Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Christmas







I hope you all had a wonderful happy Christmas this year! We sure did :) It was a pretty low key year spent at home with family and friends. Of course lots of presents were had by all and the kids had a great time. My personal present from CJ was a little over budget, but hey I am worth it :) I got new bar stools for the kitchen and will enjoy them each and every day. Hopefully you all received your own special gift as well. I have to admit that it was a nice and calm Christmas this year without having the "China Trip" looming around this holiday. Happy to have my girls home where they belong and fit in so perfectly.
Now if I could just get my brother "home" for Christmas next year, then I think the holiday would be perfect! It was strange this year missing him on Christmas Day. Now that I know him, I feel like he should be here with us celebrating our family holidays together. Oh well we did share some text messaging and some presents across the miles, but I secretly hope next year we can be together for the holidays!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are You Happy

What Would It Take to Make You Happy?

by Sharon Jaynes


I can still remember the day when the word infertile was written on my medical chart. An emptiness I had never experienced before echoed in my hollow heart. What have I done wrong? Why is God punishing me? Am I not worthy to raise another human being? I prayed, repented of everything I could think of, fasted, and begged God to intervene. I changed my diet, had two exploratory surgeries, injected and ingested hormones, and had timed intimate relations with my husband (which is anything but intimate). I was determined to outsmart the diagnosis.

But it didn’t happen, and I understood the pain of empty arms and missing someone I’d never met. Our five-bedroom dream house was a daily reminder of beds that would not be slept in, toys that would not be scattered, and children that would not be tucked in beds at night.

Steve and I do have one amazing son. Steven Hugh Janes Jr. was born on a frosty February morning, and I never knew so much love could be wrapped in one tiny package. But God closed by womb for the possibility of siblings for him. Steven was conceived with no trouble whatsoever, and we were surprised and brokenhearted when we learned he would be our only child. But through the painful years of infertility, God unfolded a plan, a purpose, and a promise. He began to show me just what I needed to be happy … Him.

The lie in the Garden

The lie “I would be happy if _____” is really nothing new, is it? It’s the same lie the serpent whispered to Eve. You would be happy if you eat the forbidden fruit. Today, he hisses the same worm-ridden lies.

•I would be happy if I had a child.
•I would be happy if I had two children.
•I would be happy if I had a husband.
•I would be happy if my husband treated me better.
•I would be happy if I had a different husband.
•I would be happy if I had more money.
•I would be happy if I had a better job.
•I would be happy if …
I could fill pages and pages with “I would be happy ifs.” But here’s the truth. Our ultimate happiness will be found only in Jesus Christ.

The pursuit of happiness

So what do we really need to be happy? A man? A new house? Children? Financial security? A slimmer body? A wrinkle-free face? A new car? A fulfilling job? Successful adult children? Loving parents? Encouraging friends? A padded savings account? Good health?

We have only to look at the latest edition of National Enquirer, People, or Entertainment Tonight to know that some of the most unhappy people on the planet are seemingly the most successful. They seem to have it all while in reality they have nothing at all.

Friend, we will never find true happiness until the only word that fills in that blank is the name of Jesus. Don’t be fooled. This is the truth.

Someone asked a very wealthy man just how much it would take for him to be happy.

“Just a little bit more,” he said.

But the little bit more will not satisfy the soul. Joy comes only from knowing Christ. We are each born with a God-shaped void in our lives. A husband, a child, a car, a family—nothing, absolutely nothing can fill that void successfully. There will always be emptiness surrounding the thing or person we attempt to put in the God-shaped void in our lives.

Happiness won’t be found by investing in the stock market but by investing in people. It won’t be found by spending money but by spending time with family and friends. It won’t be found by getting but by giving. The Declaration of Independence declares the right to pursue happiness, but it fails to give the guidelines to make that possible.

Like trying to read a crumpled map in a glove compartment, we try to find the way to happiness. We hold the creased pages that have been taped together and run our finger along the highway, looking for shortcuts. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is the highway to holiness, the roadway to righteousness, and the pathway to peace.

Every year, nearly forty million Americans move. Some moves are work related, health related, or relationship related. But mostly, people move because they think they will be happier somewhere else.

