Monday, November 29, 2010

My gut tells me...





..to SLOW DOWN! As much as I want to just have life skip along as usual it just never does. Kai is amazing and his adjustment has been the most any parent could hope for... BUT it's still an adjustment.

It's still just learning how to do life with FOUR!

I am finding my kids need a little more right now. Nobody is super jealous. Nobody is melting down. They just need extra hugs, extra cuddles, extra everything.

Not to mention that we have had more sickness floating around this house than we have in YEARS! It has really knocked us out.

I know this is just a season but for some reason it's hard for me to accept doing this. Why is that??

To be really honest- I HATE disappointing people. I hate it. It's so hard for me to say no to things I love doing and to things that I even consider important.

Especially in this season I had planned a lot of things I loved with all my capacity cause I had no clue I would have a new little guy so quickly.

As my wise Daddy once told me, "Angel, there are things you want and there are things you want more. You just have to always remember which is which."

How true that is. I want to go to parties and science classes and field trips and bible studies and family trips. Usually I adore those things and thrive on them. I think they are important! I want to do them.

BUT there is something I want more. I want to slow down enough to hear God's voice. I want to be a gentle and kind wife. I want to help heal the hearts of the children I have brought into my family. I want my children to feel deeply loved and valued. I want to be healthy as a person. I want to be real and not pretend I can do it all. I can't.

So here goes. Time to put first things first..

We canceled a trip to Disney for Christmas knowing we need to slow down. It'll be time to go again soon enough.

I'm gonna love my husband and snuggle my babies. I'm gonna keep some schooling going and try to keep us all healthy. Everything else is gonna have to be optional for awhile.

You know what? Instead of fighting it I really just want to embrace it! I want to soak in every second of the cuddling and slow pace knowing that in mere moments they will be grown.

That is if I have the honor of watching them grow. We never know how many moments we have left with one another. I've got to keep 1st things 1st. I never want to look back and regret the time I spent...

Ahhh.. I'm gonna go cuddle with a munchkin now.


Hugs, Angel :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure..

...this is what my house looked like for the first week after Kai moved in to live with us.



My house is not always clean. My laundry is rarely done. I don't always handle things well. My voice isn't always sweet.



I'm not super woman. I'm not even close. Life isn't perfect or Beaver Cleaver. It is MESSY and wild and wonderful. I just thought you should know.

Hugs, Angel :-)


Friday, November 12, 2010

What about AFRICA???

OH BOY was that a question I was asking myself a couple of weeks ago...

WHAT ABOUT AFRICA???

As you read in my previous post the selfish yuppie
part of me wanted to stop at 3 kids, buy a vacation home and start getting more pedicures.... Oh and a few massages. ;-)


Ok. Let's be honest. I always knew that part would never win. It couldn't win. But still that part was there..

Now here we are- I have started this adoption to Africa and God has given me this little wonder of a boy dropped into my life and WHAT ABOUT AFRICA???


At first I started to rationalize a bit. I mean here's how it happened... God told us to start the home study process on July 4th. I flew through my paperwork like a bat on fire. You people witnessed the insanity. Suddenly once the US stuff was done it was like I COULD NOT make myself do anything else!! I would literally pick up the phone to call the agency to check on something and would feel like God was telling me, "HANG UP THE PHONE AND WAIT!"

Since I was suddenly slow as Christmas I didn't push and therefore none of my Africa paperwork was done. Which was a really good thing. If we had the Africa side done we would have been matched with an identified child and they would have started trying to get that child paperwork ready. Then things would have gotten complicated in trying to bring home Kai. God's timing is amazing.

As it turned out we received our completed home study the DAY Kai's adoption agency agreed that we should be the ones to adopt him. THAT DAY!!! Not only that... We were approved for the EXACT age, gender, EVERYTHING.

It's ridiculous. Sooooo...I started to rationalize. Maybe it wasn't about Africa at all. Maybe this was it instead.

Or maybe it was both and that scared the tar outta me. I started doing the math on how many small children I would have and whether we could travel easily and how much Disney tickets would cost. I KNOW! I KNOW! I'm pathetic but that's just the facts people. I didn't promise you pretty. I promised reality. These children require sacrifice and sometimes I'm selfish and ugly. There it is. So all my calculations and I figured out there is a reason why people have 2.5 children. It's easier and less expensive. Hee hee... :-)



But ya know what I remembered then? I remembered how when we decided to get prego it happened WAY quicker than we expected really. I mean we wanted it to happen badly but it happened like RIGHT AWAY and I thought AM I READY FOR THIS??? We were about to move off to Michigan for Russ to go to MBA school. I was staying home with Kaitlyn so that meant... Well, it meant we were crazy. We heard about it too- how crazy it was. Still, something in my gut said this was RIGHT and I would never change it. Never, never, never would I give up my KK. Oh the joy she brings me. I'm so thankful.


