Last "2" days of school for Lael and an Evening of Distinction.

Lael is in the red. She is at her school's Evening of Distinction Program. She received:
Academic Honors Diploma
National Honor Society
Asian American Leadership Award and Scholarship
AXA Equitable Achievement Community Scholarship
Friends of the Plainfield Guilford Township Public Library
Jordan House Memorial Scholarship
Relevate Hendricks Country Community Helper Scholarship
Bright House Networks Bright Futures Scholarship Program Award Marian University St Clare Academic Scholarship

She'll be attending Marian University this Fall and pursuing a nursing degree.

Lael was also student of the month, which they forgot to mention-Hey!?! : - )


The Jordan House scholarship was the most special to me. Lael is with the other two recipients and Jordan's mother is on the right. Click here to read Jordan's story. I didn't know Jordan, but I remember her. I used to see her when she was in 1st grade playing out on recess. She was a cute, sweet, quiet girl and her mother had her and her brother always dressed so cute. I later saw her in high school and she was growing up into a very beautiful girl! She was a healthy, happy child and literally in only a couple of days she was gone.


Lael's last, last day of high school. She is carrying the laptop which was part of one of the scholarships she received.


Here I'm telling the four little kids if they study hard they can do really well like Lael. Next Stafan says...


"I don't want to have anger issues." It was a LOL moment for me, but not so much for Lael. OK, Lael definitely does NOT have anger issues, but she is definitely driven and has been since the day we got her. Her 1st grade teacher and Lael would come out of school every day arm and arm. They loved one another and still do! But, her teacher said (remember this was 1st grade) "It is like Lael has PMS." Then her 2nd grade teacher said to me, "Even the boys are intimidated by Lael. No one steps on her toes." At the same time Lael loved her teachers and her teachers loved her. I attribute the drive and motivation my kids have to spending time in the orphanage. It made them tough and go getters. That isn't to say many adopters don't turn their kids into  spoiled little princesses (or princes), but we have too many kids to do that.
This guy was one of Lael's best friends all through high school.
Arden isn't in this picture, because some of the National Honor Society members were working the event (Arden made NHS--she is driven like Lael). I wish I had gotten a picture of her. We were in our seats and Arden came running up to me saying a girl she was working with had a dress on just like hers. I told Remi go change and let Arden have her dress. Remi was mad, but went. They were back in two minutes. Then, Arden came running back again and said the girl's dress wasn't like hers. Remi had to change back into the original dress. By this time Remi was really disgusted. I felt like I was on an I LOVE LUCY episode.

Memorial Day

is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.[3] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
From Wikipedia










Flashback Friday Kong Wei Xin

AKA Cokie Wei Bettina


I've told Cokie's story hundreds of times. People may be sick of hearing it. I need a break from it myself (not really : - )) It isn't my choice either way. When God gives a miracle I'm pretty sure we are supposed to shout His praise.

Last Friday I blogged about thinking I was too old to be adopting a baby.  I was 46 y.o.  And, I blogged about how I didn't sleep for 3 nights before I got over being too old.
I'm the cooliest
So, how did I end up with another one?

This story is not about me and maybe not even about Cokie. It is about what He wants and why we are here. If you don't know why just ask Him.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

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It started three days after we adopted Lyric.  We were allowed to visit her orphanage and I was excited!   I couldn’t wait to take a look.  They showed us around the orphanage and told us Lyric should have been moved up with the toddlers, but had stayed in with the babies, since she was going to be adopted soon. They said that way she got to stay with her nanny.  I walked into the baby room.  It was full of little babies crawling on mats on the floor.  Lyric ran over to her nanny and grabbed a box of crackers out of her hand.  Then, she started passing them out to all the babies.  Again, not typical for an orphan. She was used to running the roost. 

I looked at all the babies on the floor and then across the room my eyes fell on what I thought was one of the most beautiful babies I had ever seen.  She was sitting up on the edge of a bed near all the babies on the floor.  I walked past all the babies and went directly to the beautiful baby.  She was probably around a year old.  Then I looked down at her legs. They were totally black except for parts that were blood red.  Her legs looked like meat on a grill, and I guess that is what they were.  On one foot all her toes were  burnt off and most of the top skin.  The other had only one toe burnt off.  The burns stopped at the top of her legs except for a pinky that was burnt off her left hand.  She looked straight ahead into the thin air.  I got on my knees to talk to her.  She would barely look at me and was totally expressionless.  I said to some workers standing over me that she was in depression.  The guide translated and the workers said "Yes! Yes!"  They were surprised I figured that out, but it wasn't rocket science.

I was thinking, "Dang it I'm  46 years old."  For about 5 minutes I touched her and talked to her as long as I could before the guide started pulling my arm and said it was time to go.  The baby’s eyes looked a little teary eyed, but she just kept staring into thin air.  I kissed her cheek, smiled and whispered in her ear "Don't worry, I'll be back."  I asked the guide to find out her name and write it down for me.  The beautiful baby's name was Kong Wei Xin.

God had already started doing his stuff, but I didn't know it yet.  Why else would I have fallen for this baby before I ever saw her tremendous special need?   When I did see it, why didn't I care?  I shouldn't admit it, but I can be a little vain. : - )  Why else would I have had such total peace that I would be back?   YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PRE-IDENTIFY KIDS.  I knew all orphans went and still do go through the Chinese government and the proper channels before they are made eligible for adoption, much less placed with an adoptive family.

We continued to have a great trip and enjoy Lyric, but as soon as we got home, and even before I had recovered from jet lag, I called our agency.  It is a well known agency with staff that had great relations with the Chinese Adoption Affairs.  I told them I wanted this baby and asked if they would help me.

