Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Home with the warrior

I have spent over a month contemplating what I would write about once home with our sweet boy. This blog has always been a transparent canvas for my thoughts and feelings throughout our four-year long process to bring him home and I wanted to cap off our return with a true account of what our Journey to Jude was really like.  I started a post describing our trip to China detail by detail and day by day, but after hours of writing and weeks spent in my little boy’s presence, I realized my post shouldn’t detail our trip but the very reason for the trip, our Jude.  Trust me parts of our China trip were almost indescribable, like the Great Wall for instance. It is just mind blowing how and when this thing was built and the view… well it is simply breathtaking. Jayden was quite the popular man in China, particularly at the wall and the summer palace. Many young Chinese girls asked to take their pictures with him. I guess seeing a blonde hair, blue eyed cutie is not all that common in China. But despite the amazing views and crazy travel experiences we encountered, the most amazing part of our journey was obviously getting to finally meet our families missing piece and now the true journey has just begun.

                                       (Above) Summer Palace; a beautiful tourist park with temples and lakes
                                        (Above) Jay at Great wall
                                       (Above) View from the Great Wall
                                       (Above) View from Great Wall
                                        (Above) Jay and Jayden at Great Wall
                                        (Above) You guessed it, Great Wall!

For over 4 and half years we dreamt of the moment we would actually lay hands and wrap arms around our little one.  This tiny (literally 3% percentile in weight) human captured our hearts 8 months ago from half way around the world. Now that he is finally home, calling us momma, baba (daddy) and Gugu (big brother), life has new meaning for all of us. Our exhausting wait is over and now a new exhaustion has taken its place. He may be tiny but he is full of energy, and this boy loves to talk and run and play! Instead of spending our days anticipating paperwork and approvals, we spend them teaching connection, love, patience, English, and the meaning of family. We are all in awe of this warrior boy, and our love has deepened in an absolutely beautiful way. Please don’t misunderstand me though, the last several weeks home have not been easy and he is not completely lovable all the time, none of us are! Again, this blog is about truth in adoption and while it is beautiful, it is never easy and is not how social media always portrays.  

Back to China; the trip in one word was exhausting! Jet lag is no joke, but beyond the time difference and the toll it takes on you mentally and physically, is the sheer exhaustion of emotionally preparing and executing the actions of trust, care, and love. We have been preparing for this moment for years now by reading personal blogs, various books, and attending seminars on this exact process. With that said, it is in no way easy to implement day by day, hour to hour, or minute by minute. In fact, while we had ideas of how to create attachment once home, we had little clue as to what we should do in our first few moments together. I think jay and I figured that gem out moments before we met Jude, and that’s when the fear set in. Let me digress for a moment. On the third day of our trip, while Jet lag was still fresh and active, we (along with another couple) were ushered into a van and driven 15 minutes to the city of Hefei’s civil affairs office. While I could go on and on about the driving in China and how a 15-minute ride can feel like a car chase from the movies, our poor little boy spent 4 times longer than us in a cramped car without his familiar caregivers. He was given a backpack stuffed with potato chips and candy to appease him for the journey. It became evident quickly that he likely had not been exposed to these treats before as he hoarded them from all of us in fear we would take them away. The office itself was located on the 4th floor with an elevator that was not working that morning. We climbed the four flights of stairs to a small, non-air conditioned, musty room with two small tables and 4 chairs. As we waited in the office, our nerves continued to climb. We prepared some little toys and snacks on the floor as well as cameras for his debut. While there were about 10 of us total in the room, it was nearly silent. Then came the self-doubt and the “what if” questions that sneak in when you are about to do something huge. We had no idea what to say or do when he walked in, what if he wanted nothing to do with us? What if he screams to go back? What if he is nothing like his pictures and videos suggest? What if he medical needs are more than we know about? Suddenly we got word they had arrived and we could hear some soft spoken mandarin by the escorts. He walked in behind them, slightly wobbly on his feet, but with a big smile on his face and he was gently pushed (literally) in my direction as the escort described that I was his “momma”. Could you imagine being pushed toward someone and told, this is your mom now?! I felt so happy but also so sad for him and his heart in that moment. I can’t imagine the fear that this little one endured, but he put on his brave face and followed script so to speak to walk away from his old life and boldly into his new one. He was so much smaller than I expected, and holding him actually felt like holding a baby in some ways. His legs were like little noodles and they went limp as we lifted him up. He was not used to be being held and he lacked the ability to wrap his legs around us like most children learn to do. He was very unsteady on his feet, as I said, but we also realized his shoes were far too big for his tiny feet. He told us, through an interpreter that he brought a backpack full of snacks but he obviously welcomed our suckers and drinks too. In fact, he chugged the water we brought without stopping before putting it down. He would do this for the next several days before he learned that we would always have a drink and snacks readily available for him. A guide would later tell us “He will be so happy to eat and drink and talk whenever he wants!” What that implies is that he was not able to eat, drink, or talk whenever he wanted before….

