Thursday, December 4, 2014


We are DTC today!!  

DTC means "Dossier to China" basically our file is being uploaded to China's system today! The packet of paper that we have so lovingly worked on these past 10 months is being put to use today...very good use!

Now it seems really really REAL!

Our next milestone is LID- Log In Date.  Our social worker said she would call us for that one so my phone will be glued to me......if I can keep it away from my kids and their constant melting carbonite notifications!

Also, I put a timeline on the right hand side for all to follow.
Thank you for all of the prayers and keep em comin'!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Embracing 35....

*I have to first note that I have been "working " on this post for a while and have not had the courage to post it until now. So please forgive me if some of the timing sounds off- I have gone back to proof but may have missed somethings.

A few months ago at church I watched as 2 teenagers were baptized.  It was amazing and brought me to tears.  Tears of happiness that as such an young age, they "get it!"
It also brought me to tears for myself....mourning for the younger girl that I once was.

In one of my last blog posts I touched on my time with depression that started in my high school years and continued to "stalk" me through early adulthood. I often find myself thinking about that time in my life and mourning the person that I could be today had I not gone through that time in my life.  Don't get me wrong, I am 99.9% satisfied with where I am today:)  It's just hard not to think about who I could have become or how my life would have been different if I were to "get it" early on in life.

I recently started training to become a mentor at the church we attend.  I went into this training thinking, "OK, I've got this!"  My life is messy, my past is messier and here I am working to turn that mess into something good.  Little did I know, part of this training was to reflect on our past experiences and mentor each other through the curriculum.  The most recent time that I reflected on was 2008 & 2009 where I delivered Avery & Grace stillborn (at 5.5 mos. pregnant), suffered a miscarriage at 13 weeks and then delivered Braxton, who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida.

To label that year as overwhelming is a true understatement. As I have told you before, that year was dark and I had NO idea how to navigate my feelings those years. I was certainly not relying on God in those moments. I was relying on myself.  To be honest, I was angry with Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.  I was reacting to these circumstances how I had always reacted.....MY WAY..... because that is all I knew to do.

The day that we recieved Braxton's diagnosis I had 2 roads sitting in front of go absolutely crazy about all that had happened and continue my life in anger, sadness, regret & selfishness OR...
I could realize that I was broken and that I was ready to trust in God's plan for me and trust that is was a good plan. I wanted Him in my life more at that moment than I had ever wanted him before.

Looking at Braxton, the choice was very clear.  I wanted God's plan for me, for him and for our family.  I wanted HOPE, LOVE & PEACE and that is the direction our family has been going for the past 5+ years.

And it has been amazing.

Sure we have our ups and downs and we, by no means, have a "Perfect Life."  I am, by no means, the "Perfect Mom" or the "Perfect Wife", although Facebook may tell you different:)
We struggle.....sometimes daily.
And that is OK because this is who we are!
But I can tell you this, our commitment to each other as a family through Christ has brought a level of peace in our house that can never be replaced. As I have been told by others, it has brought a gracious dynamic that you can see in Brett and I as a couple and throughout our kid's spirits.

And here we are, our tenth year as a family.
And here I am......35 today.

If I could speak to that teenage-twenty-something Kelli......

I wish that I could hug her and speak truth to her.
I wish she would of known that she didn't have to be tough and independent to survive.
I wish she would of known that she was of value and is lovable.
I wish she would have respected herself.....emotionally, spiritually & physically.
I wish she would have known that she didn't have to be the one in control.
I wish she would have known that emotions do not represent truth.
I wish she would have known that she does measure up.
I wish she would have known that God was not punishing her for her sins.
I wish she would have known that she could be happy, no matter what her circumstances are.

And while it is sad that this is who I mourn for, it is unbelievably freeing to be rid of these false beliefs. It is peaceful.

I am still a mess and have mess in me.
But it is ME.
It is REAL.
It is TRUTH.

And I now know truth.
I now know that I don't have to be tough and independent to survive.
I now know that I am of value and am lovable.
I now respect myself.......emotionally, spiritually & physically.
I now know that I am not in control....and am more than happy to hand that over to God.
I now know that emotions are not truth, they are just simply emotions.
I now know that I will always measure up.
I now know that I am not being punished, as we all have trials in our lives.
I now know that it is my choice to be happy or not with my circumstances.

This is who I am and I am proud to own it because I am worth it.
I am of value.
I am loved.
I am loved by God and that is sufficient for me.

photo by Channah M.

Who would have thought 35 would feel so good????

xo- Kelli

Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm not one for signs, but........

Whenever there is a bit of doubt entering my mind about this adoption, God has shown to me that we are on the right path. 

To be honest with you, we have had some rough parenting moments lately and there are times where we are in the midst of a tough situation where my mind starts to think......

What are we going to do with 3 kids??? 
Can we handle this???
Maybe our plates are just too full right now!!!

Sometimes the obedience is hard to swallow when I am to busy selfishly second guessing my decisions. And then God appears and shows me how wrong I really am.

