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You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more. Psalms 10:14,17-18

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Without you.........

Happy Mother's Day to all of my children's birth mothers.  I don't know if I will ever get the chance to tell you face to face that I owe alot to each one of you. 

Without you I would have never become a mom.  You have given me the most priceless gift that anyone has ever given.  How can I ever thank you for all that you have done? 

I think of you often and talk about you with your birth child.  I pray that you know that your son or daughter is healthy and happy.  They are loved and cherished more than you can ever imagine. 

From the time that I was first married at the age of 20 I had wanted to be a mom.  Even if I only just one.  I would sit in a spare bedroom that we had a rocking chair in and pray daily for a child to call me "Mom".  I prayed and dreamed of this child for 5 years before she came into our lives.

After seeking out fertility treatments and years of trying to have our own biological child we turned our attention to adoption.  A friend of ours' had heard of a baby girl in Cleveland that was looking for parents.  Funny.....we were looking for a child to call our very own.  What a perfect fit!!!

Jessica came to us at the age of 14 months.  She was absolutely beautiful.  She still is.  Jess was born to a birth mom that knew that she could not raise her.  I was beyond happy to accept the call to Motherhood.  Jess will always have a very special place in my heart.  She was my first child.  We seemed to grow up together.  I learned how to be a parent and she learned how to let me. 

Our son Adam was born 4 years later.  Once again to a birth mother who was unable to raise her little guy.  Adam was our only child that we adopted at birth.  On a June day when I was in my first full year of nursing school a private adoption agency called and wanted to know if we could come immediately to the hospital because our birth mother was in labor and wanted us there quickly.  We had originally been told that it would be at least 3 years before we had a child.  I was ok with that.  I had 3 years left of college.  But on that June day I became a mom to my second child, a boy.

My heart was full and so were my days and nights.  School during the day and up all night with a preemie baby who took an hour to eat 2 ounces of formula and he had to eat every 2 hours.  I did not sleep in a bed for the first year.  I sat in a rocking chair holding my precious boy while he slept and ate.

When our children were 7 and 1 1/2 years old my husband and I divorced.  I was now a single mom that was trying to finish nursing school.  I had sworn off men and didn't care to ever date anyone.

Little did I know that God had other plans.  Within 2 months of my divorce I was married once again to a wonderful man.  We seemed to have the same heartbeat.  We didn't know where one of us stopped and the other one began.  Who would have known that I would find love again?

Within 6 months of our marriage I found myself raising my 8 year old stepdaughter, Marsha.  I legally adopted her right after she turned 18 years old and was able to sign for her own adoption.  I have had 12 years of raising this fine young lady.  She is married now herself and planning a family one day soon.

God began to tug on our hearts for the adoption of children from other countries.  We were blessed with a 20 month old little boy from China in 2006.  Philip is now 7 years old.  Philip was born with a cleft lip and palate.  Unfortunately his parents must have felt that they could not take care of him.  Philip has been nothing but a gigantic blessing in our lives.  I wish that I was able to tell his birth mother how he is doing.  I pray that she has peace in her heart about the decision that they made for their son not long after birth.

In 2008 we adopted Gavyn from Vietnam at the age of 7 years old.  Gavyn is just a very neat kid.  He is very smart.  He loves geography, history, and learning about all of the wars.   Gavyn has done wonderfully transitioning to the United States.  He is presently finishing up 4th grade.  Plays football every year and is a straight A student.  Where is Gavyn's birth mother?  Truthfully I don't know.  He was being raised by his grandparents after his birth mother put him up for adoption.  Maybe one day we will be able to return to his home country to show his biological family just how well he has done for himself.  I see big things in Gavyn's future.  No doubt that he will go onto college and pursue some amazing career.

Last year we adopted a 7 year old little girl from Armenia. Carolynn was born with multiple birth defects and was released for adoption at birth.  Carolynn was born with much resiliency.  She is a fighter, a conqueror, and definitely has had the will to defy death and her disabilities.  After raising our 2 older daughters it is a pleasure to once again have another girl in the house.  Carolynn is a huge blessing and a Joy to have in our lives.  I wish her birth mother a Happy Mother's Day as well.  For Carolynn's birth made her a mom.  I have no doubt that she has thought of her daughter several times today.  I pray that she also feels God's peace and knows that the decision she made for her daughter was a good one.  Carolynn is a strong young lady who loves the Lord!!

On this day I celebrate the fact that another little Armstrong will be added to our family this year.  We don't know exactly when but anticipate to hopefully be by the fall.  Silas, in our hearts is already our son.  My heart is full of joy, happiness and love that I have been given by each of my children's birth parents.  To you ladies, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for your gift of life.  I thank you for choosing life for your child.  Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.......!!!

