Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Squeezed into the incredible excitement surrounding the adoption of Wyatt and Jubilee is one more little miracle I haven't gotten around to sharing yet.  Everything God does is big, though, and He deserves the glory for this special event, as well.

This story begins way back in 2008.  I graduated from UGA that Spring with a Master of Social Work.  At the time, we were smack in the middle of Riley's adoption and licensure was back-burnered until a more peaceful season could ebb its way onto Team Robinson's scene.  Y'all know that Riley is anything but peaceful and that season of our lives just hasn't ever ebbed in, so in March 2012, I filled out the licensure application, sent it on in and waited to hear something from the board.  

In April they sent me a little notice in the mail that my application was pending the results of my LMSW exam.  The words of my colleagues and professors quickly came to mind, "Take it right away, so it's fresh in your head."  Well, I didn't.  And in April 2012, it wasn't fresh in my head, so I did what I always do in situations where something isn't fresh in my head.  I put it off...all the way until April 2013.  I thought about that exam many times across and between those two Aprils.  I even signed up and paid for the exam, but between kids and work and adoption, I just didn't get around to studying for it.

I think in my mind I had already decided to just forget the whole licensure thing and reapply when things got a little quieter.  On Monday, two days before we left for China, the idea of forgetting it just didn't seem to sit well with me anymore.  I called the testing center to see if there was an opening, and there was - the next morning at 8:00, the day before we were scheduled to leave for China.  I booked the test and grabbed the study guide and vowed to study all night long and never procrastinate again.  (The pages of "The Procrastination Workbook" are floating around in my mind right now.  It is, after all, mid-June and I've finally gotten around to writing this!)

Tuesday morning arrived and I drove down to Macon, hoping and praying to pass the exam.  I prayed God would open the deep recesses of my brain and pour out the contents, and He did.  My tears of gratitude must not have looked happy because the moderator consoled me as I left and said I could always try again. I tried to explain to her how this was not possible, that God had performed a miracle, but I think I might have just scared her and made her think I was crazy.  The adrenaline from that moment was amazing!

Glory to God, I passed the exam!  Notification of my licensure arrived as we were halfway to China. I remember feeling like I wouldn't know what to do with one more piece of good news.  God's blessings are bountiful indeed!  

As far as the license goes, I have no idea what I will do with it.  I might just be a licensed wife and mother with 9 children who loves the Lord and caring for orphans though a ministry called Lifeline.  I think I'll back-burner any more excitement until a more peaceful season ebbs it's way onto Team Robinson's scene! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rolling through the milestones

When Jubilee was placed into our arms one month ago today, we really didn't know what to expect in regards to her development.  Some children are very delayed, while others are right on target.  

Baby girl was 14 months and a few days old, but she seemed to act more like an 8 months old.  We took her back to the hotel and tried to put her down to see what she could do.  She wouldn't have anything to do with that!

Our little princess was traumatized, and it was three days before we could even try to put her down on the floor again. On day three Jubilee showed us that she could indeed sit up, and on day five she crawled - painfully slow, but crawl she did!

In the three weeks we've been home, she's been flying through the milestones.  First it was crawling and then a few days later she was pulling up onto her knees.  Next, she was pulling herself to standing on anything and everything stationary.  Just like most babies when they first pull to standing, she couldn't figure out how to get down and fell a few times before learning to sit softly.  Now that's old hat to her, too!  She's gone from only drinking bottles of milk and eating rice cereal to chowing down on whatever the rest of Team Robinson is eating.  Today, my little princess pulled herself up on a booster seat sitting on the floor and it scooted slowly forward.  Her tiny feet followed and within minutes it was a new mode of transportation.  Now she's cruising around the furniture in the family room.

SLOW DOWN, ALREADY! It's going by too fast!!

Thank you, Lord, for this precious little girl!

Confessions of a cocooning mother

Team Robinson has cabin fever, and let me tell you why!  After an adoption it is recommended that a family cocoon at home for a good long while to help the new family jell.  It's always a plus for the new kiddos to be able to pick their parents out of a lineup before heading out into the great big world.  It's also a good idea to limit the number of visitors and avoid passing the younguns from one to another until their little heads have had time to make sense of this whole new world.

Bonding and attachment in adoption looks different for every child and family.  There's no one right way to do things and no one method that works the same for every family.  That being said, it is my experience (and it's backed up by lots of research and 7 adoptions) that staying home, keeping visitors to a minimum and taking time to focus on activities that facilitate bonding and attachment are effective ways to speed along a child's adjustment to the new family.

All that said, WE'RE GOING NUTS HERE!  (And we've even been cocooning cheaters)!    I'll get to the cheating later, but I must clarify that the babies are doing fabulously.  The kids are all getting along as well as kids get along.  We have a great routine and Team Robinson seems as happy as crickets in summertime.  We are just going nuts because it's summertime and my peeps wanna go places!