This morning I was in line at the Immigration Office waiting to get my Biometric fingerprints done. The lady in front of me was trying to strike up a conversation with Wyatt and noticed my paperwork. She proceeded to tell me that she was adopted.  She said she often thinks of her parents as the bravest people she knows. To take her as an abandoned child and give her unconditional love is just an amazing thing that has forever changed her life. And then she gracefully touched my arm and said, 

"This is a good thing that you are doing, and don't ever let the tough parts allow for doubt to creep in.  God bless you and your family." 

I stood there, tears welled in my eyes, barely able to speak a simple thank you as she proceeded to walk away to her appointment.

And that is it.

That is all I needed to push the doubt aside and know that we are on the right path to grow our family.

Trust in the lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all that you do and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Family of 5 Update!

Just wanted to give you all an update on where we are at with the adoption process.  As you know, our home-study was completed in May.  We ran into a few hiccups getting our home-study report written with needing some additional documents.

You see, each country has their own specific requirements when you are adopting internationally.  One of China's biggest requirements is to ensure that each parent is mentally healthy. To be honest with you all, which I am because if you have met me I am sure I have shared some parts of my life with you and they are always funny even if they are supposed to be sad.....and what I am about to share with you may not be shocking news to some but still sensitive to
(whoa run-on nervous writing there that I won't delete)

I divert again!

Ok, to be honest with you, I have depression in my history. (phew! There, I said it) It brings me to tears to think of the sad girl/woman that I used to be and what low value I had placed on myself. I was diagnosed with depression in 1998 yet I have been depression free & medication fee since 2004. Because of my past diagnosis and since I have had what they are calling traumatic/tragic experiences happen in the past few years, I had to get a psychological clearance on my mental health.

Oh you think easy, just call a doctor and get it cleared.....not so much.

When I first starting researching, I could not find a doctor to do this for me b/c I was not an existing patient. Then when I did find one, they would want to see me for a minimum of 5-10 visits to "get to know me.".......uhhhh, can we see the money falling out of my wallet as we speak!!!!  So one night, I was truly frustrated and just got on Google and then wrote out a mass email to about 20 doctors and prayed about the situation as I went to bed that night.  The next morning I check my doc replied back.  He said that he is an adoptive parent and would love to help me!  Ahhhhh, can we say God send!!!  So he was able to get me in the next day and turned around my report in about 24 hours.  He was awesome!
One question that he did ask me was that with all that I had been through what made me want to get out of my depression....what was it that worked for me?

That is a question I had never been asked before.

I simply told him, "I found the want and need for a relationship with Jesus Christ....."
It is that simple.

I have learned that it is ok to be sad....that is a normal human emotion. I also learned that it is healthy to grieve and once you grieve you  have a choice to be happy. It is your choice to move on and that timeframe may look differently on everyone.  I remember after the twins died sitting in a therapist office, crying my eyes out and she suggesting that I go to my doctor to get put on medication.  I was like, are YOU crazy???  What sane person would NOT be crying with the immense loss I had just experienced.

I took the time to grieve, prayed my little heart out, then stepped out of my darkness and trusted Him with my story. His perfect story for me....

Again, diverting....I could talk about my experiences forever and the clarity that I now have.......

SO, now that my head was cleared we could move on to our I800A application which is our application to US Immigration to adopt internationally.  That application was pretty easy to fill out until it came to the "Have you ever been sited with a violation, other than traffic" question......yikes!

Let me just start off by saying this is a great lesson to be learned for all your kids out there that EVERYTHING comes back to haunt you!  So please share this story with your youngins....

You see, in 1998, I was tailgating at a UL football game with friends and received a ticket, I repeat TICKET.....not arrested......a ticket for drinking under age.  My choices at the time were to either pay the fine or I could complete a program offered that would then have the ticket expunged off my record.  This program involved community service, riding in an ambulance for a night, attending an alcohol awareness class and then writing a report on what I learned.  I, of course, chose the program that would have this removed from my record. Fast forward 16 years where I am in my first interview with our Social Worker and she asked me if I have ever received a citation, other than a traffic violation.  We knew that this would probably come up again.  I needed to write a statement and sign "under penalty of perjury" giving a detailed explanation of what happened, what I did to resolve it and what lessons I learned.  But once I started to fill out my I800A, I knew there was going to be more detail to this.  So one day I started the phone calls on how to get documentation proving that this was no longer on my record.  I was bounced around from department to department and person to person trying to find someone to help me.  They either couldn't find it on my record (because it had been expunged) or wouldn't give me information over the phone and wanted to see me in person....uhhhh, no....I live in Georgia!

i finally got in touch with a sweet soul filled with all sorts of patience who let me ramble on about my story and need for this document.  In her sweet lil cajun voice (my fav) she said, "Aww cher, I'll help you sweetheart!"  She put me in touch with the department that I completed the program with and they were able to find my records.  They were so sweet to write a letter stating that I had completed the program in 1998 and that the the charge, in fact, was expunged from my record.  Can I get an AMEN!

So all comes back to haunt you!

