Thursday, March 27, 2014


Doug and I were in the car talking about his day at work. He had found out one of his coworkers was the wife of a big business owner in town. They are obviously well off financially. I wondered why she would work in a job that didn't pay super well and just fill her time like that.

I said, "I could find her things to do and she would be much happier." Meaning there are plenty of service opportunities out there.

Doug, "I think she's a low capacity person."

I responded, "That's OK we all have talents. I've always thought of myself as a one talent person that doesn't hide it."

With a big grin Doug says, "You're a ten talent person."

I say, "No, look at my laundry."

Doug laughing, "You don't hide it."

We had a good laugh!

                                                        I couldn't hide this if I tried. :)

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30
14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Links Pleeease

There is a fantastic, solid, and deeply spiritual lady that has put together a website called Share the Miracles. It is a place to find "inspiring stories about overcoming trials with God's help". She is looking for blogs that have real stories of life and how we have overcome our trials. She would like Christian based people so we can share our testimonies to the world.

I know there are a lot of people with something to share. It can be any kind of trial. No matter the challenge we have similar journey's of faith and growth. You never know when and how you will help someone navigate the struggles they face. Many of us think we don't have anything of value to offer. I know I feel that sometimes. My life is just my normal life, why would anyone care, right? Well I have found that is not always the case. Even if you don't think your blog is worthwhile or you can't write or share your feelings correctly there may be more there than you think.

Please comment with your blog link then share this with as many people you can think of! If we are going to go through challenges in life and give ourselves to the Lord we might as well go one step further and share our journey with others. Think of it as another way to serve. :)

Please, please pass this on!

The website is

Bibs, Bibs and More Bibs

Well the deadline has almost arrived to send off our bibs. I have been working furiously to get them done. It started out as a family project but Gideon ended up in the hospital and mom couldn't help the kids finish. Each child chose a fabric, pinned the pattern, and cut it out. While in the hospital Sereen and Hannah helped sew the bibs the kids weren't able to finish with me.

Sorry the picture is so bad. The camera was on the wrong setting.
These are some of the bibs the kids made.

Once home I decided to make the bibs my project. I love to sew and I love to serve so it was a perfect combination at the perfect time. I finished with all the fabric that I had stored in boxes and then bought more. Still not satisfied with what I had I bought even more fabric.

What a fun project this was and the kids were immersed in scraps, thread and sewing paraphernalia. I lost a sewing room many kids ago. Now the kitchen table is my best work space. At dinner time the sewing machine gets set behind the chair next to the table with the stack of the unfinished project. No one in the family can ever forget the service being rendered as they pull threads out of their food. :)

Close ups of some of the fun patterns.

Hello Kitty was everywhere in China.
Even grown women wore Hello Kitty.

Some of the monster bibs had orang and blue backs.

I think I like the zoo theme. I ended up
with two different fabrics with animals.

This fabric screamed China to me.
I wish I had bought the little bit left on the bolt.
I would love to have some for myself.
How many did we end up with, you ask? A whopping 147!!
Now I need another project. Any ideas?!?!
Oh, it needs to be something I can do on my own time.
Deadlines are a little difficult right now.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Key

First, I want to start by saying our Father in Heaven never leaves us alone. I was realizing we are at the point in the process of losing Gideon that others have moved forward. The moment that others have talked about when you are left alone. It was an observation not feeling sorry for myself. (I do a lot of observing my feelings and reactions.) That same day the Lord wanted me to know that He has not left me alone. A friend stopped by to check on me and brought me a cupcake. So appreciated! Another friend brought 2 loaves of yummy bread with a sweet note and I also got an email from someone at our adoption agency just letting us know she is thinking of us. We are never forgotten!

Over my life I have been taught that gratitude and service are important. I have experienced these two principals and how vital they are for our happiness. Now, in a different kind of challenge these teachings have come back to me over and over again. Gratitude and service bring light to our souls.