We all sat on the floor playing with toys for awhile. Jay and I sat close so we could touch, smell, and listen to the little one who we had only dreamed of for so long. He smiled at us while playing but had very little engagement in playing with us. It was an overwhelming moment as we had anticipated, but the moment turned in an instant when Jayden took a toy from Jude to show him how it worked. Suddenly this smiley boy’s demeanor changed in an instant. He scowled, growled like an animal, and yelled. In a moment already extremely overwhelming, fear and doubt reemerged but much more profound.  He did this several more times before we left that office and in the first few days that followed. If I’m honest, something inside me wondered “what did we just do?! What if he has behavioral issues beyond our control? What if he hurts Jayden or us? What if….” I have found that fear and worry can have that power over us when we don’t look beyond ourselves. Jesus taught on that subject when Peter asked to come of the boat. God has told me several times throughout this journey that He was in control, He knew who our son was, called us to patience, and above all God constantly called us through this process to rest in the knowledge that “the wind and waves still know his name”, meaning nothing is beyond Him and nothing surprises Him. And like Peter, we were not to keep our eyes on the waves, but on Him.  He did not promise us a fast or easy adoption. He did not promise us one without fear or without doubts either. But He called us and asked we trust in Him. We believe that God called us specifically to Jude. We have seen proof of this along the way and believe it now that he is home more than ever. There are families who have sadly traveled to China, experienced similar scary behaviors, and who have backed out of their adoption due to fears and unknowns. Jay and I made a promise to God and each other when we said “YES!” to Jude, that “no matter what or who we get to in China, he is ours and we are his”. We prayed a lot over our little man in the first few hours and days and the survival behaviors soon diminished. As we began to care and meet his needs our love grew, the connection increased, fear diminished, and doubts erased. We have never seen the growling or yelling like that again.  

Jude WAS a dramatically independent 4-year-old when we first met. He was made to be this way given his early life experience. He had to look out for himself because no one else would.  Jay and I have been taking that independence away. We are taking over bathing him, brushing his teeth, putting on his cloths, feeding, holding, and soothing him. We have never seen a child bathe himself like Jude used to. It was quick, rough, and yet very thorough. Same with brushing his teeth. I would describe his self-care as aggressive and fast. I doubt he had a lot of time to get these activities done before.  He was used to soothing and calming himself but because he is four, he learned to do this by banging his head back and forth and sucking his fingers until they were raw. His hands had very dry skin on his fingers from sucking the skin so hard.  We have purchased a baby monitor and now monitor for these behaviors and intervene immediately when we see them so that we are the ones soothing him from here on out.  We are taking him back to the basics, as a mother and father would care for their new baby, so that trust can develop and the result so far is that after just a month in a family, Jude is improving. He has started whining. We actually need him to whine (can’t believe I typed that!) because at his age its how he communicates that he needs something, especially since he hasn’t mastered the English language yet. When he was scared in China, he would silently cry but comply with whatever we were asking. He never had a choice or a voice in an orphanage. It was heartbreaking to watch, but now Jude CRIES! We give him choices and we encourage his voice, even his cries and whines. He is learning through every encounter that when he cries or whines, we will meet the fear or need head on for him. We aren’t giving him everything he wants, but he gets comfort with the “no’s”. We still have and will have for some time, really hard days. He gets stressed and attempts to self sooth by rocking, head banging, and finger sucking especially at night and in the car. When this happens, and if we can, we have forgotten our plans and headed straight back to home where he feels safe. We can’t always do this of course, as his pediatrician recently said “Jude is medically complex”. We have so much testing and specialists to see, sometimes on a daily basis. I pushed back many of his appointments but some are very necessary because Jude has some scary medical diagnoses. During medical days we hold him, I carry him on my chest, we whisper in his ear how loved he is and safe he is and how its almost done. Jude has had a lot of medical procedures, hospitalizations, and surgeries in China and he has multiple scars on his tiny body as proof, but he was always alone. No one from the orphanage stays with these kids during hospitalizations and foster moms have other children to care for, but that era of his life has come to an end. Our lone warrior now has an army behind him, and he will not ever be alone again.
                                      (Above) Home Coming Crew
                                               (Above) Home coming
                                          (Above) Love dress up!
                                                    (Above) LOVES super heros
                                                (Above) Breathing treatments and inhalers have no become a new daily necessity but as long as we have nerf guns and bullets, he does them like a champ.
                                                 (Above) We don't go far from home, but do make it out for Jaydens baseball games. He is very eager to join.
                                              (Above) Testing day

