on vacation with us.  She agreed, and I pray she does allow these things.  No matter how hard he has been for us, we love him, and want to continue a relationship with him.  He is very special to me!

Lord, please help our hearts tonight, as we prepared to let Bryson go again.  It is not any easier this time than it was last time.  Lord, please protect him, grow him, and let him know in his little heart how much we love him.  Let him know he is smart, and special.  Please let us see him again, often, and let our relationship grow and grow.  Thank you for the time we have had with Bryson.  The good and the bad.  Please help us mostly remember the good.
In your sweet name, Amen.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Daley Faith

I love this girl, Daley.  She is my peace.  She calms my storm.  She loves me when I'm grouchy, she loves me when I'm down.  She never argues with me.  She never wants more from me than to simply love her.  She smiles just when I need it most.  She snuggles into me when I am sad and lonely.  I truly feel close to God when I am close to her.  I simply cannot imagine my life without her.   She was one of the best decisions our family has ever made.

It wasn't always like this.  When she was born, she was SO difficult.  She cried most of the time she was awake.  She rarely slept more than an hour or two at night.  The first few years with her are a blur of exhaustion and frustration.  A very wise doctor told me she suffered from "neurological irritability", and that it would settle down by the time she turned 3.  It took a little longer than that, but she rarely cries now, and she is very content.  This peaceful nature she has now was worth every sleepless night.

My sweet Daley-girl has been really sick.   In December, she got a virus, and it almost took her life.  She was in the PICU for a week.  And this past week she has been very sick again.  Several times all of her vitals have crashed, and caused absolute panic in my heart.  It has forced me to stop and consider how fragile her life is.  And it made me have such mixed feelings.  I cannot stand the thought of losing her.  But I  know that when she see Jesus, she will be able to run to Him, speak to Him, stand straight and hold her head high.....all things she has never been able to do.  I cannot wait for her to taste and enjoy food, to get grass stain on her little jeans.  To actually wear out her clothes!  Because I know Jesus, and I believe His Word, I know that when she meets him, she will leave her broken body behind.  She wont need the VP shunt, the Vagal Nerve Stimulator, the feeding tube, the SP tube.  She wont need her back brace or her leg braces.  Her wheelchair, her bath chair.  These things will not be needed, because she will be made perfect and whole!  I will be so happy for her!  But so broken for me.

Please pray for me.  This is hard.   When she was little, I used to have 2 very different dreams over and over.  The first was an amazing dream.  I would wake up in the morning, to her standing at her crib, calling my name in a beautiful, clear voice.  A MIRACLE!   Can you only imagine the countless people who would come to serve the Lord after seeing such a miracle???   The second dream was when I would wake up to find that she had passed in her sleep.  And here I am, caught in the middle of these two dreams.

I love this girl.  She has changed my heart forever.  She has made me a better person, a better mom, a better servant.

God bless you friends.  Hug your kids!














Saturday, December 10, 2016

Merry Christmas from us! 2016

            MCKINNEY 
                                         2016 CHRISTMAS!

Well another year has come and almost gone! We are excited to celebrate the birth of our King, Jesus Christ again this year! We have had a crazy busy year, as usual. Lots of basketball games, homework, church activities, and family time.

• Big news of the year, is that we have added new members to our family AGAIN! Miles, age 14, joined our family in April, after his adoption was completed in China. And Bryson, age 10, came to stay with us in October. Many of you may remember Bryson as “Ronan”……Rory’s twin brother!!! How exciting to have the boys back together again!!! We don’t know how long he will be with us, but we are SO glad he is here!

• Dale is employed at HSHS St. Johns, and is working in trauma surgery, which he loves. He plans to return to Kenya on a medical mission trip in July, as well as lead our family on a mission trip to Haiti in April. Ann is working hard to balance life with 15 kids and still hoping to find time to write that book that is in her head! She recently joined the board of directors for In His Hands Orphan Outreach, and is the program director for a new orphanage in China, THRIVE Harbor, for orphans with Thalassemia and other blood diseases.

• Brogan, Zachary and Landon are now residing in Minnesota. Brogan is an agent with Homeland Security and Zachary is a police officer. Landon is now FOUR years old! We were blessed to have him for a visit over Thanksgiving. They need to move CLOSER!!!

• Patrick is a welder/pipefitter, and is currently working for FEMA in South Carolina. He needs to hurry up and marry his GF, Emmy, so she will be an official member of the family! (hint hint) Miss them both!

• Keagan is now a Jr. and is enjoying playing basketball for Decatur Christian. And he is DRIVING!

• Brittany is also a Jr. at DCS, and enjoys playing guitar and drawing. She is our fashionista!

"Percy"
• Brianna is also a Jr. at DCS (yes we have 3!). She is our volleyball player and board game champion!

•Bronwyn is our only Sr., and will be graduating in May from DCS. She plans to go to RCC to study early education. She is loving her last year of basketball.