I have noticed a pattern and Heavenly Father is leading me. On my hardest days, when I wake up feeling the darkness or anxiety the Lord will stretch His hand out to me to life me up. He offers me a way to serve and focus on others. On those hardest of days he does not let me wallow, if I choose. Opportunities are presented for me to help another. Through that service I am also opened up to recognize the blessings I have in my life and the light then comes pouring in. I have been taught that selfless service is the key to true happiness. What a blessing this principle is in my life.

I have also observed that Heavenly Father knows my needs and gives me days and moments to feel the grief and work through my feelings and thoughts. Even when I am feeling like I should be happy, that maybe I am not being faithful because I am sad, Heavenly Father reminds me that he has provided the opportunity for me to be sad and remember Gideon. That through this experience I am being sanctified and purified. "There must needs be opposition in all things." I am living and witnessing the opposition and learning from both sides. Oh, how I love my Father in Heaven and brother Jesus Christ.

Gideon's favorite picture of Jesus.
"My Jesus"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Not Yet

It is 9:30 at night. I had a quick thought pop into my head.

"I'm going to go lay with Gideon, I miss him." I immediately recognized the error in that thought and without sadness expressed it to Doug.

He responded in a sheepish tone, "Please don't go lay with Gideon yet?"


The Miracle of Holding Gideon

I know Deanne posted this photo a couple of days ago, but I wanted to use it again to add my thoughts from today. 

We were sitting in our LDS chapel for what we refer to as our Stake Conference today.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the LDS terminology, this is a 2 hour meeting that families attend twice a year. A little different (and longer) than the typical Sacrament Service we have every Sunday.

Bria, our little 5 year old, started the meeting out sitting on my lap.  About 15 minutes into the meeting I noticed my thigh starting to burn from the contstant pressure of her in one spot. As I shifted her to ease my pain, I realized we had another hour and forty five minutes to go and I was probably going to have to coax her into sitting on the bench or on someone else's lap before too much longer.  My thougths then went to the last day in the hospital with Gideon.

After receiving the distressed call from Deanne at work telling me he wasn't doing well and I had better come, I arrived in his room about 1:30.  He had been asking for me so as soon as I walked in, Deanne wanted me to hold him.  I got situated in a chair and she placed him on my lap.  Except for just a brief period while we were contacting the rest of the family to come say their goodbyes, Gideon was on my lap until after he passed away just before 6:00 PM.  I asked Deanne a few times throughout the afternoon if she wanted to hold him and I can't remember the reasons she declined, but I think it was just her unselfish nature to give me as much time with him as possible.  After he was gone, she finally agreed to hold his body for a few minutes.  That's when I was able to stand up and I realized I had been sitting in that chair with him in basically the same position for over 4 hours.  I was a little stiff, but I wasn't sore or in any kind of pain.  I considered it a tender mercy at that time, but today when I had to adjust Bria's position after just 15 minutes then every 5 minutes or so after that until I finally got her off my lap after about an hour, I realized it might have been more than a tender mercy. 

Whether it was the love for a child and a desire for him to be comfortable or my senses just being shut down while I focused on Gideon's needs, I don't know, but under normal circumstances there is no way I would have been able to have a child on my lap for that long, in one position, without some pain along the way.  It might have been a miracle and I was blessed by it. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

$55.7 Billion

That's the amount Americans spent on our pets in 2013 according to a recent report.  Not sure if that includes actually buying the pet or just costs of ownership, but the fact is - that is a big number!!  

It prompted me to think about the amount spent on adoptions.  I tried to identify the actual number of adoptions occuring in the US annuarly through a couple of Google searches, and, of course, turning to my walking Encyclopedia of Adoptions, Deanne.  The best guess from the experts is about 135,000 adoptions per year in the US.  After averaging the cost of adoptions broken down into three catagories, domestice private, domestic public and international, my trusty calculator told me that American spend about $2.2 billion on adoptions every year. That's 4% of  $55 billion. 

There are a lot of reasons why Americans spend more on pets than adoptions and I know no one would ever say pets are more important that children, but it sure would be nice to divert a few billion dollars to adoptive parents who struggle to bring a human into their home.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Picture Of My Grief

Yesterday I was with two of my daughters and a sister-in-law. It just happened that we all came together without planning or calling each other. It was such a blessing in disguise for me. I know I wasn't the only one that needed the support and love yesterday. We all did to some degree, but don't we always. We all went to Costco to get a skirt. I saw them a few days ago and knew Sereen and Jessica would like them for the summer. In the midst of everything, I expressed that my brain just doesn't seem to be working right. They were a little surprised at that. I decided that it may be good for others to see what grief looks like, at least my grief.