So let me end with what I started out to describe, our Jude. He is stubborn, inquisitive, incredibly smart, silly, tough, brave, and beautiful. He already makes us extremely happy, tired, anxious, challenged, and proud. He is a momma’s boy through and through and I am not minding a bit! We knew Jude would change a lot once home, and obviously we are seeing that, but what we did not expect is how much WE would change from being around him! He challenges us each in areas we needed to be challenged and changed in. We are learning patience, sharing, compassion, and grace (among a slew of others). God is literally using this boy to transform our lives daily and on days when we struggle with our changes, His presence grows stronger and we find we are capable of doing the seemingly impossible. God knows all our needs and is working through many people to meet them. We have been truly humbled by our family and friends. Their help through our first few weeks home kept us a float and mentally sane! With our basic needs provided for, we were able to focus on the more important stuff. We consider each now as a fellow warrior in Jude’s army. Jude spent 1541 days, 220 weeks, and 50 months as an orphan; but he is an orphan no longer! He has a family that extends far beyond the walls of our home and the stretch of our arms. Many people have written with sincere hearts how blessed and lucky our little man is, but I have to disagree with them. Jude is not lucky; in fact, he is one of the unluckiest persons I have ever met. He was born with several congenital life threatening issues, he was abandoned by his birth parents, spent years in an orphanage, and has multiple medical needs requiring more tests, pokes, and surgeries ahead of him. He is not lucky. He did not ask for any of this. But, he is blessed, and loved, and cherished; both by us, family, friends, and by God. And his life surely will be a testament to us all.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bon Voyage!

