Thursday, February 4, 2016


Three months ago today, we were making final preparations to leave the next day for China.  After months of paperwork and fundraising, it was time to go meet our babies.  With butterflies in our stomachs, we began the long journey to the other side of the ocean.  What a difference 3 months makes!

I would venture to say that LillyAnn and Levi are thriving.  They are recognizing commands in English and even trying to say them.  They both are learning sign language quickly.  We teach them (and Endale) sign language, because it's typical for kids with Down Syndrome to be delayed with their speech.  They can understand, but have a hard time communicating, so this gives them an outlet to communicate to us what they want or need.  Endale knows 60+ signs at this point and his verbal skills are coming right along!  Another really fun fact...they LOVE to dance to music.  

The month of January was full of appointments.  It took us several weeks to get into see specialists.  LillyAnn and Levi both got glasses and that has changed their little worlds.  Lilly was very visually impaired.

We visited a cardiologist and was able to get a great report on both of their hearts.  Both LillyAnn and Levi had previous heart surgery in Beijing.  They both had an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound of their hearts.  The doctor could see that they both had both an ASD and VSD repair.  These were basically holes in two different parts of their hearts and they were "patched" during surgery.  The doctor also did an EKG on both of them to test their heart function.  The outcome....the doctor said both of their hearts look "PERFECT"!   Praise the Lord!  They don't have to be checked again for 2 years.

At our Embassy Medical appointment in China, the doctors discovered an issue with Levi.  They invited a second doctor in for another opinion.  After arriving home, we had our pediatrician also evaluate him and he confirmed that he needed to see a specialist.  This was an issue we were unaware existed until Levi's first full check-up in China.  After visiting a specialist, she suggested that Levi have surgery as soon as possible to resolve the problem.  So, on March 2, Levi will go in for 1 of a possible 2 surgeries to correct this issue.  There is some unknown about the situation until he is in surgery.  We're praying for only 1 surgery and the best case scenario.  Please pray for his recovery.  It will be a rough few days.

We also had several appointments preparing for Levi to attend the preschool that Endale attends.  It is minutes from our house and it is wonderful.  For you out-of-towners, it is through the public school system and the school has a special focus on children with delayed learning or special needs.  They use a peer modeling system, so each class has a nice ratio of typical children as well as children with special needs.  While attending, they also receive physical, occupational and speech therapy.  Levi was evaluated and accepted, so he'll get to take advantage of some therapy and educational learning for the rest of the year! He starts mid-February. It's been busy, but we accomplished a lot the month of January!

We just want to again say thank you to all who have embraced our children.  Another big thank you to those who have made our older children feel extra special during this time as well.  A lot of people think we're crazy....and that's okay.  We know what God has called us to and we are privileged that He chose us to care for these children.  We also know that our calling won't look like everyone else's.  We were joking about how we'd be smooth sailing through life had we not adopted Endale and then LillyAnn and Levi.  We'd have a 14, 9, and 7 year old.  Everyone can feed, dress, bathe,  and buckle themselves.  Life would be...well, easier.  But God didn't call us to a life of comfortable living.  He called us to live radically for Him and with our ALL.  Some days are hard and long, but I can tell you the beautiful redemption in these children and in our own lives far outweighs some hard work.  I can also tell you that He continues to give us strength and endurance to accomplish what He's called us to.  

We would not be who we are today had we not stepped out and said "yes".  We would have missed the opportunity for God to show His mighty hand in our lives.  We would have missed out on three of the greatest blessings that God had created and were living on the other side of the world.  Loving them is so easy.   We can't wait to see what the future holds.

Friday, December 18, 2015


We have been home for one month now with LillyAnn and Levi.  I have wanted to update for a long time, but have not found the time to do it.  Imagine that!  I kept thinking that I cannot let what's on my heart and mind slip by without sharing God's goodness.

It has been a whirlwind of a month.  We're learning what routines work.  We are diligently working through behaviors, fears and attaching to our children.  Each of our family members is building trust with these two new permanent residents of the Sellers household.  A lot of our day is very intentional from routine to touch to language.

Over the weeks since we scooped up LillyAnn and Levi in our arms, we've seen so much fear and insecurity.  We've seen signs of possible abuse in their past.  We've watched them hoard food and cry when we're done eating because they've probably spent many days with hungry tummies.  We see them scoot and scurry to get to us anytime one of us grabs our shoes or coat.  They think we are going to leave them.  It's heartbreaking.