The first week and a half I was sad, heartbroken. I was surprised at how well I was functioning, although it was in a heavy fog. I wasn't a mess on the floor sobbing all the time. I found it difficult to make decisions and avoided them or just went with whatever was easiest. My jaw was always sore from the tension and a headache always present. I quickly developed aching all over my body and in my joints. I felt a profound tiredness and inability to get myself moving. ( Those are still my constant companions) I didn't care if anything got accomplished outside of the immediate necessities that kept coming up while planning a funeral. Through all that I also felt a great sense of peace and light from my Father in Heaven. I felt the presence of Gideon very often and felt his words speak to my mind.

I knew this protection that surrounded me would soon leave and I was scared! Over the next couple of weeks the grief came off and on. I felt so blessed that it wasn't as difficult as I expected. Then one day.... it all changed. The darkness thickened and the sorrow became almost unbearable. I felt like I was in a cocoon. The dark gray that enfolded me was impenetrable. I would see the mountains that surrounded me remembering that I felt the beauty and serenity they offered but I just couldn't reach it. I see the sunlight and the healing it offers but that dark cocoon that has engulfed me is relentless. I try to scratch my way out and I don't get anywhere. My mind is numb. I can do things and not remember that I've done them. I have to write every little thing down that needs to be done as soon as I think of it or I just won't remember. I forget to feed my children lunch or put in the next load of laundry. I wander the house or sit frustrated that I can't seem to think of what I need to do. I feel like I see through a dark looking glass that is smudged and dirty. At times I can't make heads or tails of what I see. But others, the view is clear and discernible yet tinged with gray. Once in a while that cocoon will get a puncture a small stream of light will get through and I feel happiness.

In the last couple days the sorrow has been so overpowering that I can barely stop the tears. I feel the anger seeping in and I hate it. Not the anger at God but anger in general. I feel an angry thought and want to lash out yet I can also recognize it is not the fault of whatever or whomever I feel angry at but the grief that is speaking. So many of my insecurities are rearing their ugly heads again. Those things that Satan has used on me, some since I was a child, to keep me down and make me forget who I am. I don't like this. I don't want it anymore. I dream of laying on a quiet beach letting the sound of the waves lull me into a sense of peace while the sun burns away that cocoon that is smothering the joy right out of me. To eventually have the sun reach my skin burning me to the point that I can feel again. Having the light sink deep into my soul warming me and bringing a genuine smile to my face.

I cry out often to my Father. Prayers of grief, prayers of gratitude and prayers for my children. My Father is there. He has not deserted me and reminds me often that all things are for my good. There is so much more to this than Gideon dying and one day the joy will win out. I am reminded often that Jesus is the healer of my soul and the giver of peace to my children. The cocoon will receive more punctures letting in more light and they will be permanent. But for now I am to learn some things and I need to trust that I will succeed. I am ever grateful for the strength of spirit that I have been given. Grateful for a kind husband that tries with all his might to do what is right. Grateful for a new perspective and new doors to be opened in our lives. I am grateful for a greater work that is ours to do. A work that needs us to go through this dark trial so we have Gideon on the other side helping us succeed. There is much darkness for the moment but as was said to Joseph Smith:

"Know thou my son that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for they good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?"


Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Thought Of You Today

I have been involved in helping a little boy in China get the medical help he needs for his heart. If he doesn't get surgery ASAP he will most likely die very soon. I have been waiting for a Heart Cath report to arrive from China so our doctors could evaluate him better and make a plan of action in hopes of getting a medical visa. A week ago this little guy was deemed inoperable in China just like Gideon so we have had hope that someone in the US could help. This morning I excitedly received the DVD. It wasn't supposed to be here until tomorrow. It was a perfect set up by God. Our Cardiologist was available to evaluate the results as soon as I could get in and Hannah our 13 year old had stayed home as she was fighting the tail end of the flue. That meant I also had a babysitter.