•Brian is doing well at Hoyleton, the residential facility where he is living. We are blessed to get to visit him twice a month. He is now well over 6 foot and growing!

•Toby is an 8th grader,, and spends lots of time playing basketball for DCS and ice skating. His latest passion is building tasers. EEK

•Miles, Rory, and Meng are ALL in the 5th grade at DCS. Miles is quite excited to experience his first Christmas, and also accepted Christ this past year! Rory had the amazing experience of going to Nubability sports camp this summer, where he met many kids with hand differences and was able to train with professional athletes. Meng was blessed to be chosen as a 2017 poster girl for St. Jude, so she is pretty excited about that!!! Bryson is also in 5th grade at Franklin Elementary, where he is loving art class and lunch!  He is slowly getting used to the idea of having SO many siblings!  He keeps us entertained with his funny faces!

•Daley, the “Princess of the Castle Norwood”, is doing very well. Sleeping so much
better, happier, and growing like crazy! And, of course, still very spoiled! She is and
always will be the sunshine of the family!

• And that brings me to Wen and Wu. These little guys have turned our family upside down with their cuteness and their craziness! They are certainly not shy, and know how to charm! BEST DECISION EVER!

Toby!

Rory and Bryson

Bronwyn's Sr photo

First Day of School

Introducing Mr. Miles McKinney!

Bible Quizzing Medals!

Brian and Britt

Meng and Miles transfusion day!

Rory and the One-Legged Ninja Warrior, Zach Gowen
Daley Faith


Landon with Grandpa Dale

Wen and Wu  AKA  Cecil and Ervin

The McKinney family (without Bryson or Miles)

McKinney teens


• As always, we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus! We pray blessings on your family this Christmas,
and we thank God for blessing us! And once last thing……Is God Calling YOU to Adopt? 163 million orphans are praying for a forever family! Could that be you? GOD BLESS!!!
What to call this???   LOL

Sunday, November 6, 2016

And.....10 years later!

Ok, are you ready for a crazy story?    Here it is!    10 1/2 years ago, we were chosen to adopt twin baby boys.  We were SO excited!   But when they were born, everything went a little wonky.  You see, Rory was born with birth defects of his hands and arms, and Ronan was born "normal".  Their birth mother had a very hard time deciding if she wanted to parent them or place them.  She asked for more time to make a decision.   We had the option of taking them home while she decided, or placing them in foster care.  We took them home!

About a month later, we got "the call".   The twins birth mother had decided to allow us to adopt Rory, but wanted to parent Ronan.  This was SO hard.  Separating twins was almost unthinkable to us, and we were devastated.  But we had no option.  Dale and Patrick took Ronan back to his town, and I stayed home with the rest of the kids and bawled like a baby.  For days.  Ok, actually weeks.  Probably much longer.

For years, we prayed every night that Ronan would return to us, if that was God's will.  Or that we would at least be able to have some sort of  relationship with him.  We were able to see him occasionally, once when he was 1 year old, and then again at 4 and 8.  Birthmom had changed his name to Bryson, and he was diagnosed as being autistic.  Bryson had a disability just like Rory, but Bryson's was not visible like Rory's was.  Such a weird twist in the story.

As time went on, we lost hope of Ronan/Bryson ever returning to us.  We even kinda lost hope of having a relationship with him, since we never seemed to be able to schedule visits.  And then, I got a crazy phone call.

Completely out of the blue, the twin's birth mom called me.  She was upset, and said she needed help.  She asked if we would consider taking Bryson!!!   She didn't know if it was for 6 months, a year, or forever, but she needed us to take him.  I simply cannot believe that after 10 years, we were given this opportunity!!!!   God is so good, and He must continually chuckle over my lack of faith!

So, we went to his home, and brought him back to ours.  The first few days were very hard.  Remember, he doesn't know us!  Every single thing in his world is different!  He and Rory don't even
know each other!  And he is used to a quiet, boring home (mine is anything but quiet or boring!).   Even the foods we eat are different.  The rules are different.  Culture shock for all of us!  LOL

Every single day that Bryson is with us, it gets easier.  He is a very loving, affectionate child.  He is learning how to cope with all of us, and we are falling in love with him.  He and Rory are so similar it is freaky.  They make the same faces.  They both hate shoes.  They both love steak and cheeseburgers.  They have the exact same body build, and the same sweet lips!

We have no idea how long he will be with us.  But we are enjoying he while he is here, and praying that we will be able to have a forever relationship with him, no matter where he lives.

Friends, when you pray for something, and God doesn't answer you, it may be that the timing is just not right.  But don't stop.  If it is on your heart, keep praying.  I am in awe of God answering my prayer for Bryson.  I am in awe that my twins are together again!  God is good!!!
Rory and Bryson the day he left us.

JoJo, Rory and Bryson, the day he returned!

Rory and Bryson on their 7th birthday

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I have returned!

Well, I am sure you thought I had fallen off of the face of the earth, and well, maybe I kinda did for a bit!   My life has been crazy busy, so many changes, some happiness, some sorrow, but mostly just busy, busy, busy!

