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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!!!


Merry Christmas 
from the
McKinney Family!
We pray that Jesus Christ has blessed you this year, and that you continue to serve Him in all you do.  Being a Christ-follower is truly the Great Adventure!  Never forget to thank Him for His mercy, His blessings, and His guidance!
 We have had a year of GREAT blessing and GREAT change!  Here are some highlights:

Dale continunes to work for SIU Springfield Neurosurgery. He is working his tail off, but is loving doing brain and spine surgery!  He recently began facilitating the opening of Tzedakah Christian Health Center, Macon County's first FREE medical clinic!  Hoping to open in February!
Ann has put a lot of her energy into advocating for adoption and even facilitating several adoptions.   Daley's therapies, homeschooling, and the farm keep her way too busy!   She also began a running program, and ran in her first 5K race this fall!  What a great stress-reliever!
Brogan & Zachary  are PARENTS!  Landon Nelson New was born on Brogan's birthday, March 19, and has blessed ALL of us with his beautiful smile, and crazy antics!  He is such a treasure!  And B & Z are fantastic parents!  Zachary recently accepted a job in Cherry Point, NC, as a civilian police officer for a Marine Base.  Too far, but we're very proud of him!
Patrick is a sophomore at Olivet Nazarene University and he is loving it!  His major is Intercultural Studies.    He has a fantastic girlfriend, Danyne, and we have enjoyed getting to know her!  
Keagan is in 7th grade, and continues to be obsessed with football!  Actually, with all sports!  He has GROWN so much this year, and is not my “little Keagan” anymore!  
Bronwyn is in 8th grade, and spends a lot of playing and learning music.  She has gotten very good on her keyboard, and is taking guitar lessons.  She is also involved in gymnastics.
Toby is in 4th grade.  He has two passions lately, building/fixing things, and learning about constellations and the stars! God has blessed him with a very healthy year!
Rory is in First grade this year.  He is doing SO well!  He loves his cats and his dogs, and spends lot of time playing with them!  He has also become quite a gymnast!
MengYan  is also in First Grade.  Her health continues to improve, and she has been such a blessing to our family.  Recently some friends adopted a daughter from China, who has the same blood disorder, and Meng has been SO helpful and caring towards her!  She has a very compassionate heart.
Daley  just turned 3 years old!  Daley is by far the most spoiled child ever!  She has made some huge gains in her therapies, her sight, but mostly in her interactions.  She has just blossomed, in part, due to the love that all the kids show her every day!
BIG NEWS:   There are 3 more of us!   December 21, we will be going to court, to officially adopt             
                     BRITTANY, BRIANNA, and BRIAN! 
We met these kiddos last year, and fell in love.  Permanently adding them to our family is one of the very best decisions we have ever made.  They have blessed us, grown, us, tested us, and taught us.  And they have opened our eyes to the need to older child adoption.  What are people so afraid of?  We are proud as can be to be parents to these three!
 2013......We have lots planned!  A family mission trip to inner-city Indianapolis, another mission trip for some of us to Nicaragua, possibly building onto our very-crowded home, and making some road trips to NC!
Thank you for your friendship, your prayers, and your love throughout this year!
May God richly bless you and your family!
Dale & Ann, Brogan & Zachary & Landon, Patrick, Keagan, Bronwyn, Tobin, Rory, MengYan, Rory, Daley, Brittany, Brianna, and Brian!



Adoption Day!!!




December 21.  Many people feared this was the day the world would end!  For us, it was an amazing new beginning.  December 21 is the day we went to the Coles County courthouse, and became the official parents to Brittany, Brianna, and Brian!  Bringing these three into our home and life was one of the best decisions we have ever made.  We are honored that they want to forever be a part of our family!  They have grown us, taught us, and challenged us.  We are blessed!  Enjoy these photos of our special day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Five Generations of LOVE!

