Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We thought we were prepared (by joel)

Well, 4 months home and so much has happened.  At times it seems like we have been a family forever, other times like we don't know who swapped out our kids for the ones secretly taking their place....and forgetting how to behave!  All kidding aside (yep, hard for me to do), this was the part we were most unprepared for.  Spiritual warfare in the fundraising process, endless explanation to family and friends, Spiritual warfare overseas, the whole prosecutor issue, living through the daily visits that leave you exhausted, the 32 hours of flying home, the two weeks when we first arrived home (that neither of us remember).....but the crazy emotions and, sometimes, lack of emotions over the last few months were something we were not expecting.

Everything is HARD!  The directional change for my business with a new client, new computer systems, learning all new processes, basicly starting a new business from scratch....12-18 hour days and all.  Staying up late doing dishes for my wonderful wife who spends all day dealing with the 3 P's (you other parents know, Poop, Pee and Puke) along with things we didn't think of....Like the endless invasion of Lady beetles for the past month.  Josiah is way too quick on getting to them as soon as they hit the floor and he loves the BBQ beetles that fall off the light (that kid is just gross :)   )  Satan has tried to break us on everything!  The cars have been falling apart and the most amazing things keep happening to them.  The car had the engine blow up, the first used motor made it all of 10 miles home before it blew up, the third motor didn't quite match up, and we are picking up the 4th tomorrow.  The big van is, well....still on it's last legs/wheels.  And the new/used minivan had $1500 worth of work done on our 4 day trip to michigan (which lasted about a week due to that), and was just in for a rebuild on the transmission....then IT had to be pulled again after something happened to the rebuilt tranny after 300 miles.....NOW, 300 miles later, another internal transmission issue that gets checked out tomorrow.....Oh, forgot about the alternator on the car!  That went out on my way to work one day, got changed out for a new one that wouldn't charge/didn't work, then the second new one seized up and took all the belts with it...the third one worked.  Oh, and the alternator on the minivan that went out on the way to Michigan, for said 4 day trip, that left us stranded on the interstate for a couple hours...then in a repair shop for another hour.  (insert request for prayer on our vehicles here....satan, in the name of Jesus I command you to leave our vehicles alone).

My focus has been harder to keep focused.  The balance is hard to find!  God, Work, Wife, Boys....I had a minute to think about myself the other day, but that didn't last long.  I have never been so tired in my life, worked so hard, played so hard and felt so behind in so much!  This is CrAzY!!!!  So much more responsibility with two little boys needing daddy to provide for them AND be there for them, and Momma needs me too, as well as some time off.  She's been pretty much stuck at home for 3 weeks now and cabin fever has set in....momma needs time out and away!  That way, maybe one of us can be seen as sane :)

The emotional aspect is something I, honestly, didn't think of.  Would I love these two little guys like I would if they were born into our family?  Would it be instant?  Would it take a little time or would it grow slowly?  What is normal for a parent to be overcome with love?  The answer is.....I still don't know!  We have bonded, I do love these little guys, I brag them up like any proud poppa, And if anyone thinks of messing with my got one protective and angry poppa on your hands :), I desire to play with them and provide for them, I hug and kiss on them, I look forward to the most amazing "welcome home's" that have ever been enthusiasticly given by a 3 1/2 year old (I really need to record it some day, it breaks my heart every night)...but is it the same as what other dads feel?  I don't know?  I sometimes want them to go to bed a few minutes early and often wish they would sleep in past 4:40, then I feel guilty for not wanting to love on them more.  I do love them both very much, and God is working to further strengthen that bond.

For those who are adopting, I give this advise.  The spiritual warfare does not end when you get home, satan steps it up a notch or two.  Turn first to God, then to your spouse.  Love them like Jesus would, are there to serve them....forever!  Take time for God, he is in control of everything and will reward you with more time than you though possible...if you first, put Him first.  Put your spouse ahead of yourself.  Men, we were made to it!  I heard a sermon once that has stuck with me and I try to live out this part of the message.  The preacher said, "as the leader of the house you should be the first one up...praying for your family, work hard, come home, work hard there, spend time with your family, spouse, God (again/still) and be the last one to sleep".  A man following the Word of God has little time to sleep, there is much praying, working and helping that needs to be done.  I have accepted that challenge and have all to often found myself leaning on me instead of God, and I can tell you that things spin quickly out of control when I am the foundation on which I stand!  Pray, pray and pray some more.  The children we adopted, and some of you will or have adopted, are a gift and a full time ministry!  With that holding true, you would expect nothing less than satan to try to get a foot in the door anywhere he can.  I say, hit em with prayer....let God do the fighting for you and you (ok, I write this to help remind myself) keep your focus on glorifying God with all your actions.

