Sunday, February 5, 2017

Living in the Middle of....No Man's Land

Parenting is hard and beautiful and full of refining moments. With 11 years of parenting my typical kiddos under my belt, I realized that parenting held many challenging moments but it in no way prepared me for the No Man’s Land space of special needs parenting.

When my 3 boys were born I loved charting and comparing their growth and development. There were numerous books and websites I could turn to when I wondered when to introduce solids, when to expect the beginning of language, the best time to introduce potty training, etc.

With my daugher who has multiple disabilities, all of those timelines are replaced with question marks. Even with a diagnosis and more specialists than I have fingers to count, no one can tell me what to expect next. As I have developed friendships with moms of kiddos with a wide range of special needs, from physical disabilities to neuro and genetic abnormalities, the common theme is the unknown. The most consistent thing our doctors can tell us is that they don’t know what comes next for our children

We want to know what to expect and they just don’t have answers. Will my child ever say Momma? Will he ever achieve potty training? Will she ever be able to sit up on her own? Will he always need oxygen? Will she ever feed herself? Will he ever have a girlfriend? Will she be able to live independently? Will I outlive him?

And we enter No Man’s Land.  

In wartime the barren tract of land between enemy trenches was referred to as No Man’s Land. The dictionary describes No Man’s Land as 1) an unowned or unclaimed tract of usually barren land and 2) an indefinite or ambiguous area where guidelines and authority are not clear.
This is where we reside. Full of uncertainty and no real answers. This is where fear, loneliness and despair like to claim territory. It can feel isolating, draining and leave us feeling out of control.

We unfortunately can’t escape our time in No Man’s Land. We can’t create answers that don’t exist. We do, however, get to choose how we live out our time in this place of seeming barrenness. We don’t have to accept fear, loneliness and despair as our companions. The good news and reality is that while doctors can’t give us answers, the loving God that created our children uniquely is not surprised or confused by our questions.

He knows what will come next for our children and He is present with us in our No Man’s Land. We are not alone in this place of uncertainty. While we may not receive a clear timeline, He daily offers us the gift of Hope.

We can all certainly share stories of ways our children have amazed and surprised us with their tenacity and joy despite the challenges they face. Ask any parent of a child with special needs and their face will light up as they share story after story of times their child made strides that specialists never thought would happen.

As parents of these tiny warriors we know all about Hope. It is what we white knuckle grip when we walk into IEP meetings, wait for the latest EEG reading and face another hospitalization. The God who loves our child even more than we do is the author of this Hope.

He claims our No Man’s Land as the perfect soil for growing a great harvest of Hope. When we choose to plant our broken dreams and seeds of uncertainty and even pain in the soil; He fertilizes it with our tears and sacrifice.  Our brokenness in our search for unfound answers leads us to a choice. We can set up our tent in No Man’s Land and invite loneliness and despair in, or we can plant ourselves under the beautiful branches of the Hope God has grown in this place and choose to Trust.

We have this unique opportunity to surrender our questions and trust Him with all of it: the broken dreams, unmet expectations, fears and unknown future. He knows this hard-fought-for trust is a sacrificial gift. He doesn’t take it lightly. Just as He loves our precious children, He loves and treasures us. Our pain is not wasted. It allows us to enter into His sufferings in ways many others have not experienced. It gives us the platform to comfort and encourage others (2 Cor. 1:4) in a unique way once we have experienced His comfort. And it allows us to know Him as faithful. What a gift to be able to trust in a faithful God (Psalm 33:4) when we face such daily uncertainty as we care for our sweet children. We establish this heritage of Trust and Hope for our children for their own journeys.

I’m choosing my perspective. No Man’s Land is no longer a place of barrenness in my life. I am enjoying a Harvest of Hope and daily gathering what I need to weather whatever challenges I face. I know that I can trust the faithful God that walks with me through this place and knows exactly what I need for whatever we may face next.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Good, hard work

It's been for ever...

I know.

But we have been living life and that is all that I have time for most days.

We survived double hip surgery. There were actually two procedures with very formal names that I once had memorized....but now I just am thankful we are past that and over that mountain. It did feel like a formidable mountain. The first week was really tough. Figuring out the right medicine cocktail to control the pain. Then 5 weeks in a spica cast from her belly button to her toes was actually shorter than expected. She did so well, but it was hard. Uncomfortable for her and so boring for her.

