Sunday, May 29, 2011

Praise God and A Who Is Listening?

First, praise God! Apparently many folks came forward and helped the Tam family put their adoption funds over the top while Renee was on a short internet hiatus! I had no idea there was some wild things going on until a friend asked if I had seen how much money Paisley's account had gotten up to! I hadn't seen....because I hardly ever know what's going on! Renee is always, always helping others so it was awesome to see this great news...and their dossier is heading to a far away land at this very moment!!! I cannot tell you how much I am going to bawl when I see pictures of Renee holding her little girl Paisley for the first time. for the next thing...I had to snag this post from Becky's blog, with her permission of course....I loved, loved her words.

Thunderstorms and morning light

Remember being scared as a kid? Waking up to thunder shaking the house and lightening flashing like a paparazzi mob outside? Or maybe a scary dream tore you from your slumber. Possibly waking up in the middle of the night ill, calling out to your mom. Calling out to your mom who you knew would race into your room and hold you, calm you, help you. That feeling of no matter what happened in the dark of the night, mom or dad would be there to comfort you. It was like morning light breaking through the darkness.

I often think about the kids still in orphanages around the world. Who comforts them when they wake from a bad dream? Who holds them if they are afraid of thunder and lightening? What happens if they are ill at night? Who is there to comfort them? They may have a nanny or a caretaker who is there overnight.... but does that compare to a mom and a dad? Does a caretaker take the time to comfort every child at every need? Its nearly impossible, and doesn't happen.

Children, regardless of age, race, disability or where they are in the world, NEED homes. They NEED a mom and a dad to care for them. They NEED to know that no matter what, someone will be there for them, night or day, scared, hurt, sad, angry or happy.

As I type this, a little 4yr old girl is sitting on my lap. Six months ago this girl wouldn't cry when hurt, she didn't show emotion, she kept herself guarded. But just today she spent 1/2 hour throwing a tissy because her brother smacked her in the arm when she was in his face. And she has a scab on her elbow that she's been nursing for a good four days, making sure to show it to everyone who looks at her, and some who don't. She seeks us out now when hurt, sad, angry or scared. She brings her blanket to me during the day saying 'mama wets nuggoo' (mama lets snuggle). She asked to be picked up and held, she knows what it feels like to be loved. Fully, unconditionally, and forever. She's starting to realize that comfort is something she wants.

Thats after only six months. 147,000,000 orphans wait in this world for a family. You don't have to be rich, have a big house, drive a fancy SUV, or be perfect. You don't have to be thin and have great hair. You don't have to be anything spectacular! Being someone's comfort, someone's stability, someone's MOM.... that makes you spectacular. Providing love, a home, a family. That is what kids want. Regardless of age, race, disability, or where they are in the world. A family.

God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called. Are you listening?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guess Who's...

Turning FOUR sometime soon???
We can't wait to meet you Little One...
To make the biggest birthday cake ever.
Just for YOU!
Preparations for welcoming you into your family are already taking place...
Little matching outfits...
I had to buy them...the purple is for Little probably won't even fit..but I went a little wonky in Target one day. Paige was thrilled and keeps wanting to get more matching outfits. We have to wait though until we know better what Little One's size is.

Other news...literally...the news contacted us to do a "Focus on Faith" segment. We pray this will help bring awareness to adoption and most importantly bring glory to the Lord. He is so good, even when heartache, destruction and things that just don't make sense rain down.

Feeling peace today, knowing I don't have to have all the answers, don't have to know the master plan, don't have to be in the driver's seat.
He's got it.
And our Father is FOR us.

"May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

Happy Birthday Little One.
Our thoughts, prayers and love are already surrounding your sweet little soul.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

They Said WE WILL GO!!!

I get so beyond excited to watch another family as they begin the adoption process. A sweet couple from our church is just starting on their journey. I have had the honor of getting to know Tiffany and am thrilled to help any way I can as they embark on the wild ride that is international adoption. As I have said all along it's a journey of faith and it takes a village to bring home a little one. We are proud to be a part of the Pittman Family village in bringing home their first child!!

