The Road To Four

Saturday, July 20, 2013

6 months!

Six months ago we were meeting Michael for the first time face to face.  We had love for him from the first moment we saw his picture almost a year ago.  But face to face, we were his forever. 

Things are going so much better than we could have hoped for.   He is adjusting very well.   He is still quite the peanut, at just over 21 lbs.  He has only gained about 1.5 lbs since coming home.  That could be due to the fact that he doesn't stop moving.   He eats anything we give him.  There is not a flavor he won't try and enjoy.   We are truly thankful that eating has turned out to be a non issue.  Given his cleft, and history, we were prepared for much worse. 

He is truly a light to everyone he meets.   People just smile when Big Mike walks into the room.  It's hard not to. 

He definitely has a feisty side.   We can tell that he is rapidly approaching two.  He is currently into climbing anything, onto the counter, kitchen table, pretty much any obstacle that may stand in his way.  He has learned how to shake his head "no" to just about any question asked.

 His brother's and sister adore him and it's so incredible to watch the interaction between them.   We have started replacing pictures around the house with pictures of the four kids.  Michael literally lights up and will sit and look at them and point out and list each person, including himself.  He knows he's part of the crew. 

We are making great progress with his speech.  His speech therapist is fantastic.  His vocabulary seems to grow daily.  Most people probably think we are crazy when we say we understand him, but we actually do.  His words still lack most consonants, but he's definitely talking.  I guess mom's just know how to translate :-)  The best word that he's said in the last few weeks... RaRa.. that's Dada in case you were wondering.  He knows his dada and looks for him when he's not here.   That melts me every time. 

It's easy to think that Michael has always been here, as a Junge.  No wounds, no scars, no history.
But that's not necessarily the case.   He still has his insecurities.   

When the sun goes down, and it's time for bed, mama is the only person that is allowed to hold him, rock him, and give him his bottle.   We have tried and succeeded several times to have Adam put him down, but lately, he's regressed a bit with that.  He becomes almost panic stricken when anyone else tries to carry him upstairs, sits in the rocking chair, or bathes him.  That's a tough one.  As much as you know not to take it personally, it still stings a bit when being pushed away.  Adam loves this little guy beyond words.    But, Michael does have a history,  a story, and therefore, we will meet him wherever he is.   We're on this road together. 

Happy six months sweet boy.  We love you!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prayer needed for Maggie

Hello friends,

Our lives have been forever changed by adding Michael to our family.   Part of the process meant meeting some absolutely incredible people.  People here at our agency, CCAI, people in our travel group that we will forever call friends, and the in China staff of CCAI.  Maggie is a member of the Guangzhou CCAI staff and truly helped us every step of the way in Guangzhou.    When Adam and I had severe colds in Guangzhou, Maggie and Grace went to the drugstore to bring us medicine to the hotel.  When Michael had struggles, they "held our hand".     

Maggie needs prayer.  I have copied an email that our agency has sent out.  Please pray for Maggie and her sweet new baby, Hope.   My heart is heavy.  Thank you for your prayers.

Dear CCAI Families,

We’re writing to you today because your family has been touched by our wonderful CCAI Guangzhou representative Maggie Pan.  On June 9, six months pregnant, Maggie checked herself into a hospital as a result of breathing difficulties.  Two days later she was diagnosed with late-term stomach, liver and lung cancers.

Yesterday, doctors delivered her baby via C-section in order to save the baby’s life.  At around 10:00 am on July 2, her baby girl Hope was born, more than three months premature but with a strong heartbeat.  Hope weighs only 1.8 pounds.   

Doctors then immediately operated on Maggie and removed as many tumors as they could.  Almost 24 hours have now passed, but she still has not yet woken up. Doctors have informed her family to prepare for the worst.

Baby Hope is in intensive care, fighting for her life…

Maggie joined CCAI in 2000 and has provided incredible service to more than 1,000 CCAI families like yours.  Will you join us in prayer during this very sad and difficult time for Maggie and her family?

We have established a Hope for Maggie Fund to help with Maggie and her daughter’s medical costs.   Donations of any amount are needed and much appreciated.

Contributions can be made online at  or by check to CCAI (6920 South Holly Cir., Centennial, CO 80112). 100% of your tax deductible donation will go to the Hope for Maggie Fund.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 303-850-9998 or email to

Thank you very much for your prayers and support!

Josh and Lily

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers Day

It's fathers day.   It's my 13th fathers day as a father.  I can't think of anything more rewarding than spending time with my kids,  and seeing them all grow and learn and mature.

Kerri's Dad came out and spent a couple of days with us earlier this week.  He was able to meet Michael for the first time.  Happy father's day Brett!

My folks are in Norway on vacation right now, but we had a chance to facetime with them on our way home from Church.  Nice father's day treat for my Dad.  Isn't technology cool?  Happy Father's Dad Pops!

Michael has an amazing bond with Kerri.  She provides him more comfort than anybody hands down.  But more and more,  he has been reaching for me,  he is attempting to say "Dada"  (sounds more like "RaRa") and he is comforted by me ( especially when Kerri isn't in the room :) ).   Baby steps,  but very promising progress.