Now, as for the cars and the unexpecteds....I am grateful for the opportunity God has given me to grow!  To love, to be loved and to know what it means to be a father!  The special bonding that takes place with my sons....a deeper understanding of what the relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, how to serve, and how to pray in ways I never thought possible.  I will continue to pray for our cars (some see that as silly but my God is sovereign over everything and it is all His anyway so....I pray and seek His advise).  I am ready for battle!  For my God is with me!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Boys First Thanksgiving

Yesterday was the boys first Thanksgiving. Obviously it meant way more to us than it did them. To them, it was a special day because daddy was home to play with them. :)  For me, it was the same...until we sat down for our Thanksgiving dinner. As we sat around our little table, a family of four, thanking God for all He has blessed us with, it really hit me. I have no words to describe the thoughts and emotions running through me at that moment. The tears threatened to spill over, but for what specific reason I could not tell you. Last year at this time we were just beginning our journey to our boys, they were just a thought. We dreamed about the next year when they would be with us, but really it was just that, a far off dream. We had no idea, really, who we were bringing home. Yes we had pictures to look at, but, as we found out, those are never a 100% sure thing. And even if they were, we didn't know their personalities. We dreamed, but could not truly imagine, what it would be like having them here with us. Then the day was suddenly here, and we've been so caught up in just living that I don't think it really hit either of us right away. The boys are here. They are having their first Thanksgiving with their family. They sat at our table and ate turkey with us. There are NO WORDS to describe that feeling. All I can do is fall to my knees and praise God. He knew what this day would be like, He knew that it would take me by surprise. He knew. He chose to bless us with these two very special little boys, as unworthy as we are. I am humbled. How amazing that one year later, we know these boys, we know now what it is like having them here in our family. We know that they LOVE turkey dinner. We know that they don't care about football. We know that they don't like their "normal" to be disrupted. We know that they love each other. We know that they don't like to sit still for pictures...EVER! :) We know that they are the biggest blessings God has ever bestowed upon us. Thank you Lord! And thank you to all of you who helped bring them home!

 My boys :)
 Apparently the boys have had too much turkey to smile.
Going in for a kiss :) 

 Doesn't that face just make you want to smile? 
 Waiting for the turkey dinner they keep talking about....
 Tired of waiting.

 Maybe if I lay down right beside my high chair they'll quit talking about the turkey dinner and just feed me already!
 I think Jackson is telling Josiah to just smile so these weird people will let us eat all the food in front of us.
 A very full plate.
 Josiah even had all the fixins, just a little different texture ;)
 My boys! Got two of them to look.
 Okay, still two looking but just a different two!
 Wiping his mouth at the end of the meal...notice the plate now.
 Licking every last drop off the fork.
 And now the plate.
 Does he look full to you?
 Sitting on the floor because we're too stuffed to do anything else. :)

 Brothers :)
 Anyone else notice a smirk on Josiah's face?
Our two beautiful blessings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Hard to believe sometimes that is was just 4 months ago that these two had no idea what it meant to be brothers. They had only seen each other a couple times, and only briefly.
As you can see from the top picture, Josiah has wasted no time in becoming a true younger brother. :) And Jackson has become such a great big brother! He is always trying to do for Josiah what Joel and I do. I love to watch Jackson teach Josiah sign language!! And I love how he gets so frustrated when Josiah keeps throwing his pacy while he's in his walker. Josiah knows that Jackson will pick it up for him, and he does, every time. But around time 2 or 3 he starts getting frustrated and he lets Josiah know it!

I am so thankful we were obedient when God told us to go. I am so thankful we were obedient and brought home 2 little boys. Yes, it is harder at times. But when I watch them play together, laughing and loving one another, it is all more than worth it. There are times when I can tell Jackson is bored of playing with me, and isn't really interested in playing by himself, but as soon as brother comes downstairs from nap, well, it's like he was just waiting for that moment. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Impromptu Lunch Date

A couple of days ago, due to special circumstances, I was able to enjoy lunch with the most handsome of men. :) Little men that is!
Josiah decided to sleep through lunch so I found myself eating at the table with Jackson. Normally, with the chaos of 2 little boys who eat different things at slightly different times, I am unable to sit down to lunch until after they are down for afternoon nap. This day I found myself able to eat at the same time as Jackson so we heated up some leftover chinese and had a "date"! I didn't realize it until after we'd been sitting there for a bit, but suddenly I realized that it was just he and I. :) Life had actually slowed down for a bit and we had nothing else to do but enjoy each others company. It was the best lunch I've had in quite some time. :) So we sat there smiling at one another and eating and giggling some. When we were done we cuddled on the couch watching a movie (Baby Einstein, Animals Around Me). It was the best! And I could tell that Jackson was enjoying this date as much as I was. Every now and again that little sweetie would just lean over and give me a kiss. :) Talk about melting a momma's heart!

