Friday, October 31, 2008


I thank God today and every day for all the members of our family whether biological, adopted or a member of our family of Christ. We are just so blessed to have so many special & extraordinary people in our lives. Some may find our family odd, too large or even weird. The adoptions of our children have been a blessing in more ways than one. God has chosen to weave some wonderful relationships into our lives. ALL starting with the decision at my conception when God chose to place me with my adoptive parents aka "MY REAL PARENTS". I have been much more thankful for this than normal lately. WHY?? because if they would not have raised me... where would I be? I feel I would honestly be A MESS-I don't think I would have Christ in my life, I don't think I would have the heart for children and adoption that I do. So thanks to all of you who have accepted me, my children and the whole Keller Family that we have evolved into! Whether you are an aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister, parent or friend of ours-we thank God for you today for being part of our BIG HAPPY FAMILY!

Yesterday started super early as a family from our home school group (4 people total-mom, dad, brother and sister) came to watch the little ones as Tori and I set off for Wichita for a BUSY DAY! I was up, had lunch in the crock pot, instructions written out, clothes out for everyone, Brendan's school work for the day ready & bags packed. Tori got all her school work done on the way there. I miscalculated the time it would take to get to Wichita. I was to be there by NOON and realized quickly I was running WAY BEHIND! Luckily, so was the conference I was suppose to be at! We arrived about 12:15 and sat with Cristi, Loretta and Angie (my girls:) at The 2008 Kansas Governor's Conference For Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect. I received The 2008 Recognition Award from the KS Alliance For Drug Endangered Children for my advocacy work during the awards luncheon.

After I received my award, the MC of the lunch-Susan Peters of channel KAKE Wichita invited Victoria on stage with her (keep in mind this was a luncheon of around 400 people). She told Tori what a blessing she was and asked her how she felt to be blessed by adoption. Tori was so nervous and beet red-she froze up! So finally she asked what her favorite subject in school was and she blurted out "math!" and Tori doesn't like math much-very cute and TONS OF APPLAUSE! I hope and pray by exposing the kids to my advocacy work that they too will become advocates themselves for adoption one day & learn the importance of speaking up for things they are passionate about. We left right after the lunch-Tori got a special belated birthday gift from Cristi-THANKS CRISTI! Luckily we are learning how to write thank you notes in home school this week so that will come in handy!

Our next stop was at THE GAP to see my cousin Sarah! Tori was the flower girl at Sarah and Trenton's wedding this year and I know Tori will always think Sarah is "extra special" for that! Sarah helped us pick out some new duds for Tori and she also gave her a belated birthday gift! We loved seeing you Sarah, even if it was too short a visit!

Next stop to see some very special people in our lives.....Brendan, Tori and Wyatt's birth mom Abby and baby sister Arien.

We had a great visit with them and went to Abby's favorite hamburger joint. Tori had ice cream and french fries for dinner and we even tried FRIED OREOS for the first time YUM YUM!

It was so nice to see them and know that they are a part of our " BIG HAPPY FAMILY."

Look at that picture, these faces say it all-Here we ALL are, 2 moms with our girls, bonded 4 life by God's Grace. I am so thankful for her and I know she is also thankful for me. Words can't even describe what we have with one another. AMAZING!

Nick will be home today and will be off for several weeks on vacation-I AM SO GLAD!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It's hard for me to believe Victoria has been with us 5 years already! She was only with us 2 months before celebrating her 4th birthday & we had only known her about 3 weeks before she moved in! As I think back now, The things that stand out in my memory about her are #1 Her freshly cut bangs-compliments of herself! #2 her speech delay-she used to say "TOWI TELLOW" instead of Tori Keller! She was such a sweet, shy, lovable, adorable yet spunky little soul. I can't imagine what was going through her sweet little head. Here she was, in the 4th home of her little 4 year old life. Did she wonder if she was REALLY going to stay? I think she was probably very overwhelmed and confused. The fear of Nick and I "not coming back" has dwindled immensely-but is still there at times.

