"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, April 24, 2009

you don't need eyes to be a miracle

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
- Philippians 4:11-13

I've been Tweeting since last night about a "special" play date that AJ and I were having this morning. Notice that I said the play date was for both of us.

Let me start at the beginning.

Earlier in the week, I received an email from another adoptive Mama who had just come across my blog. She told me she lived in my town and had a precious little guy from Korea who happens to be four years old, just like Kai and Anna Grace. She is also awaiting travel approval from China to bring home yet, another precious little man.

I took the opportunity and asked Karrie, the Mama to this sweet little guy, if she wanted to meet for a play date. She whole heartily agreed and I was thrilled because AJ's already pretty full social circle would expand just a bit more (Unfortunately, Kai and Anna Grace miss out on a lot of these outings because of school.) and it would give me the opportunity to meet another local adoptive Mama.

We agreed to meet this Friday morning (today) at a nearby park. In the email I received confirming our meeting, Karrie informed me that she watches a little 11 yr. old girl on Fridays and that she would be joining us. "Sounds good!", I said.

Now here's the real God-incident part and why it became my play date also.

This little girl she watches is not just your average little girl. Every single child God creates in His image is perfect and special, but this little girl tugged at my heart as soon as I had read the email about her. She had come from an orphanage in Haiti and was blind and deaf.

For those of you that go back quite a ways with me, you may know that for almost 5 years, (in my much younger days) I volunteered in a classroom with blind and deaf kids. Some were blind. Some were deaf. Some were both. I was in junior high school at the time and begged my Mom to be able to do this. She agreed. Those children taught me what a special need I had.

It's been over 25 years since I worked with those 12 kiddos, but I can remember each of them to this day as if it were yesterday. There was something just so incredibly, amazing about them. Unbeknowst to me, even then God was preparing my heart for special needs.

One particular little girl in the classroom, Mamie, literally changed my life. She was a clingy, 3 year old African-American sweetie. Her Mama was a single Mom, working two jobs to help support Mamie, her three other siblings and their Grandmother.

Mamie's first year with us in the classroom was a lot of fun. She was funny, tenacious and bright, overcoming the disabilities she had been born with.

In September of the following year, Mamie started school, as did the other kids. I loved them all, but for some reason, my heart was always pulled towards this little one. I remember she often talked about how badly she wanted a Big Wheel.

I was maybe 14 or 15 years old then. We'd have split hours at school and I'd attend the afternoon shift, which started at 12:30. Each morning, I awoke at 6:30, dressed and headed out to the local special-ed elementary school which was only a few blocks away from our house. I was there by 7 a.m., along with the teacher and began my "work" as soon as the kids started arriving at 7:30. At noon each day, I'd get picked up by a bus that would take me to my own school, where I'd stay until 5:30 each day. I did this throughout most of my junior high and high school years, and developed pretty good sign language skills.

The second week of that school year, Mamie's Mama had a conference with the teacher, Mrs. B. I noticed that there was a pretty somber look on Mrs. B's face when she came back into the classroom. But, the day proceeded at usual. This was a Wednesday.

That Friday, when I was gathering my books to head out, Mrs. B asked if I had a couple of minutes to speak to her. I said, "Sure!" She sat down and I again noticed that sad look upon her face. She, carefully choosing her words, explained to me that Mamie's Mama had informed her that Mamie had an inoperable brain tumor and did not have much time left to live.

I sit here with tears as I type this because it's still so very vivid in my mind.

I listened to Mrs. B's words and don't honestly remember asking anything. Being 14 or 15, I sadly had not made any room for God in my life, so it never occurred to me to pray. Now, being older and knowing our Savior intimately I see that whether this 14 year old prayed or not, He knew exactly what the outcome would be to Mamie's disease. I often thank Him for allowing me to be a part of her life.

Mamie's Mama told us that fall that she worked at Sears and had put that much anticipated Big Wheel on lay-away for Mamie's Christmas gift. As the months got closer to Christmas, Mamie and I often talked about what she wanted Santa to bring her. It was so hard for me to comprehend that she was that sick. I didn't see it. She was always thin and frail, but she never changed. She was happy and loving and lived totally carefree. She didn't resemble what my image of death was.

In October, we had a Halloween party at school and the kids all dressed up. They were so cute! I remember their Moms often coming in with little crafts they'd made at home for me. To this day, I still have a couple of them hanging on my walls. They're priceless treasures to me.

November rolled around and Mamie started not attending school as often. She lived in a government project with her Mom, Grandmother and siblings that was not too far from my house. I was always tempted to ride my bike there, but never did.