Even more incredible is hearing their testimony and knowing without a doubt the Lord is guiding them along. I am thankful another family said "yes, we will GO!" when the Father opened their eyes and hearts.

Their blog is brand new but be sure to stop by and give them a round of support that I know exists in the awesome circle of adopting families!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011


This was always meant to be a blog about adoption but I can't keep some things from seeping in. Emma's life is forever a part of our family. There are two dates our family hold very dear - Emma's birthday and the day she passed away. I will always feel the need to write about her on these days because truth be told - one of your greatest fears when your child passes away is that somehow, they will be forgotten. That the clock ticking will erase their memory from peoples minds.
 So, it is important for me to be able to write about her sometimes.
Thanks for hanging in's still our adoption story and wow we are expecting very exciting news this week! We also are working on something wonderful which we are praying will help other families adopting. It's an incredible time, we are thankful for the Father's hand in every step we take.
Yesterday was the six year anniversary of Emma girl passing away and the beast I have always called grief has relinquished its power over me.
Dread which was so overwhelming as the one year anniversary approached many years ago no longer haunts my mind. 
I have come to realize the anniversary of her death, and the peak of time passing will never erase her memory.   And I am overcome with yet another truth; the duality of meaning found in a person’s death date.  For those left behind, the death date signifies and ending.   
Truth for Emma looks very different.
May 22,2005 was her homecoming, the glorious day she returned to her Father, the who sent her – she returned to Him in a perfect body, free from pain.
I view May 22 in a whole different way now. Years ago the Lord showed me this TRUTH.
Yes, it's still hard sometimes - missing her. But TRUTH far outweighs sadness.
That day was a glorious day for Emma.
Our family spent the day together yesterday, everyone a little bit on edge but the day got better after we left the cemetery. I have come to realize it's always the anticipation of whats to come which is the worse. Once we released six balloons, watching them until we couldn't see them anymore, we were all okay.
A collective sigh of relief. We are okay. Emma is okay.
Life on earth is not is.
This is going to be a crazy busy week, Peyton graduates from elementary school (how did I get a middle schooler, when did that happen!!???), Eli turns 39 28 (ha) tomorrow, and lastly, the
we have on the way!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Life...Six Years Ago

Six years ago life looked very different (if you hang in there there are pictures at the end!). Our daughter was weak from nearly four years of battling Cockayne Syndrome and she hovered between two worlds...closer to Heaven than we could ever imagine on this day, six years ago. 
 Six weeks before Emma died she developed pneumonia.  It was treated with high doses of antibiotics, breathing treatments and medications to make her more comfortable.  Hospice came in several times a week to check on her.   We prayed the antibiotics she was receiving at home would beat the infection.  After nearly two weeks she did improve.  Although she was weak and her immune system had become virtually non-existent, she managed to smile again and laugh for us.  During the time she was sick with pneumonia I did much reflection on what life was like when you have a terminally ill child.  We were faced with the unavoidable fact she may not improve. 
She could have died from that first pneumonia, a foreshadowing of what was to come. We didn’t have a timeline or insight into what would happen.  The only thing we could rely on was guidance from God and our trust in His plan.

