Monday, August 7, 2017

One Year

A year ago, on July 18th, 2016, we had come to the end of the beginning of an incredible, whirlwind journey so full of blessings and God-winks.

Our time in China didn't leave much room for blogging (and the internet was very spotty until we got to Guangzhou), but today, one year from the day when our whole family was together for the first time, seems like a good time to replay the day that Kassi met her Mama, Kolya and I.

A year ago, Mama, Kolya and I boarded a plane (the COLDEST plane ever!!) and flew across the world to meet a little girl who was our sister and daughter - even though we'd never met. 

At 1:00 a.m. China time, we stumbled out of the baggage claim area in Zhengzhou - suitcases, backpacks and empty wheelchair in tow - and met our guide.

She told us that, instead of the afternoon meeting we had been expecting, we would meet Kassi first thing in the morning. We were told to meet her in the lobby straight after breakfast. 

After showers (necessary when one has just completed a 19-hour flight), a Skype call with the home base, and getting organized a little, we set our girl's backpack in her wheelchair - empty for the last time - and slept for a few short hours. 

The alarm rang. We ate breakfast in a jet-lagged, exhausted, nervous-but-beyond-excited daze.

The view from our hotel window of Zhengzhou - the capital of Kassi's province.
The guide went over a few details of how the paperwork process would go for Mama to take custody of Kassi for 24 hours (this happens with every China adoption - the adoption isn't final until the next day). We got into the car, wheelchair and backpack in tow. It was a short drive to the office where we would meet the girl who had held a piece of our hearts for the last few months. On the way there, the guide got a phone call. "She's already there, waiting for you!"

We pulled up in front of the building. Climbed out of the car. We were told to leave the wheelchair in the car.

We walked in the door.

And up the stairs. (STAIRS!) Mama and I looked at each other - well, this will be interesting.

The guide led us down a hallway - doors on either side. In most of the rooms we passed we saw families being united. All littles, though. As we peeked into one of the left-hand doors, we saw an older girl on the couch with her back to the door. Mama and I caught each other's eye - was this it?? The guide didn't stop, though, so we followed her briskly down the hall.

We had only gone a few feet when we heard our girl's name - "CY is here! She's right here!" We turned around to see a woman (whom we would later know was the one who sent us updates and photos, and told Kassi that we were coming!) beckoning to us, calling us back into the room we had passed.

And there she was.

There's no way that I can describe that feeling.

When she turned around and we saw the face that we had loved and prayed for for months, RIGHT much joy - and such a relief. We let out the breaths that we had been holding for those four crazy months, just so thankful to be there in time.

After a few short moments of just looking at one another (sweet Kassi was so nervous!), and talking a little, we handed Kassi the backpack we had brought. She showed us that she had her bag that we had sent in her care package, with everything all there. We looked through her photo album, pointing out ourselves and the members of the family who weren't there. Mama was called away to sign papers. Kolya showed Kassi the new things that we had brought - a coloring book among them - and we colored for a while.

We had the opportunity to speak with the director of her orphanage, and with the sweet lady who had sent us updates through WeChat (via a friend who works with Kassi's orphanage), and who told Kassi that she had a family coming.

That's the director, on the right
I spoke for a short moment with another Mama, meeting her precious boys, who told me that she had advocated and prayed for our Kassi. We can NEVER be thankful enough to the amazing community that rallied around our girl, fighting and praying for her. She is a gift and a blessing - just like those advocates knew in their hearts she would be.

The photo for the official adoption document.

Finally, we walked out that doorway. 

Sweet Kassi was wearing sandals. Strappy sandals several sizes too big that really just don't work for her feet. At all. 

But our brave girl walked down that hallway and down those two flights of stairs all by herself, so independent. 

When we got out of the car at the hotel, though, she was overjoyed to sit in the wheelchair we had brought around the world for her, on the cushion that her very own Mama had sewn for her. 