She regressed. We knew to expect it, but it was disheartening when she stopped using any words and was so quiet and sad. But she is doing SO great now! She is happy and feisty and bearing weight on her legs daily! We are back in private physical therapy twice a week - once in the water, private speech therapy twice a week and  occupational therapy once a week. We are back in full swing.

She has grown so much; both physically and emotionally.  We still really, really struggle with communication though. When we brought Suubi home I knew that I would be her momma, her advocate and her biggest cheerleader, but I didn't truly understood that also meant I would be her voice.  Which means I need to be able to understand what she is saying, what she wants and needs.
That is hard. Really hard.

What an awesome and humbling responsibility to be someone's voice. And also in a way to be their window to the world. Suubi hears very well and often amazes us with her receptive language, however I still most of the time need to explain to her what is going on and help her understand if possible. She does have a few words and can be prompted to use them, however it is hit or miss if she will use them before prompting.  I think she may have apraxia, but I don't even know how to go about getting her diagnosed and even if I did, I'm not sure what that would change right now.

Some children with cerebral palsy that are non-verbal are able to communicate using their eyes to control adaptive communication devices. Suubi is blind though so she cannot use one. I'm convinced someone somewhere has suggestions and a way to help her communicate. I just have to find that person!

In the meantime, it is up to me. It is up to me to observe and stay focused and read her body language to determine what she is thinking and feeling. She tries so hard and is so patient but usually at least once a day she gets upset because I just don't get it. I won't understand what she is trying to communicate. My sweet girl has opinions and knows what she wants and feels compassion toward others and gets scared and tired and hungry and bored....and she wants to be able to share that with us...but can't.

So I have had to learn to slow down. To be intentional with my focus and be attentive. In this day and age of smart phones and instant information at our fingertips it is easy to lose my focus.  I can't google "what is Suubi thinking" though.  It is up to me understand her well enough to be her voice.

It can be especially hard because Suubi can go from here:
to a matter of seconds!

Suubi's needs did not get met the way she needed when she was an infant. So when she has a need that is not being fulfilled now it often immediately sends her into panic/meltdown mode!  We try to meet her needs quickly so this doesn't happen, but if I am not tuned in to her then I miss the cues and we reach meltdown!

I have to take the time to sit with her and communicate. To listen with my ears, my eyes, my heart. But that is SO hard when there are so many other needs around me. We are so thankful and so blessed and Suubi girl has come so far....but...

I would be pretending if I wasn't truthful about how some days are just really, really hard. Exhausting. Some days I truthfully think I was a better parent before the adoption. I feel like I was able to spread myself around better, relax more, keep my house cleaner, plan Family Nights, stay up later reading to the boys, more patient, healthier because I took the time to exercise...
I'm hard on myself.

Parenting a child with multiple disabilities has changed me. I have had to lower some of my self-imposed expectations. I have had to step away from perfectionism. My house just doesn't get cleaned very often. My bathroom stays dirty much longer than it used to. Family night is a win now if we get pizza (gluten free included) and a movie together.  "Me" time has changed dramatically. Face to face time with my husband does not come as often. Dying to myself and my own selfishness has to happen many, many times a day. It isn't pretty. I mess up WAY more than I used being a sharp answer....struggling not to choose the easy way....missing the intentional moments I used to relish....being disappointed in myself....checking out by looking at my phone instead of my children's faces.

BUT....there is always a big butt:)

I must remind myself that coming face to face with my own sin and selfishness is quite a gift. I realize that I am broken and only Jesus can fix this mess. Only He can give me the strength to pour out when I feel like I have nothing left to give. He ALWAYS sends someone with a hand to help or encouragement at just the right moment. But I realize He also intentionally allows me to come to the end of my strength so I will finally let HIM be my strength.

I feel like so often people see the pretty side of our journey but I need to be honest about the hard. I'm such a work in progress and I desperately want to be the best mom for my kids, all of them. But I also want to be a good wife and most of all a good Christ follower. Most days I feel like I do only one well at a time.