This photo needs few words.  Five generations.  I see this photo, and I think of so many things.  First, I see my grandmother, Mary the Great.  What an amazing woman she is!  She taught me so much as a child.  She was a very strong Christian, very active in her church, very strong in her faith, very accomplished in everything she ever set out to do.  My own mother, Marcia.  I have such fond memories of her teaching, teaching teaching.  Teaching my siblings and I songs about Jesus, teaching us Bible stories, and teaching us to care for others.  She was/is one of the best Sunday School teachers out there!  She loves the kids in her class, and truly finds joy in helping them learn about Jesus.  My daughter, Brogan.  I am SO proud of her.  She is a spunky, beautiful, bold, and crazy young woman, and has proven to be an excellent mother.  She has seen much of the the world, having served in Haiti, and Ethiopia, before residing in Germany with Zachary.  She has so much future ahead of her, and I am EXCITED to see it!  And Landon.  What a beautiful little man.  So HAPPY.  He surely knows how much he is loved and treasured.  He gives me such joy, and brings tears to my eyes when he does the littlest things, like reaching for me, or trying to smack with with his toy phone!  :)
God has surely blessed my family.  Blessed us with LOVE.  Blessed us with the good sense to serve Him.  I pray that He continues to bless every generation of our family!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Some of Jim B's amazing photos!

Keagan getting ruffed up!  Don't worry, he was laughing, not crying!

Rory the tormentor!  And as he holds a Bible, of all things!  LOL

Miss Daley on a stroll through the farm!  Also pictured: Marshmallow the kitten, Pippa the dog, and Nutmeg, RosieMiri, and Joash the cows!

Keagan was supposed to bathe this chicken for the fair!  He did not appreciate this chore!  LOL

This is Meng's buddy, Steve.  He is one of the few people she chose to bond to, when first coming to the US.  He remains a dear friend to her.  We are secretly praying she will influence he and his wife to find their treasure in China!  And btw, this was taken at a friend's adoption fundraiser.  The Law family is working towards bringing Gabby home from China!  :)

Christmas is COMING!!!


Happy December!  We are all SO excited about Christmas!  The Season of Jesus' birth is our favorite!
We have so much to be thankful for!  I am not even sure where to begin!
Hmmm, here are the highlights of the last few weeks:
1)  Brittany, Daley and I completed our first 5K!  Brittany got 2nd place in her age group!  I am SO totally proud of that girl, and we had an absolute blast running.  Have another one coming on Dec. 31
2)Daley's surgery went AMAZING also!  The infection was smaller and more contained than they anticipated, ear drum is repaired, and she is smiling, giggling, and back to her happy self already!  No Picc line needed, only one day of pain, and she is happier than ever!  PRAISE GOD!
3)The Herald and Review ran a wonderful article on my family, which was featured on Thanksgiving Day!  I am so thrilled that this article may encourage people to consider adoption, especially the adoption of older children, or children with special needs.  Our buddy Jim did a terrific job, and we love him lots!  Here is the link, if you are interested:
http://herald-review.com/news/local/traditional-values-at-the-heart-of-this-non-traditional-family/article_5aec5402-3472-11e2-ad7d-0019bb2963f4.html#.UK5BNJH0h3I.facebook
4)Brogan, Landon and Zachary will all be home NEXT WEEK!  We are so excited to see them!  It is so amazing to be a grandmother.....there is just something so cool about your baby having a baby!  BUT....it is SO hard to have this sweet little man be almost 9 months old, and I have only got to see him twice!  Been praying so hard that they would choose to move closer to home, once Z was released from the Army, but he recently accepted a position in Cherry Point, NC.  18 hours away.  But, trying to hang onto the joy I will have when they arrive Tuesday morning!  :)  And my Patrick will be home for Christmas break beginning next Friday as well! My house will be full, and so will my heart!
5)  We have been blessed, blessed, and more blessed.  My crazy family stirs attention everywhere we go.  Usually lots of stares!  But lately, it has been good attention!  We have been learning the process of receiving, rather than giving, which is hard, but we are trying!  We have received enormous amounts of groceries (well, ok, about a weeks worth LOL), lots of help with our mission fundraiser, and help with our Christmas spending.  One evening, we were not anticipating eating out, but some circumstances ( a party) required us to eat at a restaurant, which was not our choice, by anymeans.  Afterwards, we were a little bummed, to have spent $50 eating a meal we did not really care for.  Not an hour later, my husband received a gift of $50 from a complete stranger, who had read about my family, and wanted to bless us.