 I couldn't believe how Heavenly Father was making this so easy. I was doing so well emotionally and I could see the tender mercies clearly this morning. I headed to the hospital and met with our doctor. He decided to confer with a couple of other doctors on this little boy. By mid afternoon the emotions began to fall apart and I was just holding on. Kids came home from school and everyone wanted to talk to me. I got down to the bottom of my patience and had to dig deeper. The kids weren't doing anything wrong I just wasn't handling my emotions well. I then got a call from the Cardiologist. Bran, the boy in China has the same disease Gideon had, Heterotaxy, but with some stark differences. Bran's heart had several more serious problems. I was told very tenderly that the doctors didn't feel Bran was operable and he didn't have much time to live. My heart broke all over again. From that moment on I couldn't hold back the tears.

We had some friends drop by to check on us and give support and a gift. Perfect timing because I needed that hug and concern. The gift is a plaque that says;
                                                                                                                        I thought of you today,
But that is nothing new.
Thought about you yesterday
And days before that too.
I think of you in silence,
often speak your name.
All I have are memories and
your picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake
from which I'll never part.
God has you in his arms,
I have you in my heart.
This had to be written by someone who has lost a child because it is my truth. I not only cried for Gideon but at that moment I cried for Bran too. We have a spot that would be perfect for that little body right on top of Gideon. A place for them to be together and be brothers, but that won't happen. Bran will most likely die without the love of a mother or father. No siblings to bring him a smile in the hardest moments and no eternal family for right now. I know God makes all things right but I just want it to be right right now. Now here's the real and scary part for me, I don't want to see another picture of a sad face and intense eyes pleading with me to bring him home. I felt like I lost two sons today and one is not even mine. I connected with Bran. I considered adopting him but he's not available. I can do nothing about the hurt of this precious child of God. I have to turn it all over to our Father and have faith. Sometimes I don't like to have faith, I just want it my way. Then I remind myself that Father in Heaven knows what is best for all of us. Bran is not my son but Heavenly Fathers and he will bless him immeasurably in the eternities. Oh how I hope he will be ours and we will receive him as our blessing.  As for my heart... the Lord will take care of that in time. Maybe there will be some miracle. Our God is a God of miracles but truly I don't think that miracle of healing is for Bran. No adoption, no family on this earth.
On a lighter note. Bria, who is 5, has become obsessed with her birthday. She is telling me many times a day what she wants and asks for me to help her make a list. Her birthday is not until September! When I was tucking her in bed she told me of something else she wants. I needed to help her focus on what she has and not what she wants. I told Bria to think of some things she is grateful for. She said coloring. I started to say, "You know, some people don't have hands or fingers to color with." I was hoping to help her be grateful that she had hands to color with. You know hands like mine, complete. I stopped myself and had to smile. Bria is missing most of her fingers. :)
Oh, and she colors beautifully!

Our Last Moments In Picture

The day we went to the hospital.
Gideon getting an echo that showed his valve
was failing. He was so sick.
 In heart failure a person swells up.
Gideon didn't look like this except the last few weeks.
January 29, 2014

Still in echo. Gideon didn't like these even though
nothing hurt him. He loved to take the stickers
off when they were done.

Our first trip up to the third floor.
Moving up a floor was a good sign.
In just two days he was back in the CICU.
(Cardiac Intensive Care Unit)

The family came to visit. Gideon hadn't been this happy
since we entered the hospital.
When the family left he became very sad.
He continued to ask for each individual
family member. He missed his brothers and sisters.

It was very clear that Gideon knew he was loved and that
he loved back. When everyone left I had a witness that
this is what family is for. We are here
to lift, love and help each other.
The family did that for Gideon.
They really lifted his spirits.
We were in the CICU for all but 4 days of our two weeks.
Gideon didn't like any of the hospital staff for quite a while
but he took to the child life specialist fairly quickly.
He would allow her to come in the room and
bring him toys. He even played with her.

