6 Months With Leo

I had every intention to post this when it was right at our 6 month marker with Leo, but we’re actually closer to that 7 month marker now.  Alas.  We became family all over again 6 months ago and Leo has indeed brought joy and love to our aching hearts.  6 months ago we all piled into a bustling, busy room quickly scanning for our Leo…our brave hearted lion boy.  It was this beautifully hard moment and trip having done the exact same with Everett just 14 months prior.  We carried Everett in our hearts and looked for rainbows everywhere.

It has been 6 months of working to figure out the most gorgeous mystery that is our Leo Shuai Lin.  We are slowly finally finding out some of the ways to best help him and you better believe we are cheering and championing along side him.  He is the bravest boy and we are insanely proud of him and all his hard work.

Leo currently sees 5 specialists.  I am always thrilled to remove a specialist from our list, but I think we’re going to hold steady at 5 for a while.  Leo does physical, occupational and sensory therapy weekly and we started speech therapy just last week.  While we have been waiting for his speech therapy to get started we are using a wonderful program called GemIIni Learning.  I have been super pleased with it and Leo has picked up extra signs and even started attempting to say more words.

We are doing more sign language than we did with Amon and Leo is like a sponge for it.  The kid is definitely not lacking in his desire to communicate he just needs the tools.  He has about twenty-five signs and we are trying to regularly add to that.  He’s also babbling more which was not the case a few months ago.

His special little heart is always at the forefront of everything we do.  With colder months upon us we see even more so how his heart affects his body.  We’re going in again for another heart procedure soon so his team can try and figure out exactly what he needs and how to best go about it.  Leo does need heart surgery, but right now we are waiting patiently for his team to gather every bit of information they can and hash out all the details and timeframes.

Sleep has been the most consistent issue to his adjustment, but thanks to some cedarwood he’s been sleeping like a champ and we might buy cedarwood stock.  Seriously though, I’m probably going to run cedarwood in his room until he’s an adult.  Also I’m fully aware it might have just been a coincidence he started sleeping on is own, but Josh Kelley and I are not taking any risks.  Cedarwood-4-Ever!

His current favorites:  Driving our Powerwheels car, his backpack, telling everyone in a store “hi” and then “bye”, waving, ALL THE FOODS, treats, his blankie, Josh, all of his siblings, swinging, being outside, Icees, snuggling, bath time, sitting on the counter, vacuuming, looking through Everett’s photos, sneaking to play on the iPad, helping do anything, Elmo and pretty confident I’m his BFF.

My grief for my mom comes and goes still, but lately I’ve been thinking how crazy she would have been over Leo.  I wish so much she’d been able to meet Amon, Everett, Winter & Leo.  I know she would have been nuts for all 4 of them.

Leo has come crazy far in bonding & attachment and trusting & loving us and we’re beyond honored to be his.  No doubt this kid has been deeply loved and cared for his whole life.  We’re forever grateful for each of this unique and amazing families who loved him before we ever could.  I think about his birth parents…especially his birth mom…almost every day.  I long for them to know how loved and cherished he is and that we are doing our best for his special heart.

Leo is joy.  Loads and loads of joy and we absolutely needed him far more than he ever needed us.  I’ll spend my whole life telling anyone who will listen, our kids change us for the better.  They are prized and loved and a gift we did not deserve.  They make us better and will always be my greatest honor.


  1. BarB cole says:

    LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS UPDATE! So colorful, full of love, life and living. Thank you for allowing your grief to reach fully across the globe and touch our hearts so deeply. So glad Leo and Everett were buddies from the start, how special! Your family is thought of often! Hugs from WV!

  2. JUDY bAKER says:

    This made my heart smile!

  3. Such a wonderful gratitude prompt today. I hope you know how much joy Leo and all the Kelley’s bring to us all.

  4. Your posts brighten my day. Thank you so much for sharing

  5. Marie Mullane says:

    I feel all the feels with your beautiful journey and family. You are in my prayers.
    Love from Paris

  6. Your thoughts about your mom are similar to what I feel about losing my mom and brother. I was 13 when my brother died and 16 when I lost my mom and I really wish my husband knew my mom (he knew a bit of my brother because they were the same age) and I wish my kids knew both of them. The relationships I have with family and friends who were around early enough to know both of them are so valuable. As always, I love to hear your updates on your family. They are beautiful! I also love seeing some of these more serious photos of Leo. Mostly, his face is entirely lit up (which I love) but is fun to see these other adorable expressions as well. The many faces of Leo: all are awesome!

  7. So so sweet! Such a special little guy and I love hearing the updates! Can’t wait t see what the next 6 months brings him <3

  8. The picture with the green hat and the fleece blanket: the serious face + crooked glasses = I’m dead 🙂 can’t even handle Leo’s cuteness. 🙂 Thank you for sharing him and your journey (and all your other kids) with us.

  9. Dear Dear Laura ~ I don’t leave many comments, because they become books. Today, I’m going for it with many things to say:

    1) the last post (from your blog) that I received via email was 12/26/16 titled “Ferrero Rocher Sprouts”. Something got messed up and I don’t receive them anymore, but I follow you through FB posts.

    2) yesterday, I found a 2013 Christmas card that you sent me. You kiddo’s were so small!

    3) Harper needs to stop growing up! She is beautiful. As are Hudson, Solomon, Amon, Winter, and Leo! You are Blessed!!

    4) hands down, You and your family have become a part of me. I feel like I know you and certainly have walked through every single emotion that exist. Love you all so much!

    5) I miss Everett

    6) Leo… such a Gift he is! I cannot get enough of him. That photo on the picnic table is so sweet. This six months has been so good for him. Hug him for me, okay?

    I think I’ll stop for now. Know that you are precious. Keep doing all of the things that make you, You! Merry Christmas, Kelly family. ~ Jo

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