Will I ever be happy when all of this paperwork is done?.  I have been working for 7 months now on documents that will eventually be our dossier.  Now you ask why 7 months?

Well there seems to one delay and re-vision after another.  Some of the documents were re-done several times over.  Not all of these documents personally originate with me.  So that makes it more difficult. 

We had to get approximately 6 personal references.  Three were required by our home study agency.  Three were for our placement agency.  And they both had different requirements that must be met in each reference letter.  Yes, the standards did get intertwined and some of our faithful friends had to rewrite their letters for us.  We are so grateful for all of you standing by us through this.

Now that our home study is complete I have been working this week on getting our I-800A application and documents gathered and sent out.  Praying that it does not take long to hear from USCIS about an appointment.   We are going to actually try a "walk up" for our fingerprinting instead of adhering to the appointed time that they send us.  Hoping that this will cut some time off getting our I-797C approval. 

Our last document that needed county certified was completed this week as well.  We took our home study to Stark County and within a few minutes we were finished at that office.

I had called the Ohio Secretary of State's office on Wednesday morning to make sure that their Cleveland office was still operating and was told that it was.  I even continued to ask the woman on the other end of the phone several questions making sure that my trip to downtown Cleveland would not be wasted.  After we left Stark County we immediately headed to the Ohio Secretary of Sate to have all of our documents certified.  I was so excited to be at this point of the process. 

We found a perfect parking space right next to the building that we needed to visit.  Hard to believe for this area of town.  As soon as we enterned the building the security officer asked which office we were there to visit.  We told her and she went on to tell us that Secretary of State no longer had an office there.  In fact, they closed it over a year ago!!!!

I was NOT happy at this point.  She was telling me that the only office left open was the one in Columbus.  And that woman told me just a few hours before that the office in Cleveland was still there.  We drove way out of our way to try and get these documents completed and that was not going to happen. 

I even called the Secretary of State's office again.  A different lady answered the phone this time.  I asked her also about the office in Cleveland.  She went on to say that the office had been closed for quite some time.  I let her know that I had been told that the office was still there and had traveled to that destination to only find out that it was no longer there.  So she not so politely told me that "no one in this office would ever tell you that".  I wish I had recorded the former conversation.  Oh well.....!!! 

I overnighted our State documents this morning.  Hopefully they will be processed soon so that I may get them sent out to the appropriate Embassy to be authenticated. 

And the process continues on...........

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I asked God, "How much time do I have before I die?"
He replied, "Enough to make a difference......"

"Enough to make a difference....."?  I have always wanted to make a difference.  For a long time I just didn't know how I was going to do that.  I began with a major in college of education.  Mostly because that was what my father suggested that I do.  Then I switched to Interior Design.  And ultimately graduated with a degree in Pre-Kindergarten Education. 

I love little kids.  So teaching preschool was right up my alley.  Although after several years of working in this field, I come to find out that you don't really make any money at it.  If for some reason I was going to need to be able to raise my children on my own, I needed a real career.  A real career to me was one that gave me sufficient income, health benefits, and a retirement fund.

And so after much prayer and thought I sought after a degree as a Registered Nurse.  Exactly 4 years later I graduated with my BSN and had a full time job that I loved at a local hospital.  I finally felt that I had found my calling.  The Lord had taken me back and showed me how when I was little that I would bandage up my teddy bears and doll babies.  I do remember using an Ace bandage, Band-Aids, and such to treat my "patients". 

I finally had real patients to care for and I put my whole self into my career.  I worked full time and then some.  If they needed a nurse to stay, I did it.  Then turned around in less then 8 hours and went back for another regular shift.  Heck I was young and healthy.  I felt that I could conquer the world.

Little did I know that only a year after I began working that I got very ill.  Doctors had no idea what was wrong with me and I saw probably dozens of doctors.  I continued to lose alot of weight.  I could not swallow any food.  I was completely exhausted.  My body was failing me.  I had muscle twitches, muscle spasms, and shaking all over my body.  The pain was so excrutiating. 

I then began to have mini-strokes 2 years after I started to get sick.  I had so many TIAs that I had lost count of how many there were.  All I know was that my whole right side was pretty much useless, I couldn't put together a thought into a sentence and speak it correctly, and I still could not swallow without choking.

Finally we had found an angel of a doctor in Pittsburgh.  She knew immediately what I had.  As soon as she looked at me, she knew.  I could not believe that we had finally found someone who knew what was going on within my body.  I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal Dystonia.   My general doctor also evaluated me for symptoms that I had had for years and diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. 