I pleaded with the adoption agency to let me start working on the dossier to get Kong Wei Xin!  I can beg very sweetly when it comes to getting an orphan!!  The agency kept telling me to hold off to make sure it worked out, plus they didn't want us to collect all the paperwork for a dossier and have it expire before we could travel if something could be worked out.  Finally, the agency literally got tired of my whining and said go ahead and start your papework.

After 5 long months of working on the dossier, on a Friday afternoon the agency sent me an email.  The email said, "We have tried and tried to get the orphanage to send Kong Wei Xin's papers to the CCAA.  You need to pick out another child so your dossier won't have been done for nothing."  In other words, they had given up hope that we would be able to adopt Kong Wei Xin.

That same evening when Mike came in from work I told him we had to pick out another child.  Mike said, "Either we get her or no one."  I told him then we had better pray that God would show us a sign so we would know whether to keep trying or move on and get another child.  He told me I was just saying that so that when we didn't get some miraculous sign about Kong Wei Xin, we could move on and get another child.  I sincerely responded that "I honestly felt like God was in this, and if He wanted us to get her, we would."  Mike finally gave in, and the same evening we got the email from our agency Mike and I went upstairs and together, for the first time ever, we got down on our knees and asked God to tell us if we were supposed to keep pursuing Kong Wei Xin.

The next morning I was in the kitchen.  Mike came in from the snail mailbox and told me we received a letter from Nanjing, the city Kong Wei Xin was in.  I was almost screaming, because I knew something weird was happening.  You don't just get a letter from China where you basically do not know anyone.  I opened the letter and out fell several baby pictures.  It took me a few seconds to realize the pictures were of Lyric before I knew her.  Inside the big envelope was a letter.  It said, "My name is Helene and I'm from Holland.  I live with my husband in Nanjing who is here working on a joint venture."  Helene's letter went on to explain that she and other European women living in Nanjing do fund raising for the orphanage Lyric lived in.  These wonderful women called their group Hopeful Hearts because most of their fundraising was to pay for babies with heart problems.  The letter  said Hopeful Hearts had paid for an open heart surgery Lyric had in China before we got her and they wanted me to have the baby pictures of Lyric that were sent with the letter.  We know about Lyric's heart surgery, but I had never heard of Hopeful Hearts and until receiving that letter had no clue who had paid for Lyric’s heart surgery.  When I read the letter  I instantly knew that God was working!

I went directly to the computer and emailed this lady named Helene.  My email went something like this:  "Thanks for the pictures blah... blah... since you go to the orphanage do you know Kong Wei Xin?  I want to adopt her."

The next day I checked my email (who knows how many times) and finally saw the email I was looking for.  It went something like this "Hello, my name is Susanne  and I am from Germany.  I support Kong Wei Xin."  It took Susanne two weeks to get the orphanage director to submit Cokie's papers for adoption.

Later we learned that while we had been praying for Cokie these European women had been praying Kong Wei Xin would go to a Christian family.  So,  Kong Wei Xin was in a Communist country, Eurpoean women were there praying for her to be adopted by a Christian family, while we, an American family were praying for the exact same thing.  But Mike and I had not totally given it up to God; instead we were relying on ourselves and our adoption agency to make Cokie's adoption possible.  Five months of that got us nowhere.  One night we gave it up to God, and the very next day he sent us the letter that opened the door to make it all possible.  Amazing!

Back then only the healthy small babies and children were coming out of China plus a few simple special need children.  The orphanage felt Cokie was unadoptable.  Boy were they wrong!  Cokie is still dealing with her burn injuries and will for the rest of her life, but she is a healthy happy little girl who brings us more joy than anyone could ever hope for.

 If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.
Matthew 18:19

What does this verse mean?

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Lyric on her way back to the orphanage she had left one year before.
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Touring before we picked up Cokie.
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This is touring after we picked up Cokie.
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Three days after we picked up Cokie we met up with Felipe, from Belgium. He and his wife were living in Nanjing and used to visit Cokie in the hospital. They also arranged for us to meet Cokie's nanny (holding her) who lived with her in the hospital for 8 months.  The hospital and nanny were arranged and paid for by Suzanne. The girl in the green was our guide and translator.
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This was me trying to "act" like I knew how to take care of burns. I still don't since Bret's and Cokie's  were both healed before I got them. I have learned how to take care of healed burns after the surgeries.
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Lyric and Cokie
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Suzanne "Bettina" from Germany

I can't count the surgeries she has had, and I mean I really can't count them. Maybe 10 in China and 15 after we got her. 
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Cokie with three of her sisters, Whitney, Bret and Lyric.
Cokie with a lot of her cousins adopted by my two sisters.
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Cokie and her oldest sister who we adopted at birth, but that is another story. : - )
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street shops
Some people ask why don't we adopt here in the US. Actually, we have, but either way this picture should help explain one reason why we keep going back to China. I took it myself, and it is a very, very common scene in China. You can just take a walk and see right into peoples' homes like this.



Maybe I could do better. Usually before school I just tell the kids to hurry up and get in the car. Then we run to Panera and the kids run in and get my coffee (it used to be Starbucks until the Starbucks CEO said he didn't want my business because I think homosexuality is a sin).  Then we run through McDonalds, Burger King or whoever is having the better deal and the kids get their breakfast.
Well, this morning I just told them to go down and make themselves breakfast. Shepard's was normal. Cokie had a hotpocket.
Stafan had this. Arden's--leftover breadstick from Olive Garden. I love garlic, but smelling it before my coffee isn't the best way to start the day.

Stafan also had this. I guess if you're going to eat ice cream, this is better than right before bed.
Oh well, at least they all were dressed and at school on time.



Oh, and this was Arden the night before dressed up for Olive Garden.  Her tennis coach took the top players.