God is just so good.  Never forget that.  He wants nothing more than a relationship with us, our praise, and our obedience.  

Enjoy some pics of my treasures!





Friday, November 16, 2012

What's new with the fam on the farm!

Well, it has been a while since I have had time to update!  Sorry!!!   Busy as always!   This little princess, smiling her best smile, is my THREE year old baby Daley!  Yes, she turned THREE in October!  This is quite a milestone for her, since she was not supposed to live to be 1!  She is doing well, but continues to struggle with a chronic infection in her left ear, which has recently been diagnosed as a mastoid infection.  She is scheduled for surgery December 3, so we would appreciate your prayers!  She is a very, very special one, as those of you who have met her already know!
Mr. Rory had a cool event this past month.  After 6 years of no contact, his birth-grandmother called, and asked if she could come meet him!!!  She had not seen him since the day he was born!  Rory was his usual self, he danced for her, sang her, and then told her this was the "greatest day of his life".  It was precious!  I hope they can form some sort of relationship.  I feel it is so important for my kids to know their first families.  It is a forever part of who they are, and saves them from a lot of drama when they are older.  Thank you Lord, that grandma Helen called and came to visit!  She is a beautiful lady!

Here we all are, at Grandma Ginger & Grandpa Jiggs 50th wedding anniversary party!  What an inspiration!  In a world where people trade spouses like cars, I am proud of the legacy both sets of grandparents have given to us!  Dale and I celebrate our 25th this Feb.  What a blessing!  I truthfully love him more now than I ever did when I married him!  He has aged quite well!  LOL

Speaking of Dale, here is is with my MengYan, and her special new friend Ru Tong, who was recently adopted by Marc and Sandra Abla!  You may remember me rejoicing over their decision to adopt Ru a few posts back.  Well, God moved mountains for the Abla's and they managed to get her home in record time!  She has been home a month, and is transitioning fantastically!  She is the sweetest little thing, and I thank God that He not only let me be a tiny part of her adoption, but he is allowing me to get to know and love her!  

And this is Charley!  Well, Bronwyn, who is my diva/farm daughter, decided that she wanted a baby pig for her 12th bday!  REALLY!  Of all things!  I was quite shocked, but since she is daddy's lil girl, they took off on a road trip and brought home Charley!  No.....I am not allowing him to be a house-pet.  He is shacking up with the chickens, and that is just fine with me!

Other news:  
Brittany, Brianna, and Brian are thriving!  We are loving these sweethearts, and thank God for the opportunity to be their parents!  They have brought even more joy, love and crazy fun to our home!  We should be finalizing their adoptions in December!
I know what you are wondering......are the girls and I still running, right?!?!
Well, we ARE!  We are up to 3.5 miles every other day, with NO walktime.  Tomorrow is our first official 5K race, and we are READY!  Now, we don't run fast, but we WILL finish!  And the crazy thing is, I REALLY enjoy running!  It is the best stress-reliever I have EVER found!  My knees no longer hurt, my muscles no longer ache, and I am slowly losing some weight.  Hoping the winter weather allows us to continue to run all year long!
God bless you all!   
Keep Jesus near to you in everything you do!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done (YET)