Then came Zoe. We had JUST gotten out of MBA school when we started her adoption. We didn't have the money. We didn't have any experience. We were adopting out of birth order. We were adopting an older child. I had this moment where I thought WHAT AM I DOING??? Cause this was crazy and breaking all the rules. It didn't make any logical sense. We could HAVE as many beautiful blonde bio babies as we wanted so what was I DOING??? Still I KNEW she was ours... I KNEW God had given me this Krysta Zoe. So we fell in love knowing we were crazy. Oh she's so amazing. Thank you Lord for my Zoe girl. She is more than I deserve.

Soon we came to Kaiya. One minute we were thinking MAYBE domestic -meet with a crisis pregnancy center and ooch forward. Next thing I know we are running around getting paperwork for a special needs toddler. What was I thinking??? This was REALLY crazy. She'd been in an orphanage for 2 years with 36 kids and like 3 care takers. She had a cleft lip and palate. We had JUST gotten our savings back up from the 1st adoption. Was I NUTS??? Clearly yes. The minute I saw her sweet face I knew she was mine. So off we flew to China a mere seven months later and OH THANK YOU LORD!! Kaiya Rain Zhen drives me batty sometimes and makes me smile every single day!!!! Oh how I adore her. She's my spicy China baby and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Finally we come to Kai Justice. Well, I mean REALLY!!! This is a disruption situation. This little one has a stack of papers that diagnose him with a lot of scary words. If you google the scary words in the scary paperwork then you can't sleep at night. So am I THAT crazy?? My heart told me this is my son not a diagnosis. So yes... I am. Now here is this little man who is like the puzzle piece we never knew was missing. He FITS here!!! I am completely in love with my little Korean wonder.
So that brings us to Africa.... We have four kids... We're happy and comfortable and have great kids. Why would we want to DO THIS??? Because... My son is there... And I think I've finally accepted that I love this kinda crazy. This is the kinda crazy that makes a person step out of a boat and walk on water JUST cause Jesus said to do it. I'm so grateful that God held my hand so I wouldn't sink under the waves from the doubts about whether all this insanity could REALLY be HIM!

I'm good now. I don't expect it to be easy or pretty. It never is. In between all the field trips and photo sessions are melt downs, explosive diapers, temper tantrums, dirty clothes, sleepless nights and growth I never knew I could experience. These miracles God has sent me have changed EVERYTHING. I am changed and thankful. I am so joyful. I am so grateful. I am so ready. No doubt...no sinking this time.


It turns out that Kaitlyn Elise wasn't too early or too expensive! Turns out she is my amazing little diva who brings me unspeakable joy.


It turns out Krysta Zoe isn't a scary older child adoption. She is the most compassionate and loving person I know.

It turns out Kaiya Rain Zhen isn't a special needs toddler permanently scarred by institutional life. It turns out she's the brave and hilarious and capable of just about anything.

It turns out Kai Justice Easton isn't a stack of scary diagnosis. It turns out he's a dream come true.

So I say....

Africa???

Yeah... bring it on.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's in a name??


Kai Justice

This name is special. I adore it with all my heart. It's not JUST a name. God gave Kai his name. I'd love to share the story with you...

July 3rd of this past summer I wrote this blog post.

My dear friend Amy had mentioned this scripture on her blog and it gripped my heart in a powerful way. It was as if the words of this scripture echoed everything God had been showing me this past year...

Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)

21-24"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.

It was what had been stirring in my soul for months... maybe years. God was yelling at me everywhere I turned. THIS was the message that was burning in my heart..

The truth is that this hit me in the gut for a reason. I was struggling with the desire to lay back and get comfortable. Cause ya know, I was only slightly crazy so far-3 girls- 2 adoptions. Things were just getting easier again. We were recovering from the adoptions financially. The girls were getting a little older and more settled in. Life was feeling, well comfortable and I was liking it.

I was starting to feel like God might call me to stretch again and frankly felt a bit whiny about that. I mean Wahhhh.... woa is me!! Hadn't I done enough? Couldn't I straddle the two lives?

I wanted to be a spiritual "Hannah Montana" and have the best of both worlds. I wanted to be a spiritual giant who loves Jesus, adopts, serves BUT still have the American dream too! EXCEPT- except that isn't how it works at all is it? Why did I want to hold on so tightly to my comfort? I was struggling inside but the message echoing in my heart was this..

I'M SICK OF IT!! I don't care about the fancy buildings... the programs... the pretty music... That stuff all means NOTHING when God's people are ambivalent. All of it means NOTHING if we ignore the least of these. What God wants more than ANY OF these religious projects we do in the name of God is JUSTICE!! He deeply desires oceans of that...

..so much so that Amos tells us God brought down judgement on His people and allowed them to be taken over by enemies to bring them back to what was important. Their focus on the outward and lack of care for those in need enraged a holy and righteous God.

