Sunday, November 25, 2012

Almost Home

We are on the final stretch of our trip. We have our Consulate appointment on Tuesday. Wednesday we receive the kids passports and take a train to Hong Kong. Thursday we will spend the day sightseeing in Hong Kong. Friday morning we will start our journey home. Friday is the day we fondly call the never ending day. We leave Hong Kong at 11:10 am on Friday and we arrive in the USA at 11:20 on Friday. Technically we arrive 10 minutes after we leave via a 14 hour flight. Can you say jet lag?

We will arrive at our local airport at 6:29pm on Friday Nov 30th we welcome everyone to come witness the birth of our new family at the airport. Please remember that our new children are still attaching to us so we request that you do not pick them up.

We can not wait too see our family and friends!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Very Thankful

Missing the rest of our family today. It really stinks to be away from family on Thanksgiving but we have so much to be thankful for. God is so good!!!!


Lily Xin Da is now our daughter

We met our daughter on Monday!! We have had a hard time posting but she is here!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Internet woes

I can only access blogger through my blogger app. Unfortunately that means that it is a pain in the butt to type on this tiny phone. I also have to email myself pictures to post, also a pain. At least we have access.

It is Sunday here in Ch!na. We made it to Guangzhou last night. Today is a free day then tomorrow we meet Lily!!! Everyone talks about her funny little personality. We can,'t wait to meet her.

I leave you with this sweet face!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hangzhou SWI

Wednesday we were honored to visit with Isaac's orphanage. It is a new beautiful campus only a few years old. At first Isaac clung to me but once he saw his teachers he got down to play. It was obvious he was loved there.

A few things we learned about Isaac. He does not like things out of order or dirty. They said he was always cleaning up after the other children. We have seen this too. He also loves music. They have a piano in the room and he went right to it and began playing. He was not banging but actually trying to play. They said the piano is one of the few things he will do and sit patiently at.

We had a great visit. They enjoyed seeing Isaac.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Officially official!!!!

Isaac Guo Hong is our son! Today we made it official and received Isaac's adoption certificate.

We have our son

We met Isaac yesterday! He is absolutely amazing! We could hear them coming up the stairs. They walked into the room and he was all smiles. I don't think he has stopped moving except when he is sleeping. He came right to us and started playing with the cars we brought. He would run around and then come back over to me. After a few minutes he ran up to me with his arms up. I picked him up and then came the most treasured moment . . . HE KISSED ME!!

Oh my heart. He is so beautiful and fun and smart and happy. Well, I could go on and on.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am not one to sugar coat things. 
I will tell you how I see it. 
Well, today really SUCKED!!!

It doesn't matter how hard you plan, no one is perfect.  Today we dropped off the kids with grandparents to stay while we are in China.  Of course, I forgot a few things and some things did not go as planned.  Well, now I feel like a terrible mother. Plus one of my babies is having a really hard time tonight without us.  It is so painful to not be able to comfort him.

I know God has this covered.  I handed my children over to him as soon as they joined our family.  Leaving them is so hard for my mama heart though.  God loves my children even more than I do.  Well, they are actually His children but I get to love on them.  It gives me such peace and comfort knowing that God will never leave my babies.  He will be right there to comfort them and protect them.

Tomorrow we start a big adventure!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

We have Travel Approval!! Here we come Lily & Issac. We will be leaving in a couple of weeks to meet our beautiful children.

Friday, August 31, 2012

One Final Giveaway - The BIG One

We are approximately 6-8 weeks from travel to meet and adopt our two beautiful children.  Of course I am praying it is closer to the 6 week mark. 
Our total final fees will need to be wired in country a week before we travel.  We were given an estimate of $25,000, plus airfare costs.
If you don't know our story and how God moved our hearts towards adoption you can read it HERE.

EVERY donation of ANY amount and EVERY time you share our giveaway your name will be entered into the giveaway.
How to donate:

We still need $1,000 in our matching grant fund through Lifesong for Orphans.  Directions are on the right sidebar.  When making a donation please indicate "Preference Maas #2852".  When we reach our goal we will have a $12,000 grant!!!

We need our Reece's Rainbow Family Account to read $8,000.  Donations can be made using the link on the left sidebar. 

You can also donate through our FIG Account with Project Hopeful.  Just click on the donate button below.