We thank God for the beauty she has blossomed into. We are still overwhelmed by the fact that God had her chosen for our family & she was already born before Nick and I even got married-AMAZING to think about & hard to fathom. Our God is so good. We also thank God today for Abby, Tori's birth mom. She is a blessing in our lives and we are thankful that she gave life to our little girl AND sacrificed 3 of her children to our family. She truly had the sacrificial love for them to know that at the time she could not financially care for them. Our relationship with Abby is a beautiful one. We also thank God today for Tom & Jenine in Georgia. They have adopted another sibling of Tori's-their precious Faith. We praise God that we have an open relationship with them and our kids will always know their sister. We have been blessed to meet them in person 2 times and hope one day the kids can all meet each other! We also thank God for Bert and Shell in Tennessee (Abby's step mom as a child). B & T lived with them for a short while in their younger days and Shell has been able to give us baby pictures and fill us in on a lot of what the kids went through in their younger years-Shell is a true sister in Christ and I love her. We thank God for their foster mom of 2 years Rhonda whom we still have contact with and prepared Tori for adoption. Rhonda really wanted to keep the kids but also sacrificed them so they could have a beautiful life with us! One more thank you. To our ENTIRE family for accepting Victoria and loving her as your own!Happy 8th Birthday Tori, we love you and are very thankful for you! You are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made! Thank you God for trusting us to be her earthly parents-we know she truly belongs to you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


We had a blast making our kids costumes for the annual Black Squirrel Night held downtown every year. Yes, we really do have black squirrels-the story is that years ago a circus came to town and some black squirrels escaped and have been here ever since. They really are cool lookin' squirrels. ANYWHO.... Here are the costumes & the 3 winners from youngest to oldest!

Baby Jett was an adorable dragon-this was a store bought costume!

Wyatt was OF COURSE our John Deere tractor-What is wrong with the judges??? He didn't win. Do you think it may have been his BLOOD CURDLING scream on stage? Anyway, we plan on using this costume for Jett again next year.

Our sweet Caty was Raggedy Ann-she won 3rd place WOO HOO!

Myah was a sweet Red Riding Hood! Not a prize winner this year.

Victoria won 1st prize as our gorgeous ballerina in a jewelery box with jewels and even a wind up key in back-GO TORI!!!! 2nd time 1st place BSN winner!

Brendan won 3rd place as Noah-he has been talking about his costume for a long time and was SO EXCITED to win-He is a 2nd time BSN prize winner!

As you can see this is a fun family activity that we all (except Brooke LOL) like to participate in-although it is stressful, it is well worth the memories made! Until next year-goodnight squirrels!

Brooke's Solo

I finally figured out how to put Brooke's solo on YOU TUBE! Here it is! It's not the best video but it's the sound that counts :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday!

I was in the car today LITERALLY from sun up to sun down! My day started at 5:15 after sleeping on the couch (for some reason both Caty and Myah sleep in our bed now) I showered, loaded the car and 3 "girlie movies" and got Tori up & ready-loaded in the car then I got Caty up and loaded in her jammies and pulled out of the driveway in the pouring rain by 6:30. I stopped for the first time to get the girls breakfast at McD's then a 5 minute stop at Grandma's in Leavenworth for a potty break-ME NOT THE KIDS (too much coffee) LOL! Then it was off to Starbucks-got Caty dressed in her shoes and clothes in the parking lot (I was 30 minutes late SORRY TRACIE) to meet a fantastic new friend God has given me through this blog (and just to think 3 months ago, I didn't know what a blog was:) I could have talked to Tracie & her sweet little one ALL DAY LONG!! Her blog "FROM THE HEART" is linked to the blogs I read. We only got to chat for about an hour but boy did it fly by! I can tell we will be fast friends. She & her husband and his brother and wife Renee ALL share the passion from God for adoption. Both of their families will be bringing home special needs boys from the Ukraine! I can't wait until we can get all 3 of our families together someday soon! They have inspiring stories-please take time to read them! Check out their blogs or click to see what IHOP REALLY means (and it ain't got nothin' to do with pancakes!)

Then it was off to Caty's appointment, she did very well for the first half! Then to a fun lunch with a few of our favorite cousins that live in the KC area Amy, Beth and Steve! None of these guys have kids YET so they are all super sweet and very fond of mine! I consider all of them HUGE blessings in my life!