Well.  I used to say that Daley was the hardest thing that I have ever done.  Then, I found out I was wrong, it was actually Brian.  Well, actually, I have discovered that both of them are not so bad, compared to my newest challenge.  About 3 weeks ago, I decided that it is now or never.  I am 40-something years old, and I have never been this out of shape, or this over-weight in my life.  Add that to the idea that I have been completely in awe over "Team Hoyt", the dad who takes his disabled son with him to compete in marathons, and Iron Man competitions.  So.....3 weeks ago, I began the "Couch Potato to 5K" program.  Wow.    It. Is. So. Hard.  
But, I have made it to the 3rd week, which is quite an accomplishment for me.  I borrowed a jogging stroller, so Daley can come with me.  She squeals and giggles the whole time, and fusses when I slow down.  Brittany, one of my newest daughters has been running with me.  She has these LONG legs, and has a very athletic build.  Let's just say that she humors me, by pretending to be tired and out of breath so I don't feel so pathetic.  A few days ago, though, she brought a tear to my eye.  And it wasn't from pain, either!  I was struggling, and ready to quit.  She began quoting Phil. 4:13 right at me!
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"!!!!!
She caught me so off guard!  This young lady, who 6 months ago was living in condemned trailer on the wrong side of E St. Louis, is now encouraging ME in God's Word!  I am in awe of you Lord!  
And......I will keep running.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We miss you, Ippei!

Ippei learning to be a "farm-hand".  He didn't like stacking hay very much!  Neither do we!

Keagan and Ippei in the hay loft

One last photo together
(everyone except Patrick and Brian)

Ippei's last day in the US

Well, Ippei Tanaka has gone back to Japan. He is a really neat kid. It takes a very patient, tolerant, and crazy person to move into this household for a month, and thrive! The kids all learned a lot from Ippei, and miss him a lot. It was really neat to see how they all bonded to him, but I think MengYan the most. They spent a lot of time together, making origami crafts, and playing card games. Ippei did not speak much English, but the kids found ways to communicate with him anyway. We hope and pray, that even though we did not get the opportunity to share Christ with him directly, that he took a little bit of Christ back with him, to Japan. He seemed to enjoy church, and especially VBS. His mother called to let us know he arrived home safely, and she said he wants to come back next summer! He is more than welcome! It was a really awesome experience! 4H is always looking for host families, for both their school year exchange program, and their summer 4 week program. Interested?!?! Send me a message, or comment, and I will share some information! God Bless!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Momma Bear VS Six Flags

See this joyful, happy little man(4th from the left) on the ride at Six Flags?!?! Well, this is the way it is supposed to be! Kids....having fun at Six Flags. But it wasn't this way all day for us. Rory is my 6 year old treasure, and he was born with Radial-Ulnar Clubhand. It doesn't stop him....he does anything he sets his mind to. We cannot even get him into occupational therapy at this point, because he does not have enough of a delay in his motor skills.

 Well, we went to Six Flags last month, all 12 of us. We rode rides all morning. And then we took Meng and Rory to the kiddie rides. It was there, that we were told Rory could not ride anymore. Rather rudely, I might add. It seems that Six Flags has a new policy that went into effect this year. All riders, on any ride, must have at least one complete hand/arm, and one complete leg/foot. So, Rory was unable to ride for the rest of the day. We spoke to management, and they would not budge. It did not matter what Rory was capable of, it only mattered what they saw. And that, my friends, is wrong. In fact, it is discrimination, based on Section 3 of the American Disabilities Act. This is the first time we have ever been hit in the face with discrimination at this level. It was an awful feeling.

 So, what do we do? Well, there is one thing you should not do, and that is to mess with my kids. It is kinda like poking a momma bear with a stick. I get angry and I get mean! LOL So, we drove to Chicago last week, to meet with one of the top disability attorneys in the state. He said we have an awesome case, based on 1)No accommodations were made for Rory, he was just told no 2)The policy is over-inclusive to Rory, and under-inclusive to those who have full limbs, but lack function in them, and 3) The policy is in affect for ALL rides, the Screaming Eagle, right down to the Merry-Go-Round, despite the differing risks/dangers. We have not hired the attorney at this point. We sent certified letters to Six Flags Gurnee and Six Flags Corporate, in NY last week. We are also trying to get the media involved, but not having much luck. Our plan is to give Six Flags 30 days to respond, and then move forward, if necessary. We are asking for simply an apology, and a change in policy. We have also filed a complaint with the ADA. So, now we wait!