Our daily life, our "normal", was a myriad of contradiction.  Oxygen tanks were placed throughout our home with tubing running all over the floors and down the stairs, a baby bed was kept downstairs to keep Emma comfortable during the day and so we could constantly monitor her oxygen levels and condition. Lining the oxygen tanks and wiring were Little People toys, pacifiers, and GI Joe toys for Peyton and Paige.  Paige took her first steps as she gingerly stepped over oxygen tank tubing.   Emma was on 24-hour continuous feedings through her feeding tube and we had to keep track of her pulse/ox stats on an hourly schedule.  I kept up with multiple medications, feedings, and breathing treatments taped to kitchen cabinets on a nursing chart.  Along with caring for Emma there was the coordination of ordering medical supplies, prescriptions, authorizations for medical equipment, keeping in touch with the insurance case manager, hospice nurses, social workers, a child counselor for Peyton and trying to make sure Peyton and Paige’s emotional well being was cared for.  In addition to caring for Emma, Peyton, and little Paige, the local newspaper was following our family doing a story on life with a terminally ill child.  Every week the reporter kept in contact with me about what was going on in our lives.  He shadowed our family as he gathered information for the story.  Our hope when contacting the media was to initially draw attention to Cockayne syndrome.  But as the months wore on and Emma declined I began to realize the story was evolving into our journey, our faith, and the depths of our character.  A seemingly simple letter to the newspaper asking to enlighten the community on a rare syndrome became a window for the world to peer into our lives and how we managed to maintain a positive outlook. 

In the midst of daily life, Eli and I tried to make everything easier for Peyton and Paige by spending one on one time with each one every week.  We would laugh a lot, act silly with our kids and try to just enjoy each other.  Our life was unpredictable because we never knew what would happen to Emma on a daily basis.  Plans had to be changed constantly.  I was rarely able to attend field trips for Peyton’s school.  At times sadness would sink in when I felt others were judging me; the kind of friend I was able to be at the time, my children’s sometimes outbursts an obvious sign of their need for more attention.  Then I would think to myself “are these people walking in my shoes?”  The people who judged us didn’t have a clue what it was like to be the parent of a terminally ill child.   Most of all Eli and I felt sadness for the people who seemed to view our life as a tragedy.  Each day we were filled with joy, hope, and knew well the gift we had been given.

Emma taught each of us unconditional love – each time she would decline, would require a new medication, oxygen, and eventually hospice we would accept it, and embrace it just as we embraced Emma. It was never a sacrifice to care for her and I would have taken care of her the rest of my life, my “little bit” like a koala bear always in my arms.  As my faith has been nourished, grown and deepened over the years the Lord has shown me through His grace, Truth. And Truth knows something else; it was Emma who was carrying me, teaching me through her life about Unconditional love.

Our life..six years ago. 

Life was pushing Emma close to Paige every morning while she ate breakfast because...
Sisters wanted to hold hands.
Life was big eyed babies...
Who were always into something quite messy.
Life was Spider Man loving his sister no matter how many wires there were to manage. Life wasn't a diagnosis, a prognosis, a genetic was loving Emma and to Peyton she was simply
"My sister..Emma"
Life was three babies crowding around mommy.
It was a myriad of contradiction, difficult to balance two worlds.
But I would do it all over again. This is Peyton and Paige exactly six years ago, May 19th, 2005.
 Outside playing in the sun while inside Emma held on, waiting for us to all say goodbye.
Four days later she passed away, in my arms, wrapped in her pink blanket. Her soul soaring into Heaven.
Seeing in full color, taking her first steps in Heaven. What a glorious homecoming!
But we were left in shock, almost unable to know how to put one foot in front of the other.
Life was not wanting to let go but knowing ultimately...saying "It's okay to Go" was what Emma needed from us the most.
Hope never left and we feel Emma with us always.
Life went on, but with two babies instead of three.
Emma's smile will forever stay with us and she kept her sweet smile to the end.

Our family looks different now. If you didn't know us six years ago you would never have an idea of what life looked like then. We have formed bonds which have grown stronger over time, faith in God that has sustained us, Hope in the future, laughter which explodes throughout the house, thankful for the short time God gave us Emma and for the lessons He showed us through her life.

Her greatest gift to us was that the Lord showed us a glimpse of Him, and his overflowing Grace through her life.

We look forward to the day when once again there will be three children in our home, making memories, another child to share the love of Christ with and teach that in every situation
and there is
Keep looking UPWARD Little One...

Sunday, May 15, 2011


That's about all I can muster.

It's been a crazy time and boy my stomach is developing ulcers I think. But....we have great news and are expecting a travel date mid-late JUNE!! I was absolutely thrilled when I opened my email yesterday and saw this....