I'm believing that He covers my mistakes with His grace and I pray that my children remember the good not the bad.  And there are moments every day that absolutely make all my tired worth it. When sweet girl leans in for some love or remembers to say eat instead of screaming. When the boys insist on kissing their sister before leaving for school, when her face absolutely lights up when she hears her Daddy is home, when the boys automatically know what to sing to calm her down in the middle of a meltdown, when the boys' friends come over instinctively to greet Suubi and play with her, when I see my boys comfortable around other children in wheel chairs that are also nonverbal, when people in our many doctors' offices greet us with a smile and give lots of grace for our crazy, when I meet people around town that somehow know me as Suubi's mom. 

And this: 
And this: 

And of course this:) 
I get to be a tiny part of this beautiful thing Jesus is doing through my sweet girl's life. He uses it all, the good, the bad, the hard, the grow us. Change us. Mold us. Create in us something beautiful.

If it isn't hard, it isn't worth it, right? And it really isn't so much about just Suubi, but what He is doing in ALL of us that long-term has significance. It is so much bigger than the frustration of the moment....not knowing why she is screaming, not having time to accomplish it all, not ever feeling like I have it all together. 

I'm holding onto this:
"being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 
He = Jesus This is a good work. A hard work but a good work that HE is doing in us. My prayer every day is that it will bring Him big glory, despite my failings. Can you relate?

Sometimes I just have to write it all down to remind myself of some of these truths. Thanks for reading along with me.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Unexpected gifts

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. McCall was very sick for almost two weeks with some kind of crazy strep/stomach bug. So while I was trying to prepare for Suubi's surgery I was also trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with McCall. On one hand it kept me from obsessing and worrying about the surgery but it also wore all of us flat out!

Jesus is so good though the way He brings friends alongside us to keep us walking. They helped me prepare, encouraged and checked in on us. Set up a meal train for the time when we get home and planned to stock our pantry.  Everyone has been so kind and supportive.

So now McCall should return to school Monday and get started on homebound hours after school also to help him catch up on the 10 days he missed. During the past two weeks I also set up the paper trail to get Suubi on homebound status when she comes home. She may be home anywhere from 6-12 weeks. I also fought with discussed in depth some options for her in-home care with the local agency that matches us with an aid. We hopefully will continue to use the same aid we have been using for the majority of the hours. Thankfully we are on the medically complex child waiver through the state that allows us to have a trained aid come in for a certain number of hours per week to help with Suubi's care. After surgery those hours should be increased to allow someone to come while I work in the mornings and possibly for someone to come in the evenings when Mark and/or I may need to take the boys to practices,etc. We are so thankful for this help! It allows us to still function fairly close to normal, which we feel is important for the boys, especially.

I also found out that we should be eligible to be part of a program through the health department that would help us obtain high calorie pediasure that Suubi currently drinks and may need to be more dependent on for a time post surgery. So each of these tasks actually requires multiple phone calls, face-to-face meetings, emails and prayers:) Throw in an extra IEP meeting and a couple of events at school and the preschool where I work....well we have been on the crazy train!

So I can hardly believe we are actually here! We will get Suubi up tomorrow at 5 am, give her some meds and wash her in a special antibacterial solution. We have to be downstairs ready for check-in at 6 am. We are staying in one of the family rooms at the Shriners hospital. They are so welcoming and we are so thankful to be here.  The surgery should start at 8 am and last around 4 hours.

At pre-op last Friday the doctors and nurses just kept reiterating, "this is a big surgery" and "don't expect her to return to baseline for 6-9 months". I kinda knew this, but hearing it from the surgeon made it real and a bit sobering. They are doing a bilateral VDRO and left dega. (I hope I got that right.) Basically they are taking a piece of bone like a wedge out of both of her legs near the ball of the top part of the leg. The will then put plates and screws in and position the ball part back into the hip socket at the correct angle. On the left side they will take the wedge of bone that they removed and place it into a cut they will make in the lip of the socket. They will bend the socket to make it form correctly the pocket. Very poor description but that is how I understand it:)

Pretty amazing actually! They will do the left side first and if she loses too much blood then they will close her back up and we will need to come back 6-8 weeks later to do the right side. They want to avoid a blood transfusion. So if you would pray with me that they can safely do both sides tomorrow?  She will be under general anesthesia as well as have an epidural.  Of course there are all kinds of fun risks with that too but we want her to be as comfortable as possibly, particularly since she is nonverbal and won't understand what is happening.