 Other than this unfortunate incident, we are having a great summer! We have an exchange student here from Japan, named Ippei! We have taken him to the Gateway Arch (got stuck at the top for 2 hours!!!), and last weekend we spent the day at the Illinois State Fair! Everyone's health is good, and all are thriving! What more can I ask for??! Our friends will be traveling soon, to bring Ru home from China, which thrills my soul! And my sweet little grandson, Landon, is just the most absolutely adorable, precious little peanut ever born into this world!!! LOL God bless you all!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What God can do through CUPCAKES! :)

I have been really busy this week. Mostly busy doing a "Happy Dance". You see, as of yesterday, unless something crazy happens, our adoption is FULLY FUNDED. Let me repeat....FULLY FUNDED! You need to know how incredible this is. Our estimated maximum adoption costs for Brittany, Brianna, and Brian were set at $24,000. This was in February. Today is June 26, and we are FULLY FUNDED. We have NEVER paid an adoption off before we finalized. This is the 2nd most expensive adoption we have ever done. I am just in AWE of God, and also reveling in his confirmation that this adoption is RIGHT, and is from HIM! He is moving mountains to make this happen for us! Praise His holy name! Now let me back up. Aprill F, my dear friend, happens to own a small bakery. Months ago she came to me with an idea to sell cupcakes as a fundraiser. I have to be honest. I did not expect much, but I was certainly willing to give it a try. We sold over 200 dozen cupcakes, through Facebook, in a little over a week! And on top of that, God's people were AMAZINGLY generous! We have received SO many financial gifts that it is both overwhelming and extremely humbling! I am SO proud of God's people, for understanding that caring for "the least of these" is all of our job, not just a select few. This adoption would be a tremendous strain on our already strained budget, without the help of you all! So, thank you, anonymous donor, who gave above and beyond! Thank you M & M, thank you Tammy, and Kelli, and Matthew and family. Thank you to those of you who we did not even know, but you still stepped up, and bought those crazy cupcakes! Thank you Aprill, for baking your little heart out! And thank you to ALL of you who gave what you could, to give Brittany, Brianna, and Brian stability and a home. And for giving us the blessing of being parents to some awesome kids. We love you all! God bless! Ann
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:5-6
PS One more thing....NOW LET"S GET RU HOME! http://lovetakesheart.wordpress.com/do-good-t-shirts/

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Some new photos of my sweeties!

Hello! Just a quick update to let you know we are all doing amazing! The kids have settled in SO well. Having 10 kids at home is not as hard as I thought it would be! LOL It gets a little easier each day. Having a busy summer so far...here are some highlights: We had the awesome opportunity to go on Toby's MAKE-A-WISH trip to the Mall of America last month, and it was absolutely wonderful! Closer to home, we have been working on finishing some school, building a small deck off the back of the house, and working in the garden. We had two calves and 22 lambs born this spring, so it has been fun watching them grow and thrive! Our first grandchild, Landon, is doing well, and growing like crazy! He is the happiest, cutest little guy ever, but we don't see him often enough! They need to move closer! We are slowly chipping away at our new adoption expenses. We are right in the middle of a CUPCAKE fundraiser, and it is going very well! We have sold almost a 100 dozen at this point! Thanks to all of you who contributed! Will update more soon! It is harder and harder to find free time!!! :) God bless!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Bravest girl in the World!

