Category: Family

Hudson has a family!

I fell asleep last night, phone in hand, with full intentions to wait up for the moment pictures were posted of Hudson (aka Apu) meeting his parents. Our household has been a flurry of back to school madness and today was our first day! It was Hannah’s first day of kindergarten and Eli’s first day of second day. So emotions were already high! Thanks to the kindness of my beloved Obie Nugget (who must always take his longest jaunt outside during middle of the night hours), I did wake up a little after midnight and saw that sweet boy in the arms of his mama and baba. I gave Eli the same bleary eyed wake-up call a few hours later. He held the phone as close as he could, studying his worlds colliding-our friends, Meghan and Chuck, holding Apu-now Hudson- in the same room we met Eli a little over a year ago.

As we got ready for the first day of school, Eli chattered about his wish to play baseball with Hudson, eat sushi together, and show him his room (the essentials in life). We walked our friend Kayleigh out to the bus and my phone lit up with a Facetime attempt. When the line connected, it was pure magic. Eli and Hudson stared at each other waving and I could hear Hudson repeating Eli’s Chinese name Dang Qien, Dang Qien, Dang Qien! Over and over. Eli waved saying, “Apu Apu!!!! Wo Ai Ni! (I love you)”


There are so many mornings that I wake up and read about something horrible that has happened in this world. These stories stick with me-so much so that I often feel compelled to later torture Adam with them after we’ve endured our own hard enough days out in this world.

Today was the complete and polar opposite. For all the times you wonder, HOW could this happen?! today’s events are no less momentous. All of the details that fell into place for today to come true are truly a miracle:

Even though Hudson is 5, his file was only created three months before we brought Eli home. Without a file, we’d have had no way to find the little boy Eli missed so much.

Even that missing is incredible. Eli didn’t only grieve the loss of Apu in HIS life but he wanted him to experience what he had….a family. Each and every day, we are still working to catch up on things that weren’t taught/weren’t learned from Eli’s years of waiting. The connection and consistency that Eli expresses when he talks about Apu has given me hope that those seeds are there…we just need to keep watering them with love.

When Becky (here’s her blog)-another adoptive mama I’m so thankful to have as a mentor-helped me find Apu’s file, I dreamed of a day I could tell Eli that someone adopted his friend. When Meghan told me that she and Chuck were taking the plunge, we dreamed bigger. Eli and Hudson could be together again-to laugh, to play, and to grow up-each with their own families and soft places to fall during hard times.

The details that make any adoption a reality-especially at a relatively fast pace-are also no small feat.

I believe that where there is great love there are miracles. Today is one of those miracle days and I’m so thankful and so honored that I get to live it.


Happy 8th Birthday Eli!

It’s F-I-N-A-L-L-Y here! Eli’s birthday is tomorrow and it’s a day he’s been waiting for, counting down to, and asking about almost daily since his very first few weeks home. And now-it’s here!

Birthdays in the adoption community are yet another reminder of what most of us take for granted. Not just the cake, the presents, or the parties……but even the very day itself. Eli’s birth date is an estimation. All children who are found are given an estimated age. To simplify records, everyone is assigned a birthday on the 1st of the month.

In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself wondering:

“Was today the day Eli was really born 8 years ago?”

“Was it even 8 years?”

I’ve wondered about what it must have been like for his mother-whether she realized right away that Eli had a disability or whether she realized only months later. I’ve wondered if her heart is heavy as the snow melts and spring blooms. If I could, I would show her this video. I didn’t make it for her….I made it for Eli-who has watched Hannah’s birthday video so many times that he’s memorized it. I’d want his birth mother to see how much he’s grown, how much he’s learned, and most of all….how happy he is.

Happy Birthday, Eli! You are so very, very loved!


Sharing a past, sharing a future: Apu’s next chapter

Twenty-five Sundays ago, I shared a story about the other little boy at our table.


Tonight-I share the beautiful next chapter for this little boy!

When I shared our family’s wish that Apu would be adopted, the best outcome I’d imagined was learning that Apu had been adopted. I didn’t know if I’d ever even find out the identity of his family. I didn’t know we’d be able to give Eli any details about Apu’s life since they last said goodbye. I simply hoped that I could tell Eli that because he carried such a big and heavy love for his friend across an ocean into a whole new world that his friend, too, would have a chance at everything Eli worried he was missing. I’m so proud of my sweet boy. While there are so, so many ways that Eli is completely different than those first few days and weeks, his sensitive, loving, and thoughtful personality has remained the same.

The reality of the next chapter is even better than we could have dreamed!  Meghan, a co-worker and now a friend, started the process to adopt Apu (soon-to-be Hudson) a few months ago. They now await their Letter of Approval and hope to travel to China to bring home Apu AND his little brother some time this summer/early fall. One of my all-time favorite parts of the adoption journey has been watching the relationship between Hannah and Eli bloom. Hannah’s been an incredible teacher, protector, playmate, and friend. Eli is patient with her 4-year-old moments and he lives for weekends when they can camp out together. I’m so happy that Apu will also have sibling and I can’t wait to see these four together.