I love to see the pictures of Gideon with a smile
as he sat in my lap.
I have had some feelings and thoughts that I never
expected. I was haunted with the question
if Gideon really loved me and wanted
me for his mother. Through some sacred experiences
and things that friends said I was reminded that
Gideon does love me and wants me for his mother.
"I am yours and you are mine."
February 13, 2014
 I have regretted not putting this picture on the blog.
This picture is why we have this post.
This was the last moments we had with Gideon.
The family was saying their goodbyes.
Gideon needed to be in his daddy's lap for his last 4 hours.
At the end I moved the equipment and pulled a chair over.
I sat and held Gideon's feet as he passed from this life to the next.
We will never forget those moments.
Gideon was surrounded by many that loved him including aunts, uncle,
cousins and all of his siblings and nephews.
We love our little boy! I miss him terribly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stark Reality, Maybe, Maybe Not

Back in 2006 Doug wanted me to start a blog. I kept telling him no. I didn't have time with 12 kids. Funny huh, I can do it now with 18? I didn't want to blog mostly because I cared too much about what others thought of me and I had to project the image that I was close to perfect and could handle anything. If I blogged then others would see that I wasn't so perfect or maybe very far from perfect, and life could get out of control way too often. If others saw that then I had to admit it too as well as open myself up for judgment. That was just too hard. I was so far from perfect. I had just come out of having 4 children 18 months and younger with 7 children 6 and younger and a total of 12 kids. NO ONE can be perfect in that situation! Heavenly Father was going to show me that I needed Him more than I thought and teach me more about the atonement.

I had no idea how much I had to learn. It seems the more I learn, the more I learn, I have yet to learn. OK, did you have to read that three times to make any sense? The number of children at basically the same stages of life had it's moments of trial. On top of that I also had a daughter that I now call "The Gardner Of My Soul". She has shown me the weeds in my heart that I didn't know I even had. I also had a child that broke anything he could get his hands on and then would laugh not because he was diabolical but because he truly thought it was the coolest thing he ever saw. This is the same child that broke his arm at 1 year and didn't cry. We only realized there was something wrong the next day because he wouldn't use his arm. Anyone that has had this issue knows there is far more to that behavior than meets the eye. I was under a lot of pressure from myself and I just couldn't keep up.

That is where the atonement comes in. I had to learn that I couldn't do all of this on my own. I could only give the best I had and come to terms that what I gave was my best even though some days I was a miserable failure. Even my worst day was the best I could give because I always had intentions to be better, to work harder and get just a little closer to Christ every day. I never gave up. But it just wasn't enough. I couldn't be perfect. I had to learn that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins of omission and commission. He knew I could not be the mom that I wanted to be nor the one that did everything perfect all the time. Somewhere he had to make up the difference. I learned about the principle of justification. I gave what I could and Christ made up the difference by healing the wounds that I caused or comforted when I couldn't and a myriad of other shortcomings that I had.

I guess in that process I began to learn that I didn't have to be perfect. With letting go of my imperfections I also learned that others don't expect me to be perfect. But mostly that my Father in Heaven doesn't expect perfection right now. He is teaching me as we go and He knows that I can not be a perfect mom to His children but He is OK with that. When I feel that others are possibly judging me then I look to God for His approval. I have had a lot of practice in that area. When you lead a life like mine you open yourself up to all kinds of judgment. Through our growth I developed a thicker skin and one day I realized that what others thought was not so important to me anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle but no where near as bad. When someone tells me that we have such great kids and we have done a good job I tell them. "If I take credit for the good behavior then I have to take credit for their bad choices too. These children are great because of who they are not because of us as parents."

So now that you have too much background I will get to the point of this post. I have debated over and over again if I was going to continue with this blog. After one very difficult experience with a commenter I was going to be done. I have had to get on my knees many times asking if I could quite the blog. I kept getting the same answer. I needed to keep going. That brings me to the past few days. Do I blog the way that I try to live my life? That is, being real. Or do I put up a bunch of cute pictures so people will fall in love with what they perceive my family is and gain a better attitude about big families and adoption? I have struggled with this one. I have come to the conclusion that I need to just be real and open up. I need to write about the struggle through the grief process. Write about the happy moments and the embarrassing things. Write about my children and our family life. About our testimonies of the Savior and the things we learn. Through it all I need to stay true to myself and be very real in hopes that our experience will touch someone that needs it. Knowing they are never alone on this big earth and that their Father in Heaven loves them too.