Wh
What a week! Do you see this little princess in the photo above? Well, she has once again, amazed her momma. Thursday morning, she woke up complaining of belly pain, at the poke site we use for her SubQ chelation pump. I thought perhaps I had put the needle in crooked, or she slept on it, and it was pinching her. We stopped the pump early, but the pain continued. She cried off and on all morning. After lunch (which she refused to eat), she began to run a temp. Not much of one, but still a temp. That is when I began to get a little worried. By afternoon, she was walking all hunched over, the pain was still there, but seemed to come more in waves. She would be fine for a few minutes, back to her happy self, and then complaining of pain the next. By 4pm, I was getting very worried, so Dale took her to Springfield, to the ER. Five hours later, they were home, with no answers. Her urine screen was negative, and her blood counts were all normal. I had hoped they would do an ultrasound, to check her appendix, but they felt it was not necessary, since her blood counts were normal. Friday morning, she woke up still in pain, although she slept well through the night. Thank God we had an already scheduled blood transfusion in Peoria, at St. Francis Children's Hospital. When we got to the hospital, she could not walk without pain, so I had to find a wheelchair for her. Her hematologist examined her, and was also quite concerned over the pain. Once again, her lab counts were normal - with the exception of her Hg, which we knew would be low. Dr. Ross ordered an ultrasound, to ease both of our minds. I knew there was something wrong, when the tech left, and brought back 2 radiologists. Both agreed that her appendix were enlarged, irritated, and filling with blood, all signs that perforation was imminent. They recommended removing them ASAP. Panic hit me! All I could think of were worst case scenarios, and my heart broke for this little peanut who has already been through SO much in her seven years. We finished her blood transfusion, and were transferred upstairs, to the pediatric surgical floor. Wonderful, amazing friends stepped up for us. Marc and Sandra loaned Dale their van, so Dale could come be with us. They also took many of the kids for the evening, which was quite brave of them! Brett came to bring Meng a stuffed dog, which she fell in love with. He prayed with Meng, and his prayer brought me the peace I was needing. Meng's surgery began a little after 6pm Friday night. The surgeon I requested was available, and that also brought me peace. Dale and I hugged our sweet girl, who at that point was crying some fearful little tears. We prayed with her, and off she went to the OR. Then we spent some more time praying for her, and figuring out a plan of action for the upcoming days. Her surgery was quick and successful. Praise God, her appendix had not ruptured. She was able to have the surgery laproscopically, which was a blessing! She was in some pain, but not as much as we expected. Daddy kissed her goodnight and headed home (to rescue Marc and Sandra, and poor Patrick who took care of a screaming Daley), and she and I snuggled in for the night. Saturday morning, she amazed me. She ate a full breakfast. She never complained of pain. She wanted to go for a walk. She wanted to play games, and take a bath. We had to make her take pain meds. At noon, all the docs could find no reason to keep her hospitalized! By 1pm, less that 24 hours after major surgery, we were on our way home! Today, Meng spent most of the day mad at me! Mad at me because I would not let her ride a scooter, and climb on the swingset with her cousins. She doesn't understand why she cannot run and play, and I cannot understand how she can want to do these things so soon after surgery!!! LOL MengYan McKinney will never cease to amaze me. She is so incredibly smart, brave, and resilient. I know now how she survived in China, because she has the tenacity of a bulldog. She is a go-getter, and will not let anything stop her. God created her an amazing littler personality, that just doesn't let things stop her. I cannot wait to see what God has for her, in her future. It is gonna be awesome! She is a real treasure!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Resurrection Day!






What a blessed Easter! Got to spend lots of time with those I love the most, had an amazing and very successful Adoption Fundraiser breakfast, and most of all, got to teach the kids more and more about what Jesus Christ did, to save us all from our sins. Life is good, God is great, We are BLESSED! Enjoy these photos of my lovies!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Loving my "NEW NORMAL"