Our family has felt so thankful at each and every step in our journey. From the professionals that helped us navigate the adoption process as two parents with disabilities to the countless people who prayed, donated, and supported Eli’s journey home. Our gratitude now encircles two amazing parents who not only will welcome home two boys but who will also give our son a precious connection to his past. We have no other concrete knowledge of Eli’s past. I’ve spent nights wishing for a note, something left behind with him, or even a “real” birth date. This gift of a connection is so much more powerful. Apu and Eli share a past and can now share a future. 

To celebrate this incredible story, our friend Eric Smith made a video (that we’ve watched no less than 50 times!):

To follow Meghan and Chuck’s journey to Hudson (Apu) and his little brother Chase, visit their blog:

There are several options to support Meghan and Chuck and a new one that we’ll be announcing soon! Stay tuned!




Celebrating Eli Shower Style

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so many loving and supportive people who-from the very beginning-have helped us roll Eli home. Before the complete craze of packing takes over our household, I wanted to reflect on a few recent adoption celebrations. The most recent being TODAY! My co-workers and supervisors threw me a surprise adoption shower during our staff meeting! I’m not the easiest person to surprise (or so I’ve been told) but it was so much fun to be completely caught off guard. In addition to the kind words, sweet gifts, and assurances that my recent fear a bird will fly int our plane engine is really irrational, I’m thankful that my co-workers and so many friends and family share our excitement. Prior to embarking on our journey, I naively believed that everyone thought adoption was as awesome as I always have. Everyone doesn’t. It makes me appreciate those that do all the more!

Here’s a picture from our Under the Sea themed shower at UC UCEDD (Shameless plug to LIKE our Facebook to find our more about our work for and with people with disabilities):
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I didn’t blog about it at the time, but my family also threw me a shower in early spring. With a combination of gifts and amazing gently used cloths from so many, many cousins, Eli’s drawers are full! In a couple weeks, we’ll know what actually fits but he’s off to a great start. Here are a few pictures from our family shower.
My mom made a picture book for Eli:
For our super hero:
Mernie the Great is excited to become a great-grandmother for the FOURTH time!

And last but not least-we’re celebrating our almost-the-end-of-the-road by sharing our story! We were featured this week in the Cincinnati Enquirer. If you missed it, here’s the link:

As you can see, Hannah was pretty amused with her press coverage:
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Just 10 days until we leave!
The countdown is on!

That Sister, That Dad, That Family

It’s been a big week for our family-big emotions and big milestones.

We’ve celebrated Hannah’s 4th birthday.

We’ve laid to rest my Aunt Anne.

And today-we celebrate Father’s Day.

And through everything, there’s the waiting….waiting to be released from this nearly year-long wait to go pick up Eli and bring him home.

In good times, it’s sometimes hard to accept that Eli’s missed another moment with our family. His sister’s birthday party was so much fun. It was a turtle-tastic, cousin/friend-filled day of bouncing, mutagen-making in misting rain, and a 4-year-old who is already so proud to be Eli’s sister. As we’ve prepared his room, Hannah helped to carefully set up his toys. She’ll occasionally borrow something but it’s almost always right back where she found it. She’s excited for him to sit next to her in the van and she talks with such pride about her brother in China. Eli’s got quite a sister waiting!


And today-we celebrate the father Eli has waiting. I always knew Adam would be an amazing father but he’s exceeded even this idealist’s greatest hopes. Our house laughs alot. Plays alot. And works hard. Adam never backs down to a challenge-whether it be Hannah’s birds’ nest of a hair most mornings before he takes her to school or her more dramatic not-so-pleasant moments that require all hands on deck. I’m so thankful to share this adventure with my best friend. I can’t wait to see him in his element with Eli.

And then there’s the family Eli has waiting. We are so fortunate to be so loved. Eli’s cousins sometimes bring up where he’ll fall in their ages and what it will be like to have him join their fun. His aunts and uncles ask about our progress and his updates. His grandparents have been learning about China and are ready to expand their grandkid fleet. His Mamaw and Papaw will even be joining us on the journey to bring Eli home!

From across the world, he’s loved by many. And one of those many was my Aunt Anne. She was so excited about our new addition. I last saw her at my family’s adoption shower this spring. She didn’t feel well but she was there. At our sometimes loud, boistrous family gatherings, my Aunt Anne has always found a moment to talk with just me. As a little one sometimes in casts, I remember our chats when most of the kids in my family were outside or downstairs (which is the equivalent to the top of Mt. Everest when you’re in a cast). She kept up with my school, my swimming, what I was reading…and just me. She was a thoughtful, strong, and loving woman. We’ll all miss her. I’m sorry she won’t get to meet Eli but he’ll know the love she’s cultivated in our family.

We’re hoping for a slightly less eventful week with just ONE major milestone-travel approval!


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