 God is redeeming their sweet little lives.  I looked up the definition for redemption.  One read "rescue or deliverance."  God is daily rescuing them from their fear and feelings of being unloved.  Their eyes seem to get brighter every day and their smiles more and more frequent.  It is beautiful.

Levi has joined the family with no reservation.  It has been fun to see that he realizes that we love him.  He loves to come up and give (and get) hugs.  He loves to rough house with Matt.  He makes the sweetest giddy sound, grins from ear to ear and his eyes disappear when he likes what we're doing.  He is a sponge.  He has mastered several signs already that we use and he's initiating them when he wants something rather than always mimicking.  Matt and I have said on a number of occasions "what if" we had ignored God's tug at our hearts for Levi.  We had originally said "yes" to LillyAnn and found out about Levi a month into the process.  We took a several weeks and prayed and prayed over his file.  God, are you sure this is what you're saying?  I cannot imagine not having him.  He is so much fun and I can't wait to see how God uses him.

LillyAnn was reserved from our introduction.  She quickly attached to me and didn't want anything to do with Matt or the boys.  She slowly warmed up to Matt and now, she loves her Daddy.  She doesn't want to be too far from me.  She is very timid with other people.  As people have come to our home, a slight panic sets in and she wants to be with me.  She, too, has already mastered "please, more" and "all done" in sign language!  She is doing great.

We have been going to a number of appointments.  As soon as we returned from China, we had our pediatrician look them over to make sure there weren't any immediate concerns.  Other than being under weight, they seem healthy.  We're concerned that both LillyAnn and Levi have trouble seeing.  We have eye appointments for both of them this week. Levi will have a front tooth pulled right after Christmas.  It was broken and obviously causing him pain.  We also have cardiology appointments set up for both of them.  They both had heart surgery in Beijing, China to repair their hearts.  We'll have them checked out here to make sure their hearts are healthy.  It will also give us a chance to learn about their condition and see what the future will look like for their hearts.

We are doing really well.  I can't say enough about how thankful we are for all the support we've received from so many.  We are excited to see what the future holds for all of our children.  Sometimes I think about "what could have been" for Endale, LillyAnn and Levi.  It breaks my heart to let my mind go too far.  There is talk in the adoption community that it's easy to forget about the orphans of the world until you see their face.  Then, they become more than a number.  They're a living, human being created by God for God.  I cannot imagine life without them.  I wonder what their futures will be like.  I wonder will they ever truly understand who God is and what Jesus did for them.  My prayer is that we can show them the Father's love in our family.  Chris Tomlin's recent song, "Good, Good Father" says it beautifully:

You're a good, good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

That is it.  Each of us, every one of our children are labeled by one thing:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Exciting Days Ahead...

 We're packing and getting things in order to travel to meet Lilly and Levi and bring them home. This has been a long journey. We first saw Lilly's face in January. We felt God's prompting although we didn't know how it would happen. In time, we felt the call to bring home Levi as well. God has done immeasurable more than we could ask or imagine. He gave us this call and it was not without being in complete control of the outcome. He is faithful. We cannot wait to wrap our arms around Lilly and Levi and show the Father's love to them.

We would love to share what the days after arriving home will look like for our family. We have spent hours studying, taking courses, watching videos and reading to prepare for this (and our previous) adoption. There are some things that are crucial in helping Levi and Lilly adjust. The first is that for a time we will limit contact and interaction with others. It is vital that Lilly and Levi begin to understand that Matt and I are their new parents and caretakers. They have had numerous people taking care of them in and out of their lives.  To help their bonding and attaching, we will be the ones meeting all their basic needs such as feeding, holding them, changing them, etc.  There will be some interaction that will be necessary such as doctor visits, but it will be limited within the first few weeks.  They need to be able to see Mom and/or Dad at all times for the first few months.

We will also spend some time "cocooning". We will take some time and stay at home. This helps them establish that our home is their new home. Everything they will be experiencing is people, new language, new home, new food. We want to keep them from being too overwhelmed and help them feel secure.