What is normal, anyway?? Well, I guess it is what we are used to. We are finally all settling in, and getting used to have three xtra children in our family. It has not always been easy, there has been stress, arguments, and some serious cat fights. But, it seems that all of this is drawing us close, drawing us together as a family. Recently, we were at an amusement park of sorts, and the kids were go-karting. An older man, who was not very nice, began to scream at Keagan, and at the attendant, accusing Keagan of not driving his go-kart properly. It got ugly very quickly, and Keagan broke down, the tears flowing. It was horrible, and it was awesome. ALL of the kids ran to Keagan, encouraging him, hugging him, telling him they were sorry the incident happened to him. I think that was the first time I SAW us as a family. Caring for each other. It still brings tears to my eyes. I think God put that nasty, horribly grouchy man in our paths, to show us all that we care about each other, even more than we realized.
These kids are awesome. I am loving them more each day. Brian, as difficult as he can be, has won my heart with his sweet innocence, and his affection. Brittany is learning to be a kid, something she has not done much of. She is learning to have fun, and be crazy. Brianna is already crazy and fun-loving, but she is learning acceptance. My kids are learning what is means to share what God has blessed us with, and to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, if it is in service to our Lord. God is good. His plans are awesome. I am happy and content. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Holy cow, I am a GRANDMA!!!!!!




Yep, it is true. I do not FEEL old enough to be a grandma, but I am! My oldest baby just had a baby! Brogan and Zachary are parents! LANDON NELSON NEW made his appearance into this world, on Brogan,s birthday, Monday, MArch 19, and I was privileged to be there! IT was such an amazing experience, one I will cherish forever! Let me back up to say, that YES, Dale and I really did load up 9 kids, and drive them all the NC, in hopes of being there for Landons' birth. God was good enough to make it happen!
We had a great time in NC. We stayed in an amazing house, got to visit with Niu Niu, Meng's BFF from China, played on the beach, road go-karts, and all got to know each other better!
The new "normal" for us is getting easier every day. Brian is such a love. He is thriving in his new school, and outside of still having issues with lying, he is doing amazing. He even began to call Dale "Dad". Brought a tear to my eye! The girls are doing better as well. We have had some pretty HUGE fights, and lots of angry hormones raging, but that too, seems to be getting a little better. It is just incredibly HARD to bring three kids into your family and make it all work. Especially when these kids have been raised COMPLETELY different than the kids you are already parenting! But, God's Hand is at work, and He is making it happen!
Other news!?!?! Patrick went to Michigan last weekend, to meet Daynene's parents. Sounds serious?!?!? I am getting nervous! She seems like an awesome young lady, I am just not ready to let my Patrick go quite yet! LOL We had 15 lambs born on the farm while we were gone! Poor niece Mandi got to birth them all! Wonder if she will ever housesit for me again?!?! LOL Kegan is getting braces this week! He wants purple ones....this should be interesting! LOL 8 more weeks of school. Cannot come quick enough! This momma needs a break!
Well, more updates soon!
This granny needs some rest!
Much love!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

So far, so good!


Well, we begin week 4, of adding 3 children to our family. It is really going very well. Better than I expected. Brian has been a little difficult, but seems to get easier each day. I think he is learning our routines, and I am learning how to handle his unique-ness better. He is a sweet, sweet boy. He wants to please. I think he has had a lot of years of being picked on, and being treated unfairly. He starts his new school on Tuesday. I met his classmates and his teachers, and I am impressed! I think this will be a good move for him.
The girls are doing well also. They decided I was old and frumpy looking, so they decided to give me a make-over tonight! They did a good job! I just hope they do not Expect me to look this way Every day, because I do not have a spare hour in my day to do my hair and make-up! LOL
Truly, the only issue we are having, at this point, is the three girls getting along. Bronwyn is struggling with sharing so much....her house, her room, her clothes, her parents, her life. I totally understand. God put these kids on OUR hearts, but not necessarily on hers. Her reign as oldest daughter (at home) has been challenged, and she is not liking it. Please pray for her, and for the others. It is easy for Dale and I to say that God did not call us to be comfortable, but to serve......it is harder for us to ask this of our children, who just want life as they know it.
Will update more soon! At this point, we are all hoping to finalize adoptions by December!
Blessings!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This Amazing, Radical Life!

Wow....you simply would not believe what has happened over these past two weeks! I am not sure I even know where to start!!!