Giveaway Prizes:

I am real excited about these prizes.  Honestly, I think they are the best I have seen in any giveaway!

 We will forever be grateful to you for your generosity
These children will know the love of a family.

These children will know the love of a child with Down Syndrome


Our Heavenly Father will say "Well done, good and faithful servant"
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Update on Isaac and Lily

We received pictures of Isaac recently.  These were taken back in the spring.

Our most recent information about him says he is 34 inches tall and 24 pounds.  He is saying Mama and Baba.  They say he is a very active child.  It also mentions that he is afraid of stuffed animals :(

Isaac is living in a foster home in Hangzhou Ch*na.  Hangzhou is named "The Most Beautiful Place on Earth".   We will be in Hangzhou for one week when we go to adopt Isaac.  I can't wait to spend time in this beautiful city.

We also received new pictures of Lily.  These pictures were actually taken this week!

We don't have any recent information on Lily.  We are hoping to have updated measurements before we travel.  Last November she was 36 inches tall and weighed 28 pounds.  She was so tiny for a 5 year old.  I wonder how much she has grown this year. 

Lily is in a foster home in Maoming Ch*na.  We will be saying in Guangzhou but we will travel to Maoming for a one day visit.  I have read they have beautiful beaches in Maoming where many people vacation. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Update on our Summer

I have really had no desire to blog recently.  I guess I partially felt like everyone was tired of listening and partially I was tired of talking.  Decided to take some time today and update how we are doing. 

1.  Our house is coming along.  The rough construction is pretty much done.  They will have the inspection this week I think.  We are hoping to be in our house the first couple of weeks in October. 

2.  We have kinda had a boring summer.  We are staying with family while our house is being built.  There is not much to do around here so we have spent a lot of time sitting around the house.  The kids and I are going crazy.  We miss our friends. 

3.  We started school this week.  We are brushing up on the basics and doing a lot of review until we get into our house.  I did not want to start our curriculum before we got into our house.  Just seems like a lot of work.  Of course we will probably have to work into the summer but I think it will be worth it.  The kids have really surprised me so far.  I expected them to really struggle but they are actually doing really well.  The younger ones especially have matured this summer.  Their handwriting has improved greatly and they remember all the math from last year. 

4.  We are on the final stretch of our adoption.  We received our LOA's earlier this month.  We are currently waiting on immigration approval for the kids then we wait for our Travel Approval.  Once we receive travel approval we could possibly leave 2 weeks later.  I am hoping for TA in about 6 weeks.  Praying we can travel the second week of October. 

That is all for now.  If I get the chance I will set down tonight and write a little bit more about our babies waiting in Ch*na. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We have LOA's!!!!!!!!!

We have officially been approved by China to adopt Lily and Isaac.  The rest of the process has been moving pretty quickly.  We expect to have our Travel Approval in the next 7-8 weeks. That means we could be meeting our new blessings in about 9-10 weeks!!!

We also received a new picture of Isaac.  He is so darn cute.  We can't wait to meet them both!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Selfish Confession

I am going to be real honest here.  Ever have those days when you just wished the world revolved around you?  That you could have whatever you wanted?  Well, I am having one of those WEEKS!!!!  I hate to admit my selfishness.  It feels gross and ugly.   I really hate this part of me.  I hate the feeling of not being content.  I REALLY WANT some new stuff for our adoption trip.  Do I NEED new stuff.  NO!!!!!!!!!!

I want new "matching" bags for our trip to China.     
Love this bag in "Lotsa Dots" and add a cargo bag purse, and Retro Metro tote for a diaper bag.
How cute would that be?

I want a new camera that is small but takes great pictures.

I want an iphone or ipad.  It would be so convenient for traveling.

Don't even get me started on stuff for Isaac and Lily.   Hairbows, hats, cute new clothes,  fun toys, and I could go on and on.

Please Lord help me to overcome these selfish desires with YOUR contentment.  I want to be grateful for what I have and not want for more than I need. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Church Adoption Funds Through Lifesong

"The blessings go way beyond any financial support because the family is just knowing that the church cares."
--Dave Blaske, His Kids-Our Homes Adoption Fund Director

Listen in as His Kids-Our Homes Adoption Fund share about their partnership with Lifesong for Orphans...

