March 4th, 2017
John had the honor of taking all 3 girls to the Gladney Daddy Daughter Dance!  Gladney is an adoption agency and they host a daddy daughter dance for their big fundraiser!  They all had a great time!!  Grace was the youngest adopted daughter there and got a special stuffed animal!!

March, 2017
This is a picture of Grace and her friend Meghan.  Meghan was also adopted from China in the summer of 2015!  Her mom has been a HUGE blessing and support during the process!  We know one day they are going to be great friends!!

March 17th, 2017
Happy St. Patty's Day!  We had a fabulous day celebrating with a family lunch!!  We feel very lucky to have Grace with us to celebrate this year!!

March 24th, 2017
God knew what he was doing when he placed Grace in our family!  She is such a girly girl and loves getting dressed in the morning, fixing her hair, and wearing jewelry!!  From the 2nd day we had her in China she would wear a bow and look in the mirror and smile at herself!!  She still loves getting dressed and ready to go!!

April 2nd, 2017
We had the honor of celebrating Brakston's 1st birthday!  These 3 are special friends because they are all in forever families secondary to adoption.  I know their families would agree with us that adoption rocks!!  We love you Sarah and Branson!!

April, 2017
Grace has loved chick-fil-a from the 1st moment she tasted it!!  She still loves to eat there and now loves to play in the play area!  She even figured out how to climb up and slide all by herself!!

April 13th, 2017
We had dance pictures today for Sydney and Claire.  I look at this picture and want to cry.  How have my babies gotten so big!!

April 14th, 2017
We had our 1st family night out at the lake!!  It was so nice to get out and have dinner!  These nights have been very minimal the past 2 years!  We finally feel like we are getting into our new normal and can actually plan a fun night out as a family!!  Praising God for how far we have come!!

April 15th, 2017
Grace had her 1st Easter Egg Hunt today!  At first she did not know what to do, but once Sydney showed her to put them in her basket and that there was candy inside she went crazy grabbing eggs.  Although she was not sure about the Easter bunny she loved hunting eggs!!

April 16th, 2017
He is Risen!!  Grace celebrated her 1st Easter!!  Praising God she is home this year to celebrate!!

We had a fabulous day celebrating with the Wall family and Wilson family!!  Thank you for loving on us today!!

April 28th, 2017
We had a wonderful family night at the Arts Festival!  We had a great time eating and walking around.  Grace had fun running everywhere and looking at all of the great booths!!  Thankful we are able to get out and do family things again!!  

To step toward your destiny you may have to step away from security.  Craig Groeschel

When we started this process we did not know how we would do it.  We had no idea how we could financially afford it or have the time to complete all of the paperwork.  At the time we also had no idea how it would wreck us emotionally.  It crossed my mind how my family was in such a good place.  The girls were in school, doing great, and our life was exactly what we thougtht we wanted it to be, but we knew we had to say yes and move forward at a quick pace.  I will admit that many times during the process we did not handle everything well, but God always had us.  I know we were  beautifully in over our heads and that God was the only way we survived.  I love this statement by Francis Chan:  "I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit.   I want people to look at my life and know that I could not be doing this by my own power.  I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through.  That if He does not come through, I am screwed."  I pray everyday that I never forget this time.  There were days that my faith was thin and days when we were on top of the world, but that is just parenting.  I have learned that it is just more when parenting a child with special needs.  Thank you Jesus for this beautiful child you have given us.  Thank you for choosing us and believing with you by our side that we could handle all of the ups and downs over the past 2 years!!  I am going to end on a lighter note with a funny quote that has given me some good laughs on tough days!!

They say that God only gives us what we can handle.  Apparently God thinks I'm a bad ass.

January 17th, 2017
I am so excited!!  We finally have pigtails.  They kept her hair in a short boy cut in the orphanage and we have been letting it grow!!  Could she be any cuter!!

January 18th, 2017
Here is another cute picture of her in her pigtails.  She loves sliding down her slide in her room, getting into everything, running around the house, and going places with mom!  It is amazing how quickly she is growing and changing.  We are thankful to see her starting to act like a typical 2 year old!   

January 2017
We started a mommy and me My Gym class!  Grace LOVES it and lights up when we pull into the parking lot.  She is being very adventurous and tries all new things.  She is also very social and loves being around the other kids her age.