During surgery, Dr. Gibson will decide if he wants to put Suubi in a spica cast or if he wants to do knee immobilizers and a wedge between her legs. So, we will see! We will be at Shriners until Thursday, at least that is the plan! We know we are in very good hands here and are truly thankful to be surrounded by so many doctors and nurses that are so capable.

Am I scared? Heck, yeah! But we do things scared:) It kinda feels like when you are driving during the summer and all of a sudden you see ahead of you one of those huge dark rainstorms. And you know you have to drive through it. You know somewhere ahead on the other side the sun is out and it is only temporary..but golly...when you are driving through it you white knuckle the steering wheel and pray out loud and go really slowly, keeping your eyes on the road ahead of you!

He is with us and He has made that abundantly clear. He walked with Suubi way before I came on the scene:) This is important for Suubi's quality of life. Yes it may help her bear weight and eventually be able to walk. We hope and pray that happens, but if not, it will also help her avoid or at least prolong arthritis in her hips and her hips becoming dislocated, both very painful things to deal with.

There are lots of things I wish could be different for my girl. One of my favorite things in the world is to read. I read to Suubi, but last week we had a book fair at the preschool and every day it sunk in more that no matter how excited I was about some of those beautiful books with beautiful pictures...Suubi couldn't enjoy them the way I did. It did make me sad for a few days. But there are other things that Suubi finds amazing and beautiful that I can learn to appreciate and enjoy with her....the thrill of being upside down, hearing the people she loves sing to her, listening to her brothers laugh, the excitement of when a crowd cheers, the birds in our neighborhood, hearing a ball bounce on our hardwood floors. I get the gift of seeing and experiencing the world through a whole new lens as Suubi's momma. That is an amazing gift!

God could have chosen anyone to be her adoptive momma, but He let me be the one. I get to try to comfort her when she doesn't understand what is going on tomorrow. I get to sing to her and attempt to make her comfortable. I get the privilege of advocating for her and explaining to the nurses when I think she is cold or in pain or hungry. I get to be the one she leans her head toward and makes a kissing sound to when she feels content. I get to watch her daddy get wrapped more tightly around her little finger with each smile. This crazy ride isn't what I expected....but it is beyond my wildest dreams:) Jesus is indeed taking me into deeper waters and calling me out to the unknown. The waves are scary, but I'm also very aware of how blessed I am to even be in these waters and I want to faithfully keep my eyes on the One who will keep me afloat! So here we go friends! Pray with us please!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I don't know what I'm doing...

For about two weeks I’ve felt compelled to blog about this thought…

I don’t know what I’m doing….

Odd yes, yet this is the reoccurring thought that runs through my mind so consistently throughout the day.

Should I take my son in to the doctor for that strange rash? Will I have enough in the bank account on Friday to make that next payment? How many times have I done Suubi’s oral Beckman exercises today? Am I being too strict with my 13 year old when it comes to social media or not strict enough?  Why does my 10 year old melt down when “this” happens?  Did I really make eye contact for a meaningful conversation with my spouse today? What kind of clothes will Suubi be able to wear with her spica cast? How much extra money will food cost next month? When can I possibly exercise this month? Am I a horrible mom because I don’t stay for soccer practice? Should I feel guilty that I have not volunteered for ANYTHING in my kids’ classrooms this year? Did I write them a thank you note….probably not? When was the last time I washed the boys’ sheets???

Perhaps you don’t have neurotic, insecure thoughts like these. But I do. A lot. I’m way out of my playing field, weight category, ability level. I love my life and my family, however, let me make it clear that I truly,

I hope I don’t look like I’m trying to appear like I’m altogether. I’m not trying to look like a hot mess either, but inside most of the time I feel like it:) That is why it is so essential….really, like it is life or death...that I get time with Jesus each day. Because honestly He is the only way things stay together around here. I love my children fiercely but I don’t have what it takes in and of myself to raise them and love them the way they deserve. I’m the most blessed woman in the world to be married to my man… but without Jesus there is no way I can love and serve Mark the way he needs and deserves. Which is why it is 11:24pm and I have no business being up b/c my day starts way too early to be up this late!

I don’t know why but I just couldn’t rest until I put this out there. I don’t want to be a poser. We are surviving and thriving #1 because of Jesus. I gotta have Him. I’m a hot mess without Him. When I tread out on that water on my own, I just don’t do well.  For whatever reason He keeps me in this place where I am painfully aware that I don’t have the wisdom, grace, patience or ability without Him to live this life.

