Saturday, November 27, 2010

A trip home...

Every good trip home has to come to an end and we had to I love living in Texas...McKinney is the best place on earth in my opinion, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. But I will always call New Orleans home. You family is amazing. And they all (except for my parents, thank God) still live there. I was a little concerned that this trip would be a nightmare at times. We did have to drive the 9+ hours and all (9 of us) have to stay at the same house. Our family of 4 is transitioning right now...and it has been a loud transition. I was just thinking it would be hectic and crazy and was bummed that it may take away from our ability to enjoy ourselves. I don't have any idea why I worry...because I have to say that this has been the most amazing trip home so far. There were, of course, moments of stress...but there were so many more moments of love...and warmth...and just real joy. Just like God prepared us for Owen, He prepared them too. He. Just. Fits. Perfectly. And it's just so obvious. It feels so awesome to feel that know that our family is where God wants us to be.
At times like this, I can't help but wonder why. Why did I get this life? This family? A Mom who is beautiful in every way? A Dad who chose to love me when I needed him so long ago? A grandmother who would do anything for me? A cousin who is more like the sister I wanted so bad as a child? A brother and sister who are great role models for my kids? A step mom who is so kind and loving? A husband who inspires me every day? Children who remind me what life is all about?
There is now an estimated 163 million orphans. They may never know what love like that feels like. They may never get a genuine hug. A kiss. That person they know they can go to.
We. Have. To. Do. Something.
"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
How can you do that? There are just so many different ways. Please join our family as we pray about what God is calling us to do for the 162,999,999 other kids who need love like our sweet Owen. So many lives need changing. We have been more blessed by God through Owen's adoption than we could explain. Is it possible that God wants to bless you too? Is it through foster care? Adoption? Becoming a CASA? A mission trip? Supporting someone else? God has a plan for you. I would love to pray for you. Shoot me an email if you would like! God bless!
Here are some pics from our week:

Me and my Leenie
(cousin/encourager/sister/awesome friend)

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world...:)

Somebody likes turkey! And his new personalized Saints jersey!

Somebody doesnt like turkey...or eating in general.

Owen's cake :)
Thank you Nanny!

To Our Sweet Owen, have changed our lives. You show us how to overcome and live. And you just fit so perfectly. You always belonged with us, and it's just so obvious. Thank you for being so precious. I thank God for you daily.
Love you more,
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Monday, November 22, 2010

No way!!!

We got Owen's bloodwork results back this week. And we couldn't really believe what we heard. HIV negative. Syphilis negative. Sickle cell negative. TB negative. Parasites negative. What?!?! Was our first response. Quickly followed by a "Praise God"!!!
You see...Owen is amazing. Because God made him amazing. And because our God is even more amazing. Our little man is healthy! We were trying to prepare for the what ifs - though I'm not sure that's possible. And we are just so very thankful.
The only little things that we found were elevated lead - which we expected to see when we saw him eating paint off the wall in the babies home....crazy...I know. Low iron - which just about every orphan (and kid in general) has. And electrolyte imbalance - which is very common in malnourished children. Seriously. That's it. And all of those things should be totally normal next month when we recheck.
I am also SO proud to say...there is a tiny bit of chub at the top of his thighs! The belly is still big and it will take a while to go down. He has to regain the muscle mass in his abdomen. But we are loving his little profile right now...not gonna lie. That belly and those little legs are just so...Owen.
Here are just a few of the many things we love about Owen:
1. His laugh. Really. If you've heard it, you know what I mean.
2. His kisses. They are sloppy and sweet.
3. His walk...belly out...head back.
4. The way his arm swings when he runs. Hilarious.
5. His serious face...he fakes it so well.
6. That look on his face every time he eats something new. Like it or not. It's priceless.
7. His smile. It's just so innocent and joyous.

I could go on for a loooong time, so I'll stop there.
For those of you wondering...we are doing well! No...I haven't quite found my groove yet, but I may be getting closer to finding something along those lines. I am enjoying being a stay at home mom. It's challenging. And fun. And oerwhelming. And beautiful. And rewarding. And filled with two amazing little people that I thank God for every day. How did I get to be their mommy???

To Our Sweet Owen,
You are so loved. Everyone is cheering you on and loving you so much. Every day I fall more and more in love with you. Really. You still laugh when you wake up. You are amazing.
Love you more,

Sitting in the Tonka truck...with Gracie's lunch box on his head.

We all enjoyed Gracie's luncheon!

Somebody figured out that he DOES like ice cream after all.

Miss Priss and Mr. Man on the medic at Daddy's station (yes, the station and every fire truck/ambulance created belongs to Daddy. Lol.)

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Have you seen my groove?

That's right. I'm looking for my groove. My nitch. My place where I have it all figured out. I know that place. I was there a little over a month ago...before we left for Uganda. And's missing. Completely MIA.
I'm thinking I will find it. I'm sure a time will come where I will know what I'm doing. But in the mean time... I'm finding that God is using this time. He is teaching me things about myself and my family. About our loved ones. So...I have officially decided that I'm ok without my groove. I'm ok with being uncomfortable because I don't know how things are going to go in the store, in the next five minutes, when it's time to redirect a behavior, when I'm overwhelmed.
God knows. He is never missing his groove. And that is more than enough. Look at what HE has done for us!!! I think the least I can do is allow him to make me who HE wants me to be. In order to grow, you have to learn about things. About others and yourself.

This week has been both amazing and challenging. Every day is filled with blessings. We are so very blessed. Owen is doing so much better than we ever thought he would. He still laughs every morning when he wakes up and sees us. Gracie loves him and they are growing this neat bond. Here are a few pics from the week.

Owen's first time on a swing...loved long as it was totally still.

And Gracie wanted to go as fast and as high and as I could get her.