On Mother's Day,  we reflected on the appreciation we have for Michael's birth mother who made the decision to place Michael in a conspicuous place (the steps of the orphanage) wrapped in a blanket.  We truly believe she cared about Michael and wanted to give him a better chance for a normal life that she would have been able to provide.   

Today on fathers day,  we can only wonder if the biological father was around,  if he was a part of the decision, or maybe even was the one to actually place him on those steps.   We will never know...   Some of the cases are cases of shame, babies born out of wedlock etc.  But many of the special needs kids are abandoned due to lack of resources to access appropriate medical care.   In Chinese culture, it's a big deal to have a son.  If dad was there, giving him up had to be a heart wrenching decision for him too.  Michael is an amazing boy, and I couldn't be more proud to call him my son. 

Kerri and the kids surprised me by going out and getting a bunch of professional pictures taken of the 4 kids.  I'll leave you with a sample of a couple of them.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women who never knew each other,
One - you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours,
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.
One gave you up - that's all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
Now you ask through all your tears the age-old question through the years;
Heredity or environment - which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling - neither - just two different kinds of love.
 Author Unknown

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Adoption Rocks

Yes, it may sound cliché, but I truly cannot believe we have been home with this blessing for four months now.   Time is flying and I have to force myself to slow down.  I desperately don't want to miss a moment of his life.  I've missed too much already. However, I'm so thankful for the woman halfway around the world, choosing life for my son.   As I sit and rock him before bed every night, I literally marvel at his perfect eyes and think of the gift that is "Michael."   I find myself hoping that somehow, someway, she will know he is ok.  He is loved. 

A lot can happen in four months, and it has!  In the last four months, Big Mike has accomplished many things.  Most recently,

Palate repair (that surgery is no joke)

Dedication-God is so good

First swim

Other recent pictures

First churro from Costco ;)

A huge change from the day we first held him in our arms

He has started speech therapy.  He is communicating quite a bit.  Everyday, he seems to learn a new word or work on a new sound.  He is babbling and making us constantly laugh with his ever changing expressions.   He absolutely loves music and has some stellar dance moves.  He's opinionated, passionate, and hysterically funny.  He makes the sweetest "owie" face when he sees somebody is hurt and flashes a pretty awesome "I love you" sign on a regular basis.   He's a peanut at 20 lbs,  yet he's discovered he's not too small to open the pantry to help himself to a lollipop.   Just four months ago, a scared, expressionless baby boy was handed to us.  What has occurred in the last four months is enough to bring me to my knees, and it does regularly.  Adoption has it's challenges, adoption is a long road that we have just started travelling, but can I just say, Adoption Rocks.   

Although our hands and hearts are full, I cannot stop thinking about the other children needing a family.  My heart is broken for each and every one of them.   Although we do not plan on adding more to our family, I vow to continually advocate for these children.  Please pray for these kiddos.   The need is great, but God is big and I know not one of these children will go unnoticed to Him.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Miraculous Guzzling!

Miraculous Guzzling!!!

Yup. He is drinking.  And quite frankly,  it's miraculous.

This morning we were told he drinks or he doesn't go home.

They sent us home, even though he wasn't drinking.  We were definitely apprehensive about that.

Get home, and he is still lethargic, not really wanting to eat or drink, but ate a couple of things.

Then tonight,  around 8pm,  trying to get him settled down for bed,  he took his bottle (only 2 oz since he hasn't been drinking) and downed it in like 4 gulps.

Maybe 30 seconds.

Keep in mind people,  a 4 oz bottle normally takes him about 15-20 min and he might get through 3 oz.  You can't suck with a hole in the top of your mouth.

Until the wonders of modern medicine get involved and you close the hole :)

Michael sucks!

-- You know what I mean!!   He learned how to suck tonight and he is now drinking!!

Kerri had a glass of water and Michael wanted some.  So we tried it.  And he easily drank 2 or 3 oz of water right out of a glass.

We made another 2 oz bottle and he got through about 1.5 oz in between bouncing on the bed, and acting more alive than he has since Wednesday.

During one of those bounces you could hear the liquid sloshing around in his tummy.

Yup.   Miraculous Guzzling.

I think he likes being home.

He lit up today when the kids and I showed up.  He loves his brothers and sister.   He lit up again tonight when the boys and I got home from Drew's baseball games.

There is sooo much to feeling better that is emotional and not just physiological.

He is sleeping now.  Sticking with the pain meds for a while.  He does still have a low grade fever, so we will be watching him closely.

Did I mention we are glad to have him home again?

I think he is glad too.

Ok,  bunch of iPhone pictures taken today, so please excuse the quality of these, but they do capture the moment(s)

Some pictures while still in the hospital (all taken today)

Check out those feet.  Too cute!

He is loving his Krispy Kreme doughnut. Just like GG Mary :)

Ok,  this was Thursday or Friday, but it was too cute to not include here...

All of these are since we have been home tonight.


I thought this was a cool shot.  He turned the music on by himself and was dancing :)

One of many sips of Water

 Lounging on Momma, playing with her phone