February, 2017
Grace was excited to have her big sisters attend My Gym with her today!!  I cannot say enough amazing things about Sydney and Claire since Grace has come home.  They love her so much and always put her 1st!  I am in awe of their selflessness when it comes to their baby sister.  She is one blessed little girl to call each of them big sister.  

February 4th, 2017
We had a great time celebrating Chinese New Year this year.  Thankful we are celebrating this year because last year it was a very tough time.  The CCCWA (Chinese Adoption Authority) completely shuts down for 2 weeks to celebrate this holiday.  This meant that nothing was happening on our adoption for 2 weeks.  It seemed like an eternity.  We had a great time celebrating and look forward to celebrating this holiday every year that is so special in Grace's first home!!  Happy Chinese New Year!!

February 12th, 2017
Grace had her 1st birthday party today!!  We got to celebrate sweet Marzdyn turning 1 attending a Love Bug party!!  Grace had a great time!!

February 14th, 2017
Happy Valentine's Day!!  Grace loved her 1st Valentine's Day!!  We had fun celebrating at Claire's class party and also had a fun family dinner night!!

February 20th, 2017
Grace loves jumping and often jumps around the house instead of walking.  She also enjoys jumping and playing during her big sisters gymnastics!!

February 28th, 2017
We attended Claire's 2nd grade class play!  It was called Just for Fun and she did a fabulous job!!  She did everything perfect and had the biggest smile on stage.  I guess all of the dance practice and competitions have paid off.  She is a natural on stage!!

February, 2017
Look at this smile!  John, Sydney, Claire and I all say all of the time how blessed we are to get to be her family.  She is such a light in this world.  She has taught us so much in the past 8 months.  We faced more opposition and spiritual warfare over the past 1 1/2 than we could ever imagine, but we would not change anything.  Here is another quote that I love:  

If you're not ready to face opposition for your obedience to GOD, 
You're not ready to be used by GOD.  

I know I have said this many times, but the biggest trials create the biggest rewards.  Adoption is one amazing journey.  We will never forget the loss that occurred so we could be her family.  Please join me in praying that God will whisper to her biological mommy and daddy that she has a family who loves her dearly and we will do everything in our power to make them proud.  I would encourage anyone reading this blog to consider adoption.  God defines true religion in James as caring for the orphans and the widows.  God adopted us into his family when he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  I promise if you do you will never regret it.  I pray everyday that God will send me people to walk on this journey with, to guide and just be there with them in whatever capacity they need.  If you or anyone you know would like more information please do not hesitate to reach out to me!  We love you to the moon Grace Mei!!

November 28th, 2016
Smiling in my new Christmas PJ's!  Grace loved all things Christmas including the tree and decorations!!  Thank you Fidler's for the cute PJ's!!

November 29th, 2016
Spending the day with Mimi today while mom works.  She took me shopping and got me a cute new outfit!!  This was my first day to stay with Mimi.  I had a great day!!

November 30th, 2016
We are still having trouble sleeping.  Grace will finally just pass out due to exhaustion.  It happens at least 1-2 times a week.  She literally passes out while she is playing!   

December 2016
Claire got a special award at school for Compassion!  She definitely deserves this one.  She has shown it this year so many times with her little sister!  She has stepped into the roll as Big Sister without any complaints or problems.  It is tough giving up the roll as the baby of the family, but she has done amazing.  We are so proud of the her and the amazing person she is becoming!!

December 2016
Grace had her 1st visit with Santa with Jude Wall!  I thought she would be terrified of him, but she climbed right up and sat next to him!  Beyond thankful to be celebrating with our precious girl this year!!

Grace and Jude!  Jude is so sweet with her and enjoys playing big brother!! 

December 3rd, 2016
Here is Grace and her friend Kenzee!  We had the honor of attending an adoption party celebrating Kenzee joining her forever family!  We love you Sims family and thankful we get to be a part of your journey!  We know you will agree that Adoption Rocks!!

December 5th, 2016
Sydney had a special day today!  She got chosen as 1 of only a few students from her hall as an Antler Achiever for the 2nd 9 weeks.  She continues to amaze us with her heart for Jesus and others.  She is responsible, loving, kind, and amazing with her new sister Grace!!

December 2016
Grace tried a gym class today and loved it!  She was adventurous and tried everything with mommy by her side!