Here are some highlights:   We traveled to China in March, and met our new son Miles Xin Dai!  I have to say that about a month before we left to get him, I began to panic.  We were bringing home a 13 year old boy!!!  What if he was a jerk?  What if he didn't want to be adopted?  What if he was mean?  But God took care of all of that.  The minute we met him, we knew he was awesome!  But also very sick.  He passed out many times in China, and we could tell his health was very poor.  Since he has been home, he has had several surgeries, and many infections.  Hospitalized many times.  But a very happy, well-adjusted kid.  And very smart!   He is a keeper!   And now that he has been home, and has settled in, the sibling rivalry has begun......so I am spending a lot of time listening to tattles and arguments with Rory, Meng and Miles, who are all in the same class at school.  But it is all good....it just means he is fitting in!  LOL

Our church.  Wow,  I am not even sure where to begin.  We hired a new pastor last year.  Well, this pastor decided that he needed to replace the current staff.  So, he fired our youth pastor, children's pastor, music minister, janitor, and bookkeeper.  He brought in all of his friends to fill these positions, even hired an administrative pastor (which we have never had before), and then hired this new pastor's wife!   Now, we are told that this is common in the Nazarene church, but this was devastating to us.  Even worse, is that he was not truthful about how things happened, and tried to make the church think that these friends were all "called" somewhere else, when the real truth is they were fired.  It rocked us, really hard.  If we as Christians cannot get along, and work together for the common goal of saving souls, then what the heck????   So, after lots of prayer, anger, tears, and sleepless nights, we left our church.  We left our friends, our ministries, and our dreams of our future there.  We followed the children's pastor, Justin, to his new church on the other side of town.  I cannot tell you how hard this was for all of us.  We love Justin and his family very much.  But we went from a church of 800 to a church of 45.  We went from an active, healthy youth group, to no youth group.  From amazing praise and worship to hymns.  It was/is so hard.  But God is using us there.  We have started a youth group.  An on-fire youth group!  There was already an amazing team of folks who lead a children's Bible quizzing team, which is awesome. D1Naz quit doing Bible quizzing several years ago, and we have missed it   Dale and Britt are helping with the music ministry, and it is slowly becoming more modern and upbeat.  The people are so warm and friendly.  Any group of folks who can accept my crazy family have to be good people!  And they did, with no hesitation.  So.....here we are, helping God grow Trinity Church of the Nazarene.  It still feels weird, but each week it feels more like home.  But our heart still breaks for D1Naz....and we are grieving. I lost my adoption ministry.  I lost so many friends, who will not speak to me, and are angry at us for leaving.  And yet.....we are supposed to all be children of God???  My kids have really struggled with this.  Especially because one of my dear friends was so hurtful to me, and it has really made them wonder what is REALLY inside of someone's heart.  Only God knows.  But in certain circumstances....we can get a glimpse.  So we would appreciate your prayers.   We know we are where we are supposed to be, and God never promises us comfort!   But this has been really, really hard.

The kids are thriving in school this year!  I have 8 enrolled full-time at Decatur Christian School, and 2 in 3 day a week preschool.  My tuition is twice as much as my house payment!!!   But we KNOW this is where the kids are supposed to be.  The staff is amazing, they are such wonderful Godly people.  My kids are getting a good solid education, and I am having fun helping out a few times a week.

Dale changed jobs again.  After a miserable 18 months working family practice at DMH, he went back to surgery in Springfield, and he is now HAPPY!  He is working lots of hours, but the respect and appreciation he gets there is SO worth it, compared to the abuse at DMH.  It is nice to have a happy husband again, even it he does fall asleep by 8pm!  LOL

Last thing of the night is a prayer request.  My Teddy, the sweet little peanut I have been sponsoring in China for the past 7 years, is now available for adoption.  I LOVE this boy.  He breaks my heart!   I have such mixed feelings about him.  I WANT to bring him home.  But, I am so stretched, broke, and exhausted most of the time.  And my kids need so much of me....many times more than I can give them!  I just don't know if I could balance another.  But the agency that is advocating for him, says they think he has ZILCH chance of finding a family, because his needs are so great.  So, friends, what do I do???  Do I continue to pay for his care in China, pray for him, and visit him as often as I can?  OR do I take the plunge and bring him home, and let the world think I am crazy, and perhaps go a little crazy???   UGH     I asked the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His, but now I wanna take it back!  LOL   Teddy, no matter what.....please know that I LOVE YOU!  God bound our hearts together, and you are stuck with me!  I just don't know what that will look like exactly, but its the truth.

Speaking of adoption, since I kinda got the boot from Treasured Adoption Foundation, I gladly accepted a board position with In His Hands Orphan Outreach, and I am LOVING it!   So many amazing opportunities to serve the Lord through orphan care!  More details to come, but lets just say I am gonna be using that passport very often!

God bless you my friends!   Thanks for tolerating my absence and my ramblings!