We went upstairs, and called home.  Kassi was so excited to meet her Baba, and she woke up Kellin (who had just fallen asleep). Seeing him wake up and say sleepily "oh, hi Kassi"....and then jerk fully awake and realize what he was such a sweet memory! 

We had lunch. Kassi ordered orange juice and all on her own shared it evenly with Kolya. That was HUGE! 

We drew pictures. 

Kolya took a nap (and woke up to a note from her newest big sister). 

We sent emails to family at home. 

We dressed her baby doll. We brushed our teeth. 

That night, she slept with her Mama holding her close. 

And the next day, she became a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and cousin forever. 

Our God is so, so good. 


We're back.....


It's been a while!

We've taken a step back from blogging in the past few weeks (months?!), trying to figure out where we want to go with this space.

I want to show all of you the precious faces of the children that tug at my heart every day.

I don't want to move too far away from chronicling our own precious family's journey.

I want to say SO MUCH about what's on my heart - the beauty and the hard.

I want to show you how incredible this journey is, and maybe, someday, someone will read this and be spurred to action.

I don't want to mislead you and say that it's all sunshine and roses - because it's not.

But I also want you to know that the joy is so, so worth every hard day. seems like a good time to start typing again.

Because, right around this day, one year ago, our family of 9 was all together  - on the same continent and in the same time zone - for the first time.

There are two posts for today - this one, and a look back on the day that Mama, Kolya and I met our incredible Kassi. We posted about much of the rest of our trip, but missed that day, and I want to have those memories here. Plus, I know that I love reading Gotcha day stories - maybe this will be a joy to some waiting family. I hope so.

We also have a plan for the future. We hope to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:
- Monday will be whatever happens to be on our hearts. 
- Waiting Wednesday will feature a single precious face and their story. 
- Friday will be a look back on the previous week in the Cogan Krewe! 

This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind.  Here's a picture - everyone has grown so much! (We hosted a sweet boy from Eastern Europe this summer; which is why you'll count 10 in the photo. He was here from June 5th to July 27th.)

Finally, we'd love to know who still stops by this little space, so if you do...would you drop us a comment? 

We're glad to be back!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


I've come to you with so many needs lately. 

Honestly, I need to be better about posting family updates as well as sweet waiting faces.  

And I will. 

But today, there's a very special family and a precious little boy that need our help. 

In my Valentine's Day post, Hearts, maybe you saw the face of sweet "Montgomery".  

It makes me so, so happy to tell you that "Montgomery", soon to be Joseph, has an amazing forever family racing to him! 

They will probably have him in their arms next month! 


They need support - especially, right now, prayrer.  

Expedited adoptions automatically have extra costs. Plane tickets have to be booked on short notice, paperwork has to be overnighted, and so many more factors. On top of that, raising the funds to complete any adoption is so much more difficult when you only have 3 months to do it! 

If that's not enough, Joseph's family just returned from Ch*na with their beautiful newest daughter. 

So today, friends, I'm coming to you and asking what you could do to help get Joseph home. 

Pray? Prayer is always the most important way to help. 

Donate? Could you give up your next meal at a restaurant and help Joseph's family get to him? 

Share their fundraising page, Journey to Joseph? Maybe you're the one who will show this story to someone who never would have seen it otherwise? 

What can you do? 

What is your part in Joseph's story? 

UPDATE: Joseph's family has a t-shirt fundraiser going on! Visit this link:
and grab a shirt - or 2 or 3! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Introducing Kaleb!

Today I'd like you to meet Kaleb. 

I've shown you so many, many equally precious and equally deserving kiddos lately - in fact, this blog has been pretty much taken over by their sweet faces! I have Cogan-family posts soon, but for now....

Please let me introduce you to Kaleb. He was our Kai's best friend in China.

Since Kai came home, 3 years ago, we've been trying to follow up on this precious boy. However, the orphanage where he currently lives is not a place where any child should be in many, many ways, and they are not forthcoming with updates. 

When we first found his file, after Kai told us his name, this was the newest picture of then 11 year-old Kaleb. That has remained one of two pictures that we had of him for three years. 