It was taken just hours earlier in the day. Peyton, Paige hover around the computer to look at pictures of Little One. I hear "ahhhs" and "ohhhs" and "when can you go get her!?"

It is an exciting time. More fundraising is coming's down to the last weeks and we have so much to do and money to raise. We are hoping to be selling T-shirts and bumper stickers. I added a fundraising thermometer and chip in button..finally! Because of the tornadoes here we will need to do online fundraising and will be travelling to Texas soon for a fundraiser with my family and friends there.

I have already been making lists and (gulp) putting together all we are taking to Little One's country. It feels like the very end of a much excitement and apprehension. We are so thankful God placed us on this journey to our child. Tears have been shed, feelings hurt, new friends bonded for life, emotions stretched thin...and somehow we are thankful for every single thing.

So to end.....WHAAAAA!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Her Smile Says It All!

She has a family.
Her smile says it all.
This is what it's all about.
The Father's Heart.
Follow her Family's Journey...she has many brothers and sisters and

The Dahlens are not only adopting this doll baby but they are also adopting a beautiful, blue eyed little doll of a boy.
The smile on this precious little girls face leaves me with tears of joy streaming down my face.

Thank you sweet Father in Heaven for equipping families to
No matter who says it can't or shouldn't be done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Love Never Lets Go...

Keep holding on...until we can grab hold of your tiny hand and never let go.
Sweet girl..we love you.

Friday, May 6, 2011


A tribute to the people of our great state of Alabama. Sweet Home. Please remember it's only been 9 days. We still need support, help, and prayer. The images go on and on and are so widespread. From the ruble, hope rises. I am so proud to call this great state..

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Into Light! And Private We Go!

"He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."

It's time to go private! If you contacted us earlier about being added and would still like to, just leave a comment please. If you would like to be added email us at

Light will soon shine on the many things that have been going on and we are thankful for the many, many people who have supported, prayed and continued to share truth with us.

The Lord has been in every single step and we have followed His commands.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recovery. Hope. Sweet Home Alabama.

One week ago.

Images, sounds, the winds fury, sirens screaming - forever burned into my friends, family and tiny children's memory. Here in the south we are accustomed to severe weather, to schools getting out early when there is a severe weather threat. We sometimes become numb to the continuing news coverage and go on with our day. But on April 27th, something felt different. The air, the sky, the wind.

It felt ominous.

I was volunteering at the kids school when things began to disintegrate. I can only explain it as controlled panic. Parents filling the school racing to get their children. I literally pulled my children out of their class rooms and as the skies grew darker, clouds began gathering in huge, low masses. I hurried them to home, where I have been conditioned to believe was the safest place - in the closet.

We didn't know what was coming.

On that day I realized there WAS no safe place. That no matter where I placed my children, how hard I hung onto them, how many pillows and blankets I threw over their screaming, sobbing heads - I was powerless over the fury.

And somehow, this knowledge created a sense of calm in me.

Our Father in Heaven was in control and as we huddled in the closet I tried to calm Peyton who was hyperventilating, screaming "I don't want to die, mommy I don't want to die" and "Mommy what is it, is it a tornado???"

I couldn't lie - all I could say to my son was "I don't know. I don't know" but I DID know one thing - I trusted the Lord and He gave me the next words to say to my children.

"Perfect love casts out all fear, God is perfect love and we will not sit here in this closet in fear but in love." My babies and I began to chant over and over..."perfect love casts out all fear"

The electricity went out a few hours later and we were literally, in the dark. We had no idea what was coming next. The clouds would roll over so fast, and continued rolling over, the wind was the most unbelievable force. And it blew and blew for hours. I started getting text messages "its coming your way" and "fatalities already". Again we just trusted the Lord and watched the skies.

I finally got my dad who lives in Texas on the cell phone. "Kim it looked like a F4 or F5 tornado just went through Birmingham" We are north east of Birmingham and all I knew was the storms were all around - west, south...where would they head next?