The week before Thanksgiving, I arrived at school as usual. The kids started coming off the buses and again, no Mamie. I knew now she was pretty sick, but at that age, it didn't really sink in that she was pretty sick.

During morning snacks, Mrs. B called me to her desk. She had tears in her eyes as she told me that Mamie had passed away the night before. I sat there dumbfounded. "What do mean?", I remember asking. She responded with, "Mamie died last night." I sat there and bawled. She hugged me. I could sense the other kids, who's God-given seventh sense was amazing, noticing something wrong, I composed myself and told Mrs. B that I wanted to call my Mom. I did. She picked me up and I didn't go to school that day, but instead went home and cried myself to sleep.

Mamie's funeral was the first funeral I had ever attended. Actually it was the first Black anything (forgive me for the lack of politically correct terms) I had ever attended. I remember walking into this beautiful all-white room filled with flowers at the funeral home. At the very front was a little white casket with a beautiful angel peacefully sleeping inside. Oh, how I wish I had known our Lord then. Her Mama came up to me and we hugged and cried. It was then that I noticed that by the casket in the all-white room was sitting a bright orange and blue Big Wheel. The Big Wheel that Mamie so desperately wanted for Christmas. Her Mama didn't let her down!

Today, I know that Mamie is running through the golden streets of Heaven in no pain, listening to birds chirping and seeing rainbows in the sky. She is whole and healed. And me? Well, I know now that I will someday see that little girl again and I will be able to thank our Savior in person for having put her in my life.

I hope you understand now why meeting this 11 year old little Haitian girl at our play date was so special to me. And boy! Not only did she allow me to use my very rusty sign language skills, but she did not disappoint!

I titled this post that "you don't need eyes to be a miracle" because today, once again, God showed me His creations are perfect. Always. Without exception.

I was expecting the same type of child as I had loved many moons ago. A blind child walking with hands outstretched cautiously navigating through their silent world. No sir. Not this little girl. I stood in awe of God's amazing gifts when you have the faith of a child. There are no fears when you walk by faith. It truly is almost like they have a seventh sense. I take that back. Actually they do. They are God's special children. Their seventh sense? The Lord himself alive in them. And little M. was proof of that.

This little miracle had surgery just a few weeks ago which has allowed her a small amount of vision, maybe three feet, possibly more. She is quickly picking up on signing, which is wonderful. Can you imagine being blind for 11 years and all of a sudden your entire world changes?

I stood in disbelief as I watched how she scurried onto the playground equipment as if she'd been there all her life, taking note of every detail such as the screws on the playground equipment and coming up to my stroller looking at every minute part of it.

While AJ and Karrie's sweet little guy ran around carefree playing with sticks, M. noticed my camera. She immediately wanted to take pictures and I joyfully agreed. We signed back and forth and communicated as much as possible, with her being completely deaf still.

God, being the sovereign and merciful Lord that He is, has provided abundantly for this sweet girl the 3 months she's been here. They have now found an audiologist that has donated his services and made molds for hearing aides for M. Can you imagine how much more her little life is going to change?

This post turned out to be so much longer than I expected it to be when I started. But, I am just so filled with joy at how God works and am so very, very blessed that He let me go back in time for a bit, to days when I see now that even then, without my knowing Him, He was molding my heart. No, I may not have known Him then, but He knew me. And still does.

Sadly, M. returns to Haiti in three months when her medical visa expires. I ask that you keep her in prayer, specifically that the Lord use her in a big, big way when she returns. May the medical assistance that she received here, along with the love from numerous people caring for her now, be something that she carry in her heart forever. But even more importantly, may she learn the unconditional love of Jesus and use this powerful testimony in her life to bring Him much glory.

This precious, little 11 year old is a shining example to me that I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Can I get an "AMEN"?


Sweet Mamie, 3 years old, on her first year of preschool - 1977.


Three new friends


A very special, little miracle.


Just hanging out by the water in the hopes of seeing an alligator.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

in all thy ways acknowlege Him

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Matthew 21:22

And that's exactly what we did. All of us. His body on earth.

We believed. We received.

First, the ENT's office. Kai and I arrived about 45 minutes early. I hadn't sat down to fill out paperwork before they were already calling us in. I love this doctor! What a kind man. He asked about my drive up, whether or not I had gotten lost and of course, the reason why we were there, about how Kai was doing. He looked in his mouth, played with him a bit, looked in his ears, and allowed Kai to examine his mouth and ears. After Kai's examination the doctor turned to me and said, "Mom, I think he's doing great! Everything looks exactly as it should. His breathing sounds perfect. How about coming back in six months?" I quietly whispered to my God, "Thank you, Jesus!" "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:6

Oh yea, my God rocks and he his setting our paths straight. Straight to Dr. Hero's office where we found ourselves sitting 15 minutes later.