It has been exciting for us as a ministry to have a front-row view in what God is doing through our 210 active and intentional Church Fund Partners.  In the past six months alone, we have seen the generosity of these churches provide over $627,650 to 193 adoptive families in the form of grants and loans.
The refreshing joy of serving families, blessing orphans, and ultimately glorifying God is at the core of each church fund that we partner with.  We celebrate the work that God is doing through each of them as He places the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6). 

For more stories about how a church fund can bless adoptive families, we invite you to watch the Quine & Stewart family adoption videos.
To learn more about Lifesong Church Funds, please visit our website or contact Rich Metcalfe (309.747.4528,

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Giveaway Winners!!!

First let me say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to our matching grant.  We are currently at $3,300.  We are half way there!!  You can still donate to our matching grant. I have placed a DONATE BUTTON on the right sidebar to make it easier to donate. 


I have emailed all the prize winners except for two I need contact information. 

Kathryn Lee and Ashley Tucker

Please email me @ so I can get your prize to you!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

House Update

Many of you have prayed with us over the last couple of years concerning our housing situation.  For those of you who have not followed my blog long here is a brief overview.  We had downsized our home 7 years ago so that we could afford for me to stay home with the kids.  We had two birth children and were adopting ONE daughter from China.  We built a 1700 sq ft home that perfectly suited our small family.  We had no idea what God had in store for our family.  We never thought we would be parenting children with physical disabilities.  We NEVER thought we would have TEN children.  We have been praying and searching for a home that would accommodate our growing family and also our son's wheelchair. 

In January of this year we FINALLY started the process of building a house.  Our new home will have 4,000 sq ft with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.  Most importantly, it will be wheelchair accessible!!! 

I wanted to share with you an update on the progress.

Now for a really cool God story . . .

Let me start by saying that we are praying that God will provide a platform stair lift for Jacob to move between the 1st floor and basement. The cost is about $12,000. So we are building this house fully expecting God to provide. 

They are framing our house and when we started measuring in the basement we realized that there would not be enough space at the bottom of the stairs for the lift. The whole reason we are building a house is so that Jacob would have FULL ACCESS to the ENTIRE house. I was a complete mess but kept saying, "God, I know you want Jacob to have this house so I know you are going to take care of this". Our incredible friend/realtor got on the ball and contacted the engineer. They went out to the house and in a way only God could orchestrate we got our miracle. I will make a long story short. The stairs had been delivered just that morning. They put the stairs in and they were SHORTER than they had expected giving us a foot more space at the bottom. There was also a framing issue that when resolved would give us a few more inches. God found us a foot and a half more space at the bottom of those stairs WITHOUT even having to make changes to the floor plan. God even gave us a few EXTRA inches for fun!!!

I can't wait to share with you more cool features and pictures of our house.  It is not an "Extreme Home Makeover" but I am pretty excited about what God has provided and will continue to provide. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

There have been so many thoughts running around in my head recently I have been unable to verbalize them.  I still don't know what to do with much of the information.  I have been hurting for adoptive families, who after bringing their child home, then for whatever reason are unable to continue to parent that child.  I attended Orphan Summit in California in May.  It was supposed to be a time of refreshment and encouragement for myself as an adoptive mother.  However, while I was there God began encouraging me to learn more ways the church can support foster/adoptive families.  I was so encouraged to hear how many churches were supporting these families and children. 

I recently met with some leaders in my own church to discuss ways we can support the foster/adoptive families in our church.  We actually have a large populations of adoptive/foster families.  I have two concerns for the families in our church, including my own family.  We have a fantastic support group lead by a couple of adoptive moms, but I really think that families are needing more. Support and encouragement of fellow adoptive families is very important but that is only a piece of the puzzle.   We are lacking support from the outside.  We need our church family to come along beside us to fill in where we can't do for ourselves.  Although adoption agencies are required to provide educational opportunities I still don't think families are prepared.  If, we as the church are going to step up to the call and encourage families to adopt/foster we, the church, need to be the ones to stand up next to them and hold them up.  Families are not prepared for the isolation they feel.  They are not prepared for the embarrassment that goes along with the lack of immediate attachment.  They are not prepared to have their marriage challenged.  They are not prepared for the spiritual warfare that will go on in their home.  They are not prepared for the loss of friendships and family.  WAKE UP CHURCH!!  WE NEED YOU!!!  We need someone to call and check on us.  We need someone to provide respite care.  We need someone to bring us a meal.  We need someone to be brave enough to come hang out at our house for adult conversation.  We need someone to pray with us.  We need someone to notice when we haven't been to church in a month. 