I cannot wait until things are more settled here and we can go out for our dates! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Want to win a Kindle Touch? My sister-in-law is the Christmas Warrior for little Andy in China. To help her raise at least $1000 for his grant she is doing a Kindle Touch giveaway. You can earn an entry by donating as little as $5!!! So head on over to her blog and see what she's got going on. And please share about this sweet little boy to help him find his forever family.

 You can find info on all her fundraisers and how to donate on her blog,

There is also a Thirty-One fundraiser happening right now for Andy too. 25% of total sales (my whole commission) will be going towards his fund. Just go to and click on "my events" where you'll find the fundraiser for Andy. Then just start shopping! Get some Christmas shopping done, maybe even a little something for yourself, while helping an orphan.

Thank you!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Praises and prayers

We tried getting both boys looking at the camera by saying "look at Aunt Melinda" who had the camera. So Jackson signed "aunt". :) lol
Apparently the boy is happy about beet soup!

 Poor little guy was so tired. A long day of meeting grandparents can do that to a little fella.

Just sitting there looking cute! And playing with his feet. If his feet are bare, he is playing with them! lol

Quite pathetic right? This is when he realized I was telling the truth about the juice being all gone.

 This is him protesting when I first told him it was all gone. :)

In this photo Jackson was looking at me instead of the camera and Josiah is trying to sneak in a kick to great-grandpa's head. I now understand all my friends family photos. :)

This was our little cutie on the hotel bed. (We had car trouble and had to stay in a hotel one night on the way up.) Both boys just loved the feel and sound of the "crinkley" blanket on the bed! This is where they played the whole time we were there. If only it had been as comfortable to sleep in.....

 Wearing Uncle Mike's hat and signing "momma"!! My smart little man!
 And again! Of course, shortly after this he started signing "daddy" and "momma" was forgotten.
 No words needed. :)
 Pillow fight with Aunt Melinda!
 Again, no words.
 And here is the first picture in the "juice saga". Here, there is still juice. :)

Okay, now that we have that out of the way! ;)

As the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree has started back up, it is hard for me to keep from thinking about last year at this time. Last year we had committed to one little boy and were praying about a second little boy. Because we didn't commit until after the Angel Tree had started, little Jackson was on there. I still remember looking at all those faces needing families as I would scroll down to see if Jackson had any more donations or not. And then I started looking to see if certain faces that always caught my eye had any new donations.
It is amazing to me when I think that this year, Jackson is not only no longer on the Angel Tree, he is IN MY HOUSE!!! He lives under the same roof as me!! He is no longer a picture on the computer, he is my son. It is quite difficult to really wrap my head around that! So we are praising God for His mighty work in our lives and for all He has done for these boys of ours.
This doesn't mean, however, that we forget about all those left behind. Some we've met, some we've caught glimpses of, and others we only know by their RR picture. But we've been there, we know, we cannot forget. So this year, I am not looking to see if "our" child has any more donations, I am looking to see how many have found their families during this time. Now I look to see if the other children in the boys' orphanage have donations or families. I pray that more donations than ever before are made during this Angel Tree season. I pray that more children than ever have families commit to them. I pray for these dear children.

And because I know personally how much every dollar in a child's grant counts, I have started selling Thirty-One products to help orphans. For all parties/orders, I will be donating all of my commission (25%) to an orphans grant or an adopting family. In fact I have my first fundraiser going now. Between November 1 and December 10 I will be hosting 2 different parties (because of how the specials are scheduled) and my commission from both will be going to Andy from China, whom my sister-in-law is Christmas warrior for. You can find out more about the different fundraisers she has going on her blog,

As for the Thirty-one fundraiser, you can order online at and click on "my events". For those ordering $75 or more of product, your name will be entered into a drawing for some hostess rewards. The larger the party the more names drawn! Also, anyone getting $200 or more in product orders from friends/family will also get their name in the drawing. If ordering online, please email me the names so I can make sure you get your name entered!
Anyone wanting a catalog can email me your address and I'll get it mailed out to you. And you can always email me with any questions.
Please take a minute to take a look, there are great specials going on over the next couple of months. Great gift ideas!!!

Thank you!!