Away We Go

So today is our day.  We’re flying out of Nashville and into Ann Arbor this evening.  I’m feeling pretty not like I want to vomit and I feel like that is a solid win.  Our weekend was crazy lovely.  We had so many visitors stopping in to meet Shuai and drop off goodies and travel packages and gift cards and cold hard cash.  Hahaha.  We really have felt so seen and loved on by God though His people.  It’s been humbling and absolutely incredible to say the least.

Ashley had to go home early this morning so that was sad.  I walked her out to her car and we both just sobbed and embraced as some our neighbors looked on in horror and confusion.  We had quite the chuckle about it.  Ashley is always such a gift and I was so thankful she came in and loved on our family the way she did.  Honored to be her friend.

Our weekend was very similar to our week in that we wanted to keep enjoying each other and doing special things with Everett.  One of our kids’ favorite things to do is to set Big Daddy’s projector and screen up in our backyard and watch a movie so we declared Friday movie night.  Luckily we had quite the few takers to join us.

There was candy and popcorn and fun drinks.  The weather cleared up just in time and it was perfection. We watched Lego Batman which is hilarious and sweet and I cried at the end.  I loved watching everyone sitting out in our backyard enjoying the movie and each other.  I loved watching Shuai move person to person and people snagging hugs and snuggles from him when they could.

Saturday we had more visitors and family stopping in.  It was great and the kids loved it.  Then Saturday afternoon we went to a pool party to celebrate Everett’s best friend from China and his parents.  The Carman’s are officially logged-in in China so we partied and showered them with gift cards to help them prepare.  Before we left the house Josh mentioned we were going to his buddies party and Shuai totally thought that meant his friend was going to be there…he was sorely disappointed.

He has finally started coming around to cold things 🙂

My favorite part of the party was watching these three together.  They love our boy so well and I simply cannot cannot cannot wait to see them with their son.  It’s just the sweetest.

Sunday Josh Kelley had to work so we did church solo without him and I’m pretty sure I cried 79% of the time I was in the building.  We are just surrounded by the most amazing, generous, kind and praying people.  I keep saying this over and over again, but when we say the prayers mean far more than anything else…we genuinely mean that!!!

Then Sunday evening the Carman’s came over for dinner and their appointment to WeChat with their son.  The boys’ home agreed to let Shuai and his buddy chat as well since his surgery was in just a few days.  It was absolutely the perfect last night before leaving for Ann Arbor.  I cried approximately 83% of the time.

(testing out the WeChat…hahahahahaha.)

The Carman’s chatted first with their son and then he asked about Shuai and we all jumped into action like we we’re bringing in a celebrity or a limb on ice.  Josh had Shuai in our bedroom to keep him quiet, but Josh said when he heard his friend’s voice he perked up and started wanting out.  Josh kept distracting him with a game on his phone, but then it was go time.

Everett came running in as fast as he could and we all just gathered around and could not quit smiling and laughing and crying.  His buddy was so chatty and Shuai just laughed so hard at things he said and things his nannies said to him.  Everett told him he loved him and missed him and that he can’t wait to see him.  The pictures below are the moment when his buddy told him he missed him in Chinese.  Ev turned around to me with the biggest, most excited grin and said in English, “He misses me!”  We all died.

His friend kept telling him he wanted to see him tomorrow.  And when the talk was over, Everett hopped down out of Brooke’s lap, propped his elbows on our window, peered down the street and said very disappointedly, “His friend’s name isn’t coming.”  And when I tucked him into bed that night he gave me kisses and told me he misses his bestie.

We were totally unsure how they would do, but they clearly love each other deeply and we’re so excited to see each other again.  These boys are just so insanely sweet and larger than life.  I sat on the back of the couch with Brooke, Josh and Josh Kelley and we just talked about how on earth we got here…how did we ever get this lucky…how is God this good?!?!  Only He would orchestrate something like this for these boys and especially on Shuai’s last night home before heading out for surgery.  Only God.  As their parent’s we are currently feeling all the feelings for the both of them.  We are so grateful for one another and the bond we have forged.  Brooke says all the time, “God has big plans for these boys.”  We went to bed with smiling faces and tear stained cheeks.  How could we not?!?!

Today we’ve been getting all our last minute things wrapped up.  The big kids started Gym and Swim camp so I took the littles for donuts.  A must.  Everett loved his donuts.  Amon and our littlest showed him all the ropes and they all downed regular and chocolate milk.  It was a really sweet little time with just the three of them.

Now we’re just a few hours from departure.  I think everyone is feeling the weightiness and I keep reminding all the kids that they can share their feelings and talk about them anytime.  I don’t want them to bottle these big feelings up.  We’ll land later tonight and drive on into Ann Arbor.  Tomorrow we have to be at the hospital bright and early for a full day of pre-op appointments and tests.  And then Everett is first case on Wednesday morning.  I will try and update here as soon as I can, but if it’s anything like Amon’s first 48 hours things we’re pretty crazy.  I know so many of you are praying crazy hard so I will do my best.  Thank you again and again for joining us in prayer for our boy.  We are hoping, believing and crying out to a God who does wondrous things.


  1. So much love to you this week! Of course we’d love updates, but much more we’re all rooting for you and will be here whenever you are able <3 Hugs to you, Everett, and the whole fam!!

  2. Love that pic of the two of you, beaming at each other. ❤️ Bottle that up to hold you through the challenges to come. Praying for you, friend. Miss you! ❤️ di

  3. Just the sweetest!! I love that he got to talk to his bestie! And I love all the awesome stuff God is doing! Praying for you all!

  4. for your boy from another heart momma! (Missouri).

  5. Rachel walser says:

    Hugs and prayers sent your way, my friend!! <3

  6. Meriah Henderson says:

    Praying for safe travels, successful surgery, quality healing and a time when Everett and his bestie can run around together. <3

  7. Candice Haynes says:

    So much love and so many prayers for you all this week!

  8. CheyeNne says:

    I just had to read this all again & totally cried over his excitement seeing his bestie! Gosh, I love you guys ❤️️❤️️❤️️

  9. So darn cute!! I loved the videos of chatting with the his bestie! Praying for you all!! ❤️

  10. Praying soooo hard for your boy, the doctors, the nurses, everyone you come into contact with and praying for YOU, Josh, all your kiddos!!! May God just hold you all super tight and give you everything you need right when you need it!!! XOXO

  11. Many prayers being said for you all! God does have big and amazing plans!

  12. I’m sending lots of Jesus love your way … and since I live about 2 hours from Ann Arbor … you will get His love very quickly.

  13. Praying for you guys from east Tn!

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