The truth is, as long as we live in this world, we will never be completely content. We were not made for this world. We were made for heaven. C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

We were made for heaven. This world is temporary and fleeting … just a breath. We are homesick, in a way, for a place we’ve never been.

But God does give us glimpses of home. Every time we spend time in His presence, we get a glimpse of our heavenly home, a taste of our eternal life, and an inkling of our everlasting peace. Wow, I can’t wait.

Adapted from: I’m Not Good Enough. Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Jaynes. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wild Animal Park

We went to the Calaway Lights last night and they were great. Lots of work went into making them and the girls loved them. Faith kept saying..."Look Mama Look!"
We had a fabulous time today at the Wild Animal Safari Park in Pine Mountain, GA. If you haven't been, I would definitely recommend it! The zoo has nothing on this place ;) Anyway we are home from our mini-vacation and had a great time. Only a couple of work days to squeeze in this week, then we are ready for our Christmas fun to begin!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Vacation

Considering the fact that we didn't do our "winter vacation" this year in China, we opted for Callaway Gardens! CJ and I brought Caleb down when he was just a year old, so this is our first time back in 9 years-wow. The kids are having a ball in the swimming pool, and we go to see the lights tonight. We may even get to see Santa Claus tonight too ;) I just love spending time with my adorable family!!

Christmas time should be spent loving on someone. Making memories spending time together is what the season is all about. I hope you are lucky enough to do the same this season. Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

History Review

Just thought it was neat to look back to see what exactly we were doing this time last year. And then I thought it would be cool to even go back one more year, to see what we were doing in that year. Wow what an amazing ride we have been through in just 2 short years! I can't wait to see what the future holds for my great family. Thanks for being a part of this amazing experience, I really love having all my bloggy friends there to cheer us on :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fun Days

We have been going strong the last few days doing some shopping, eating some cookies, and you know all that Christmas stuff! The boys are still playing Upward Basketball, so that is how we spend our Friday nights and Saturday mornings. They are getting really good at it and they each have managed to score every game! I need to get some pics of them this weekend.

Shelby is healing well and she had a checkup yesterday. Her stitches are still in tact and will hopefully start to dissolve soon. Everyone can notice a big improvement in her speech-yeah! It will take a good 3-6 months for her to learn how to speak with her new parts in there, so we are praying for great results.

Faith has a cold, so unfortunately it has gone straight to her chest/lungs again. So she has been on the breathing treatments and steroids this week getting her straightened out. She doesn't eat well when she is sick, so that drives Nana crazy worrying about her all the time. I have hope she will feel better soon.

Here are some pics from the last week or so. We were able to see our digit friends the other day at the Christmas party-FUN!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blog Christmas Card


Merry Christmas to all of my bloggy friends!! I hope you all have a wonderful season of family and fun this year. I know our house is already bouncing off the walls with Christmas cheer :)

This is our pathetic attempt at a quick family photo. Well I guess it turned out fine since it has our family in it and we all look silly, so yes I guess it fits us just fine. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is One Yours?!

I dare you to look!!

http://www.adoptionstogether.org/international/children.asp

Santa Encounter

We saw Santa at the Dairy Queen the other day. Shelby FINALLY got close enough to him to give him her letter. She wants a bike, a pony, and a flower :) Travis is in the "I really still want to believe" stage, so he was still happy to sit with Santa Claus. Oh the magic of Christmas!!





Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Wish List

Stole this from a friend, just had to share...


Letter from Jesus about Christmas --

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.
How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree.

Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.


Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.


Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.


Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them. P

Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families


If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.


Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.


Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :


I LOVE YOU,
JESUS

One Year Officially a Straight

Does anyone remember this baby from last Christmas??!!?













WOW, what a great year watching this little one blossom right before our eyes. We have enjoyed every minute (well almost every minute) seeing our baby girl turn into an wonderful funny toddler.
Faith was in her very first "performance" last night on stage at her school. Of course she was the most adorable child on the stage and she did SO good. She sang all the songs and did all the hand motions. And she loved to clap when they were over, and don't forget her famous Wa1mart wave as she was exiting the stage...so sweet!!