At that point I managed to get out an email on my phone to Renee..."if we all die please adopt Sveta" and yes, I was serious. I didn't know if any of my friends in the areas already hit around here were even okay. I kept thinking about she would never know she had a family who loved her who was trying SO HARD to get her. I wanted to protect Peyton and Paige but wanted Sveta to be okay too.  Surely Renee and Steve would be able to adopt both Paisley and Sveta sometime down the road??? Yes, my mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts.

We are okay. I don't know why and never will here on earth but God left us here, left our home intact, didn't even lift a single thing from our yard despite winds which was pushing trees nearly onto the ground. I don't feel "lucky" but bewildered and humbled over why we are still here.

Why are we still here? Why are any of us still here? We are here to say our God is good even in disaster, in tragedy. He is all knowing, all powerful and we praise His name for His love is in each and every story pouring out of this tremendous, widespread devastation.

On April 27th, 2011 we experienced the second deadliest tornado outbreak in United States history, and to date, the single worst state disaster in Alabama history. But God was right here with us. And His grace continues to cover us in comfort.

The people of Alabama will be okay. Our faith is strong, the sense of community and helping your fellow neighbor is something which will bring you to tears, just feeling how much love exists.

So many still need help and will for a very long time. The tornadoes didn't discriminate, ripping through urban and rural areas, spanning across all income levels and ethnicitys, blowing homes off their foundation, exploding other homes into pieces. Devastation has ripped across the south but rising from the rubble is hope. Stories of heroism as we hear of grandparents and parents literally laying on their children and grandchildren,never letting go, found lifeless on top of tiny souls who DID survive.

If you are led to donate please go to the Red Cross site to donate, sign up to be a medical volunteer, or check out the three local news links for more information on ways to help, and to get updates on what is going on with recovery.

The catastrophic aftermath has spanned a huge area and many, many small towns were affected. Towns that haven't been in the national news but still desperately need help.

MEDICAL VOLUNTEERS.  If you are a medical professional, the North Alabama Medical Reserve Corps has been activated by EMA.  They need pre-registered Medical Reserve Corps volunteers to call:256-427-5355. There is a great amount of need for Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers.

 I leave you with one story heroism, from a small town named Tanner. Which is just west of us and where one of our friends children go to school...

"A story of the heroism played out in Tanner.
An E-F-5 tornado ripped through Rosie Road, bearing down on Glen and Janice Riddle, at home with their three grandchidren, ages 4, 6 and nine.
"They got in the hall closet with the grandbabies and they laid on top of the grandbabies to save them.. save their lives. that's the only reason they're here," said Phillip Peden of Hartselle. Peden is Janice Riddle's son. He says his mother and stepfather are the ultimate heroes.
"They give their lives for those babies," Peden said, wearing dark sunglasses to shield his eyes.
Thrown some 75 feet from her home, Janice Riddle lay lifeless, her hands still clutching the four year old little girl she saved.
"She never let go of her," said Peden.
Meanwhile, there were more heroics from this family.
"The nine year old little boy, that had a bad laceration to his forehead, he pulled the middle sister from the debris," said Peden.
Then, Peden explained how instincts and adrenaline allowed Peden's uncle, Kenneth Montgomery to ignore his critical injuries.
"My uncle Kenneth, with a broken back and punctured lung, was able to remove the smaller child that my mother was still holding and rushed them all to the hospital," said Peden.
"This was one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life," said Jason Black, an official with the Limestone County EMA. Black rushed out to the scene to help. He says the children told authorities how their grandparents had saved their lives.
"I think that's just an honor that those grandchildren will live with the rest of their life," said Black.
Authorities found Glen Riddle yards away from what was left of his home. He too died on the scene.My stepfather and my mother are the greatest heroes that ever has been," said Peden with a shaky voice."

Tornado passing through Cullman area.
                                      How the skies looked most of the day over our home.