Was God saying to His people that songs and buildings infuriated Him??? NO!!! He was saying their lack of compassion for those in need infuriated Him. Their disregard for injustice made all the other stuff useless.


The scripture and message of Amos has been stuck in my brain like glue ever since....

I prayed "LORD! Please don't let this be ME!!! I don't want to be busy doing all this stuff that I think pleases You and all the time your heart is grieved. Please Lord... please let me desire the things you do. Don't let me waste my life being comfortable and thinking that was enough when all the time I never knew YOUR heart at all.

I couldn't shut up about Amos... I blogged about it. I talked poor Russ' ear off about it. I talked to all my BFFs about it.

July 4th, the very next day after He slapped me upside the head, God burdened Russ and I to start the homestudy process to adopt a son from Africa. (More on that later- it's still happening!)

I was ready to let go again and trust that HE knew better.

So that week we were praying about what our son's name should be and when I prayed about Africa I felt very confident that it was the name Keegan Sky-bright light in the sky. I LOVED IT!

However, I KEPT hearing this other name swirl around in my head... Kai Justice... and I had no idea WHY! I mean I loved the name but we only had one adoption process going on and I didn't even know what it meant.

I even asked Russ if we ever adopted another boy if he'd be open to the name Kai Justice. (cause even then we said we would probably adopt one more boy though I was fighting the idea of FIVE children)

He said, "Well, it's kinda hippie... but I like it. What does it mean?" I told him I had no idea and just couldn't quit thinking the name.

Fast forward to October when a precious family told us they felt that a little 2 year old boy from Korea was meant to be ours all along... we opened the e-mail attachment... saw the picture of his darling face... after we ooohhed and ahhhed for awhile about him..

I looked at Russ and said, "That's not Keegan Sky."

Russ agreed, "Nope. Keegan Sky is in Africa."

I said, "Is his name Kai Justice?"

Russ replied, "MAYBE! What does it mean??"

So I immediately looked it up and then my chin about hit the ground!

I literally yelled, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!"

Russ looked up at me confused till I revealed... it means

"Oceans Of Justice..."

We just stared at each other for a second a little stunned. Then Russ in all his brilliance says "Well, then I guess that's his name." :-) I love that guy.

God is so good....

Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)

21-24"I can't stand your religious meetings.
I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That's what I want. That's all I want.


Oh what I would have missed if I had let my American dream win. I would have missed it, I would have missed the whole point. He kindly broke me of my American dream and gave me something infinitely better. He gave me "Oceans Of Justice." I know that with all my heart and every single time I call Kai Justice it is a message for me and for all of us about God's passion.

Oh Lord, thank you for knowing what I need better than I do.

He is so good and kind.

Hugs, Angel


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Presenting Kai Justice!





Tuesday, November 09, 2010

MEET OUR NEW SON!!!!!

Kai Justice Easton




I would like to introduce you to our new baby boy. Oh how I have wanted to tell you about him for weeks.... But this is not an average story. Whew... Where do I even begin?? Here is where I begin.

This little one is a miracle. His story is a miracle. The lengths God went to in bringing him home is a miracle. The people who have loved him are a miracle. The way he came to us is nothing short of a miracle.

I will give you the brief story of that miracle now.

This sweet treasure is Kai Justice.. He is 2 years old. He was born in Korea and cared for by a foster family for 2 years. Then he came to the US in April 2010. For 6 months he was cared for by a loving family who felt they could no longer parent him for personal reasons. This wonderful family approached us and asked if we would consider adopting him.

The answer was yes before we ever saw his sweet little face.

We first met Kai on Oct. 16th. That night I fell hard for a cute boy from Korea. In my heart I was already a goner. :-) Shortly after we began visits and Kai moved in with us on Nov 1st for good.

We do not pretend to understand all the details of how this miracle happened. In the following weeks and months I am certain to dive into all my thoughts and processing of this whole whirlwind of a story.

For now I will say this is what I know. THIS little man is a treasure... A little wonder. He is home now. I am thankful for every person that loved him enough to get him to this home. The path that brought him here is crooked but it is no less beautiful. In fact, I would say the twists and turns of the path make it that much more remarkable.

Our God is amazing. I look forward to sharing more details of this miracle with you as we go along.

Hugs, Angel :-)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Remembering when Krysta Zoe came home..


Today marks FOUR YEARS AGO that our precious Krysta Zoe came home to be our forever family. Her name means "Divinely Chosen Life." We believe with all our heart that is true. God chose her for our family and walked with her through fire to get her home. Loving Zoe has been life altering. She is beautiful on the outside and breathtaking in a way that often brings me to tears on the inside. Here is a video I made awhile back to share the journey. I hope this gives you a peek into the miracle and struggle of our love for our precious baby girl. She is a treasure we could have easily missed in the midst of fear and selfishness. I am eternally grateful that we changed and bent everything to love her. She has helped us to stretch, grow... become more than we thought we could be. We are truly. completely, utterly blessed to love her.