We are so very blessed to have little Miss Straight in our family :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not the Way to Start the Day

I only have a minute as you can see below it has been a CRAZY day here! Today is our 1 year Gotcha Day Anniversary for little Miss Faith. Looks like I will have to do a post about that tomorrow :)

Here is the email I sent out to my employees this morning:

To: everyone
Subject: Morning News

Just wanted to let you all know at the same time, the ordeal we came into this morning. It appears the office complex was hit by a group of thieves last night. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful in breaking into our actual office. They did manage to get through the front glass doors, but did not get the lock to budge of our inner glass door. They did bust up the locks, so we were just now able to enter the office once Vince brought the key in for one of the wooden doors. Again, the alarm was still on and they did NOT get inside our offices. We are very lucky!!

The police said that 3 other offices were compromised in the complex, they only succeeded in stealing some TVs from the office beside us. The thieves also broke into 5 doctor’s offices off Roswell Road which appear to be the same bad guys. They mainly stole “records” from the doctor offices (for SSN I suppose). Anyhow, that is all we know for now. We are just VERY thankful that nothing was taken from Tridia!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Twins Reunited

Click here to read a very neat article about twins reunited both adopted from China, both given the same American name. Crazy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Blind Side

You must go see this movie! CJ and I went last week and it was terrific. I loved everything about the movie. And yes, it is even worth paying a babysitter for :) I can't wait to buy it so my kids can watch it too. If you don't believe me, then maybe you believe Stephen Curtis Chapman...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why Wouldn't You??!

December 3, 2008

Look at what we were doing this time last year... Getting on a plane!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Randomness

  • Nothing crazy going on at the moment at the Straights. Surprising, I know.
  • Shelby is doing amazingly well in her recovery. It is really hard to tell what all she has going on in her mouth right now, so praying everything is healing like it is supposed to.
  • Faith has become a pack rat, piling up stuff everywhere
  • Caleb loves his new cat
  • Travis, well Travis is Travis :)
  • Last Adoption Option meeting is scheduled for this Friday night at my house (will post more about that later)
  • Boys are now in basketball, so Saturdays are dedicated to those games
  • CJ is still working ALL the time, but in today's economy that is a good thing
  • Me, well I am hanging in there just keeping everyone in line ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Addition to the Family

No, not another baby exactly...A new animal has arrived at the Straights! The boys have continued to drive me crazy asking for a dog. Since our lifestyle would never warrant a dog to live here, I conceded and told them we could get a cat. They were thrilled of course!

So I contacted my sister's friend who does animal fostering and rescue to see if she had a cat available that would work with my crazy 4 kids. She said she had the perfect one for us. So after a W@lmart trip for all the cat supplies, we went and picked up our new pet. The boys have named her Allie. She is doing well here and the kids are enjoying her company. Allie has learned to leave the area soon after Faith arrives, but she really has been good tolerating Faith in general ;)

Oh my the things we do for our children!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Big Girl Haircut

I finally was brave enough to have Faith's baby frizz cut off the bottom of her hair. She did really well getting her hair cut. Shelby had a nice trimming up as well. They always look so grown up with fresh new hair cuts!






Monday, November 23, 2009

Update on Recovery

Finally I have a minute to update everyone on my little Miss. The surgery day went well. I was able to take Shelby to school that morning (to help keep her mind off food) since her surgery wasn't until that afternoon. Pre-op went fine and after the versed (goofy juice) Shelby was pretty out of it so she left for surgery no problem. At one point, she was holding her hands up acting like she was catching butterflies or something. No telling what she was seeing on that crazy medicine ;)

She was only in surgery for about an hour when the surgeon came out to let us know all went well. Once in there, he opted to do the sphincter pharyngoplasty instead of the pharyngeal flap that he was originally going to do. There are pros and cons to both surgeries, so this is where I just have to trust the surgeon and his judgement and hope that he did the best option for Shelby's future.

She came out of surgery OK and obviously in pain; however, this time around she wasn't in "emotional pain" like she was for the first surgery, thank God! She was just mad that her throat hurt and upset about her throat. We kept her on morphine thru IV as often as I could get it for her to keep the pain level down. Unfortunately I had a TERRIBLE nurse the next day at the hospital who obviously didn't understand the need for IV pain meds. Just to tell you her incompetence the first thing this nurse came into the room and asked was I quote, "WHY does she keep complaining that her throat hurts?!" I just looked her like she had 4 heads and said, "Uh because she has stitches in the back of her throat and on her palate. She just had surgery!!" Needless to say it was downhill from there with this lady ALL day :( I had to fight for medicine for my baby girl all day until the next night shift nurse came on board. Your nurse can definitely make or break your hospital stay for sure. Anyhow, we checked out the next day since I knew I would do better at home giving Shelby meds whenever I needed to!