I now promise that I will do my best to show you who I really am. And maybe....I will come to discover who I really am in the process.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Things People Say

While in the hospital with Gideon I made a friend of another patient. This friend had her baby in November and has been in the hospital all but 10 days. This little baby had heterotaxy like Gideon and severe heart issues. Her only hope was a transplant and she was quickly deteriorating. She needed a transplant ASAP! The day Gideon died this little one was in the OR getting her new heart. What a miracle that she even got a heart. This mom and baby are 9 hours away from family and friends so they don't have much support.

I decided to go visit them because it was so good for me to have others come when I sat in the hospital. This past Wednesday was the day I could go because some of the kids were home from school so they could babysit. I couldn't sleep well that night because of the anxiety of going back to the hospital. I wavered back and forth that morning if I would go or not. I was sure this friend would understand if I didn't come. I gathered my courage and got ready to go. Just before I left I called to make sure my friend was there. I didn't want to go with that anxiety if she wasn't there. There was no answer so I postponed my trip.

Hannah and I went to visit on Friday. We also brought some rubber band bracelets to donate to the children. It was amazing the miracles that we experienced. Heavenly Father was very mindful of me and my needs. It was a great visit with some tough moments that were tempered by all the wonderful people we saw. Jen our Child Life Specialist was such a support for us. While visiting with my friend I was told that just that day the staff became concerned about possible rejection of her new heart. They were going to take the baby in for a heart cath and do a biopsy of the heart to see exactly what was happening.

Word came back that this baby was in severe rejection. Not good news. I messaged with my friend and asked if I could come and visit again today. I headed back up to the hospital late this morning. I couldn't let my friend go through this alone. It is so hard to sit in the hospital and watch all the sorrow and fear of others while dealing with your own pain and fear. We talked for quite a while and I got to visit with a couple of our nurses for Gideon.

One nurse was especially fond of Gideon. She must have been told I was there and came to say hello. We talked for a little while and she asked how I was doing. (If you talk to me in person you will get a watered down version of how we are compared to what I experience at times. I am doing very well considering my son just died 3 weeks ago and for 3 weeks before that we were profoundly worried about Gideon and sat in the hospital with him for 2 of those weeks. It has not been easy by any means but I'm not going to go around telling my sob story so someone can feel sorry for me. It doesn't get me or the other person anywhere. Besides, I have been greatly blessed to be doing so well and I choose to count my blessings.) So, on with the story. I wasn't quite sure what to say because I didn't want to downplay the seriousness of what we are going through but I also didn't feel like it was the right time or person to open up to. I told her we were doing pretty good and that I expected it to be much more difficult to function after the loss of Gideon.

Her response was interesting. She proceeded to tell me that she was sure that carrying a baby in your stomach for 9 months and having them for a few months is harder that having adopted a child and losing them to death. She went on in that way for a little bit and I tried to help her not feel so stupid just in case she realized what she had said, but she never did. I responded that I'm sure the longer you have a child (meaning bio or adopted) the more triggers you will have. No mention of the amount of grief. I felt positive toward this nurse but it stung a little. I always tell myself in those situations that people would never say something like that if they truly understood. It's just ignorance speaking.

Both of the nurses in the room left and my friend whispered that she could not believe what was just said. It would be like telling her that she doesn't love her step son. Yeah, I was normal for having those words sting.

Just to be very clear, NEVER SAY THAT THE BOND BETWEEN A BIO AND ADOPTED CHILD ARE DIFFERENT. They aren't! My child is my child no matter how they got here or how long I have had them.

P.S. I can't think of a good picture to go with this so if you have a good idea let me know. :

                             Suzy, a friend of mine came up with the perfect picture


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Just Have To Say

I just have to say. Whenever I get on the blog I am in awe of the size of our family. The family picture is almost a shock. How can this be one family? WOW!!! That is a crowd.