We had to be back at KU for the 2nd part of testing but OOOOOPS we were a tid bit late again-nothing like running through the pouring rain with 2 kids and all their "stuff!" We had a nice surprise there, one of my BEST friends from childhood O.J. (the other Jen) was there to hang with us for a few minutes-I LOVE the saying that "just happened" to be behind us when the picture was taken...AMAZING! Let's put it this way, the 2 Jen's have COME A LONG WAY from our wild teen years together. We both have a love for God and for adopted children-who'd have thought?
For those of you who don't know Jen, she is another AMAZING person-while working at KU as a nurse for Medicaid, she had little Isaiah as a patient-she heard God's clear call to adopt him despite his severe medical challenges and need for a small bowel transplant. She and her husband Aaron & their 2 girls Becca and Taylor have truly sacrificed and showed God's love for him over the last 3 years-they've basically rotated living off and on in Omaha, NE where Isaiah is today and has been for weeks. His little body is rejecting his new bowel. Jenni remains here to work through the week while Aaron spends Mon-Friday in Omaha-He then comes back to work on the weekends while Jen and sometimes the girls head to Omaha EVERY weekend. Please keep this dear family in your prayers, this is such a hardship on the entire family all the way around, physically, emotionally and financially.

Caty was tire throughout the afternoon testing but did okay. They came out with a lot of reading material for me to take home and a lot of websites/resources for me to check out. They basically diagnosed her with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified aka Atypical Autism. Basically what they said is that she has many of the "flavors" of Autism but not full-blown Autism. Most of the ways to help her with socialization and behavior will come from Nick and I using different things on a trial and error basis. They will reevaluate her in 1 year. So, good news and praise there.

Off to bed-we have "BLACK SQUIRREL NIGHT" tomorrow night and must get our rest for the intense costume contest! Can't wait to take pictures and post em!

Blessings to you all! Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Broccoli, Celery, Gotta Be.............................


We got up early, went to church then we drove to Lincoln, Nebraska (a little over an hour) and we surprised Victoria and Caty (and the rest of the little ones) with a birthday lunch out at Red Robin and then to the mall to ride the carousel and play in their play area and then to Veggie Tales Live! They all loved it! We were basically gone from 9:15am until 8pm-A LOT of car riding and loading and unloading in and out of the car! INTENSELY STRESSFUL but worth it!

Caty did fine with the noise & only got scared once! As long as she was close to mom or dad she was fine! It was and always is QUITE a challenge taking 3 that are potty training and 1 that aspires to be a potty trainee ANYWHERE!!! (I was quickly reminded WHY I don't take this crazy crew out very often) Most bathrooms are NOT kid friendly and they all FREAK with the automatic flushers! I look back and thank God that we only have 1 in diapers now & that we have made it this far! What a blessing it was to be able to take the kids and let them experience Veggie Tales!

We will be going to Kansas City to KUMC for an evaluation for Caty tomorrow EARLY! We will be meeting with many SPECIAL PEOPLE! Including 2 new friends I met through this blog and 2 SPECIAL COUSINS along with a dear friend of mine from my childhood! I can't wait! We will also be bringing Caty's security blanket AKA TORI!! She screams for Tori if she feels threatened in ANY way so I couldn't see not bringing "T-BONE" especially since it is about a 3 hour drive and just in case she needs something, I will be driving!

I am on my way now to Brooke's Fall Vocal Concert in which she has a solo! I am so proud of her! I am going to try to record it and post it to the blog so you can see it!
Blessings to you all!

Caty's MAKEUP!

One of Caty's main obsessions is "makeup" Makeup to her is anything you can put on your face, chap stick, eyeshadow, lotion, sparkles-whatever! She had her cake with our family Saturday after daddy got home and then she and the girls put on makeup for quite a while! Very sweet!



Finished PRODUCT :)

Are just OUR kids BANANAS?

I had to show off a couple of funny pictures taken this weekend before I went into my LONG weekend blog LOL!

The boys LOVE to get into my plasticwear/Tupperwear! Aren't they Adorable in their HATS??

BTW...Wyatt has been told that there are baby dolphins that DESPERATELY NEED his binky's! So, we are getting him all fired up to throw them all overboard on our cruise since he does turn 3 on the cruise I thought this would be a GREAT idea! Not sure if he'll really give em up or not!

Apparently dad watches the kids real well LOL, while I was at WALLY WORLD Saturday night-3 of em' got stuck between our bed and the mattress!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


This day 3 years ago brings back a mixture of emotions, as I try to think back to how it all "went down" my stomach starts to churn and ache. I remember feelings of excitement, anger, love & tears shed both in happiness and sadness.

We had 4 children at the time and we were expecting Wyatt in just a few weeks. Nick, Tori, Brendan, Myah & I were in Topeka visiting B, T, & W birth mother in prison and shopping for some fall clothes.