Gracie drew our new family portrait. So perfect.

Ready for our first solo (3 of us) trip to Wal Mart. And yes, we dominated. Not even 1 tantrum that couldn't be quickly resolved. :)

To Our Sweet Owen,
As we learn more and more about you, all 3 of us fall more and more in love with you. Really. You inspire me. I thank God that he allowed me to be your Mommy.
Love you more,
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Redondo Dr,McKinney,United States

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little update...

I was hoping to be able to blog more over the past few days...but things have been a little hectic at the Willis household. And we wouldn't want it any other way!!!
Between the jet lag and the transition from 1 to 2 kiddos...I have felt like I'm treading water! Add the things we are working through with Owen and Gracie...and I am just paddling away! Through all the chaos, I can't help but think that things are going so much better than they should. Owen is doing SO well. We have our moments, tantrums, hitting, screaming...but there is already so much progress made. Gracie is doing really well at being a big sis. She does have her moments of "Hey! Wait a minute!" but she does love Owen and does love her new role as his big sister. The struggles we are going through are all the norm. We know that because we have been blessed with some pretty amazing friends and family who have been so encouraging.
The past few days have been full of blessings. It's so exciting to see Owen experience so many "firsts". He freaked out at the sight and touch of ice! And to be able to experience life TOGETHER as a family of doesn't get much better.
The time we spent in Africa...rocked my world. I won't take things for granted like I did. I also will never forget the other children at the babies home. In the villages. On the roads. At the hospitals. Even the families we met while there who were also adopting. Things are just so different now. And I'm going to walk this new kind of different one day at a time with my SAVIOR. The same savior who provided a miracle every step of the way to Owen and back home with him to our sweet little Gracie.
I am also now officially a stay at home mom! So excited about that!!!
We took Owen to the international adoption specialist doc today at Children's in Dallas. The doctor's name is Dr. La Tour. I have never experienced such amazing, caring people who love children and their parents the way they did. We are so thankful our social worker referred us to her. They ran LOTS of bloodwork. We should be getting them back in the next week. We did already hear back today that he is anemic but that's no biggie and can be fixed. They also redid his chest x Ray and it was good! Praise the Lord - no TB for our little man. He was exposed to it but the woman who helped him had him immunized and we are SO thankful. We are also going to do some testing on that big belly of his to see what is going on in there. We had to explain to Gracie that there "is no baby in there.". Ha! It's a little tough explaining the symptoms of malnourishment with a 3 year old. The doc also agrees that he is doing exceptionally well with his development and attachment from what we can tell. She says he is about 22 months old. She also said that the scars and marks we see on his little body indicate that he is quite the overcomer and that it's nothing short of a miracle that he is of such good disposition. It's hard hearing hard...but it's yet another bit of proof that God is in the miracle business. Our amazing God has left no doubt that Owen was always supposed to be a Willis. Gracie's appointment with Scottish Rite is the first week of December.
We want to thank everyone for the prayers. They have carried us, given us hope, and comforted us. We genuinely believe that if it weren't for so many of you, this wouldn't have happened the way it did. And we love you.
Here are a few pics we were able to capture this week!

Our first attempt to walk around the block was a success!

They even hug (briefly) :)

Mommy's lap is a hot commodity.

The handsome Willis boys!

To Our Sweet Owen,
You make our family complete. We know that everything about our family of 4 is right in line with what God has always had planned for us. We are so excited that we get to be your parents. And we thank God for you every day.
Love you more,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lessons Learned...

So...this journey has been one lesson after another.  Here are just a few of many:

1.  I had no any idea how blessed I am.  And I think I am still learning this one...
2.  God makes things clear for a reason.  There is no denying that HE lead us straight to Owen.
3.  This is going to be a year full of learning and transitioning.
4.  Uganda is beautiful.  Full of beautiful people.  And great avocados...
5.  Making friends with someone who is in the same situation as you is a blessing and builds very strong, beautiful friendships.
6.  When you have people standing behind you, loving you, you are able to do things you didn't think you could do.
7.  It is OK to feel overwhelmed.
8.  God teaches everyone differently and that is OK.
9.  Josh CAN handle paperwork after all - and really well at that.
10.  In Lugandan if you want to say "No hit" - you say it like this "Toe-ku-ba".   And no, it doesn't always work.  But, the more you try, the more it works.
11.  Sometimes you just have to laugh.
12.  TIA - This is Africa.  I totally get it now.
13.  It is amazing how the people in Africa see people who are different (white) and think it is so cool.  They smile and wave and yell and want to just be a part of your day.  Especially the children.  They are incredible.  Different is actually pretty cool.

We can not believe that we are almost ready to come home!!!  God has blessed us far beyond what we ever thought could happen.  We really wanted to come home together, but didn't think it would happen...but HE shows us that he is bigger...greater....stronger...higher.

To Our Sweet Owen,
We are going to board a plane tomorrow night and bring you home.  Words can not describe how ready we are to bring you HOME.  To your home.  The place where God intended you end up just when you needed to.  Not gonna lie...I'm pretty nervous about the flight.  I picture you kicking open the doors mid flight and throwing people out...eating the pilot alive.  You are so full of life.  You sing all the time.  You move all the time.  You stop everything, make these funny faces, then laugh at yourself.  Really, your sense of humor is just like your Dad's.  You do also have a bit of a temper, but I think that shows that you will fit in well with our family.  We are all a little on the strong-willed side!  Your friends and family are so eager to meet you!  Everyone is so excited!  Today, your Dad admitted that he couldn't imagine being able to love two kids as much as he does.  I have to agree.  God is so amazing.  He always provides.  Always is with us.  WE PRAISE HIM FOR OUR FAMILY OF 4.  And we can't wait to all be together!
Love you more,

Loves to have his picture taken!!!