The time has come! In less than 48 hours we start our literal Journey to Jude by jumping on a plane bound for the other side of the world! I cant wait to share our adventure but for now I want to concentrate on what life will be like when we return home. Jay and I have done a lot of research on attachment and bonding with children from hard places. A lot of people have offered encouraging words of how they think Jude will do once he is with us, and while we appreciate them, we understand and have educated ourselves on the likelihood of our upcoming challenges. You see, the quality of parent/child attachment becomes a template for all future relationships and core beliefs and it is for this reason that we are not just “hoping for the best” but are researching and making deliberate actions to ensure a healthy transition for Jude upon coming home.
Attachment for newborns is usually a pretty seamless transition. Infants cry and parents meet their needs. This cycle is repeated thousands of times in the early formative years of a child's life and with each need met, trust is built. Parents are not only meeting needs, but they show nurturing, caring, empathy and sympathy to their child and this invites the child into a good quality relationship where the child learns that they are important, loved, and cared for. Research has shown that the first attachments yield life long templates for intimate relationships, emotional awareness, social interactions, and self acceptance. Its HUGE!! Attachment is the key for children learning to regulate their emotions, frustrations, anxieties. Secure attachment helps children to learn to believe they are lovable, that trusting in parents is wise, it helps them to remain calm, solve problems, it reduces pain..i could go on and on and on…ITS IMPORTANT!
Attachment begins in the first year of life. But lets look at Jude's first year, at least what we know. He was separated from his birth parents, spent the first few weeks in a hospital with only nurses and doctors touching him, then placed in an orphanage, with repeated hospitalizations and surgeries for his medical conditions. He was later moved out of his home in the orphanage to a foster home (likely where he sleeps at night, before returning to the orphanage during the day). And soon, he will be thrust out of all of that as well. His attachment to anyone and everyone he has ever met has had many breaks. Nothing has been permanent in his life, not even people.
That’s why when we get home, we are going to wall in our little one for a little while. We are going to show him what family is like, what a momma and babba (daddy) are, and he is going to learn that, through trust. He will learn to trust that we will feed him when he is hungry, we will make sure all his needs are met, that when he cries we are there to hold him and comfort him every time. That we are there when he falls asleep and right there when he wakes back up. That we can be trusted every second of every day to provide what is best for him. This may take some time and we certainly will need your help. Here are a few things to keep in mind when we return home.
1.)     REST: Cocooning is a respite time for a newly adopted kiddo. It means making his world a whole lot smaller for a little while. A lot of changes are happening and he will need rest to be able to grow. We want to reduce stress as much as possible and we do this by limiting new, over stimulating things for him. We plan on keeping comfort foods he is used to, nursery rhymes in his native language, few outings, few toys, and few visitors; which will lead me into number two. If and when we venture out and Jude starts to get anxious or act out, we may politely leave and return to his safety at home for some rest. Please be patient with us as we figure how much rest he needs.
2.)     VISITORS: Jude needs to learn to trust Jay and I so that he can become attached to us for all the reasons I discussed above. For this reason we need to limit new people for awhile. He may very well show indiscriminate affection towards any and all adults he encounters. This was his survival mechanism in the orphanage. If he was cute and cuddly, he likely got more attention, more food, ect. He needs to learn that this is not needed anymore and he needs to know that mom and dad are safe and where he should turn for all of his needs. In the same sense, if he tries to hug or kiss any of you, please direct him towards us for that. He will understand “momma and babba” and you can say this if he is attempting these actions. When people do meet Jude, we ask that you allow Jay and I to be the sole caretakers; we will be the ones to hold him, to give him food and drink, to comfort him when he is sad, to give him toys. If you have a new toy for him, please just give it to us and we will hand it to him (if we feel he is ready for it). By all means, wave, smile, sit next to him on the floor, and play. This wont be forever but just until he KNOWS who mom and dad are and how they are different from everyone else. With all of this said, Jay and I would LOVE visitors at the airport when we arrive home. We want people who have walked this journey with us to be present for his arrival and we will likely need some support ourselves after our long journey. We do get in late, however, so we understand if you cant. Please ask Kurt, Jan, John, or Justin for details if you would like to come. Additionally, Jay and I WILL need to have some adult time when we are ready and will need some friends to come over after the boys are in bed for some adult conversation! Please don’t stay far away!
3.)     JAYDEN: We are preparing ourselves greatly for our transition with Jude but we are also preparing for Jayden’s as well. We have been preparing him for 3 years now and he is SO excited to be the big brother. We have prepared him for the hard stuff too, but little man may need some extra love. Its hard not being an only child anymore…or so I'm told! Please talk to and love on him first! Jude will be watching and it’s a good sign if the big brother feels safe.

Thank you all for walking this journey out with us! You generosity, kindness, and love have kept us going through it all. It takes a village!

Adoption: “God uses us, mere humans, to solve a seemingly insurmountable human problem. Confusion, frustration, and exhaustion are inevitable and unavoidable-but He is faithful and good and right there with you”.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Days away

The countdown has begun! We were granted Travel Approval on July 28th and packing has already commenced. Judes room has become packing central!

