Tuesday, November 22, 2016


This is a week for reflecting on things we are thankful for.  I have many.  Today we received news that I am not so thankful for however.  Today Thad and 11 of his coworkers were laid off from their jobs.  That's not even the hardest part - the hardest part is that they were only given 5 days severance.  In 5 days we will be without income and without health insurance.  It's a pretty tough way to start the holidays.
I am so thankful.  The number of friends who are praying for our family is amazing to me.  I am just so grateful for everyone who is thinking of us and praying for us.
I am thankful for my family.  My wonderful, loving, exhausting family!
I am thankful for the knowledge that God has a plan.  Thad and I have faced many hardships in our marriage.  Things haven't always been easy but God has always guided and taken care of us.
I am thankful for the fact we adopted Ariya.
I am way past due for an update on how she is doing.

She is amazing.  She is challenging.  She is loving.  She is one of the family.  Ariya is worth all of the effort she requires!  She loves us and she loves her siblings.  She loves animals and to be outside.  She has many issues that come with being institutionalized for such a long time but the fact that she can even give and accept love it amazing.  The fact that she has joy inside shocks me.
Ariya has never in her life attended school.  No one has taught her the alphabet, colors, numbers.  She is 12 yrs. old and does not know how to write her letters, she does not know how to count, she can not read.  After Christmas she will be attending school for the first time!  I'm pretty nervous about it!  She still has little knowledge of personal boundaries.  She is defiant and loud and strong willed!  I hope they are ready!  She wants to go - she asks to go when her sisters go.  I can't wait to see what she'll learn.  She is so incredibly smart!
Ariya and I had the opportunity to go on the Buddy Cruise.  What a great experience it was to meet so many other families touched by someone with Down Syndrome.  I met amazing people.  I highly recommend this!
While we were gone we were able to meet up with another family who adopted using Reece's Rainbow.  They adopted a little boy that was in the same orphanage with Ariya before she was transferred.  I did not tell her who we were going to be seeing.  I wanted a genuine reaction - after all, it had been at least a year since she's seen him.  Maybe she wouldn't remember.  Maybe she wouldn't care.  Maybe she would react badly.  THIS is their initial reaction.
Not only did she remember him but she clearly cares very deeply for him.  Don't let anyone tell you that individuals with down syndrome don't have feelings.  Orphanage life is tough.  The loss these kids feel is real and deep.  
I am so thankful that my eyes have been opened to both the world of special needs as well as adoption.  
One more video of my little dancing queen!  She is crazy!

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers during this journey we are on.  They are felt and appreciated.  


  1. Oh my. Sorry for the job loss. Hopefully it will not be for long. Great pictures and videos.

  2. Lots of prayers for your family!
    I know from experience how scary a lay off can be but in the end it turned out to be so much better!

  3. I am so sorry about Thad's job loss...and we will be praying! But so grateful to see pictures of Ariya thriving in your loving family. God is so good.

  4. Just wanted to wish you a blessed Christmas!