We've been trying to help our children understand what this experience could be like. We've been dreaming of meeting Lilly and Levi for months. They, on the other hand, may not know that we're even coming for them. They will be stripped of everything they know and left with people that don't speak their language, don't look like them and that they don't know. That is scary. There is typically a grieving that takes place with children when they're adopted and we're trying to brace for that especially since Lilly and Levi are older. If you see us regularly, we ask that you are gracious to these blessings and what they're walking through. Please be patient with our family as well as we adjust.

We are so thankful to all who have been a part of this story. It has been amazing to watch the body of Christ come together to care for these two orphans who will soon be orphans no more!

*If you'd like to see pictures and updates from our trip to China, make sure and join the "Longing for Lilly and Levi" Facebook page.  There is video of Lilly and Levi too on the FB page!!*

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

We Can See the Finish Line!!

We are closing in on the last few steps of the adoption process.  We are talking dates, making tentative reservations and getting plans in order.  Last week, we got our I-800 approval from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).  This approval says that Lilly and Levi will be U.S. citizens upon arriving in the U.S.  It also gives us permission to apply for their visas to enter the U.S. since they will be coming home with a Chinese passport.  We have submitted their visa applications and they will be forwarded to the Consulate in China where we will have an appointment during our stay there.

From October 1-7, China is shut down for a holiday.  There will be no movement the next few days for our case, but once it opens back up, a courier in China will drop off a packet of information for U.S. approval called the Article 5.  It will then be picked up and moved to the China side of things.  From there China will issue us a Travel Approval to come and get Lilly and Levi!  Our agency will immediately request Consulate Appointment date choices.  The Consulate will send back our Consulate Appointment day and we can book our plane tickets!

We will travel for 2 weeks.  The first part of the trip will be in the capital city of our children's province.  It is there, shortly after arriving, we will meet them!  The next day we will sign paperwork.  We will remain in their province to wait for the adoption decree and passports to be issued.  From there, we will fly to Guangzhou, China.  This is where the Embassy and Consulate is.  All adoptive parents have to go through this city before coming home.  It is here, our children will have an Embassy Medical Appointment. We will also have our appointment at the U.S. Consulate.  We'll await their visas and then we can come home!!!!

God has been so faithful through this process and provided every step of the way.  We started with a financial need of $55,000 for 2 adoptions.  We are down to needing $3500 before travel!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  He has made a way that we could not imagine.  We are so grateful for His provision.  We have two more ways for you to be a part.  See the details on our FB page about the American Girl doll give away that ends this week.  Our last and final fundraiser will be a Haircut-a-thon!!!!  Who doesn't need a haircut?  Grow out your hair and mark your calendars for the evening of October 18.  Watch for details next week on our FB pages.  Thank you again to all who have supported us in all of our creative ways as we've raised our funds. Thank you for being willing to be a vessel used by God to provide for His children.  You are making an investment in the lives of two beautiful children forever.  Thank you does not seem adequate.

Here's what our timeline over the last few months looks like!  We've crossed off so many steps! 

Sign Commitment to Adopt Paperwork     2/8/15
Letter of Intent to China     2/9/15  
Agency Application     2/13/15 
Pre-Approval from China    2/28/15 
Received Pre-approval for Levi 4/3/2015  
Home Study Complete 4/6/2015
File I-800a with USCIS 4/2/2015 
Receipt Date 4/22/2015 
Fingerprint Appointment  5/11/2015
Receive I800a approval letter 
Documents Authenticated 
Dossier to China 7/15/15 
Logged In Dossier in China 7/27/15 
Receive "soft" Letter Seeking Confirmation or LOA  8/19/15 
Received and sign "hard" LSC/LOA  8/24/15 
File form I-800 to USCIS  9/2/15 
*RFE issued=delay 
I-800 approval from National Visa Center  9/23/15 
Complete DS 260 Forms (Visa applications for L&L) 9/29/15 
Article 5 drop-off (Approval from US)
Aritcle 5 pick-up 
 Travel Approval
Schedule Consulate Appt

Go to CHINA and get Lilly and Levi!!!!! 
God is good. To God be all the glory.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


the LORD will provide (Genesis 22:14)

As God stirred our hearts for adoption, our biggest fear was not about loving a child that didn't come from our womb or even caring for a child with special needs.  It was the cost of the process. Adoption is crazy expensive.  Both times God has called us to pursue one of His children through adoption, we were certain this was what He wanted us to do; however, we questioned how it would happen. "Uh-hum...excuse me Lord...Creator of the Universe, all knowing God...have you seen our bank account??" As quickly as we questioned the funding of this adoption, God hit us with a perpetual brick upside our heads.  