Second, our churches are not prepared to minister to our children.  I know that our family is quite unique due to our size and the number of needs our children have.  However, I have talked with several adoptive families and they are experiencing the same feelings.  Children who come from hard places or have significant medical/emotional needs have needs that are unique to them.   I am hearing too many families who are not sending their children into the church classroom because they feel that the leaders are not equipped to handle their child's very unique needs and behaviors.  We need our church family to be willing to be educated about the needs of our children.  We need our church family to love our children unconditionally.  We need our church family to be willing to volunteer to be our child's buddy so they can attend their age level class. 

I am seeing families, like my own, become isolated from their church family.  I would like to say that the meeting with my church leaders was productive but I can't say it was.  In fact, it was said, "it may be easier to start something outside the church.  Inside the church programs just get smothered out by church policies".   That is so true.  We attend what you would call a "mega church".   It is sad to say that church has become a "big business".  I will save that discussion for another time.  I don't know what God is wanting me to do with all of this.  Sometimes I feel like I am too weak to minister to other families but that is just selfishness.   How can I minister to others when I too am in need.  God has laid this upon my heart that I know, not sure what is next.

I just want to add, for those families who know us personally, life at our house is not always rosy.   I know that many times we look like we have it all together when we are in public.  Yes, I have had to physically dress my preteen adopted child because she refused to wear the same clothes more than once.  Yes, I have held a child screaming for their birth mom.  Yes, I have had a child tell me they want to go back to their birth country.  Yes, I have held a child as they screamed uncontrollably at night from night terrors.  Yes, I have been pushed away.  Yes, I have spent hours at a time repeatedly putting a child in time out.  Yes, I have sat in my closet and cried out to God.  Yes, I have wondered if I will ever attach to this child.  Yes, I yell at my kids.  Yes, I worry about my children with medical issues.  Yes, it overwhelms me sometimes.  Yes, I struggle daily.  So, if you need a friend I am here.  I may not understand exactly what you are going through but know that I too am struggling right along beside you. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Matching Grant & Giveaway!!!

We have been blessed with a $6,000 MATCHING GRANT through Lifesong for Orphans and Orphan Care Alliance.  Donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $6,000. 

Did you hear that? 

$6,000 + $6,000 = $12,000!!!!!!!!

We still need $25,000 for our adoption to be fully funded.   $12,000 will get us half way there!!  Our dossier has already been submitted and we are currently waiting for our Letter of Approval.  We will need the remaining $25,000 by the time we receive our Travel Approval. 

There are two ways you can make a donation for the matching grant.  You can donate on the Lifesong for Orphans website  @ In the "purpose section" please write "preference Maas #2852 adoption" If you choose to make a donation using PayPal a 1.9%-2/9% service fee will be deducted from the donation for PayPal fees.

Second, you can make a check donation made out to "Lifesong for Orphans".  In the memo section of your check please write "preference Maas #2852 adoption".  You can mail donations to:

Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40/202 N. Ford Street
Gridley, IL 61744

All donations are tax deductible.  In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization.  This organziation retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use.

Now the GIVEAWAY prizes !!!!!

For making a donation towards our matching grant you will be entered into a giveaway.   Please leave a comment on this post letting me know you made a donation.  Please make sure you give me your email address in your comment in case you win something in the giveaway.  Donations will be confirmed prior to the giveaway drawing.

$10.00 = 1 entry
$20.00 = 2 entries
$50.00 = 5 entries
$100.00 = 10 entries

Autographed copy of Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Pampered Chef Chocolate Carmel Sauce & Recipe Book

Panda Bear Gift Set

Mary Kay Gift Certificate

Thirty-One Demi Purse

Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote and Littles Carry All Caddy

Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote and Littles Carry All Caddy

Beautiful Bracelet with a Dawn Bigler Patterson(Funky Fish Designs) Pendant
(bead color not guaranteed)

More Giveaway Prizes to come!!