December 2016
Grace loves playing at the mall on the toys as you can tell by the BIG smile on her face!!

December 10th, 2016
Happy Wedding day Tyler and Madi Gruenbacher!!  We love ALL the Gruenbacher like family.  We are beyond blessed that God crossed our paths!!

Nicole and Audrey we love you and miss you both dearly!!  We still pray that you will find your way back to OKC one day!!  Until then we will cherish every moment we get to spend with you David and Austin!!

December 16th, 2016
Grace had a dermatology appointment today!  Apparently she has been watching her Big Sisters pose for pictures because when I asked her to look at me and smile she posed!!  We just love love love this sweet baby girl!!

December 2016
Grace having fun at Chuck E. Cheese!!

December 23rd, 2016
Sydney got a special visit to Tulsa with her Mimi.  She got to go the Nutcracker and meet the cast!  She loved every minute of it!!

Claire, Grace, and I held down the fort in OKC with a little fun at the mall!!

December 24th, 2016
Christmas Eve!!  We took the girls together to see Santa!!  I am one BLESSED momma!!

This picture is very special to our family this year!  I just keep looking at the mantel and wanting to pinch myself.  Seeing all 5 stockings and knowing we will all be together to celebrate our Risen Savior is beyond special this year.  My heart was broken in two last year knowing one of my babies was missing.  Praising God this year that we are all together!!

December 25th, 2016
Happy Birthday Jesus!!  What a glorious day!!  Grace was not sure of everything, but loved coming out and finding toys!!  She also loved unwrapping presents!!  Thankful as she grows she will know the true meaning of Christmas as she learns about Jesus.  

December 27th, 2016
We are back at Baptist again.  This makes 5 procedures in 5 months.  Today we are just getting tubes again (1st set only lasted 4 months) and an ABA, which is a hearing test.  It was a tough morning because our 2 year old knows what a hospital is.  Despite getting up early she was all smiles.  Once the nurse brought in the hospital gown she started shaking her head no.  She also had to take her blood pressure several times because it was elevated.  It breaks my heart to know my 2 year old knows what a hospital gown is.  She is much braver and stronger than I am.  The surgery ended up lasting over an hour.  Both her ears were blocked with wax, she had a hole in one eardrum that needed patched, and they replaced both tubes.  The good news is that her hearing looked good (thank you Jace).  There will be more testing to come, but so far it looks great.  We were concerned with this due to her not having any medical care in China and probably having multiple ear infections due to her cleft.  Praising God for her normal hearing.

December 31st, 2016
How can 2016 be over.  Part of me feels like the year has flown by and part of me feels like it has been several years.  I can honestly say this has been one of the hardest years of my life.  With that God has done things in me, John, and the girls that only he can do during extremely difficult times.  I praise him for every hard day.  When you are on your face in the floor you see him the clearest!!  

We drove to Tulsa today for our annual New Year's Eve celebration with the Toole family!!  We made a stop at the aquarium on our way!!

We celebrated at the Toole house!!  We always have the best time!!  Thanks for having us again this year!!  

January 1st, 2017
Hello 2017!!  We started of great with lunch with everyone!!  We love you Toole family!!

We are looking forward to 2017!  We know it is going to be a wonderful year!  Praising God he has completed our family!  I am going to leave you with a quote that I think sums up our 2016! (and part of 2015)!  We thought our family was complete and life was really good.  God called us to something big and it completely changed our path, who we were, and where we were going.  I can honestly say although it was tough I thank him everyday for choosing us.  For sending us the hard.  For allowing us to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.  It has made us who we are today!!

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time!!  Andre Gide

October 31st, 2016

So this surgery was much tougher than the previous ones.  Our sweet girl was in a lot of pain and it was tough to see.  She will continue on a pureed diet and wearing the arms braces all day and night for 10 days.  We will see the doctor again on Friday, November 4th in Dallas.

Since Grace has always been our little butterfly it only made sense to dress her up as a butterfly for her 1st Halloween!  We were not sure how she would do with all of the crazy, but she loved it.  We went to the 1st house and showed her what to do and from then on she would walk right up and get candy out of the basket.  We just had to stop her from taking too many:)  She was such a trooper as she was still on a pureed diet from surgery and could not eat any of the candy, but she loved trick-or-treating!

