Category Archives: Chase

My Son is fifteen. But. I share him with another Momma. Let’s talk about it.

Our Chase.

My Sunshine.

Jim’s “Orange Pumpkin”.

Aven’s “Squeezy”.

Tye’s Protector.

Zane’s Idol.

Trey’s Best Friend.

Irina’s son.

Max’s son.

An entire family’s son that they do not have the honor to encounter day-to-day.   Who know Chase was happily adopted at age 14 mos, from the orphanage where he was taken after being in the hospital for 3 mos. after his birth. He was in a rural Russian hospital for those 3 mos due to prematurity, bronchitis, and failure to thrive.

A family, a Mom, that was in desperate need and left her son in the care of the nurses.  

I have always tried to paint a mental picture of her having/chosing to walk away from her son… I will never get it pictured properly but I honor her for that long walk…where she left part of her heart behind.

BUT! Now, Irina knows Chase IS THRIVING. 

We hired a private investigator to find Chase’s birthparents 3 years ago. It took over a year. Record-keeping is not the same there as in our very organized nation.

But.  Now she KNOWS.  She has pictures. She has video. She has information on his interests, his talents, his love of Jesus.

Every one of Chase’s birthdays makes me feel, truly, connected to Irina.  

To a woman that lives on a different continent, whose daily life is vastly different than mine, who lives in a different culture that is steeped in deep, deep history whereas I live in a relatively new nation that is still establishing and finding our balance.  

I live in complete freedom, whereas Irina lives within a system of “supposed” freedom but one that is not practiced in actuality.

 (We always honor our adopted kids’ birthparents on child’s birthday. The ‘adoption triad’ of birthparents/adoptive parents/child … is represented this year by this neat flower arrangement I found 🙂

You are wondering if Chase minds if I talk to you all about his heritage.

No. Not at all. 

He is proud of being adopted. He understands, to the extent a 15 yr old can (which is pretty deep), what Irina did for him and why….  

He talks openly about “Miss Irina”, “Mr. Max”, and considers adoption as just one way God can construct a family.

I asked him, on the the 31st (his birthday), if he was thinking of Miss Irina.

He looked at me…sorta sheepishly…and said, “Not really Mom. Is that bad?”  

My response, knowing he is 15 yrs old and thinks about video games more than food, said,”No babe. But I am and I wanted to remind you of how much I love her and am grateful to her because without her I would not have you.”

 (HOW completely AWESOME, eh?! My sis and Bro-in-Law were in Ukraine a few weeks ago. They got Chase authentic (as in used 🙂 Russian military cap with ALL the pins that would denote “Lieutenant” !!!!!  WOW, eh?!!)

“You are right Mom.” …. and he’s back to doing whatever it was he was doing before I asked him 😉  Yep. He’s a teenager.

But, our goal has always been to keep his adoption (all the adoptions) an open topic. As easy to bring up as a “What’s for dinner” type question. 

At this point, we see it playing out in all three of our kiddos who were brought to us via the journey of adoption. And within our ‘homemade’ kiddos. They have questions too.  

We welcome any and all types of questions in regards to the adoption journeys we’ve traveled – first as just “Jim & Andre” and then it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, and Zane” to get Tye home from China. And, finally (so far ;), it was “Jim, Andrea, Chase, Trey, Zane, and Tye” to get Aven home from Guatemala. It’s been a group effort 🙂

It is a beautiful thing. It allows a child to see a bigger world.  A world where love abounds….a world where Moms and Dads go to extraordinary lengths to keep their children safe, fed, to be given opportunity, education, and to be so amazingly self-less as to allow someone else to raise their child.

I am daily amazed by you, my Chaser-Bean.

You can be discouraged and confused one minute and laughing hysterically shortly thereafter.  You bounce back from setbacks or bad days unlike anyone else I have ever met.

I want your perseverance.  I want that gigantic smile that you just cannot hold back.

Most of all, my son, I just want you. And, thanks to Miss Irina and Mr. Max….I have my wish.

I have you … a son that is independently focused on growing his relationship with God, who knows he struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effect but does not use it as an excuse for bad behavior or to not conquer something that is very hard for you (math!!). And you have found your God-Given talents and RAN with them! (music is one of ’em!)

Tears are rolling down my face as I picture God forming you within the womb, giving you an extra dose of perseverance (because He knew you’d need it)..

…wiring your brain with the ability to heal and conquer FAE..

…piecing your heart together but apparently using larger than normal components because your heart, Chase, it fills a room within seconds….

God giving you a craving that is unlike others…a craving to be generous beyond your years – How many times have you asked me, “Need anything Mom?”, “You doin’ okay Mom?”……  God has never created another one like you my love.