Y'all know the ministry that God worked through to bring our kiddos home is wonderful, right?  I'm not just saying that because I work with the Georgia team either.  Not only was our adoption experience wonderful with Lifeline, but they have in place a post-adoption team that prays for and with families and is there for us through this time.  They've spent countless hours researching, preparing training materials and providing families with tools and encouragement after an adoption.  The team is committed to stretching and growing to meet the needs of families that have answered the call to care for children through adoption.  We have been so appreciative of the love, wisdom and encouragement they've extended toward us as we prepared to travel and since we've returned home.  What we've learned about attachment and bonding over the past 10 years, through all of our adoptions and since I've joined the Lifeline team, have positively impacted Wyatt and Jubilee's transition into our family.  It was like a dream, really, and we are so thankful!

As much as we miss our church family, play days  with friends, adventures at the park, and the food that comes from shopping excursions, more than anything in the world we want our kiddos to know the love and security of a mother and a father and the joy that comes from finding their place in the family.  We want the hand of God to extend through us to our young ones, reaching them with healing and restoration, transforming them into sons and daughters.  This takes time, and we know the time spent will yield a fruitful reward in the months and years to come.

I hate to let my Lifeline team down, but it's time for the confessions.  I gotta be real, folks.  I don't want you out there thinking we have some special ticket to cocooning sanity.  Here goes.  I cheat.  There it is.  You now know.  I'm a cocooning cheater, and here's my story.

Confessions of a cocooning mother:

We've been to Don Chuchos TWICE.

It was the tacos, okay.  They were calling us.  Truthfully, Team Robinson can hardly go a week without eating Mexican food.  Thanks to Tekila's, we even got to have our weekly Mexican night while in China.  I tried to resist but it was just no use.  We gave in to the pressure and packed up the van and drove the 45 miles it took to get there on two occasions.  And we ate our tacos.  And we're not even sorry!

We had company THRICE.

I hadn't seen my mommy and daddy in weeks, okay!!  They had one of our children, y'all; they had to bring her back.  (They were also in on our first taco run to Don Chuchos, so it's partly their fault we cheated anyway).

My organizer extraordinaire came over to finish up a few things she was doing at our house while we were gone. She must've had some coaching, though, because she followed all the rules for visitors as if they were posted.  She didn't even try to hold a baby, and that had to be pretty hard because our babies are the cutest, cuddliest in the world!

It's tough to cocoon on Memorial Day....and we didn't!!  We were having cousin withdrawals so some cousins drove down to see us.  They brought with them a super fun slip and slide and the kids all had a great time playing in the yard.

We took a trip.

Last weekend we roadtripped to SC for a wedding, and I'm so glad we didn't miss it.  Dean's sister Christine and her husband George were joined together in holy matrimony in a service that glorified the Lord beautifully.  We are so happy for the precious couple!  We were further blessed by Team Rylands, who scooted over their stuff and their children and made room for Team Robinson.  They fed us, loved us, took us swimming and encouraged us on our journey SO much. The whole weekend was worth the guilt that I'm sure we'll feel coming on real soon.

That's it.  The whole story.  It's all out there.  So what are two cocooning cheaters to do now?  Well, it's like a healthy lifestyle.  You cheat and then you return to what you know is good for your family and your children, and you try, try again.  It's been three days since our last taco run.  I'm starting to feel the pull of the highway, the need for some fellowship, the faces of loved ones.  If y'all see me with my head hanging out the window and my hair blowing in the wind, just pray for us 'cause cabin fever is no joke!

 If you've been there, done that - help Team Robinson out with some ideas to get through this time.

Amazing Love


  1. Causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.
  2. Startlingly impressive.

I use the word "amazing" a lot, much too often and without proper context most of the time. 

For instance, it's probably not an occasion worthy of an "AMAZING!!" outburst when Blake whips up the most fantastic feast of fried pickles, but still my lips exclaim, "These pickles are amazing, man!" (And to give credit where credit is due, they are indeed the best I've ever had.)

Likewise, it's pretty exciting when we discover that the light is still on at the Dairy Queen when we drive out of the Piggy Wiggly parking lot empty handed and craving Turtle Tracks...but is it really AMAZING?

The past three weeks have been a blur for me.  Some might say that it's the jet lag or sleepless nights.  Others might say it's the adjustment to having two new children, babies even. I'm here to tell you that I'm certain that it's something more that's got me walking around like I'm in a fog. 

It's AWE!  That's what it is!

Have you ever experienced something so AMAZING that you were rendered speechless and fuzzy-headed for days on end?  Well, I have.  It's actually taken me three weeks to take my journaled thoughts from the night we arrived home and put them together into a post coherent enough for anyone to read.  Experiencing the display of God's glory up close and personal has truly been AMAZING.  

Are you tired of me capitalizing that word yet?

I could just change the font for you:  amazing, italicize it: amazing, or maybe change the color:  amazing, but nothing gets the point across as well as all caps.

Enough of the babble, already!  I've got a story to tell, and I know you will join me in exclaiming that God's love is truly AMAZING!!

Journal entry:  May 19
Watching God move on the hearts of His people and experiencing the amazing provision we needed to bring home Wyatt and Jubilee was just the beginning.  Each of our 18 days in China were amazing in new ways.  We fell asleep each night counting our blessings and praising Him for the amazing things He had done.  Again tonight, we fall asleep bewildered by His amazing love and counting plentiful blessings once again.