Now that my "career" was no longer relevant to my new way of life I wasn't sure how I was ever going to make a difference in anyone's life.  God knows that I didn't even know how I was going to participate in my own life let alone making an impact on another's life.

Before I became ill I had already adopted my daughter in 1993.  Jessica is now 19 years old.  Then we adopted a baby boy, Adam, on the day that he was born in 1997.  My life felt complete as far as children go.  I was very blessed to have Jessica and Adam as my children. Up until Jessica came along I thought that my life may be childless. 

How does one go through life without kids?  What do you do on Christmas morning?  What about Trick-or-Treating?  Who do you take to see the kiddie movies on school holidays?  Who calls you "Mommy" and wraps their chubby arms around your legs and squeezes you with all of their might?  Why would you choose to miss out on all of the joy that kids can bring to your life? 

God didn't choose for me to have birth children.  I questioned Him for a very long time.  But I had finally found the answer to "why?"  It seems that God has had this plan for me all along.  If I had had birth children I may not have been as "available" to adoption.  Trust me that by the time Jessica was entering my life, I was ready for any child.  I didn't care if my kids were purple with yellow stripes and didn't know one word of English.  And that's a good thing. 

Jessica was adopted at a time when our local county would not allow Caucasian people to adopt African American children, bi-racial children or any other ethnicity other then Caucasian.  So we were very limited in our own county.  Therefore, I started looking all over Ohio and the country for that matter.  Jessica was found in a foster home about 1 1/2 hours from our home.  Once we located her it took less then a week to go and meet her for the first time.  I had prayed and waited 5 years for this child.  I couldn't believe she was right in front of me!!!  Jess is a delight in my life.  She is becoming more of a friend now then my little girl. 

Going through nursing school opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I became more compassionate, empathetic and understood human suffering more now then ever before.  My mind and heart would search for THE place in the world where I was able to make a difference.  Even if it was for only one person at a time.  It didn't have to be a big difference.  I even found joy in holding a patient's hand and talking to them while they lay in a hospital room taking their last breath of life.  Someone needed to be with them.  I knew that I did not want to depart this life and enter the next all by myself.  I pray that one person will be with me when the time comes. 

Adam was adopted while I was still in nursing school.  In fact I tease him by telling him that he has part of his nursing degree completed.  My professors were kind enough to let me bring him to class with me beginning at the age of 10 days old. 

Adam was born weighing 3# 13oz. and 6 weeks premature.  There was no prenatal care.  Unfortunately his birthmom did not take very good care of herself during her pregnancy and Adam has had to deal with the side effects of those actions.  Even to this day.  Don't get me wrong.  I truly thank her for giving life to my son.  So many others don't give their babies that chance.  But Adam has had to struggle due to some of her decisions. 

I have also adopted my husband's daughter from a previous marriage.  I have raised Marsha since she was 8 years old but legally adopted her at the age of 18 years old.  

Throughout the coming years we would adopt 3 more children with special needs.  The International bug got to us and we have since brought home children from China, Vietnam and Armenia.   Our children have multiple birth defects.  Such as clubbed feet, cleft lip, cleft face and palate, completely blind in one eye, ADHD, Asperger's, sensory integration processing disorder, possible growth hormone deficiencies, and amniotic band syndrome. 

I am not listing our children's features to help make you think that we are either crazy or that we should be commended for what we have done.  We take no credit for the twist of fate in our lives.  You see God has known all along what the future held for us and our kids.  He orchestrated every situation and opportunity.  For that we give Him praise!!

We just now ask to be given the opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives.  And it seems that we are obtaining that goal. 

We are very happy to say that sometime later this year we will be bringing home a little guy from Asia that has Down Syndrome.  He has been waiting for us for a couple of years.  We feel honored to be considered to be his forever family. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Answered Prayer

When they placed you in my arms
and I looked into your face,
I felt our hearts melt into one
a miracle took place.

My prayer was finally answered
though delayed, 'twas not denied,
The pain of love unanswered
in a moment's time subsides.

The years I spent in anguish
unable to conceive,
No one could know the heartache
or how my soul did grieve.

God's plan seemed hard to understand
the circle's now complete,
He's placed the heavens in my arms
so precious and so sweet.

He made your eyes from moonbeams
your dew-kissed lips, the rose,
Your heart was filled with sunshine
where your angel's laughter grows.

Though you grew within another
my soul and yours were one,
We united in God's loving heart
 before life had begun.

I've received a priceless treasure
this adopted child I hold,
A gift of love and happiness
a story yet untold.

-Kathie Phillips Davis

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We are making progress!