1) We took temporary guardianship of Brandon, Brittany, Brianna, Brian, and Bria on February 5. We were terrified, excited, worried, and hesitant, but took this huge step, totally trusting our Lord. He Has always been faithful.

2) The very next day, a family we had been praying for asked if they could be considered as a family for Bria, the 2 year old. We packed Bria up, and she went to stay with them on a home visit, to see how it would go. She is still there! She calls Heather momma already, and cries when she leaves her sight!

3) Another day passes, and a family from our Sunday morning small group drops a bomb on us! They would like to meet Brandon, the 15 year old, and are considering offering him a permanent home with them! I cannot tell you how surprised, but excited we were with this news! This is the perfect family for Brandon! He spent several evenings with them, and then moved in!

4) That left us with Brittany-13, Brianna-12, and Brian 10. A manageable number, considering we still have 6 at home already! Things have gone fairly well. The girls have been fabulous. Brian is harder, as he has significant delays and some anger issues. But, he has an amazing affectionate side to him, that has touched my heart.

5) This past week, I talked with their birthmother, as to her future plans for the children. She told me she was ready to sign them over to our agency, and move forward. Our conversation left me with such mixed feelings. The very next day, she went to the agency, and terminated her parental rights. Just like that. Wow.

6) So.......the plan! Bria is in the process of being adopted by the Townsends. A perfect match for her! Brandon has found his forever family with the Prices. An unexpected, but also a perfect match! And we are in the process of becoming permanent parents to Brittany, Brianna, and Brian! Again I say.....WOW.

7) And one more amazing thing happened this week. I have a peanut little Chinese peanut I have been advocating for. Her name is Liu Run Tong AKA Kara, and she is 2 years old. She has Beta Thalassemia, just like my MengYan. This week, our dear friends, the Abla's received their pre-apporval from China, and they will be making her a permanent part of their family! I am doing the HAPPY DANCE! I am not sure who I am more excited for.....ME, Her, and Them!!! LOL

God, this is one heck of a ride. I was the woman who did not want children. You have taken my selfish heart, and changed it so radically, that I am preparing myself to become the momma to ELEVEN children. AND I AM HAPPY ABOUT IT! Really HAPPY!!!

More updates to come. But probably not quite as often, as I am just a wee but busier than usual! LOL
May God bless you all, and may you choose to always obey Him! His plan is perfect!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All my kids are home!


Hello! I am having a great week! Brogan is home from Germany! And Patrick was able to be home for the weekend as well! I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were all back together again, and have the kids photos taken. So, I drug them all to WalMart, and that is where the awesome photo came from!
Brogan is so cute pregnant! She is not nearly as big as I was expecting! She only has 6 weeks to go! Landon Nelson New will be born in North Carolina, so guess where I will be spending a lot of time in the next few months! LOL I am Excited. Still taking votes on what to be called, however. Mamo is Irish for grandma, but my friends all like Granny Annie. I think it makes me sounds too old! We'll see!
Good news on MengYan! A recent trip to Memphis, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital revealed that her iron overload levels have dropped from 25.9 down to 15!!! This is awesome! All of her labs came back very good, and her health is better than it has ever been, since we brought her home 2 1/2 years ago. Our God is good, and His healing hand is upon her!
Update on the Fab 5, as we call them. After dropping out of sight for sometime, their birthmother called us crying and pleading last week, and wants us to come get them. At this point, our agency feels the state will not approve us for all 5, but we have another home that MAY be interested in splitting them with us, and having regular, weekly visits, to keep them as together as possible. We are picking them up on Sunday, for a 2 week temp guardianship. Still not sure this is right, but these kids are part of our hearts now, and we want to do all We can for them.
Farm life is still keeping me too busy, but at least the weather has been good! We have downsized our farm considerably, selling off the ponies, the mini donk and many of the chickens. Trying to make things more manageable, so as to have more time to spend with my treasures, and all that entails!
Well, more updates to come! Gotta get some Zzzzzzzs
May God richly bless you and your household!
A