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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Merry Christmas from us! 2016

                                         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!

• 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!


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 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 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. 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!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The kids I love......

I love my family.  I love my kids!  Yes, they drive me crazy some days.  But I really do love them and enjoy spending time with them, watching them grow and learn.  My family makes me smile and they make me proud.  Here are some of my favorite pics of them, taken recently.......

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good News and prayers requested......

Adoption update:    The good news is that our dossier is finally off to China!  It seems like this has taken SO long, but it is finally out of our hands.  We are praying to travel on March 18 or 19, but we are not sure it can happen that fast.  That would be the beginning of our kid's spring break, so that is the perfect week.

Along with that good update, we have a prayer request.  This morning we got a couple of new photos of Miles.  He does not look good.  He is so jaundice, so puffy.  And the dark spots on his face and hands seem a little darker.  We are told this is probably a symptom of liver toxicity. We have got to get this boy home.  He just looks so sad and so sick.  It breaks my heart.

So, friends, PLEASE pray specifically for his health to be stabile, and for him to not be having any pain or discomfort.  And please pray that things would move along in record time, so we can GET HIM HOME!!!   Thank you!   God bless you!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Familiar Journey

     Hmmmm, now can you guess what journey would be very familiar to me?   If you know me at all, you probably guessed an adoption journey, and yes, you would be right.  We have 2 home-grown children, and we have adopted 11 children.  5 were newborns- adopted domestically.  3 were toddlers- adopted from China.  3 were a sibling group of tweens- adopted domestically.  All were considered special needs, although technically only 7 have ongoing medical/therapy needs.  Adoption is my passion, my world, it is partially what created my amazing family.  I LOVE adoption.  I love "almost" everything about it.  When I grow up, I want to turn my adoption ministry into an adoption agency, and I want to spend my life finding forever families for orphans.  That would be an absolute dream come true!  I pray that one day God will grant me this desire of my heart!

     So, I guess it is also no surprise that we are adopting again!  Actually, it kinda was a surprise to us!  We had absolutely NO intention of adoption again.  Well, truthfully, at least not soon.  We have always felt we would adopt until we were no longer able, but we were choosing to slow down and let our kids grow up a bit.   Until we heard about "Miles"  AKA Mao Xin Dai.  Miles was found abandoned as a 5 year old.  Left in a train station in southern China.  I am sure he was old enough to have memories of this trauma.  I cannot even imagine.  For the past 8 years, he has been living in an orphanage.  But he is sick.  Very sick.  He has Beta Thalassemia, just like MengYan.  This is probably the very reason he was abandoned.  It is very difficult to get care for a child with Thalassemia in China.  In fact, most children in China with Thal, do not live past their 5th birthday.  Here is the US, it is a very treatable disease.  So, for his entire life, he has had very basic treatment of his disease.  He is not getting blood transfusions as often as he needs them, so he is chronically anemic, which is damaging his organs and his bones.  He has never received the required iron chelation therapy, so he has  a severe iron overload in his liver, his heart and his pituitary glands.  His heart is already showing signs of damage, which may or may not be correctible.  His swollen belly is full of gallstones.  I cannot imagine how that hurts.  And all of this without the love and support of a family. Heartbreaking.  Literally.

    We advocated.  We prayed.  Hundreds of people did.  He doesn't even know how many people have prayed over him!!!   We watched as 2 different families stepped forward, excited to commit to adopting him.  And then we watched, as both families backed out, for various reasons.  And then we felt that familiar feeling.  That Miles was OUR son.  The more we prayed, the more God confirmed it!  His name is to be Miles Xin Dai McKinney!!!
So here we go again!

     We started the process in September.  We are almost DTC at this point, and then things will move quickly.  We are told we should travel in March/April at the latest.  The unfamiliar thing about this journey is that we have never adopted a teenager who doesn't speak English!  That could be.....interesting!    But we are determined to make this work, and we know God's hand is all over this adoption.  He has blown open closed doors on two separate occasions.  He is little by little removing the financial hurdles, that are overwhelming.  He is preparing our hearts, and the hearts of our children.  Miles is our son.  And very soon, we will meet him!!!

     We covet your prayers.  We ask you to consider helping us financially.  But most of all we ask you to try to understand.  God puts these crazy notions on our hearts.  We have to be obedient!  Being in the will of God is exactly where we want to be.  It is not in God's will for any child to be an orphan.  We praise Him, that we are chosen to be Mile's family!!!!!

     God bless!!!

Would you like to help us financially?     Miles has a Reeces Rainbow account.  All donations to this account go directly to our agency, to help with our adoption expenses.  And they are tax deductible.  Here is the link to our page.