 All donations must be received by Lifesong by close of business Monday July 16th
to count for giveaway drawing.   Drawing will occur as soon as donations can be varified.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shop for Isaac & Lily

I have some beautiful and generous friends who are throwing Lily & Isaac a party!  Oh wait, not just one party but FOUR PARTIES!!!  Commissions from ALL four parties will be donated to Lily & Isaacs' adoption fund.


When you check out make sure you choose "Rebecca Maas" as your host.

The special for May is for every $31 in retail order, you can buy an All-in-One Organizer for just $5

Ordinary Hero
Make sure you choose Rebecca Maas in the Affiliate Menu
OH will be giving away THREE $500 Grants to the top 3 sellers over the week time frame!
If I am the top seller THIS WEEK I will get an extra grant for $500.00!!!!
Plus the 40% revenue from my sells. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blessed to be Called Mother

I wanted to say "THANK YOU" for voting for Jacob to receive a handicap accessible van.  Today is the last day of voting.  If you have not voted you can go to the Mobility Awareness Site and vote before midnight.  If this is your first time voting for Jacob you can also use the dealer code 968 to get extra votes for Jacob.  You can only use the dealer code on your first vote.  If you have already voted using the dealer code you can still vote but not with extra votes.  

Tomorrow we should find out if Jacob made it into the top 10% of vote getters.  If he is in the top 10% he will move to the next round, where a committee will choose THREE people to receive handicap accessible vans.  These winners will be announced on national television!  Please be praying for this committee over the next couple of days.  I know that this has to be a very hard decision.  There are so many deserving people out there who really NEED handicap accessible transportation.

picture by Nina Mullins Photography

Today is Mother's Day.  I am so honored to be called mother by my children.  All of my children have touched my heart, each in their own way.  However, Jacob has touched my life in a way that I don't think anyone else could.  God does not make any mistakes and Jacob is no exception.  The joy in this child is indescribable unless you meet him in person.  Joy that can only come from our Heavenly Father pours from the depths of his soul.

Let me tell you why this is so amazing to me.  Jacob has quadraplegia cerebral palsy.  When he was about 6-9 months old, he was living in an orphanage, his health drastically deteriorated.  At the time they had no idea why.  When we saw his picture we just knew he would not survive if he was not adopted soon.  It was not until we got him home did we find out that Jacob was a living miracle.  Mind you Jacob was born in a third world country.  His very young mother lived in a very remote village and probably received no medical care.  Jacob's brain did not completely form.  He has a large cleft on one side of his brain.  The remainder of his brain did not completely form outward.

Jacob is unable to sit without full support.  He can hold his head up for a short time unassisted.  Jacob is also nonverbal.  He requires total care.  Jacob's neurologist said that Jacob should also be blind, deaf, on a feeding tube and have seizures.  Here is the amazing part!  Jacob is not blind.  Jacob is not deaf.  Jacob has never had a seizure.  Jacob is eating from a bottle and has just started eating baby foods.  Jacob is taking steps using a very special walker that fully supports his body. 

Now for the most amazing part but also the part that breaks my heart the most.  Remember Jacob's brain?  It is not all there.  BUT I have been talking with Jacob's therapist recently about his progress.  Jacob is almost developmentally on target cognitively for a four year old.   Did you hear that?  Jacob is cognitively a typical four year old boy.  Here is the part that breaks my heart.  Jacob is a typical cognitively developing four year old stuck in his on body.  Can you imagine being completely aware of everything going on around you but unable to move or speak?  Can you imagine knowing what you want or need but unable to tell anyone?  Seriously, I am bawling just typing that.

Here is where Jacob inspires me the most.  He is such a strong little boy.  He works so hard during therapy.  You can just see his determination.  He has learned how to communicate with eye gaze and grunts.  He very rarely gets frustrated.  Did I mention the absolute joy that just bubbles out of him?  If you have ever met Jacob in person you will never forget the smile on this kid's face.  Oh, the laughter.  He starts laughing and it is just contagious.  He loves life.  Every part of it.  I am so blessed to be called his mother.  God is so good!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Party Time!!!

I have some beautiful and generous friends who are throwing Lily & Isaac a party!  Oh wait, not just one party but THREE PARTIES!!!  Commissions from ALL three parties will be donated to Lily & Isaacs' adoption fund.

Don't forget you can also use the Reece's Rainbow button on the right sidebar to make a tax deductible donation to Lily & Isaacs' adoption fund.