We received a written update at one point, but all that it told us was that Kaleb had broken his leg and was in the hospital. We had no idea what had happened to him. 

A few weeks ago, we tried again for an update - 10 questions long - and, almost unbelievably, we received answers! No pictures were included, but we weren't really surprised. 

And then.... 

This arrived in the inbox!! 

Doesn't he have an amazing smile? 

Now, please let me tell you the details about handsome Kaleb! 

First, you need to know that he is running out of time for his family to find him! Kaleb is 13 years old and will age out on his 14th birthday. His family will need to be in China by mid-August. If you think that you might be his family, please email us as soon as possible at - we are happy to talk to you about the process, his special need, and what we know about him and his orphanage from Kai. 

"He is extroverted, bright, active and has a ready smile. He is not afraid of strangers but will not voluntarily talk to them. He will say hello to you and talk happily when he gets familiar with you.  Because of his physical situation, he cannot jump and run like other kids, but he will not cry or shout but cheer up others sitting beside them. He is very bright and can grasp the knowledge taught by teachers very quickly." 

Kaleb was born with Arthrogryposis, the joint condition that is also a part of Karwen and Kade. 

Here's the update from March: 

1. At his last update he was recovering from a broken leg. Did he recover well after his therapy? He recovered well after his therapy.

2. Has he had any further injuries, procedures or surgeries? He hasn’t had any further injuries, procedures or surgeries.

3. Is he receiving any therapy at this time? He isn’t receiving any therapy at this time.

4. Is he still using a walker to walk or something else? He isn’t using a walker to walk or anything else.

5. Does he have difficulty getting around? He has some difficulties in walking; he cannot run, jump or kneel down.

6. Is he able to take care of his own bathing, feeding and bathroom needs? He is able to take care of his own bathing, feeding and bathroom needs.

7. Is he still receiving schooling at the orphanage and, if so, how is it going? He is receiving schooling at the orphanage and he gets good grades.

8. How does he compare to his peers developmentally? He is normal compared to his peers developmentally.

9. Updated measurements? Updated measurements: height 140cm, weight 28kg, vision 4.9 L &R, head circumference 69cm, waist 60cm foot length 23.5cm

We also received 2 videos of sweet Kaleb! I can share these privately with an interested family. 

For Kaleb, just like our Kassi last year, time is of the essence! He doesn't have much longer before it will be too late. Please, please pray about whether you might be this amazing boy's family, and email us at for more information! 

Also, feel free to share this post and direct interested families to us. We can connect them with the right people but we need to get Kaleb seen!! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Purple Day!

Happy "Purple Day", everyone! 

Yesterday was Epilepsy Awareness day, but we were traveling, so today I'd like to show you the faces of some absolutely amazing kiddos who happen to have epilepsy.

If you think that one of these precious faces might fill the missing space in your family portrait, please email me at! I am happy to connect you with people who can answer questions about epilepsy, adoption, or the process for any of these countries.

Please, please consider whether you, perhaps, are being led to adoption. Are you living every day without a certain someone? Are they here? Is your son or daughter waking up across the world to another day of waiting?

And now, the kids!

First, Eric!! The cuteness here is unbelievable, friends! He doesn't have a link, but I'd be happy to connect you with the right people to get more information! Eric is not quite 2 years old and has mild epilepsy (medicated) and an abnormal MRI. He is currently listed with the agency Wasatch (contact for more information). 

Here's Mr. Benny!! He is currently listed with Holt. Benny turned 4 in November and has epilepsy. Here is a video of him! Benny came into care when he was about four months old. He has a seizure about once a month and is on medication (it seems that they haven't found the right medication for him yet). His speech is delayed, but he can speak several words and follow instructions. He goes to school and knows all his teachers and classmates. Benny is an active little guy with a ready smile. He loves colorful toys, cartoons and music. 

Sweet Petal doesn't have a photo that I can share, but if you email me I *may* be able to get one. She needs a family to see her and get her out of the institution and into a place where she can thrive!