I can’t believe I can actually type this now, but we will be traveling in just a matter of days to bring our sweet boy home! There are so many emotions that come with this final step. We are excited, nervous, anxious, and of course scared. While I am a strong proponent for adoption, I also know its not all daisies and butterflies either. Adoption is hard, always. It’s a life long Hard. Our first son still has hurts we push through and he always will. Jude will certainly be no different. As we prepare to embark on this long awaited travel, I am certainly aware of the costs it is taking on the many hearts involved. From our perspective we are gaining a long anticipated and truly loved son. Someone we have adored from afar for too long. But for everyone else, it has a much different feel. His birthparents most likely think of him often, their choice, their options. I dare to speculate that they walk by his place of abandonment often, thinking of all of the "what ifs". As a parent, I can only imagine how much grief they endure daily. They will never know what happened to him, who is kissing his cheeks, who is holding him at night, who is walking with him as he traverses life. Then there is his foster family. He has been living with them and gaining insight into how a family works. I am sure his foster parents and siblings will have a lot of heartache watching him leave to never return. China does not allow us to have any communication with the foster family, we don’t even get to meet them and thank them for their kindness and selflessness in taking him in and loving him until a family of his own was found. We are very fortunate in that we found the family adopting his foster brother. They live in North Carolina and we plan to keep the boys in communication as they grow, but no longer will they share the same room, the same toys, the same life. And least I forget, our sweet Jude. We were told that he has been told about us, we sent pictures over to him several months ago, and hopefully he is getting used to our faces. But, no matter how much they show him or talk to him about what is about to happen, which I doubt is a lot by the way, he wont be prepared. How could he be? How could any of us if put into his position? His entire life, everything he knows, sights, smells, faces, places, bed, foods, language, everything will be changing. He is going to grieve, not only the loss of familiar caregivers who were the closest thing to a mother he has ever known, but he is loosing everything he is familiar with in life. I have been praying for his little heart. That somehow Jesus helps to calm the fears and provide peace through this transition and for the remainder of his life with the tough questions we will likely not have all the answers too.
Like I said, adoption is hard, and even despite all the ups and downs Jay and I have gone through to get to this little boy, our struggle, heartache, disappointment, and loss are nothing compared to everyone else’s in Jude’s story. As we close in on our departure, please pray for all the people and hearts involved.

In other news, “nesting” is really hitting the Reichert household hard. We have completely re-modeled our home (before and after pics below), obtained a state of the art security system, have thrown out lots of unneeded/space occupying items, and have begun to clean and organize like its no bodies business. 

We are getting prepared! Jayden even made a countdown chain link so we know how close we are getting daily. Now to start brushing up on our Mandarin! 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Getting Real

Well it has been 48 days since we got official word from China regarding their approval of our adoption. Today, we received some even more exciting news with our Article 5 pick up. This is a document, and final approval, the “approval of the approvals” so to speak. I myself did not quite understand the significance of this final approval but our coordinator just affirmed that both government agencies (US and China) have now both officially approved of this adoption and in the eyes of everyone here at home and abroad, our adoption is complete! 

Isn’t that crazy?! The rest is basically formality to actually get us to China, his official entry into our family, and then to make sure he is recognized as an American citizen the moment those precious little feet hit American soil.
   (Jayden is already drawing pictures of the whole family) (Official China Confirmation) (We got 10 year Chinese Visas...who's in for the next trip?!)
We have already applied for Jude’s visa, obtained all three of ours, received U.S. immigration approval, and I want to yell from the mountain tops that "We are officially DONE with documents!"... until we have our sweet boy in our laps (it was almost to good to be true).  

There is such absolute giddiness in the completion of ALL the paperwork required by the U.S. and China. Four years of paperwork, notarizations, scheduled visits, authentications, fingerprints, seals of approvals, embassy clearances…finally all finished! We have completed his room, began purchasing clothes, blankies, stuffed animals, snack foods, travel items, and even started making meals to eat when we transition back home.  Now comes perhaps the hardest part of all. You would think that the 4 years of waiting to see our sweet boy’s face would have been the hardest part of  this whole process but I have heard it has NOTHING on what’s coming up next.

As we have checked off each step (quite literally, it has become an obsessive element at times) the anticipation of getting him home has grown. We have had basic timelines to follow with each step after China’s approval but we are just starting our wade into the murky waters so to speak. The last and final step, the only thing we are waiting on before jumping on that plane, is something called Travel Invitation. China will look back through all the documents we submitted, check off the approvals, and perhaps most importantly, verify our payments along the way. Here is the kicker; several months ago their computer system with said payment verifications, basically crashed and Travel invitations that used to take 2 days can now take up to 6 weeks. We have no idea where we will fall on the spectrum and while I want to remain hopeful for a speedy Invitation, I have to be realistic to save my heart the misery it has come to know during our waiting. Not to mention, we paid our dossier fee back in 2014 so who knows where the heck that verification is by now! We have asked our prior agency for proof they wired our funds, but we are still waiting on that…..(sheesh we just cant catch a break in any of this, am I right?!)

