Monthly Archives: November 2016

4 weeks



A few weeks ago, about 4 weeks actually, Elliott got sick.

We spent the week at home.  We missed school and work.  I held her for most of our days.  Two trips to the doctor later, she was diagnosed with ear infections and a wheezing cough that might be the start of asthma.

That Friday we picked up the big kids from school and Bennett started throwing up immediately.  (Just for the record, he has one volume when he’s throwing up.  Unbelievably loud.  And he basically doesn’t even try to get it in the toilet).  By Monday morning, the most evil stomach bug I have ever encountered had taken myself, Russell, and Campbell down as well.  A trip to the emergency room on Halloween night for me.  Days and days of trying to recover.  It was a nightmare of a week.

That Friday the bigs were back at school, Russ back at work, and Elliott and I operating like normal.  That Saturday I was at Urgent Care with Bennett getting a Strep Throat diagnosis.  Less than a week later Elliott would have a 105 fever and we’d be trying to get her wheezing under control with the inhaler for days in a row.  One more week later and it’s Friday night and my oldest is asleep on the couch at 5:45pm.  104 fever.  Rash covering her torso.  Today it’s Sunday and  after days and days of feeling bad I missed church and went to the urgent care for a sinus infection and bronchitis diagnosis.

It’s been 4 solid weeks of this.  Just when we think a break is coming, that we are getting back to normal and we can safely wash the sheets and Lysol the house again – another one bites the dust.  I cannot express how tired we are, how behind we are at everything, how many times we have been to the doctor, how many combined days of school and work we have missed, and how many cans of Lysol Russell has gone through (long live Russ’s love affair with Lysol).

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, somewhere around week “stomach virus of death”, I began to question what exactly was going on here.  Was this a warning sign?  Were things so hard right now because God was trying to give us some sort of smoke signal that we couldn’t/shouldn’t adopt again?  Maybe things are hard because somewhere along the way we stepped outside of His will for us?

As I went to the Lord with this, in His kindness, He reminded me that it is not His character to speak in calamity and frustration like that. He reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily mean we are the wrong path, that sometimes things are just hard.

Having made peace that this was just hard, not wrong or outside of God’s will, just hard – I let the thoughts of that go.  And truthfully, I expected things to get better.

But it continued to be really hard.  And we continued to be sick on top of sick.

It occurred to me one day that all of this started at the same time, literally to the day, that we began the process of waiting to be matched with Isaiah.

As we have waited out the past month, the most uncertain time in the adoption process for me, the time littered with some fears of how things went for us last time we were matched, we have been hit hard over and over again.

Last Saturday all five of us were in the car heading to the pediatrician to have Elliott’s lungs listened to again.  I told Russ that I thought this was a deliberate spiritual attack.  That it felt like the enemy was coming after us in attempts to make us quit this adoption.  That I felt vulnerable in the midst of the waiting, with the lack of the funds to complete this adoption, with no time to think about fundraising, and it felt like every thing that came up was making me feel like we were just a little further from making this adoption a reality.

An hour later, as we left the doctor, a car drove straight into us.  The man told us that he didn’t even see our car.

If I had any doubts about spiritual warfare before, they were basically gone at that point.

As we have continued to navigate through sickness and opposition and financial junk, we have began to look at this with spiritual eyes.

It’s been 4 weeks.  4 weeks of sickness.  4 weeks of waiting to see the face of our son.  4 weeks of attack.  4 weeks of struggling to believe that God is going to provide financially for the rest of this adoption.  4 weeks of weariness.  4 weeks of wondering if today is the day the phone is going to ring.  4 weeks.

4 weeks of opportunity for us to change our minds.

A few months ago a friend of mine had a dream about Isaiah.  In it, he was wearing rainbow shoes.  The Lord called him a walking promise.  Ever since she told me that, I have quietly wondered and asked the Lord what that means.  How is he a walking promise?  What does that mean?

Last night Russ and I were talking about this feeling of attack against us.  I was speculating about why the enemy might want to attack us when my husband looked at me and said, “Maybe there is a promise on Isaiah’s life that is greater than we know.  Maybe he will walk out something great.  Maybe the enemy knows that the very best way to mess up the great promise God has on his life is to prevent him from being adopted”.

Maybe he’s right.

Blessed are those who consider the helpless.
    The Eternal will stay near them, leading them to safety in times of bitter struggle.
The Eternal defends them and preserves them,
    and His blessing will find them in the land He gave them.
    He moves ahead to frustrate their enemies’ plans.

Psalm 41:1-2


One beautiful year

One year.  Today it has been one year since we met our beloved Elliott in a wood furniture filled room in Changsha, China.

In 365 days, Elliott has transformed significantly.  In every way possible she seems like a much different child than the baby we held in our arms for the first time that day.  Physically she has changed significantly.  She has gained 15 lbs and grown 6 inches.  She has grown a head full of the most beautiful black hair.  Her skin looks different.  Her eyes are brighter.  She smiles easily and laughs loudly.

Developmentally she has changed in so many ways.  She came to us barely walking.  These days, she runs everywhere.  She drags chairs around the house to climb up and get into whatever it is she feels like she needs to get into.  She swings, jumps on the trampoline, and rides her tricycle.  She came to us with no speech.  No babbling, no even attempts at making sounds other than crying.  Now, she is putting short sentences together (“Ellie do it!”  “Thank you mama”) and repeating EVERYTHING.  Her language has come so far, as has her desire to communicate and her trust that we will respond when she expresses her needs.  She is **mostly** potty-trained and can take her shoes on and off like nobody’s business.

Perhaps the most significant changes, the ones I feel down to the core of my being are the ones that have happened spiritually and emotionally.  A year ago we met a vacant version of the little girl we know now.  Today, there is a presence, a light, in her eyes that sometimes overwhelms me.    Where there once was desperate clinging and fear, there is now peace.  She isn’t scared to be put down.  She isn’t scared that her next meal won’t come.  She isn’t scared to go to sleep.  She glances back at me when she’s running around the yard, just like a kid should.  She knows who her mommy is, her daddy, her sister, and her brother.  She knows her grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins.  She knows that she has a place and that she fits.  She knows home.


Being Elliott’s mom has brought me indescribable joy.  She is the most hilarious, often outlandish, little person.  She never fails to make me laugh with the things she does and says next and she is a constant surprise.  She is bold.  She is strong.  She is determined.  She is insanely smart.  She remembers EVERYTHING.  She is unbelievably cute.  Like just so ridiculously cute.  She has added so much to our family that we didn’t even really know was missing.

Happy one year, Elliott Hope.  I can’t believe I’ve gotten to love you for a full year.  I will love you forever, my baby girl.

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