Darling little Sydney. No words needed - she is stunning! 

Here's ShuangShuang! This is from an advocate who has met her, and is in contact with the foster home where this sweet girlie lives. " ShuangShuang is a beautiful 3 year-old little girl. She was born in August 2013 and found at approximately six months of age. Her medical report suggests that she has Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. She enjoys music, sitting in her walker, playing outdoors and interacting with her caretakers. She is a precious little girl and she needs a family to help her reach her full potential. She is currently listed with Gladney's shared list program and the Gladney team has actually also recently met her. I have had the pleasure of meeting her also in July of 2015. She is beautiful, precious, and so so worthy of a forever family. Someone please see how special this little girl truly is!" If you email me, I will put you in contact with this advocate! 

Tony doesn't have a photo, either, but again, I can try to get one to share privately. He loves cars!!  It sounds like he would do best in a family without other children in the home, but regardless he needs a family! 

Mavis is just adorable! Are you her Mama? 

Handsome Jayson sounds like he would fit beautifully into a family! 

Oh my goodness Malcom has the most beautiful eyes! 

What a bright smile sweet Arwen has!

And precious Vijay, too! 'Vijay' means victory - I hope and pray that he will be victorious in his search for a family! 

Beautiful Lucia - "friendly and sweet". 

Larry looks like a curious little guy. Could he be yours? 

Oh, Jubilee - those curls!! 

Smiley Miss Caris

Clayton was originally listed with his twin brother, Caleb. However, sweet Caleb has passed away. Clayton's Mama and Daddy need to hurry! 

Isn't Heather just darling? 

And last but certainly not least, wonderful Harrison!

Again, please email me if you see your child here, or if you believe that you might be called to adoption!


National Cerebral Palsy Day!

March 25th, was National CP day! A day to celebrate the people in our lives who have Cerebral Palsy. People like our awesome Kai and Kassi!  

Kai wrote a post the other day about what CP means as a part of his life. If you haven't yet, would you read his words about this subject that's so close to our hearts? The post is here: Cerebral Palsy

Now, I'd like you to meet some beautiful kiddos who also have Cerebral Palsy. Can you look past the CP label and see them for who they are? These are just kids! Is one of them yours? 

If you think that you could be called to adoption, or that you might be the family that one of these sweet children is waiting for, please email me at! I am more than happy to put you in touch with the right people to learn more about adoption or any of these kids, and Mama and Daddy would love to chat with families about CP! 

And now, meet the kids! 

Handsome Zachary will age out in March 2018. He has plenty of time left for his family to complete the process, but they need to find him soon! There are videos and updated information if you click on his name. 

Sweet, sweet Nicki has my heart! She has been to an in-China camp, and the volunteers have so much to say about this precious girl! Click here to see what they had to say, to see more pictures and video! There's also more information on Wonderful Waiting Kids (search "Daisy"), but you need to request membership to see that. Precious Nicki sounds so very wonderful! 

Smiley Quinn!

Precious little Patty!

"Sunshine girl" Waniya

Beautiful Athens

Darling little Greg

Stunning Isabella

Adorable Cassie

Aston, who has CP, and his sister Lilian (follow the link to see her photo)! 

Handsome Harry

Lovely Selah Rose, who has both Epilepsy and CP! 

Precious Zeke - look at that smile! 

Amazing Anton who needs out NOW! 

Absolutely lovely Jessica!

Beautiful Bree!

Remember Bert? He's been posted here before

Adorable Miss Sarea

Sweet little Katerina, who has been transferred to an older childrens' institution!

Handsome Gibson

Beautiful Nevaeh (no link, but please contact me for more information)! 

Precious Shirley who would like to be adopted but will age out in February 2018! 

Sweet Sherman who was hosted in the U.S.! There is a wealth of information available for this little guy!  

Smiley Aleah

Spunky little Amber

And last but not least, lovely Sarah Anne

Finally, please check out Anderson Advocacy! This blog has multiple sweethearts with CP! 

Again, please email us with questions!