When you check out make sure you choose "Rebecca Maas" as your host.

The special for May is for every $31 in retail order, you can buy an All-in-One Organizer for just $5


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Challenge

Mother’s Day is this Sunday.  There are some extra special mothers out there that I would challenge you to remember this Mother’s Day.  These are mothers that have chosen to love those who everyone else has turned away.  A typical day may consist of being yelled at, being bitten, and kicked.  Very rarely will they hear a “Thank You” or “I Love You”.  They are on-call 24 hours a day, this is not an 8-5 job.  They are up all hours of the night holding children that are having night terrors.  Some of these mothers are parenting medically fragile children.  Every day these mothers deal with the reality of death, but also the beauty of life.  What an emotional roller coaster!  They are in the trenches, loving and healing children with the love of God. 

They are not just moms, but during a 24 hour period they may also become advocates, nurses, teachers, pharmacists, therapists, dietitian and more.  They wear many hats!  I am talking about mothers who have adopted or are fostering children that are hard to place.  These moms are humble and they never ask for recognition, in fact, it probably makes them uncomfortable.

If you know one of these moms consider making Mother’s Day a little extra special for them this year.  I bet they would be overjoyed just to get a note of encouragement.  Maybe a gift card to pamper herself?  Maybe a gift basket of items just for her?  Chocolate?  I have a feeling you can take it from there and come up with some great ideas.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Help Jacob Get New Wheels

I entered Jacob into a contest last month to win a handicap accessible van.  You can read my post about the contest HERE.

The contest is in honor of National Mobility Month.  The first round of the contest ends on May 13th.  We need to be in the top 10% of vote getters in order to move to the second round of the competition.  We are so very close to being in the top 10%.  This would be a HUGE blessing for Jacob and our family. 

All you have to do is go to this SITE and vote for Jacob.  You can vote once every 24 hours through this Sunday May 13th.  If you use dealer code "968" on your first vote Jacob will receive 5 VOTES instead of just one.  This only works ONE time.

For people with mobility issues a huge obstacle in gaining independence is transportation.  Take our sweet Jacob for example.  Jacob received a fancy new wheelchair last year.  It supports him in all the right places and is super durable.  It is also able to hold his communication system.  However, Jacob is only able to use this wheelchair when he is at home.  There is not a lot of storage space in the back of our van and his wheelchair is super heavy.  For that reason Jacob is currently using his old stroller type chair when we are away from the house.  This poor chair has about had it!  Jacob has broken it 3 or 4 times.  We have had to place brackets on the back to keep it from breaking further.  This chair is not very supportive and frankly too small.  What a blessing it would be if Jacob could use his super duper big boy wheelchair ALL the time!

Love this little guy!

picture by Nina Mullins Photography

Monday, May 7, 2012

I think I have heard a thousand times, "I just haven't found my niche" when talking about serving others.  Really?  You don't have to look very far to find it.  God created each person with a purpose and plan in mind.  He gifted each of us for that purpose too.  I think sometimes we make things more difficult than they need to be.

What are you good at? 

What do you really love to do?  

What are you good at and really love but are not currently doing?

I spent years jumping from job to job.  I spent my college years jumping from major to major.  Finally, I thought back to my childhood to that time when someone asked, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"  It was simple.  I wanted to be a mommy.  I loved children.  At a very early age everyone around me could tell I had a gift with children.  I received the greatest joy by loving on children. 

It has been almost seven years now since I stopped pursuing what was just a job and started pursuing what God created me to be.  Honestly, I am in my "sweet spot"!  Now, let me be honest and say my days are not always perfect.  Yes, I get frustrated.  Yes, some days I wish I were alone sitting on a beach.  However, I LOVE my "job"!  I LOVE being a mother!  I LOVE caring for children with disabilities!  God has equipped me and continues to equip me for the task.  If you know me in real life it is obvious. 

Have you found your "sweet spot" in life?

"When you pack for a trip, you pick clothes well-suited to your journey. The same holds true for our spiritual gifts — God has "packed us" with everything we need to be shaped for our purpose." Jon Weece

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adoption Update

Here is the low down on the adoption news . . .

Home Study Complete

I800a Mailed

Dossier Done well done except for I800a approval

Authentication Process Started

Now comes the ranting . . . .