 Yet, living it is so different. Each person is an individual, and mine. It's just so odd to have the different feelings. Now you know I feel the same as you.

Oh, and the cute boy in the back with the pink or light red shirt and black glasses, he really doesn't look quite so nerdy in real life. :)

"How Are You Doing?"

I don't want our blog to be a place to dwell on the challenges of life but a place to document and share our experiences as a family. A place to bear testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and witness our own growth. We invite anyone along that would like to share with us. Right now we are surrounded by the passing of Gideon so it is much of what we think about, hence, what we write about. Hopefully, we can be honest and at some point help others to recognize their experiences and pain are normal and OK. These challenges in life are about perfecting us and drawing us all closer to God. No matter the road and what bumps and bruises we receive, we all have much the same emotional struggles and growth. Never sell yourself short and think that what you go through is any less difficult than someone else because if it really is less difficult just know you will be there one day. With this challenge of loss Doug and I have discovered that the death of a pure innocent child is in some ways easier to cope with than some other challenges life brings.

A few days we got some sad news. It was actually very difficult news for me to hear. A week after we brought Gideon home there was another little boy that was brought to the same Healing Home Gideon had been in. I had an immediate connection with this little boy and  wondered if there was a way we could possibly do one more child. I put those thoughts on hold because we weren't sure what our life would be like with Gideon's heart issues. Not too long later we raced to bring Scott home. At that point I decided to just follow the progress of the little boy they call Bran and let all things be in God's hands. When Gideon died we decided to donate money to a child at Love Without Boundaries in hopes of saving their life instead of buying flowers that fade away and die. We were going to make the donation for Bran knowing that he needed surgery immediately. (Bran had just gotten fully funded so we then donated to another precious little boy.) Bran was admitted to the hospital and was able to have his heart catheterization done. Word came back that the doctors thought Bran was inoperable. I felt like I was doing good emotionally that day but once the news came back that another pure little one was suffering the way our Gideon did and may not live a long life the grief set in as heavy as it ever had.

I was talking through it with Doug with a picture of Bran on the computer screen. Hyrum (6), Bria and Scott all heard and were interested in Bran and our conversation. Hyrum especially wanted some questions answered. So while I was still on the phone I helped Hyrum through this. Hyrum's last question came out a little more like an anxiety filled statement.

"He's gonna die by himself?!?!" With that my tears turned into a controlled sob and Doug choked up. No child should die alone. Bran deserves to be surrounded by his family. People that love him. A father to hold him for hours and a mother to rub his feet while he passes on to the next life. There are people working on options for surgery in other countries besides China but it is all up to the Lord. Many prayers are being said by us and others for this little boy.

I woke up the next day feeling much better but aware that the tide could turn at any moment. Hyrum and Bria were playing with a toy that was Gideon's. In a split second my thoughts came full circle. I wondered if I should take the toy away so my heart wouldn't hurt. Immediately, the thought came "Gideon was filled with joy and he wanted the children to be happy too. Let them play with his toys. It will make Gideon happy." All was well. I then walked into my closet and Gideon's white church shirt was hanging in front of me. I picked it up thinking of the times I had become sad with the thought that he would not be with me at church any more. This time, I didn't feel that. The thought spilled into my mind that I will have great joy raising Gideon when the Lord comes. I knew Gideon was with me. He was imparting of his peace to me. He wanted me to feel as he did, filled with happiness and anticipation for when we meet again in the flesh.

I had to go to Costco this morning. Last time was hard so I worried a little. Yes, it was still difficult but I didn't realize that until a little thing happened that put me in tears. The tears were not for what happened but for my Gideon. The grief is always there just waiting to get out. Sometimes I push it down so I can be a mother to the other kids, but over time I reach my emotional capacity. Signs come that tell me I have to grieve but I can't seem to let it out. I have to have something trigger the sorrow so I can cleanse my spirit. I decided to put on Pandora radio when I got home to help calm my soul. Not that I was doing too bad but I wanted to feel peace. The first song was "Be Still My Soul". We sang that at the funeral, great trigger Lord. After a while I noticed the play list was a little curious because it kept causing tears. Here is the list of songs; "Life and Death", "I Love To See theTemple", which we sang at the funeral, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again", "To Where You Are", about someone that is missing another that died. And the "Funeral Hymn". I guess Heavenly Father wanted me to purge. It worked. :)