Amazingly though Shelby has been really great at home. Once her pain level came down some she is remarkably doing well. Her recovery so far has not been near as bad as her first surgery so I am very grateful for that for sure :) Thanks again for all the prayers and obviously they are working as little Miss Shelby is almost back to herself already!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home


We brought Shelby home this morning-yeah! She is still pretty ticked off at the whole world, but at least we're home (where no one else can hear her scream her head off). Not much time to post but did want to thank everyone for thinking of us and praying my baby girl well!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shelby update

Hi friends,

This is Amy, updating for Donna. Donna says Shelby did well and I pray they have a peaceful night. I got a text from her this afternoon after surgery and they had Shelby in their arms. Keep praying for Shelby to be pain free and also for her parents too!

Double Digit Day

Can you believe it, my baby boy is TEN years old today as in 10 !!!! I can't believe he has officially hit the double digits?! Happy Birthday to the best 10 year old in the world. He is such a great kid and I am so so lucky to get to be his mom!
We celebrated his birthday this weekend with family and friends at the house. His big birthday present was a new pellet gun. CJ took him squirrel hunting all day Saturday but they came back empty handed. Never fear though, Caleb took matters into his own hands and killed one yesterday in our back yard. Disgusting, I know. Frank even helped him gut it and skin it and it now resides in the garage freezer (no it is not allowed in my house). YUCK!

Anyhow as you can see from his smile, Caleb thought it was the best thing in the world?! BTW, CJ doesn't hunt and we have never expressed interest in "killing" things around here, but I suppose some things you are just born with?! So needless to say Caleb had a GREAT birthday and since today is the official big day, he took birthday cookies to school to celebrate with his friends. Happy Birthday to the best Caleb in the World!!



PS: Shelby goes into surgery today at 2PM. Prayers are appreciated and I will try to post as soon as I can. Thanks!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christmas Miracles

We had our annual Christmas picture done today with all my digit friends. Uh-oh, what is this...

All the original digits gained a sibling this year!

What true miracles we have all been blessed with. Oh and yes all of these precious children are from China's Waiting Child program and considered to all have "Special Needs". Yes, their special need was that their families NEEDED them home!!

Not So Special After All

Well when I say that I mean, not so rare really. Someone asked me the other day how "common" it was to be born with a cleft lip or palate. As you can see here are the statistics for US born children. Clefts are more common in Asia due to everyday pollution that the mothers are exposed to. So it appears that my "special needs" girls both have one of the most common birth defects out there.

What are the most common birth defects?

Some of the most common birth defects include:

Heart defects: As many as 1 in 100 babies in the United States are born with heart defects each year (1). While advances in surgery have dramatically improved the outlook for affected babies, heart defects remain the leading cause of birth defect-related infant deaths (8).
Cleft lip/palate: About 1 in 700 babies is born with cleft lip/palate each year (1). Affected babies can have problems with eating, speech and language. Some have a small cleft that can be corrected with one surgical procedure, while others have severe clefts and need multiple surgeries.
Down syndrome: This chromosomal abnormality affects about 1 in 800 babies in the United States (1). Early intervention programs and treatment of associated health problems have greatly improved the outlook for affected individuals.
Spina bifida (open spine): This disorder affects about 1 in 2,500 babies in the United States each year (1). Affected babies have varying degrees of paralysis and bladder and bowel problems.

Other common birth defects include musculoskeletal defects (including arm and leg defects), gastrointestinal defects (including defects of the esophagus, stomach and intestines) and eye defects. These birth defects usually are multifactorial.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wimpy Mom

Well today is my last day of regular work for at least a week or two. I have a crazy busy day cramming everything in, but I just can't seem to get my emotions in check today. I feel like such a wimpy mom today. I read alot of blogs of others and I don't think I have ever read much about how "mom feels" the days before a big surgery. I know it isn't about me and that I should just be focused on my little girl right now. And in a big way, that is why it hurts so much to be her mom right now.