Kai made himself at home as he leaned back in the little recliner provided for kids, with his feet propped up watching Handy Manny on the flat screen TV in front of him. Life is good being four, you know.

A few minutes later we were called in. As I walked past Dr. Hero's office to the examining room, I noticed right next to his desk, the plaque we had given him hanging on the wall. That warmed my heart.

Kai was weighed in the room and again, a huge praise to our King....he now weighs a whopping 32 pounds!!! He's gained four pounds since he was first admitted on March 10. That's huge for a little boy that's taken a year to gain two pounds. We still see some ribs and bones, but there's no doubt, we're getting there!

Kai and I sat in the examining room reading The Little Mermaid while we waited for Dr. Hero to make his entrance. Just as we finished the book, he entered the room. Of course, as always, he greeted us with an exuberant welcome.

Then we got down to business.

I told him about Kai still de-sat'ing one or two times a night, mostly 88 - 90. He said he thought that was pretty insignificant (another praise to the King!) but that he still recommended we take Kai in for a complete sleep study in about 4-6 weeks.

During our talk, Kai had been on the floor playing with his Spiderman figure. Dr. Hero scooped him up and put him on the examining table. Dr. Hero asked Kai to open wide, which Kai eagerly complied with. "His stitches are healed and he looks great!", was the response from Dr. Hero.

We chit-chatted for a little bit afterwards about what future procedures Kai will be needing in regards to his cleft palate; i.e. bone graft, possible orthognathic (corrective jaw) surgery, long-term speech therapy, etc. We are by no means done, but we are well on our way to that straight path. And we know it's because God allowed this to happen and because of the many, many people praying for our boy. After agreeing to return in four months for a follow-up and another round of hugs and kisses, we were on our way.

Prior to leaving to Orlando, I had arranged a very special meeting with a very special little boy, Isaac. I 'met' Isaac's Mommy, Gretchen, when I received an email from her over two years ago as we prepared to bring home Anna Grace. She was using the same agency we used to bring home Kai and was in the DTC group prior to my sister's, August 2006.

While waiting for their NSN baby to come home, God moved their hearts to special needs. One day, I received a phone call from Gretchen telling me they were reviewing the file of a little boy with cleft lip and palate. She wanted to know about my experience with Kai and also about cleft doctors. She just happened to live in Orlando. Of course, I raved about Dr. Hero.

Six months ago, this absolutely, scrumptious little man came home to his forever family. I was honored and blessed to meet him and his Mama yesterday.

I don't have to tell you guys how my heart just shrivels up and melts into a puddle over cleft babies. Meeting sweet Isaac yesterday was absolutely no exception. He's 20 months old and has a humongous personality. Just cute as a button.! Kai greeted him by saying, "Look Mama! He's Chinese. Just like me!" heh.

I admit, it's a good thing his Mama was keeping a good eye on him, because I may have just snagged that little man and stuffed him in my bag, only to come home and say to Scott, "Hey! Look what Kai was a given as a gift at the doctor's office!" Ahem. Do you think he'd believe me? Probably not, huh?

And the best part? This little man has an auntie that lives the next town over from us. About a 15 minute drive. So, I know it won't be the last time we see him!

Gretchen, again, thank you for taking the time to meet up with us. We were completely blessed. FYI. I did give Scott a heads up that we'll be seeing you soon and he better guard his heart cause otherwise it will be stolen.

Thank you all for your prayers. I believe we've reached the end of this chapter. Please take a moment to acknowledge our God for His perfect will being the answer to our prayers. He is so worthy of praise!

Here are some pictures from yesterday's trip and from our little play date. Please excuse the terrible quality of the pictures. Not only was the lighting bad, but I didn't take my all incredible and amazing Canon, but instead took my old, not-worthy-of carrying, simple HP point and shoot.

I took this while driving up. The sun rising over the fog. Only God could create such beauty!

"But Mama, why don't you take just one bite!!!"

Is that an adorable little face or what? I love the hair, too!

Working hard on figuring out how to take the screws out of the bench.

Finally meeting another online buddy! I love these moments!


"Mama, pleeeeeease, can we keep him?"


