Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Heard the sweet sound of 'Holt International' on the caller ID last night. They were calling to let us know they received our Letter of Acceptance yesterday! It's now official that Charlie will be in our family.

They are sending the LOA to us via FedEx and we will receive it tomorrow. I will be busy today gathering the necessary paperwork to submit our I-800 form to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). It 'should' take a few weeks for us to receive this next approval, but we can check one more major item of our list!

Praise the Lord:-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Beginning of Advent

What a beautiful way to celebrate the beginning of Advent season. Friends of Grandpa Murphy dedicated a mass in Daniel's name at his church this morning. The first candle lighting of the season represents Hope. Hope for our salvation. Hope for the return of Jesus Christ. Such a beautiful message to hear at a mass dedicated to Daniel as our family waits in hope for the arrival of Charlie.

A few days ago, when I told Madi that we would carry up the gifts today at mass, she told me that had a feeling she would be taking up the "Holy chips", because they always give the "Holy chips" to the kids. Cracked me up. Well guess what? Much to her amazement, they gave Daddy the "Holy chips" and entrusted her to carry up the Holy water! She was beaming with delight that they chose Daddy to handle the 'easiest' task and not her...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Dragonfly

Yesterday Madi's preschool hosted a feast for the kids. They all dressed like Indians and we served them a special lunch for their "Pow Wow". All of the kids chose their own Indian names, and Madi chose 'Little Dragonfly'. I love being a helper and seeing Madi in action. It's my opportunity to be a fly on the wall! I couldn't have been prouder as I watched her go through the buffet line and say every "please" and "thank you". Maybe she knew I was watching her!

Tomorrow we head off to New Smyrna Beach where we will spend Thanksgiving with Aunt Diane and Uncle Shrimp. We have so much to be thankful for this year. God has blessed us with two beautiful children and we're about to be blessed with another, hopefully soon. We have the most amazing friends in the world and we have the love of our family. It just doesn't get any better than this...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Only a Murphy...

...could end up with a "splinter" like this! Suffice it to say, I gagged when Jimmy called me outside to take a look.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Charles Stanley.

I concede. Charles Stanley it is. I have been totally overruled in our household, and I must say I'm okay with that.

Madi is determined to call the baby Charlie. We tried using Stanley a few times to "test the waters", and she tried too, but she keeps insisting that he's Charlie every time. Works for me. There are plenty of adorable nicknames we can give him and knowing our family, he will have more than he can handle!

Shanghai Charlie--hang in there buddy--we're coming for you!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pain in the midst of joy

Tonight as we sat down to dinner, Madi and Daddy insisted on music. I tuned in to the holiday music channel, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Daniel won't be coming home for Christmas.

We won't get the picture on Santa's lap with Madi laughing and Daniel crying his eyes out.

He won't get to help decorate the house and break a few ornaments.

He won't get to watch Frosty and Rudolph and all those other Christmas classics.

He won't get to dance around the house singing Jingle Bells with Madi and Daddy.

He won't get to drive around and ooh and ahh at the beautiful lights.

He won't get the joy of meeting Matthew, his cousin, for the first time.

He won't get to see the beautiful stocking that Aunt Sheila knitted him by hand.

He won't know the awesome smell of a real Christmas tree.

We won't get to make Christmas cookies together (okay...that's a stretch and probably wouldn't happen, but it's fun to think about)

We won't see the joy on his face after his first visit from Santa.

As I sit in my puddle of tears, I am going to try to re-focus on what Daniel will see for Christmas.

He will see Jesus. He will be sitting right there on His lap enjoying every moment. Daniel will be listening to the choir of angels. He will see the brightest lights we can ever imagine. Daniel will be Home for Christmas.

And Daniel will be watching us...missing him.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Madi and Daniel's brother

So, on the heels of an unbelievable showering of love from our friends and family, we have a confession to make. We feel terrible that we've been withholding this information from our friends and our loyal blog following, but we needed to. Truth is--we were scared.

Remember the post a few weeks back when we didn't get matched, and we felt okay with holding out for the reward of God's plan? That was on a Tuesday (I think) that I posted, and on the following Saturday, October 23rd, out of the clear blue sky, we received a totally unexpected call from our adoption agency about a little baby boy. Our world was spinning. We had questions to ask. We had reality to process. Daniel wasn't coming back, and we needed to make sure we were ready to move forward.

Anyway, we're finally ready to reveal that we've submitted a letter of intent to adopt another little boy. He turned one on September 16th, Grandma Pauline's birthday! He is in an orphanage in Shanghai, which is an added bonus since we'll get to see another part of China. We are still waiting for our letter of acceptance, but it seems that things are progressing normally.