All documents were collected and signed and our I800A was sent to our social worker this week....woot woot:)

So now our next step it to get our Dossier (fancy word for paper packet) ready to send to China.  Once the immigration approval is back we will insert that document and all of our "hard work paper work" will be sent off.....and then the real clock starts ticking!

You will start to see a ton of acronyms that will dictate where we are in the process as I have learned there is a whole other "adoption language."  I will be sure to explain as they arise!


Monday, August 25, 2014


After almost 40 years in nursing, Barb has retired.  
We thought we'd pull one over on her and surprise her with a party. 

Well, we got her.....
we got her good....REAL GOOD!

She thought she was coming to pick Mom Mom & Pop Pop
up to go to an Ice Cream Festival.

Great moments with friends, an appearance by Darth Vader
and a great toast by Ken.
Picture decor, latex gloves for lighting accents & a "Sign-a-Scrub" station.

Since Barb is a LOVER of chocolate, this delicious treat was very fitting.

Yummy snacks all around!

Pretzel Stick Thermometers

And a nursing party could not be complete without a
 "Specimen Toast"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

B.C....absolutely breathtaking!

Here are some pics from "big" camera of our B.C. trip.....I really have no words to describe the beauty of nature that was before me.

It was absolutely breathtaking!

I have never seen more greener greens or bluer blues....


10 years, baby!

 10 Years, Baby!

On July 24th, Brett and I celebrated 10 years of marriage!

What an amazing 10 years it has been.  We have had our ups....big ups and we have had some downs....really big downs.  The one thing that remains consistent with us is our commitment to each other. Sure we disagree sometimes but we have made a commitment to each other and often think of each other. It's not about winning or's about surrendering your heart to the commitment that you have made and working towards the commitment's best interest.

Someone once told us-

 "If you just focus on making each other happy, 
then you will both be happy."  

Those words struck both of us and I truly feel that this is how our marriage has been so successful as it has.

Do it.
It works.

We decided this year to travel together....NO a place that we have never been.  We have done the resorts by the pool, the beach, the big city.  We wanted something different.  Somehow in our talks about where to go we started to research the Seattle/Vancouver area and that is where we went.  It was a ton of fun.  We really went with no plans, other than what city we would be in each night.  We would wake up each day, grab coffee and start our trek to see all we could see until sundown.

 It was awesome!

 We definitely had our favorite places and definitely want to go back one day to explore once again.

We have not taken a trip for that long away from the kids so we decided to bring a lil piece of them with us to we thought it would be really fun to send them pics of what the Ewok was doing!

Ewok Selfie :)

Here is a journal of what we did, see, ate.........through the eyes of our Ewok!

Seattle (Day1 - Day 3)
What we did:
Walked- a ton, Emp Museum, Chihuly Garden & Glass, Pike Place Market, REI Flagship store, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Fountain and hung out with some awesome friends from Portland.

Where we ate: 

Flight from Seattle to Atlanta
Pike Place Market, Space Needle & Sushi for dinner!

Top Pot Coffee & Donuts

The very first Starbucks!
 Too bad the line was forever long.....
Biscuit B* far our favorite restaurant of the trip.
So good, we went twice!

REI- Flagship Store- we did a lil shopping!

EMP Museum- Nirvana Exhibit

Victoria (Day 3 & 4)

What we did:
Ferry ride from Anacortes, WA to Victoria, B.C., walked- a ton...again, Whale Watching, Harbor Taxis & Shopped:)

Where we ate: 
Milestones Bar & Grill, Barb's Fish & Chips, Moka House, Ferris' Upstairs Oyster Bar & Bard & Banker Scottish Pub in addition to random candy shop stops for yummy fudge!

Waiting on the Ferry to Victoria

Whale Watching

By far the most amazing thing I have seen in nature......
We were able to follow a pod of killer whales for about an hour.
Bloody Caesar (as the Canadians call them)
And yes, that is an oyster and mussel!

Hanging out in the Harbor

Harbor Taxi

Qualicum Beach, B.C. (Day 4 -6)
What we did:
Glamping at Free Spirit Spheres, Cathedral Grove Forest (where we briefly lost the Ewok) , Little Qualicum Falls, Coombs Country Market, Qualicum Beach,  & Canada Day Festival

Where we ate: 
Coombs Market (we shopped the market and ate in one evening.....mmmmmm truffle gouda!) & Shady Rest Pub

 Free Spirit Spheres- a MUST DO on your list.

Night View

Cathedral Grove Forest- biggest.trees.ever.

 Cathedral Grove Forest.....where we almost lost this lil guy

A Coombs Market Treat- delish!

Vancouver, B.C. (Day 6 & 7)

What we did:
Walked everywhere....even some not so great places! Took a ferry (a very fancy ferry) from Nainamo, B.C. to Vancouver, B.C., Gatson Park, China Town & Granville Island

Where we ate: 
Tap & Barrel @ Coal Harbor &  Cat's Socialhouse

 They are reading while waiting on the Ferry

 Ferry Ride

 Our GORGEOUS view from our hotel in Vancouver.

 Going through customs from Vancouver...

Biscuit B*tch one more time before we fly out of Seattle

I also captured some really great shots on our "big" camera..... and will share those in another post:)