We have been told and I am anticipating that this will be the hardest wait for us, mainly in part because we know that everything is done, there are no more boxes to check, no more documents, no more approvals, just this HUGE invitation. Once we do get invitation we will travel in 2-3 weeks, but nothing can be booked until we get that document. So, we largely guessed it... wait. Once we do get it, we research travel agents, international flight prices, have our agency book all of our hotels and transportation in country, obtain final itineraries, and finish packing our suitcases for the craziest journey this family has ever been on. I do not know how the three of us will be once we finally have our dates set! Jayden loves having countdowns to big events and quite frankly so do I, so this countdown will be huge! We are so ready to meet this little man, see him face to face, smell his scent, and hear his sweet little voice. We welcome and ask for prayers for speediness (once again) and for prepared hearts (ours and most importantly his) for this massive transition in all our lives. Until travel approval….

Friday, May 13, 2016


Four years. It’s amazing what can happen in Four years. That’s how long this blog has been going and unfortunately that’s how long we have been waiting on this adoption. I have watched countless friends get married and have their babies. Watched those babies turn from completely dependent bundles of cooing, drooling, pooping, sweetness; To strikingly independent, walking, talking, potty trained pre-schoolers. Our son has almost been with us for FOUR years. That’s an even crazier thought! He came to us rather shy and timid, still in diapers and now he is crazy out going, smart, fantastic at nearly every sport he tries, and he is finishing up Kindergarten! Time flies as a parent. I see many of my friends nearing the end of their family making years, and yet the first vision for starting our family still hasn’t come to fruition. Four years can feel like an awful short time, but it can also feel like an eternity. This adoption journey is not typical. Nothing about our process has gone the way we envisioned, nor has it been in any way easy or clear-cut. We have watched many families start and complete their adoptions within their predicted time frames. Some of those are already working on their second adoption. We have struggled in the last Four years, with our stability in times of sickness, with our dashed hopes and dreams, with our seemingly unanswered prayers, and sometimes even with our faith. Most adoption stories don’t sound or look like ours, but from the start I am certain it never was supposed too. I recently re-visited my very first blog post Four years ago in 2012, and from the very beginning, it was evident that our story was going to be different. We started out as naive newly weds who just wanted to start being a change in the world. But, what no one tells you is that when you say “Yes” to God and “Yes” to HIS plans no matter what, your expectations, your dreams, your goals, your desires, and most importantly your plans take a back seat to HIS. But the amazing thing is that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips those whom he calls. We were not ready then for what He had in store for us. We needed to be broken and rebuilt, made stronger and wiser, to see what God sees in the orphan crisis, and equipped to be that change we said we wanted to be. That’s how people can start making changes in the their world, even if the changes only occur in one little person’s world. Four years... that’s how long it took. It could not have happened anytime before. It happened perfectly in His timing, because this is after all His story. And now looking back, we see that nothing is coincidental in this plot. There is so much grace and beauty woven intricately into the details of our FOUR-year wait. From our first son's entrance into our lives as a toddler (instead of that healthy African infant we envisioned) to his interest in a little country called China where we transitioned from Ethiopia (that was Jayden's choice) our beloved agency and director (whom I now call a true friend; and soon to be fellow adoptive momma), and the advocacy for older children (which I didnt feel ready or willing at first to do but which would later be where God placed whom we needed to see), lost/declined referrals (which helped prepare us for special needs we needed to learn); they all lead us to where and who we needed to be. Now, we can happily say, how thankful we truly are for our countless unanswered prayers, those long arduous waitlists, broken hearts and broken plans. They led us to the right child, in the right country, in the right orphanage, at the right time.

Drum roll please…….(ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum Chah!) we are ecstatic to FINALLY announce that our family will be seeing BLUE again very soon! We are adopting a little Boy from China and he has been well worth the wait! I am not able to share a whole lot on my public blog until our adoption is final. 


I have started a private group on Face book for those who are interested in more details, seeing his cute little pictures, and following our soon to be journey to China. Contact me on Face book if you would like to be added. What I can say is: he loves being out doors and listening to music, he is described as outgoing, loves playing with cars, loves playing with other children and even looks after them in the orphanage. He is the cutest thing you have probably ever seen. He has chubby cheeks, little dimples, and big brown eyes. We are in love, and we are honored to have been chosen as his family. We have decided to name him Jude; in honor of the patron Saint of “the hopeless and despaired” something our journey has felt like these last several years. And finally, his age…He will be almost exactly 4 years old when we bring him home. Beauty in the details…..

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to HIM be the glory throughout all generations forever and ever. AMEN!