This sweet little guy has a small hole in his heart. We'd like to think of this small hole as a reminder of his big brother, Daniel, who is looking over him. His condition is much less serious than Daniel's was and will "likely" correct itself. At the very worst, he would need to undergo a catheter procedure somewhere down the road. Other than this small heart defect, there are no other serious issues facing him--nothing that a little love, nourishment and Juice Plus can't handle:)

We haven't quite settled on his name yet. We have several ideas. Let's call it "the war of the Grandpa's" right now. We are still working this out and promise to let you know as soon as we can commit to whether he's Charles or Stanley:)

Please forgive us for not sharing this exciting news earlier. The last thing we wanted to do was bring our friends down a road that might close again. We needed to take time to work things through, and now we feel certain that God is paving this road for us to forge ahead at full speed.

Thank you for sharing our joy. Thank you for always being there for us. We are so excited to take everyone on another journey. We hope you'll enjoy the ride...

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Last night we were blown away by our amazing friends and family. In fact, we never knew quite how many friends we had. I think we must be the luckiest, most blessed people on earth. Where do I start...

We were told several months ago to save the date. We were told a sitter would be arranged. We knew that a few friends were involved. We had strict instructions to be ready to go by 5:30.

Our friends, The Maloneys, came down on Friday to be there with us. Thank God. They kept us sane yesterday as we waited in anticipation and wonder of what would take place. Sherril called me ten times yesterday to make me squirm. She knew I couldn't stand to be not "in the know".

At 5:30, we drove over to the Debonis' house to drop off the kids and pick up Matt. Julianna came out to the car and handed me a green rubber bracelet (you know the ones...like the Livestrong bands) and in her beautifully monotone-pitched voice said, "Lisa...this is your ticket to get in tonight". I read the band, and then I lost it. It read, "Think of Daniel". I knew this would be a night to remember. We took a few pictures outside and before we left, Julianna handed me a card, which we were instructed to read. It said:

Dear Lisa and Jimmy,
Hope you have a wonderful night tonight. Can't wait to share all of the stories leading up to this special night. Your family is so loved--just wait and see! Love, Sherril and Tabi

Matt guided us to the venue, which turned out to be a local Irish Pub called Finnegan's. Could there be a more appropriate place for this celebration?! As we exited the car, we began to experience the magnitude. We first saw Murphy and Myles behind a registration table. We walked up and were greeted by so many people. We saw a basket of those green bands on the table, and raffle tickets were everywhere.

Then someone handed me a postcard, and the purpose of this evening was finally revealed to us. This was a surprise celebration and fundraiser to help Daniel send his family back to China. As we read the postcard, it was so mind-boggling--so beyond our comprehension--that our friends, our family, our community would do this on our behalf. It became apparent that the gift of Daniel just keeps on giving.

The night was simply amazing. Every moment was a surprise, because every time we turned around, there was someone else there that we didn't expect to see. People came together and donated silent auction items, donated raffle items, bought raffle tickets, and so many people showed up. We are grateful for those, but we are also grateful to those who couldn't be there but shared in the event and showed their support.

To ALL of you who were involved--each and every one of you--who planned it, who contributed, who helped us, how can we possibly EVER sufficiently thank you? There aren't enough words. There aren't enough emotions to express our gratitude. God is so good, and we feel so blessed to be wrapped in the arms of your love. All of you. Thank you for loving us--thank you for loving Daniel. You are our angels on earth. The money raised will definitely lighten our load. It will, at a bare minimum, allow Madi to experience the adventure of a lifetime to bring another sibling home.

So, today we are still reeling. Reeling at the reality of what happened last night. It is so surreal. It is so profound. It is so...so Daniel.

Forever grateful...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Fun

It was a busy weekend of Halloween festivities starting with the SVF Trunk or Treat on Friday night. Madi enjoyed hanging out with her gal pal, Livi and her buddy, Coston. On Saturday, we did trick or treating on the avenue. On Sunday, we attended a Halloween birthday party for our mei mei friend, Avery, in the morning, and of course trick or treating Sunday night. Madi decided to be Jasmine for all occasions.

We were joined by the Socha family once again for Halloween night, and the girls had a ball. When we went trick or treating, she heard me say that one house "looked promising". After that, she declared which houses "looked promising" and which ones did not. It sounded so funny coming out of her mouth.

I think Madi's favorite part was handing out candy in our driveway. It was a difficult task teaching her to only give two to each person. I caught her caving a few times and giving out handfuls. She was very adamant that kids needed to do the right thing and say 'trick or treat'. If they didn't say it, she would look at us, so that we could prompt them to say something. That was her cue to give them candy. She was also a stickler for thank you's and made note of which families used their manners and which ones did not!