We finally had our last home study interview today.  We have been working with a wonderful lady by the name of Jen.  She is very nice, personable, and easy to talk to. 

Jen was very, very sick about a month ago.  We had two scheduled interviews with her that were canceled.  Now there has been that respiratory illness going around.  You talk to several people everyday that either have it or knows someone who has it.  Poor Jen was so terribly ill that she was hospitalized.  Not only are we happy to have our home study wrapping up but we are very happy to see Jen feeling better.

Since we live in Ohio and are adopting from a particular Asian country we had to find a new home study agency.  One that writes Hague home studies and is accredited to write this form of home study.  It was hard to believe that in the state of Ohio there are only three such agencies. 

One agency will only write a home study for you if you are adopting through their agency.  Which we are not.  So that left us a choice of two agencies.  The one we chose is closer to our home and our former home study agency has worked with them in the past.  Can you believe that this one agency has only one Hague certified home study writer?  Jen is one very busy gal. 

We are looking forward to our homestudy's draft to be completed by the end of this month.  Then I will be able to send off the dossier to be certified and authenticated and then finally apply for our I-800A from USCIS. 

It is beginning to feel like something is getting done on the adoption front.  For so long it seems that all you are doing is paperwork and redoing paperwork.  I have said with each adoption that I am "never" doing another dossier and usually I find myself doing just that about every two years.  I am done saying that we will not be adopting again. 

Because only God knows what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dr. Seuss and my life

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"- Dr. Seuss
This very simple quote by Dr. Seuss pretty much sums up the way that I look at life.  I have never been the type of person that just goes along with the crowd.  Done what is most popular.  I don't ever testify to being "politically correct". 
I am known to speak and tell you exactly how I see a situation or how I feel about something.  I am passionate about many things in life.  Mostly about my children. 
I am very protective of my kids.  If you ask my kids they would tell you that I am too protective.  But I have my reasons for that.  I am definitely a "mother bear or tiger".  If you hurt my child, speak against my child, or somehow harm them physically, emotionally, verbally etc.....You will definitely be hearing from me.  Enough on that.
But truly, why would you want to be just a typical, normal, everyday kind of person?  I prefer going against the grain myself.  Maybe that philosophy has come about because people question some of the things that I do. 
For instance questions such as these:  why do you go to "that" church?  why did it take you so long to finally figure out what you wanted to study in college?  why on Earth would you ever dream about being a medical missionary?  "You must have lost your mind", why do you continue to adopt so many children?  Do you not know that no one can adequately care for so many children?  Especially those with "special needs"?  Are you sure that you are healthy enough to continue on this way?  why would you ever get married again?  Especially to someone with children themselves? 
These are all very easy to answer.  Because these are the decisions that I have made with my own mind, at my own will, for the good of everyone involved. And because this is what my Lord and Savior would have me to do!!  Also because I absolutely love, love, love helping those who can't help themselves.  Who is most vulnerable in the world?  ORPHANS!!!!  Well now, that answers why I do what I do. 
Some don't understand why we feel that we are constantly "called" to adopt one more child. My question to you is "why do you know that you are not?".  How can you look the other way when there are so many children here in the US and internationally that have absolutely no one to call their "Family".  I find it quite sad that many people never get or take the opportunity that is available to most of us.  You don't have to be rich, highly educated or even good looking to adopt or foster a child.  You only need love and the initiative to make a difference. 
So what are all of you waiting for?  I can't do all of this completely by myself.  There are over 140 MILLION orphans in the world!!!!  I know that we are trying our best to continue to add to our family through adoption but our home is not big enough for 140 million more children.  So I will continue to shout from the rooftops, educate those that are interested, and advocate for all of those wonderful kids out there.
Go and do something EXTRAORDINARY with your life!!!!!!  Don't settle for mediocre.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today I have started our journey into Fundraising for our adoption.  It just amazes me how much time it takes to research one fundraising idea and try to get it off the ground and running.  I was lucky enough today that I called our local Applebee's Restaurant to ask about their "Dining for Donation" program.  They give you the template of a flier to pass out and a full day for friends and family to dine at their location and they donate 10% of each customer's total bill to your organization.  Not bad, huh?  All you have to do is print the template and start passing them out to everyone you see and know.  I called our children's schools to see if they would allow me to supply enough fliers for each child in the school district to take home to their parents.  I am still waiting on their reply.  Let me tell you, I am sure praying big time about this one.  Even if only 10% of the student body and their families came to support our fundraiser that would be some serious blessing.  Below you can see the flier that I ended up making today.  If you are free that day please come and join us at Applebee's.  I am sure that we will be there!  Would love to meet you, Cheryl