One Week.

One week ago today we sat nervously in the adoption center in Zhengzhou and watched as our little guy walked through those doors.  One wild and precious week.  Watching him grieve is hard and sad.  I told Josh, I wonder what he’ll be like even just a week from now and here we are.  He is still absolutely processing what all is happening and I assume will continue to for a long long time, but man, what a difference just a week has made.

I met another mom at breakfast one morning and she and I sat by each other at our visa appointment this morning.  We talked about that one week…seven days, but wow what a difference we had seen in just that short time period.  It made us both teary.

Everett has been warming up so much faster in the morning.  Yesterday he was giggling at breakfast and this morning he was giggling before we left the room.  Every day we just move ever so slowly together in the direction of trust.  I cannot even fathom what his little mind and heart are feeling.  I’ll never come close to grasping his sense of loss…or Solomon or Amon’s for that matter.  So I pray.  I pray and pray and pray asking God to be everything they need…to fill in the gaps and mend hearts.

Everett isn’t refusing food anymore.  He eats and eats.  His initial reaction isn’t no every time now.  He’s less angry acting.  Less emotionless.  There’s less hitting.  He has not stood at the sink and let the water run over his hands any the past 3 days.  We are seeing what a funny little guy he is and how he throws up dueces in pictures all by himself.  He loves snacks and naps and funny faces and belly tickles and his medicine and watching himself in videos.

He does not like dirty hands or big crowds or a dirty pull-up 🙂  He still loves his sippy cup, but it’s less of an attachment now and more of just a way to get water.  He understands so much already and is such a good listener.  He mimics easily and knows who we are in photos.  He loves Josh to hold him when we’re out and about and he likes me to hold him at night when he wakes up.  He has snuggled in my arms and fallen asleep 3 times.  And why yes, I am counting.

He breaths so heavily his little chest moving so quickly, his heart rate is fast and his O2 levels are low.  He’s got the sweetest little purple lips I could kiss a million times over.  We’ve seen him run twice both times towards the spinning hotel door and it was the cutest.  We are so anxious to see what’s going on in his little heart and hear what the game plan will be.  The day we see pink lips and your typical colored & shaped fingers and toes will be a mighty good day.

Harper, Hudson and Solomon are smitten.  Their goal since meeting Everett has been to make him feel better.  They make him smile and giggle and do silly things.  They talk to him and he will say pretty much anything they will.  Sometimes we have to remind them he will be with us forever so there is time…no need to rush…no need to smother 🙂  Sometimes he gets overwhelmed by all of  us so we have to give him the space his little self needs.

We are incredibly anxious for Everett to meet Amon and our littlest.  We have all decided they are sure to be the best of friends and no doubt our littlest will probably boss him around the way she does Amon.  We imagine Everett and Amon are going to be the best of buds.  They are so similar in so many ways.  They love their naps and sleeping in random places and relaxing so chill like…hands behind their heads and legs crossed.  They love bubbles and bananas and shift their eyes to the side & up or down when thinking.  They make funny faces and love silly games.  And they both adore a bath.  Amon will be tickled to have a bath-mate again.

We’ve got a long way to go I know.  I do not want to fool myself, but I also do not want to overlook how God has moved in our son and in our family in just one weeks time.  One week.  One wild & precious week with this boy.  We sit in awe of Jesus everyday…His love, His grace, His redemptive ways, the good gifts He gives.  It is simply too much and our hearts are incredibly overwhelmed by His goodness.

Everett Louie Shuai, it has been an honor to be  your mama for an entire week.  Here’s to forever!


  1. Jennifer Thurman says:

    Love, love, love it. Praying with you as God works in Everett’s heart as only He can. I agree, it’s so incredibly hard to watch them grieve. The saddest day was when I held my son for twenty-four hours in Addis as he mourned the loss of his orphanage, his nanny, and the only life he’d known. And four years later the sweetest sound is, “mama, I wuv you!” Thanks for sharing your story so openly!

  2. Thank you for allowing us to walk this journey with you and your family. It is such a privilege to pray and to cry and to laugh with you. Seriously. What a privilege. Looking forward to seeing the progress of love and comfort as God continues to work in the hearts of all the Kelleys (including the newest Kelley!). <3

  3. Marianne says:

    What a precious journey! I’m so thankful to be a part of each and every moment! Praying for an uneventful, safe trip home!❤

  4. Frances dunaway says:

    I am so, so in love with what your family is doing and I cannot even tell you how much I admire all of you. I go to church at Northside and love your in-laws and your Aunt Martha. I have followed this journey not only because of the wonder and beauty of your family but because my granddaughter and hubby are adopting from Uganda and the process has been long. Their baby is a little girl, abandoned in weeds and grass but by God’s grace, was found and we hope will be here soon. She is now 15 months but they have been back several times going to court. They both went to Goodpasture and are in their late 20’s. So I share your journey with them when they are discouraged. So enjoy your writings. I will meet you once you return and my prayers are with you each day.

  5. I can already see a change in his little face, it’s softer, more relaxed and much happier than the first photos. You can literally see him filling up with love and opening up to everyone. You are all doing an amazing job and should be so proud of everything you’ve achieved in a week.

  6. Christina says:

    That is so awesome! I missed seeing you at C4C, but I am so thrilled over the reason.

  7. So incredible the amount of progress in one week! Everett sounds like a remarkable little guy and I have no doubt that all the love you all bring everyday is making a huge impact on his ability to trust you all. Such a beautiful story you are writing and I feel honored that you are sharing it with me (and everyone!). Thinking of your guys today with your visa appointment and Delta meeting. You will be home soon – I can feel it!

  8. Gretchen says:

    I’m so excited to read each day’s update! Your little guy is just the cutest and I’m so glad even the smallest gains are being made with his trust and comfort. Little by little! Praying for all the logistics of getting home to work out and doors to be opened.

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