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Six Years

Six years ago today Eliana officially became a Martin. You can see our post from that day here. I love looking back, not only because it was such a wonderful day, but because the things I experienced that day have now become familiar. I have been back to Yu Garden many times. I have eaten delicious Chinese food many times. I can eat noodle with chopsticks like a champ.

But I digress. This girl right here. That's what it is about.

She is the most loving child. Sometimes she sees another child say something unkind to their mother and she is genuinely horrified. I could never treat you like that, my precious mom! It is the sweetest.

She loves pandas. She wants to move to China and take care of panda babies when she grows up.

She never misses an opportunity to say she is thankful to have a family. Her prayers are just precious. She always thanks God for her family and that she has the best mom and dad in the whole wide world.

She calls herself my sidekick and loves to do anything with me. She will say, "Do you need your sidekick, Mom?" and jump right in to do whatever I'm doing. She curls up beside me on the bed every chance she gets. She likes to ask, "Is it snuggle time?" And it normally is when she asks.

We are so thankful that little Wu Xing Yao became Eliana Peace Martin six years ago!

A Tale of Two Boys {Part 2}

I feel like you need to understand my journey in order for me to actually communicate what I want to say, so I'm going to tell you some of my thoughts and struggles. It seems the children that we see in Taiwan are happy where they are. They are well cared for, they have people who care about them. So is it truly in their best interest to find a family in America for them? I wrestled with this, not for the younger children so much, but for the older ones it is only right to think about these things.

I watched as someone showed caregivers pictures of a child who had been adopted months before and I watched them smile at the adorable pictures, happy for the good family he was in... and it struck me, the children are cared about, no question. But they deserve to be the center of someone's universe. They need to be so important to someone that that person's world would shatter without them in it. That is what is missing.

Even older children need that. I think of my boys. Casper will be 13 tomorrow. Freeland is 16. Douglas is 18. They still need us. They need us in a different way than little ones do, but I try to imagine them navigating the teenage years and launching out on their own without the steadfast love of parents and family and I can't do it.

So, with all of that background I want to tell you about two boys.

Here they are. Taiwan has privacy laws that prohibit the sharing of a child's full face.

They are not biologically related, but they feel like brothers and they want to be adopted together. What are the chances? They are 9 and 11 years old.

Anderson is 11. He has experienced some things in life that make him fearful and he lacks self confidence. He wants a family, he wants to belong. But he feels much more confident when he is with Morgan. Morgan is 9 and is good at math. He is a quiet kid. They are in the same foster home. They belong together.

They belong together and they deserve to be loved like my boys are loved. Do you see the difficulty here? Do you see why my heart has been heavy since I got home from Taiwan? Do you feel the burden I feel?

Could you possibly be the family for these boys? Or maybe you know someone who could be the perfect fit. It isn't easy to find families open to older boys. And especially not two older boys at once. But I am going to try.

They deserve that I try.

I am praying that I am going to write a part 3 to this tale telling you their family found them. Will you help me make that a reality?

If you want information about Anderson and Morgan email Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

Happy Birthday, Freeland!

I will get back to my post about the boys I met in Taiwan, but today is all about Freeland.

This morning
This boy, this quirky, funny, risk-loving son of ours turns 16 today. For him that means getting his driving permit and one step closer to independence. For me it means that 16 years have disappeared into thin air.

At about 1 week old.

I know everyone says it, but wasn't it just yesterday that our tiny son was born at 32 weeks? I'll never forget that first day, seeing him in the NICU, the tiniest baby I had ever seen at that time.

And, at times the days have seemed long. So long. But the years... how can they be this short?

age 4

This sweet boy loves his dog. He loves basketball and doing things with friends. He is outgoing and likes to be busy, but he does love a good cozy afternoon at home too.

In the evenings, after the girls go to bed, he heads straight to our bedroom where he, Casper, and I watch different series together. Or sometimes we just talk and laugh. We have had some of the best jokes and conversations in those times. I know I will always cherish those memories and hope that he will too.

He works at Chick-Fil-A on Saturdays right now. He doesn't love doing jobs around the house, but apparently he does know how to work well because we get great feedback from his managers.

Age 12 

Tomorrow we are going to go let him take his written test for his driving learners permit. He has been studying so I think he will do fine. And then, oh God watch over us. This reckless child of mine will begin to learn to drive.

There is no way I can put into words the way I love this boy. Happy birthday, son. May God be near to you in the coming year.