I remember EXACTLY where we were when we got "THE CALL". It was a social worker asking if we would be willing to take a baby girl just born and with a high content of METH in her system. We were surprised to say the least, I will NEVER FORGET getting nervous, turning to Nick and asking him-HE DID NOT HESITATE! He said "well, I guess we need to stop by the house and pick up another car seat." So, we did & headed for the hospital.

We were told that this was a very confidential situation and that we should enter through a back door of the hospital and meet in a certain room. There she was as adorable & perfect as ever-I fumed inside thinking of the abuse she had suffered. An angel TRULY protected by God in the womb. I was sickened when they described the rough delivery our Caty had to suffer through. We signed all the necessary paperwork, snuggled her in her seat and headed out to introduce this doll to the other kids. 5 kids in less than a year?? LORD CAN I DO THIS?? Just as I was thinking these words and I could feel the tears welling.... a sweet social worker-Pat, who has seen us through a lot and was helping us load her up pointed to the sky and said "with HIM all things are possible." I remember tears just streaming. She gave me JUST what I needed! Why am I second guessing the Lord's plan for our family?

It was love at first sight for all of us! She was a doll baby! Myah was 8 months at the time and both she and Tori thought Caty was "their baby".

She did fine for a few hours but then things quickly began to change with her and I got VERY NERVOUS. I was told of all the signs of Caty "coming down" off the METH and she was starting to demonstrate these. She was not sucking, very lethargic and it was very difficult to arouse her. This condition is known as "failure to thrive."

As I was on my way to the ER with her-the anger came back..."HOW COULD ANY MOTHER ABUSE A CHILD AS PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL AS HER??? How could she put POISON into this baby? How could she have 7 kids at age 26 and NOT TAKE CARE OF ANY OF THEM? Doesn't she have the SENSE not to keep getting pregnant?" And then I praised God that she had all her fingers, toes and was a beautiful girl, I prayed that the effects from the meth would not damage this baby forever. I then began to feel compassion for her mom, if she was like the other 2 birth mothers, she probably was abused, never felt loved, never had any guidance and definitely never knew God's unconditional love.

It was a rough couple days in the hospital for my girl and I, it was very difficult to watch as a mother what she had to go through during this time. She's had several admissions to the hospital since then as she suffers from chronic lung issues. She's a little fighter!

I met with her mother & social workers the next day at the hospital it was a pitiful sight. She was completely out of it mentally and had no front teeth at all-typical of meth users. She knew she would be discharged without Caty and didn't seem to care. SAD for my girl.

Caty still suffers today from her drug exposure in the womb. She has been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder and has had speech therapy since birth & receives O.T. now. She will go through a full autistic spectrum evaluation next week. What is SID? AKA Sensory Processing Disorder. Caty is ultra sensitive to light, touch, sound, taste & smell. She hears, smells and feels things 3 times more intesely than we do & has a fear of new people and situations. She has NO PROBLEM telling you if you or your breath "stinks." LOL

Despite all Caty and the rest of our family have been through in her 3 short years, She is a MIRACLE! A true gift from God!

So.... Without further adue.........Please join us in celebrating our angel and thanking God for-Cathryn Izabel's 3rd birthday! We started out this morning with hot chocolate...Her special birthday treat!

Here she is holding up her 3 fingers showing EVERYONE she is now 3! She got to open 1 gift today..She has wanted a soft pink sweatsuit like the one I LIVE IN ! She LOVES the soft texture of mine and always "rubs me" whenever I wear it! We will finish her celebration with a surprise trip this weekend when daddy gets home!

As I ponder our journey, I am thankful. I am also passionate. Passionate about making sure that IF IT TAKES ME UNTIL THE DAY I DIE, no more children will suffer at the hands of drug using mothers. What is my goal? To put laws in place to rehabilitate drug using mothers both physically and spiritually and to make this abuse a crime. It is truly TOO LATE to help my babies but not to help the thousands, maybe millions out there suffering as I type this post.
God has given us all a job and command...

PS-for those of you who know Caty well, she changes clothes about 10+ times a day she has already stripped from her new her birthday suit into the one God gave her LOL

Sunday, October 12, 2008

UTAH..Beautiful site for Drug Endangered Children's Conference!