The drive home from the airport took nearly 2 hours.  After 27 hours of traveling, we were beyond tired, but the site that welcomed us when we pulled in the driveway put a little pep in our step. Just walking through the door left us wide awake again.  It's after 3:00 and our kiddos just went to bed!  

I can't believe our kids kept this secret for so long.  We talked to them almost every day in China!! While we were away our beautiful friends and church family were hard at work here at our house.  The whole place has been cleaned from top to bottom.I almost hate for my little mess-makers to get up in the morning!! I hear one precious friend deserves a extra round of applause.  She loved us enough to even tackle the teen boys toilet!!!

Not only is our house clean, but clearly an organizer extrordinaire has been here!  Our adoptions in 2009/2010 and this year have taken priority over the home remodel that's been going on for the past several years, and we've learned to just deal with the whole "unfinished" look of things.  Tonight, God blessed us with years worth of to-do list items checked off!  

The laundry room has been made over.  I wish I had a before picture to show you because seeing the finished product makes me weep with gratitude.  Our laundry basket stackers have been painted.  There are new cabinets on the wall.  There's a new folding table with labeled hampers underneath and hooks for all the stuff that needs hanging.  Calendars are on the wall to keep up with all the happenings and deadlines. I absolutely LOVE it!

The blessing crew switched around two bedrooms to better suit the needs of our girls, so both our older girls and younger girls got new bedrooms and makeovers.  The big girls have a new look and are loving their new digs.

The little girls' room is sporting a new crib, a new set of bunk beds and organization that has them telling me where everything goes.

Our little boys have new sheets and comforters, and hangers and hooks for all their stuff.  A place for everything and everything in it's place. It's even labeled! 

Our hall bathroom has hooks for towels, new cabinet doors and a beautiful curtain to hide the stuff beneath the cabinets.

In mine and Dean's room, the crib is set up and sporting a new bumper in the sitting area of our room for Jubilee and the desk turned changing table has a new changing pad and cover and wipes and diapers aplenty. There are room darkening shades on the window that will hopefully help our little princess sleep past dawn. The bathroom has new mirrors and new doors on the cabinet over the toilet.  Thank you!  The longest bathroom remodel in history has had me using a teeny tiny mirror for over 3 years!

The front porch has been spruced up with pine straw, new pillows on the chairs and a beautiful wreath on the door.

As if all of that is not enough, the story just keeps getting better.  Some of our manly friends came over and worked in the yard - bush-hoggin', pine strawin', tree choppin'...the whole nine yards! The kids can make it all the way down to the pond without risking life and limb now, which makes this mama one happy chica!

I could go on and on, but I've only got time to share one more.  It's the schoolroom.  Our friends redecorated and organized our schoolroom!!! Slipcovers are dyed a darker denim. Furniture is painted.  There's a new table and chairs and bookcases.  The bookshelves and school closet are organized and ready for this mama to finish up the school year with seven pupils that were probably hoping to just call it a year and start again in the fall.  

God's love is AMAZING, folks.  We are so thankful.  Thank you so much for loving on us! Actually, thankful isn't even a strong enough word.  I need to capitalize, italicize, fonticize and color it up - THANKFUL!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One month with Wyatt

One month ago today we welcomed Wyatt to Team Robinson.  He wasn't so happy to be our number one draft pick, at least not right away.

The van hadn't made it out of the Civil Affairs parking lot before we discovered that Wyatt loved music.

Within hours his sweet, funny, loving little personality began to peek through the sadness and we saw our first smiles.

The past month has flown by and Wyatt has blossomed more and more each day.

We grow more and more in LOVE with this boy every second!

One of are our more difficult struggles with Wyatt has been communication.  Wyatt is not concerned one bit about it, but I'm eager to be able to converse!  Wyatt has abnormal hearing, and we don't think he can hear much of what we say.  We do know that he can hear his name if we call out loudly, and he stops when I call out the word "stop". We don't know the quality of the sounds he can hear, though.  We know he doesn't respond to a cowbell ringing, but he does turn his head when we clap our hands loudly or bang our hands on a table.  He has a hearing aid, but every time I put it on his head, he sails it across the room.  The joker's probably expensive to replace, so I just put it away for awhile.

Crazy funny story:  we were eating dinner and Wyatt was slapping his hand on the table over and over again.  Dean signed "wait" and Wyatt swung his head to the left, away from Daddy.  I thought, "Hmmm, that's interesting.  It's almost like he didn't want to see what Daddy had to say."  Dean gently pulled his chin back around to look at him and Wyatt rolled his eyes as far to the left as he could, refusing to make eye contact.  Oh yeah, baby boy is choosing not to see what Daddy has to say.  Next, Dean put himself in Wyatt's line of vision, and what did he do?  Why, he snapped his little peepers shut, just like that!  I guess it's like hearing kids putting their fingers in their ears. Now, if baby boy doesn't like what you have to say, he looks up at your face, sweet as pie and all attentive like, and closes his gorgeous brown eyes.  Hmmmm....now, what's a mom to do with that?

Happy one month home, Wyatt!