We filed our I800a on April 10th and had receipt notice issued April 12th.  I thought WOW that was fast!  We were supposed to receive notice of fingerprinting in 10-14 day following receipt notice.  Well it has been 17 days and we have not even been assigned a fingerprinting appointment yet.  Oh, wait it gets better.  The reason we have not received an appointment is because the Louisville USCIS is SOOOOOO BUSY they do not have any appointments available for at least the next three weeks.  They won't even send out an appointment letter unless they have an appointment available within a three week period of time.  HELLO!!!  You have got to be kidding me.  I have been to that office four times and I have NEVER been there when there was more than one other person waiting to get fingerprinted. 

So normally this would not be a big deal we would just sit and wait.  HOWEVER, we need to move and we can't move until we get fingerprinted and dossier out of here.  If we move BEFORE our dossier leaves than we would have to redo documents, pay more fees, etc. 

So there you have it we are stuck.  Thankfully our USCIS officer says our case is ready for approval as soon as our fingerprints are done.  You know the most stupid thing about this whole process.  We were just fingerprinted two months ago for our home study.  We have actually been fingerprinted 5 TIMES in the last four years.  They DO NOT keep fingerprint records on file. That is absurd!!

So here are our prayer needs:

1.  Fingerprinting Appointment and FAST

2.  We have to make a big payment when our dossier goes out.

3.  We can get our dossier out of here by the end of May.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Building an Accessible Home Day 1

We have searched for a couple of years for a home that would fit our family and the needs of our children. We quickly realized if someone builds an truly accessible home they are probably going to live out their life in that home. There are just not any on the market.   It is really frustrating when you go to look at homes on the market that advertise "handicap accessible".  I laugh every time I read that statement.  If they have one aspect of the home that is "accessible" they put that label on there. Yes, this home is handicap accessible but you have to WALK up three stairs to get into the home.  OR Yes, this home is handicap accessible because it has a ramp into the house but the doorways are narrow so then you are stuck in the entry way and cannot go anywhere.  My favorite are homes where ALL the bedrooms are on the second floor and they advertise "handicap accessible".  I guess the home is accessible if you don't plan to sleep or take a shower.

We decided the best way to meet the unique needs of our family would be to build a home. Custom homes are EXPENSIVE so we just could not go that route. However, we are so blessed to have found a home builder who was willing to work with our family to make our home as accessible as possible. I am pleased to announce that this weekend we were finally able to sign the final contract on our home with Ball Homes.   Here is a picture from today of us standing in front of the site where our future home will sit.

(it was a very winding day!)
I have decided I want to chronical the building of our home here on my blog. It will be great to have to look back on.  It will also be an opportunity to share with others what we learn through the process and give some tips along the way.   We are trying to build an accessible home without the prices that go with a custom/speciality home.   I do want to clarify that our home will not meet all ADA standards.  First, that is really expensive to build but also it is not likely our children with physical disabilities will be independent enough to need access to a completely ADA home. If by chance God provides a miracle then I will be more than excited to make those adjustments to our home.

Tip #1
Before you do anything make a list of your child's needs and then make a list of things you think would improve their quality of life. 

Here is our initial list:
1.  Bedrooms on the first floor
2.  Full bath on the first floor with accessible shower
3.  Doorways and hallways widened
4.  NO carpet (Jacob can not maneuver his walker on the carpet)
5.  No steps into the home

Tip #2
Take that list to a couple of builders and see if they are willing to help you meet your child's need.

We met with our builder a couple of times before we finally felt comfortable.  One of the most important aspects of this home for us was that it be an place for our children to flourish and grow, not a place of limitations.

Today we met with the "foundation guy".  Before they started building we wanted to talk to him about making the entry to our home as low as possible.  He was very knowledgeable and helpful.  They will not be able to make it zero entry(no steps) but he said they would do the best they can to have as few steps as possible.   With just a few steps we should be able to put a ramp there.  He even said he would brainstorm with the owner and see what solutions they could come up with.  THAT my friends is great customer service!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Don't forget to vote today!!!    We are going to have to ramp it up a few notches.  There are some people with over 15,000 votes. I have NO idea how they are doing it.  I am hearing of local media getting involved and they are spreading the word.  They are getting the word out through the internet and in their community.  PLEASE spread the word to your family and friends.   I am so grateful for each and every person who is voting for Jacob. YOU GUYS ROCK AND WE LOVE YOU!!!!