Have I not already proved my faithfulness?  
You move when I move you and I will make a way. 


 God showed us with Endale and provided every penny needed to bring him home....actually more.  As Matt left Ethiopia with Endale, he had a hand full of cash left that he was able to bless a new friend in Ethiopia from God's abundance in our process. Why would we question it again when He called us to something radical once more?

When we added up agency fees, USCIS fees, travel fees, in country fees, home study fees, and post adoption fees for two children, we had a financial need of $55,000 to bring Lilly and Levi home.  We've sold all sorts of things from our home.  We've had 3 garage sales.  We have our ongoing "Adopt an Envelope" fundraiser.  We had a Pancake Breakfast.  We have applied for adoption grants.  And....God is and always has been faithful.   God has used so many people and avenues as His Provision in this process.  Our hearts could not be more thankful and in awe of all God has done.
We are about 8-10 weeks from traveling to China to pick up Levi and Lilly.  We are needing just under $5000 to meet our financial goal to travel.  We are excited to share 3 more ways you can support our journey if you feel led.

1.  Envelope FLASH sale!  
My slightly obsessive mind really needs to see all the envelopes marked off of our board.  So, all envelopes are only $10 each!  But wait...there's more.  We have had a beautiful, brand new with tags, Michael Kors purse/bag (retailed at $358) donated to give away.  For every envelope adopted from now until midnight Friday, September 4, you will be entered in a drawing for the purse.
1 envelope = 1 entry, 3 envelopes = 3 entries, 5 envelopes = 5 entries etc. Drawing will be Saturday, September 5.  *I will ship to friends outside of Albuquerque area if you win!*
(Sidenote: It is super cute!!)

To adopt an envelope, click on the DONATE button under PAYPAL to the right.

2.  T-shirts!
Matt designed some super cute tees.  They read, "Trust without Borders".  This has been our biggest growth as we've adopted.  God has showed us so tangibly what He is willing to do when we trust Him without borders.  You can purchase by using the link below and they will be shipped directly to you. Please share, share, share with your friends. Who doesn't love an awesome shirt? To order your shirt today, click here: 

3.  Noonday Jewelry Party
My friend Juli is hosting an online Noonday Jewelry party.  All commission will go to our agency to be applied to our adoption costs.  This is a beautiful organization with great products.  You can order anytime now through September 22 using this link:

We are on the home stretch and anxious to reach the prize. Thank you in advance for your prayers, support and encouragement.  God deserves all the glory for the beautiful story He is writing in our family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Letter Seeking Confirmation!!!!

We woke up to GREAT news from our adoption agency this morning.  China issued our Letter Seeking Confirmation (LSC) also called Letter of Action (LOA) for both Lilly and Levi!!  This is probably the most important step in the process.  This means that China has translated and reviewed our dossier and has APPROVED us to adopt Lilly and Levi!  As you can imagine, my head has been spinning all day!  I can hardly believe it.  We will most likely travel the first couple weeks of November.  

From here, we have several steps to complete.  China has issued the letter in their system.  A hard copy will be sent to our agency and they will forward it on to us.  We should have it middle of next week.  We will sign the Letter Seeking Confirmation saying that we agree with the decision to adopt our two children (ahhh!) and send it back to our agency who will forward it back to China.

In the meantime, we will fill out the I-800 form for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This will be to receive approval that Levi and Lilly will become U.S. Citizens once they are on U.S. soil.  Once we get our I-800 approval, we can apply for their visas.

I'll save you all the crazy intermingled details.  Basically, we have some work to do on the U.S. side.  Once it's all done, it is sent over to China.  Then, China will issue our Travel Approval (TA) to enter the country to pick up our babes.

After TA is received, we request a Consulate Appointment which once received will determine our travel dates.  The trip will be structured around that date.

If you're a list maker, here is what our list looks like.  We're ready to check the rest of these off our list!

Receive and sign "hard" LSC/LOA

File form I-800 to USCIS

I-800 approval from National Visa Center

Complete DS 260 Form

Article 5 (Approval from US)

Travel Approval

Schedule Consulate Appt

Go to CHINA and get Lilly and Levi!!!!!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. It looks like we're going to have to set two more places at the table for Thanksgiving this year!!!