#2, He has surrounded us with amazing support and love through our family, friends, church and community. We are beyond blessed and they truly keep us moving and surviving with the way they (y’all) love on us and help us. I couldn’t do it without my face to face friends and online friends that encourage us and pray for us.  It takes a village people, for real!

People have asked me recently if I’m overwhelmed thinking of Suubi’s surgery and planning for the next few months. I am, but honestly not much more overwhelmed than normal. I guess because so much of my life is way beyond my control. I am slowly learning to live with an open hand and eyes focused up because I know that I can’t do this on my own. I am going to mess up and come up short but I’m realizing more and more that is what grace is all about. I’ve tried for so long to not need grace. That honestly now sounds hilarious!

Every time we get to a new feeling of balance I realize that He is about to walk us into the next wave of deeper waters where we will simply need Him more!! And that is okay!! So next time you see me and I truly look like a hot mess, don’t feel sorry for me:) It’s okay, I am!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Starting again....

So here we go again. During our adoption process I was fairly faithful to blog, partly because I wanted to document all the Lord did during that long season:) and also because so many friends and family were following along and in the trenches with us. While in Uganda I moved to using a private facebook page in order to keep things, well, more private. The process in country can be a bit sticky at times and it is wise to not have your info pasted all over the internet.

During our three year journey to Suubi I spent hours and hours and hours reading blogs of families that adopted. I was so thankful they let us in to their lives to learn and rejoice with them and at times grieve with them.  I learned SO much that was invaluable in preparing me for the hard and the uncertainty.  I learned things like what to expect at the guest house in Uganda, but then also important information about culture and how children that have been in institutional care process change.

When we learned that Suubi was blind and quite obviously had developmental delays, to what extent we were uncertain....this momma once again searched for every blog I could find that might give me some insight into what our future might look like. I just wanted to feel as informed as possible and to see some of what other families experienced. While nothing can truly prepare you for your own journey, these blogs really did help me and actually connecting with some of these families online and even later in person has been a tremendous blessing!

Once we arrived home we faced a whole new world. We didn't truly expect a diagnosis of cerebral palsy for our sweet girl but after loving on her for a few weeks it was not surprising. I had not prepared for that or researched it! All of a sudden I wanted to find a blog written by a family with an internationally adopted with with cp and vision impairment. I still haven't found that:)

We have to walk out our own journey and in His own amazing way the loving Creator of me and our girl, has placed people in our path at each juncture to help us navigate wisely. However, I can't shake the feeling that sharing some of these adventures and challenges might someday help another momma find her way a bit more easily.

So here we go....

I can't promise I will be faithful to blog often, although I'll try! I'm going to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I realize that I needed a clear picture of what was ahead. I do promise though that I will always shout...
because that is the Truth. There is always hope...that is what I hang onto...what keeps me going....what allows me to face each day.  He fills us with hope for our kids, for our future, for their future and the ability to trust His plan for our family.

The mountain that is currently ahead of us is surgery. We knew Suubi would need hip surgery but we were on a waiting list and we thought we might get a date in the late spring. We recently found out that Suubi will be having reconstructive surgery on both hips at Greenville Shriners Hospital on October 6th. We have never faced surgery with our kids before. This is a new kind of cliff jump for me.

We will have to go for preop for two days the week before then have the weekend at home and then Mark and I will take her to Greenville for at least Mon-Thur. She will most likely have a spica cast, which will most likely look like some variation of this, for anywhere from 4-12 weeks.

We are definitely hoping and praying that it will be more like 6-8 weeks. Life will be hard interesting between now and the New Year:) Thankfully Suubi is on the medically complex child waiver and Medicaid enables us to have an aid for her. They will increase the hours we have the aid during this time and we are in the midst of lining up trustworthy caregivers to help with her care while I am at work in the mornings and then to help some in the afternoons when I need to run the boys here and there.

Our wonderful family in Florence will take good care of the boys while we are with Suubi in Greenville and then we will need to rely more on them and on our amazing friends that make up Team Suubi while she recovers.  There are lots of details to work out like renting a different wheelchair during this time and possibly figuring out adaptations to her bed.  We need to figure out homebound for her while she is out of school and adjusting therapies, as long as seeking out what kind of in-home services she can receive while she is recovering.