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the end is near

It's 10:45 p.m. and for the first time in weeks, I'm going to bed early. Kai and I will be on our way back to Orlando at 5:30 a.m. for what will hopefully be his last visit in relation to all the struggles this little man has been facing the past 8 weeks. Although Kai still has been de-sat'ing a couple of times a night, we've really seen some major improvement in his sleep. His energy level during the day has improved drastically, obviously because he now actually rest when he sleeps. Hopefully, we'll leave there hearing Dr. Hero tell us, "See you next year!".

Please can I ask one more time for you to keep us in your prayers?


God bless.

Monday, April 20, 2009

what the !@#$%?!?!?!?!






body bag1

OK "24" fans. Where are you?

Am I the only one reeling here, an hour and a half after tonight's episode ended, about what Tony did to Jack? I was literally yelling at the TV set. Yelling at Jack. Yelling at Tony. Yelling at airhead FBI Agent Walker to run in and shoot Tony. Man! Talk about stress.

I kept telling myself that Jack doesn't die here because I know he signed on for 3 more seasons (for $40 million!!) and he still has one more season left. I also saw an interview he did about a month ago where he stated that next season will be unlike the previous ones. There have always been a substantial time span between seasons, meaning 3 years have passed, etc. Kiefer stated in the interview that Season 8 will be almost back to back in time lapse from Season 7.

Also executive producer/director, Jon Cassar, who not only is a very good friend of Kiefer's but who played a major role in getting Kiefer the part of Jack Bauer, did not renew his contract because they could not come to agreeable terms. Kiefer has stated in the past that if Cassar was not a part of the show, he'd feel like something is missing and it would be difficult for him to remain. Therefore, another reason to make it through only one more season.

So, if you're asking for my guess as to what will happen. Here it is. Jack survives this season, but is not cured, mostly because he's only got 5 hours left of this season and the disease may take much longer to kill him. Season 8 begins maybe a few days later and Jack is still hanging in there. He ends up dying in Season 8 and the show ends for good, with soaring ratings and will go down in history as the best TV drama show in history!

Please let me interject a little more ranting now, before I continue. I've never been a Tony fan, but now...I can't stand him! I CAN'T STAND THE MAN! Did you hear me? Just in case you didn't....I CAN'T STAND THE MAN! I've always thought he's a lousy actor, but I guess that the fact that I CAN'T STAND THE MAN must mean that he's at least pretty decent at acting since he's gotten me to loathe him (although I'd never admit it out loud).

Whew! I feel better.

I do have to admit though, that I've seen (several times) every episode of every season of "24" and hands down, this is absolutely, without a doubt, the best one. The writers hit it outta the ballpark with this season and how about my man? Was Kiefer not AMAZING tonight with his acting? HOLY MOLY!!!!!!! If I were Kiefer I'd be dreaming about where I'm gonna be putting that next Emmy!

What about you? What do you think?

can you hear that?

We had a very busy weekend with family. My sweet Dad came into town and on Saturday we went to a friend's house with a heated pool. Yes folks, many of you know we have our own pool, but it is not heated and until that thermometer hits at least 79 degrees, this Florida girl ain't goin' in! I digress. It was wonderful seeing my Daddy again. We had a great visit with lots of food and laughter.

Now I want you to turn off the sounds around you and tell me what you hear.

Listen carefully.

Do you hear it now?

It's the sound of silence.

The sound of having only one lonely child at home.

Today Anna Grace and Kai headed back to school. They were pretty wild excited to be seeing their teachers and friends again. Anna Grace was a bit hesitant as I dropped her off in the classroom. (I could tell because she wasn't making eye contact with me unless I asked her to.) I'll be saying extra prayers for her this morning. Kai's energy level had peaked at about 7:30 a.m., so I'm hoping he was on the downward slope. I'm praying for him. And there's also a few extra prayers being thrown in for their teacher, who probably will now not be enjoying the same peace and tranquility silence I am hearing now.

Today it's back to the same old...same old. I love it! AJ and I doing absolutely nothing today! Well, we did run a few errands, but that's it. Just gonna hang out and do nothing. Maybe now I can go back to my regular blogging.

Oh, before I forget!! Make sure you come back around because there's a giveaway coming up sometime this week in celebration of what better be if I wanna remain sane Kai's last doctor visit in Orlando on Wednesday and of course, a very small thank you to show my immense gratitude for your prayers for my sweet boy and girl during these weeks of craziness.

Now I will leave you with some family pictures of Easter. Enjoy!


Easter morning with three of our six blessings.

Ayi with her Godchild, Kai.

Our beautiful nephew, "Baby Seth".

Big brothers also make great Godfathers!

Po-Po surrounded by her grandkids, minus a few including Amanda who was in Miami and Tito who couldn't come up.


AJ's very cool Godfather, his cousin, Anthony.

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