Her big sisters dressed up as emoji's and had a great time as well!!

Here they are with the other 2 emoji's Harper and Henley!!

Here is a picture of Grace with her friend Kenzee!!  We are so thankful for Kenzee and her momma Paige.  I know they would agree with us that ADOPTION ROCKS!!  Look at our sweet little Angel and Butterfly!!

Grace continued to heal the week of Halloween and John took her back to Dallas (thank you Fidler's for having us again) for her appointment on Friday the 4th.  We were very relieved to know that the surgery was a success.  After 3 failed surgeries it was great news to hear that this one was a success.  Praising God for the great news!!  She will be able to remove the braces and go back to a regular diet on Monday the 7th!!

November 11th, 2016

Today is John's 40th birthday!  We celebrated with a family dinner.  Definitely not what we expected to be doing for a 40th birthday, but we had a great time!!  Thankful God gave me such an amazing man to spend my life with!!  All 4 of your girls love you to the moon.

November 12th, 2016
John and I had our first date night since May.  We had an amazing time and it was much needed for both of us.  Grace from the 1st time she met Rob (he is in our Life Group) has let him hold her and carry her around.  It  has been crazy to watch because she has not let very many people hold her as long as she lets Rob.  As you can see from the photo she is happy as can be.  This is also the first time she looked at a camera and smiled!  She would not let them take her shoes off or change her clothes, but it was a successful first time out!!  Thank you Hayes family for keeping our girls!!

November 13th, 2016
We have had Grace in our arms for 5 months today!!  John and I made the decision to move Grace to her room.  After 5 months of not sleeping more than a few hours a night, we were both about to go crazy.  We decided for our mental health we had to find a way to start sleeping.  We had a very rough first few nights, but then she started sleeping through the night.  We are beyond thankful that the transition went better than we ever imagined.  Although we know it will take a few months to catch up on sleep we are thankful to know we are going to start sleeping again.   We also know Grace needs more sleep than she is getting because of how she passes out several nights a week.

November 14th, 2016
How can Sydney be 11?  I cannot believe my firstborn is 11.  It is amazing to see the kind, beautiful, smart, compassionate girl she has become.  You would never know she was a 29 weaker born at 2 pounds and 7 ounces.  Thankful and blessed she calls me mom!!

November 18th, 2016
We celebrated Sydney with a few school friends in Bricktown.  We went iceskating and she had a sleepover!  Grace had a great time watching the girls ice-skate!!

Just after a week of sleeping we are seeing more and more of this BIG smile.  It is amazing what sleep can do for a little one.  

As we started to prepare for the Holidays I realized how depressed I was last year for all of the holidays.  It is hard to celebrate when you are missing one of your family members.  It is hard to be happy when you do not know how your baby is being treated or cared for.  This year we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for and are beyond thankful to have our girl home with us for Thanksgiving!!  I mean could she be any cuter?  I have to refrain myself from not just gobbling her up!!

Our first Thanksgiving as a family of 5!!!!

As I think back over the past month I can see so much progress in our girl.  She is definitely becoming more secure.  She is beginning to see that we will always be here for her, that we can leave and will always come back.  From before we left for China I have prayed that she will know at all times she is loved and she is safe.  I think she definitely knows these things now.  

I know I say this all of the time, but ADOPTION rocks.  There are so many kids out there that needs homes.  1 million in China and 153 million in the world.  We have so many here in Oklahoma alone.  Please pray for these children over the holidays.  Pray they know Jesus, pray for homes for these children.  I cannot believe my girl had 2 Thanksgiving's and 2 Christmas's all alone.  It breaks our heart to imagine her without a family.  All children are meant to be in a family.  

As God has opened my eyes to the world of the orphan I know not 1 family who took the step to adopt would ever say anything, but how amazing their children are.  I know not everyone can adopt, but everyone can do something to care for these children.  In Isaiah 1:17 God says:  Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.  Although this journey has been hard the good and the amazing far outweigh the tough times.  God has always been there and the closeness we feel to him through this journey is something that we will never be able to repay.

I pray for each of you that you will have a wonderful CHRISTmas celebrating our amazing Lord and Savior.  May God bless you over this season and provide love and comfort to those hurting as I know the holidays can also be tough when loved ones are not present.  Merry Christmas!!!!