If you have no idea what I am talking about go back and read this POST.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I did good today!

This is my sweet, active, full of energy little man Gabriel! Gabriel joined our family when he was 20 months old. Since day one Gabriel has been a little hypersensitive and overreacts to EVERYTHING. A couple of years ago he started showing some major indications of sensory processing disorder and ADHD. At his last physical the doctor looked at me and said, "you know he has ADHD, right?" Of course the doctor's observation was not a surprise to me.

I have done my research, attended trainings, talked with therapist, but still not very good at putting it all into action.  Gabriel has had a rough week and by this morning I was about to loose it.  Before 8:00a.m. he had already been banned from playing with just about everyone.  He had been in time out three times and was, at the time, screaming in the bathroom.  I could just feel my blood pressure rising. 

In a desperate act I took Gabriel outside and told him to run as fast as he could to the trampoline.  Then I stood out there with him and give him direction after direction of things to do on the trampoline.  He jumped as high as he could, he jumped and touched his toes, he jumped and fell on his bottom, he ran around and around on the trampoline.  With each minute that went by you could see him relaxing and he started smiling and laughing.  When I could tell he was out of breathe I told him to run as fast as he could to the house and I would chase him.  When we got up to the deck he turned to me and wrapped me up in a big hug as if to say THANK YOU.   Gabriel was able to sit and watch TV and play with his siblings for a couple of hours after.

Man, I learned a lot today.  Too many times I would rather put him in timeout then to stop what I am doing and give him what his body needs.  I am learning but I did good today!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jacob is my HERO

This is Jacob at 10 months of age when we received his referral.  Jacob weighed just 10 pounds and was on the verge of death.  I still cry every time I look at this picture.  I cannot picture my son like this. 

This is my Jacob almost four years later.

He is a survivor and a fighter.  Although Jacob is non-verbal he continues to make strides in communication.  He is using eye gaze and grunts to say yes or no.  He is working with a communication device on the ipad to begin more advanced communication.  He does not give up. He is working really hard to control his body and gain controlled movement.  He is starting to roll over and is walking with a supportive walker for a short amount of time.  He is beating the odds and doing it with great joy.  This is why Jacob is my hero!

Last fall Jacob got a wonderful sturdy wheelchair that gives him the support his body needs. The picture is of him in his new chair.  Unfortunately, this chair does not fit into our passenger van so when we go out he uses an old stroller type wheelchair that is too small for him and that also does not give him the support he needs.  He is getting too big for his car seat and it would be safer for him to remain in his wheelchair during transport.

I am entering Jacob is a contest to win a handicap accessible van. National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is giving away handicap accessible vans as part of National Mobility Month.  Click on the link below to vote for "Jacob Maas" beginning April 10th.  When you vote use dealer code 968 to get Jacob extra votes.

Jacob is the most joy filled child you will meet.  Very rarely will you find him without a big smile on his face.  Thanks for taking time to go vote for my hero!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Picture of Isaac & Update


We have given our kids learning combined with therapy. Our main purpose is to help children with their speech and muscle of lower limbs. He can walk alone but not quite stable. He is easy to fall down. He can hold to walk up and down stairs. He can climb up and down of crib or couch. He can take his shoes off and put his shoes on with a little help. He can use cup to drink water. He is learning to feed self. He is always happy and he loves to do therapy with his teacher.

He can imitate very well. He can follow teachers to do many simple actions. He even joined the performance of “I Love You” during our show. He can wave to say bye. He loves to go to class very much. He knows how to follow the routine during class time, such as find his seat to sit down first, raise his hand when his name is called. He knows his pictures, tilt his thumb to show good. He can say Baba, Mama. He likes to pick up the phone and pretend calling someone. He can understand many simple instructions, such as “sit down, stand up, go there…” and he knows the meaning of NO. He will stop when you say No. He is in the process of potty train. He knows to sit on baby potty to pee.

He is a very active child. He loves to play ball. He is also very curious and wants to try every new thing. He doesn’t like stuffed animals. He feels scared when he sees them. Since the therapy program, He has changed so much. We will keep working on his speech, physical development.

Look at that smile!  I could just eat him up!