My time in Utah was fun and slightly stressful! I got in last Monday night and went out to dinner with a bunch of people from DEC Conference. The types of people that attend this conference are law enforcement, social workers, doctors, lawyers, and psychologists. It was very interesting to sit in on the breakout sessions.

After dinner Monday night, the group went to a dueling piano bar, it was very cool and different entertainment. Since we were in SLC it was appropriately named The TAVERNACLE!

On the walk back to our hotel, I took a picture of the SLC TEMPLE (thanks Holly) Not the TABERNACLE :)

Everyone in SLC was super kind! I was just overwhelmed at the beauty of Utah, it was definitely proof to me that God exists!

Tuesday morning we were treated to a wonderful authentic Indian performance by Little Feathers dancers. I took video and pictures and my kids loved seeing them. Methamphetamines in particular are a HUGE cause of destruction of a lot of Indian families in Utah and all over the country.

Tuesday evening I went out to dinner with several people from the conference including one of the founders of DEC Sue Weber-Brown. We had a nice dinner at the base of one of the mountains. I got to talk to them a lot about the bill I would like to see passed in EVERY state to protect the unborn in the womb from drug exposure.

I went to bed early Tuesday evening about 9pm but was up from 12am to 3am making revisions to my presentation. I was up early and downstairs with "my person" Cristi Cain as she helped me prepare my presentation. She helps me put things in correct order, handles all my video prep and is very "techno knowledgeable" PLUS, she's my friend and great supporter! If it weren't for Cristi, our story and the need to get these unborn kids protected would not be out there. She has connections in the drug world!!!! LOL

My talk went spectacular! It was my 3rd presentation this fall and definitely the best! I teared up ONE time but didn't cry. I really tried to reach out and get this group to help these unborn babies not suffer the abuse my kids did! I hope they heard me. Thanks to Liz and Marjean, I was able to change my presentation to an earlier time and book an earlier flight home with my friends Cristi and Loretta. ME & CRISTI CAIN!

I was able to be home Wednesday night before all the kids went to bed! Cristi thinks I will get a lot of requests to speak after this conference. We will see :)

I am very thankful for a supportive husband and family! I hope to one day get my kids involved in this effort also. I pray the Keller family will make an impact on drugs and drug endangered children!

Now I'm just back at the farm, sitting in my nightie, drinking coffee back to being a normal ol' mom........just the way I like it!

BTW if any of you have ideas on how we can "get our story out there" to get more exposure so we can get this law passed in the spring PLEASE let me know! Thanks

Sunday, October 5, 2008


We are ALWAYS thrilled when daddy gets home on Fridays! For those of you who don't know, he travels away 2 weeks each month with his job so while he flies the friendly skies, I fly solo with 7 kids :) for 14 days ALONE each month! Daddy always brings home a bag FULL of surprises each week when he gets home. They ALL crowd around to receive their treasures :) This week it was chapstick (aka makeup) for the girls with a side of jelly bellies, bubble gum and tootsie rolls for everyone!

Looks like he's in A LOT OF PAIN DOESN'T HE??
Earlier Friday, Wyatt ran outside without his shoes on and stepped on a rusty nail-BLOOD GUSHED EVERYWHERE! I thought he was going to bleed to death but it was just a puncture wound. The doctors office said to soak it in Epsom Salts and Wyatt took FULL advantage of that! He has had us carry him from place to place because of his sore tootsie! Listen when your mom says "don't go outside barefooted, you may cut your foot WIDE open!"
Saturday was spent hanging at home-putting a new windshield on the motorcycle and cleaning up all the farm equipment for the winter-Kids were FILTHY after hours outside so I decided since my old back was aching I'd change it up and give a bath in the sink! All 4 of the little ones fit and it was fun!

We ended our weekend by going to church this morning and then the pumpkin patch this afternoon!


  • Another unmentioned highlight-Brooke got her lip pierced UGH!!! Pictures to follow later (if she'll let me)-She did turn 18 this week after all-I just keep telling myself, It's better than a tattoo, It's better than a tattoo..........
  • Please keep all of us in your prayers. I will be leaving tomorrow to go to The National Drug Endangered Children's Conference in SLC Utah!! I am one of the 5 keynote speakers (amongst MD's & PHD's) and will speak in front of hundreds of people! The kicker is, I have to speak for a whole hour! YIKES! I know God will give me the right words to speak! Talk to you all when I get back Thursday!