If you don't really know Shelby, know this about her...she is stubborn and a true fighter! My little girl fought me tooth and nail when we "took her" from her China home and foster mom. Shelby fought me tooth and nail whenever I would try to get her to open up to me emotionally. She really fought her biggest battle with me when I started teaching her to TRUST me. Each step of the way though, Shelby opened up little by little and now we have a true mom and daughter love and trust for each other. The fights were so worth the efforts.

So now once again, her mom (in her eyes) is about to hurt her again. To her, I was the one who took her from her China mom, I was the one who allowed the doctors to hurt her during her palate surgery, and now I will be the one again who will intentionally allow the doctors to "hurt" her once again. It feels like this little one just keeps giving me her heart and trusting me, yet I have to be the one to break her heart over and over again :(

I really hope she can forgive me once again and hopefully slowly start to understand that I allow her to be hurt for good reasons. I know a 4 year old can't understand that yet, but I pray that somewhere deep in her heart Jesus gives her some comfort that her mommy loves her very much and doesn't want to hurt her. I pray she will TRUST me once again one day soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Gift Ever

Look at what my wonderful sister-in-law and brother shipped us all the way from Texas! Yep, a whole CASE of Wahahas!!! I can't believe she found them.
I happened to mention to her when were there how much Shelby loved them and oh what I would give to have some for her recovery period after surgery. And look, she found them :) I haven't shown them to Shelby yet, she will be so excited to have her favorite drink in the whole wide world-Wahahas!! I am sure they will taste even better knowing they came from her new cousin in Texas ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not the Flu but...

it is the yucky strep again! This time it has struck me and Faith. Now the real problem is that we have to keep Shelby WELL until her surgery next week. Thankfully she isn't showing any signs and she passed her pre-op visit today no problems. So we will just hope and pray she stays well while Faith and I both take our antibiotics getting rid of this yucky stuff!
Oh and considering the fact that I have to take off work the next 2 weeks, I don't have time to be sick this week!! So yes this is me at work, pretty isn't it. Just trying to cram in a few weeks work into a few days, wish me luck.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Both Hands

Now this is the way to do adoption fund raising! I personally have never been a big fan of "fundraising" for an adoption. I have always thought that was weird since I never have been asked by anyone to pay for infertility treatments or hospital copays. So I have not ever really seen anything out there that I would endorse as a good idea for fund raising I suppose.

This organization however has really touched me and I think it is a wonderful idea! So if anyone out there needs true and honest help with their adoption and live in Atlanta, sign me up and I will be there to paint with the rest of the crew!!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Hands and Feet


I have blogged before about how amazing I think Katie in Uganda is. I dare you to read this post on her blog and not be moved by it! Talk about someone actually being His hands and feet everyday...WOW!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Celebrating Two Years of Love

Today is Shelby's 2nd Gotcha Day Anniversary! Wow we have been blessed with her in our lives for 2 whole years. As you can see in the pics she has certainly changed. Our whole family has changed and I can't imagine our lives any different. What a wonderful journey we have had with her. Here you can see my original Gotcha Day post.
Now of course we can't just go on and say everything has been all peaches and cream. Little Hong Hong came to us with her own very unique set of challenges that is for sure ;) It has been a rather bumpy road along the way and getting Shelby was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life for sure. However, as you can see through the pics all the smiles and laughs are worth it. My little Shelby Baby is a true joy to the world!

I just looked at the video of that wonderful time and it brought tears to my eyes remembering all the crazy wild emotions that went along with our first trip to China. You can click here to check out the video I made a long time ago. It seems like a LONG time ago, yet it has only been 2 years. It is a wonderful thing to watch your children grow up right before your eyes.

Turkey Loo-Hoo, I love you forever and ever!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Busy As Usual


Busy busy busy as usual around my house. Heading out to my Triad meeting tonight to show off the pics of meeting my brother. And getting ready for our final post-adoption homestudy visit thingy tomorrow night. Well at least trying to scrape off the candy out of the floors and the kids hair before the social worker shows up ;)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Preview of Things to Come

Oh and yes, Faith is officially addicted to candy!

video