We are talking to a nutritionist at the Health Department to see about getting help with high calorie pediasure during this time since her appetite may decrease and after working so hard to gain some weight we don't want her to drop a lot of weight.  There are just lots of things I have never thought of, but I am learning a lot! 

So a new adventure, a new mountain to climb. However, we have had so much joy over the last three weeks watching Suubi discover that she can roll and actually make herself go places. She doesn't like sitting still for long anymore because she realizes she can move! Without this surgery she most likely would not be able to bear her own weight as she grows. So for her to ever be able to walk she has to have this surgery and the sooner the better. We are so thankful that we have such a strong team of therapists that adore our girl and are willing to walk with us every step of the way.

Thanks for your prayers and if any momma new to this world stumbles upon this blog and wants to reach out and ask a question, please contact me!

Or is any momma that has already been through this has some sage advice, then please holler!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sowing Roots

Dear friends and family,
We are so thankful that we are at the next major step in our adoption process.  We are matched with Suubi, a precious four and a half year old little girl in Uganda. She is blind with severe developmental delays, and has been in the orphanage for a year.  Mark and I are headed to Uganda at the end of June to obtain legal guardianship of Suubi and bring her home.  We will then finalize her adoption when we are back in the U.S.  We are excited and overwhelmed at the same time.  This trip will require Mark to be gone for two weeks and Erika for anywhere between five and eight weeks.  We know it will be difficult to be away from our boys and there will be many challenges.  We covet your prayers during this time.
As you can imagine this kind of travel will require quite a financial investment.  Erika has submitted many applications for adoption grants, in the hopes of receiving some financial assistance.  We received word this week from the orphan aid organization, Sowing Roots, that they are offering us a matching grant for up to $2500.  This means any donation we receive toward our adoption can be given through Sowing Roots, as a tax-deductible donation, and they will match up to $2500.  So, we have the potential to raise $5000.
It is very humbling to once again be in a place of asking y’all to consider giving.  So many of you have already sacrificially given, whether monetarily, donating to and helping with yard sales, buying necklaces, getting haircuts at our Hair-Cut-a-Thon fundraiser, personally raising support or praying for us.  So please know we are SO thankful and if you have already given in any form or fashion, we humbly say
If you do seek the Lord and He impresses you to give in this way then
You can mail your donation in the form of a check to:
Sowing Roots
5222 76th Ave. Ct. W.
University Place, WA 98467
Please put Chap2013 in the notes field so the donation will be applied to our adoption.
You will be mailed a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. They will be accepting donations for us through June 20th.  These funds will go toward paying for travel in Uganda, paying our guide, for Suubi’s medical exam, visas and lawyer fees.
You can follow our journey at We also have a private facebook group that will have frequent updates. Just send us a message on fb asking to be added and we will do it!

Thank you for journeying with us!

Almost on our way,
Erika, Mark, McCall, Haig and Eli Chapman …..and soon, Suubi!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Almost on our way!!!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 

Proverbs 13:12

We are over the moon excited to announce that we have a court date and are finally traveling to Uganda to bring Suubi home!! Mark and I will fly out near the end of June and meet her.  Mark will stay in Uganda for about two weeks. During that time we will have a court date and hopefully receive a positive ruling.  We will also take Suubi for a medical exam and spend lots of time helping her transition and getting to know our sweet girl.

I will stay with Suubi in my care in Uganda for anywhere between 5-8 weeks.  So we are busy, busy, busy packing and preparing for our long trip away for home and for the boys long time away from us! We know it won't be easy but we are so thankful to know that the LORD has led us down this path and He has gone before us as well. 

We will share more as our journey continues.  We will also be sharing several fundraisers we are currently doing to raise the final funds for travel.  So stay tuned! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support!

Please pray specifically:
1 - all details of travel, immunizations and preparations will go smoothly and we will stay calm as we prepare!
2 - that some of the grants we have applied for will come through soon! in time to be used when traveling.
3 - the Lord will allow these next couple of weeks to be filled with sweet family time and not stress over preparations.
4 - that the boys will have a super time with friends and family while we are gone.
5 - that the Lord will continue to prepare Suubi for the major transitions she is about to experience!