 (Papaw telling all of us about a prank he pulled on Chase awhile back…adorable)

It would be impossible to for there ever to be another “you”.

You are a young man that has fought, (even if we were dragging you through the fight sometimes….years 6-9 come to mind :) to become who YOU want to be…not who we are telling you to be, not who friends are telling you to be, but who YOU THINK YOU SHOULD BE.

I am amazed…my son…Irina’s son…God’s son….

Amazed at you and you, without any doubt, have made our entire family something that it could never have been without YOU.

When they handed you to me in a freezing, colorless orphanage in Rostov, Russia on January 17th, 1998… I knew I was holding an angel…My soul felt your angelic spirit the instant I touched you…I felt that, somehow, I had your birthmomma’s permission to take you into the folds of my arms, into the deepest places of my heart and to keep you safe, loved, and nurtured.

It turns out…. that Irina knew you were an angel too and wanted to let you soar.

You are soaring our Angel….. Beyond ALL expectations my… I mean OUR son ….. SOARING.

WE, Miss Irina, Mr. Max, Mom, Dad, your brothers,  and your sister,  … we love you and please use that love to change the world Angel.

With ALL of our LOVE….
Your Momma….and, by proxy, Miss Irina.

 (but…I bet Miss Irina is WAY WAY WAY more normal than us. Sorry ’bout that Sunshine Boy.. 😉

Hearing my 14 year old worship….

 Last night (Wednesday) was my long-awaited “Mercyme” concert.

I am a fairly HUGE “Mercyme” fan…the lyrics of their songs penetrate my soul.  Their song “Bring the Rain” was almost a motto for our Guatemalan adoptions.  

Happily, last night Chase and Trey got to experience “Mercyme” IN ACTION for the first time!

Of course, they know most of the songs because I play them all the time 🙂 I have to admit to not really “loving” music like my husband…I don’t remember band names, song titles, lyrics, or…really..anything…

UNLESS the song stirs me.

(like Cindy Morgan’s “How Could I Ask For More”… and Etta James’ “Sunday Kinda Love” … and a few others- but not many. sigh)

So, as a result, I play the SAME songs over and over and over 🙂  This behavior drives my music-fanatic family quite insane……what can a girl do?!

Anyways, after they got used to be being CRAZY (read: dancing 🙂 screaming 😉 the boys really settled in and enjoyed the band.

“Mercyme” concerts have a huge “worship” component.  LUV this.

I LOVE worshiping the Lord in a huge group where there is no pressure, no pews, no expectations.

Apparently, so does my 14 year old.

I was nearly brought to (more) tears as I stood by my oldest son as he sang just as loud as everyone else.

As he lost himself to the love of worship.

He let his teenage insecurities drop and he became part of a larger whole that was lifting praise to God simply because God is God.  Not for what He gives us…but because He is “I Am.”

I, as a Mom, really and truly want NOTHING more for my children than to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and MIND.

Oftentimes, I think I focus on “the MIND” part a bit too much…because it was not focused upon during my upbringing.

I’ve managed to get information in front of my kids that make them feel, intellectually, secure about God.  About good vs. evil. About Heaven. About the Bible.


Last night…Chase was learning, more, to Love the Lord with his Heart and Soul too.

I really can’t ask for more than that…For if they love the Lord with all their Heart, Soul, and Mind then all the other pieces will follow.  

It was a special night.  

One that, I hope, my boys will remember as penetrating their Hearts and Souls in a way that only God can…

The whole event was fun…but this “moment” … hearing my Chase sing with no cares….was a “true moment” I will never forget…

 (I was trying DESPERATELY to get a stage dude to take my bowler hat (which is a clone of one on “Mercyme’s” latest album cover…back to the band to get it signed. Um. Yeah. Well. That didn’t happen and, actually, the stage hands were sorta mean 🙂

Before the concert…We enjoyed the fair…

It was just us and ‘the big kids’. This is unusual for us. Yet it was a BLAST! Trey, with his sassy sarcasm, repeatedly mentioned just how “nice” it was actually…eyeroll 🙂
 (we won four new fish…welcome ‘home’ fishy friends…mmmwwwhahahaah…)
(and, I ask, WHY is the Momma always the ‘pack mule’? huh? huh?)

Yet….the moment of hearing my son sing his heart to the Lord…remains the highlight of the day…actually of my parenting life in a way …..

I PRAY that this is a moment that it is a glimpse into the future for my Chase…and my Trey…and my Zane….and my Tye..and my Avenita.

Andrea..and my 5 monkeys