Kind loving people ask how we are doing. That is really a hard question to answer. The grief is not as overwhelming as I expected but it's still painful and hard. We all have happy moments and feel peace no matter how sad we are. I don't seem to fake it as often as last week or the week before but I do have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and keep moving sometimes. I don't accomplish as much as I would like but that's ok. This too shall pass. I have allowed myself to slow down and feel the emotions. I just hope that when we navigate through this and get farther from the pain that none of us will ever draw farther away from God. Death is hard but the sweet moments of love, joy, peace, and knowledge are an immediate gift reminding us that we are loved and our Father in Heaven is never far.

I have a much stronger desire to be close to my Father in Heaven and serve with all my heart. I never want to lose that, but sadly, we are human and at some point the intensity will fade and we will once again have to fight our human nature to stay where we are spiritually. I guess that's why challenges are necessary for our growth.

The day after Gideon died no one really knew how to act.
We were all overcome with grief.
I walked into the kitchen mid day and Hannah (13) was drawing a picture.
Olivia (12) and Malia (7) took her lead and drew similar pictures.
I was just amazed that on such a sad day they could still see the sunshine.
I love Malia's picture on the right. She made a sun minion.
I had watched Despicable Me II with Gideon just a couple days
before but she didn't know it.

We had a friend bring balloons for the family for valentines day.
Hyrum can find joy in all things!!

Two different friends brought these statues.
The larger statue is titled
Child of my Heart
The saying on the box goes:
Child of the world,
Into my heart you came-
Bringing sun into my life,
Making family our name.
It still makes me teary to read.
We are going to make a stand with the mother and child in front
 and the angel in back.  A reminder of our gifts from God.

My sister and 4 of her children came to help us
just days after Gideon passed.
This is Chloe, my niece, Pierce (15) and Hannah (13)
 making lunch for the brood.
We don't make a sandwich for each
child because often they don't eat a whole
sandwich if it's peanut butter and jelly. So this was
not even a sandwich per person home.
This is an 8' counter filled almost end to end.
I was even amazed!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Our best effort"

As Deanne mentioned in her last post, we had a friend offer to make the casket for Gideon.  Here is that story...

Kevin Herd is a good freiend who has had a special connection with Gideon since we brought him home last year.  Not only is he a sensitive man who has been a great friend of our family, but as you can see by the photo with him and his wife, Melodee, he has a special place in his heart for the Asian culture. When I called Kevin the morning after Gideon passed away, he was very touched and immediately offered to make the casket.  This took me completely by surprise.  He is a good friend and I trusted his skills as a furniture builder, but he has been extremey busy with his own business. I told him we really appreciated such a tender offering from his heart, but didn't want to overburden him with such a huge sacrifice of his time.

He is a furniture builder by profession and owns Tanglewood Design in Salt Lake City.  He focuses on children's furniture and playhouses and I asked if he had ever made a casket before. When he said he hadn't, it made his offer even more meaningful to us.  He was willing to go through the process and spend the time to learn the intricacies of casket making for just one casket, Gideon's.  (I know how my projects go - the first time time always takes twice as long as the second time).  Melodee has vast experience as a seamstress so she did the fabric interior.  After it was done, I was afraid to ask how many hours he spent on it, and he never offered to tell me,  but he made sure we knew that it did not matter.  It was his offering to Gideon for a proper send off.  He said, "Gideon has a lot of work to do over there so I felt we needed to send him off with our best effort." Kevin showed that commitment and love through his craftmanship, and, I am sure, many late nights.

The first impression Deanne and I had after laying Gideon's body dressed in white in the casket was that he looked like an Asian Prince and should be laying in a royal museum.  It was interesting how many people expressed the same thought throughout the viewing.  He truly looked like royalty, and I guess he is in God's Royal Army now.  There was something special about that little boy and even his "empty" body laying in that beautiful casket touched people.  There was a peace surrounding his body and everyone felt it.  Thank you Kevin and Melodee.