Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What a dollar bill can say

One year ago, April 29, 2013, we saw our 8th child for the first time. I knew what I was going to see, but I could never have been totally prepared for what awaited me under that cover.

One year ago today we showed up at the hospital. Not fully comprehending what would happen next, we took out a pen and signed paperwork saying that we took full responsibility for a wee little baby with no hope and future. They took us back and had us scrub for 5 minutes, then we took a walk down a hallway and into the NICU, to the bed that was to be his for the next 3 months. And we laid eyes on our son for the first time. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into, but God did. Through the past year, we have learned how to trust the Lord through many dangers, toils, and snares. Through chaos in our home. Through not knowing if we would bring this little guy home. But amazingly, God saw little Victorious through his NICU stay and through a difficult diagnosis of blindness. And through it all...God has opened up doors of opportunity that we never thought possible.


To help our family and friends back home understand what 1 lb. 13 oz. looks like, the nurses took a washed and scrubbed laminated dollar bill and put it next to Victor. No flash allowed so as not to disturb Victor's sleeping and growing.

Fast forward one year. No sterile dollar bill. Flash photography. And a baby who did not want that dollar bill in his picture!

Victor Noah King, you are victorious long life of faith in the One True King. God promised that though you'd be disabled, you would also amaze. You are amazing!

The kids want to know if we plan to strip him to his underwear when he's older just so we can get the yearly dollar bill photo. Don't worry; not gonna happen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Water walking

These were our words 1 year ago today which have now been viewed 2, 915 times.

Dear Friends and Family,

We are writing this note to let you know that we said yes!  As you know, we’ve been in the midst of our third adoption journey.  It was January 2012 when we both felt God’s call to pursue another adoption.  By July we had started talking with an adoption consultant and found a local home study agency.  We were home study ready at the end of Nov. and the first weekend of Dec. we prayed over and sent out our first round of applications to agencies.

Almost immediately possible situations started coming.  It was heartbreaking to choose which birth mothers we wanted to be presented to, to turn some down, to say yes to others, only to find that we had not been chosen.  It was a definite emotional roller coaster, not for the faint of heart.

A little over a month ago, while we were in the midst of Mark Batterson’s 40 Day Prayer Challenge, Eden came to me and said that she felt like we were to pray more specifically for a baby.  She decided to choose a date and to ask God to either give us a child or a match by that date.  April 20thwas chosen and a few days later she told me that she had added 5PM to her prayers.  So, as I physically circled the block praying for birth mothers and our future child, she would join me, sometimes simply repeating, “Baby.  April 20.  5PM.”  I had a feeling God was going to honor the prayers of that child.

We waited expectantly for Saturday, April 20.  That day we had a concert in the afternoon and arrived home at 4:00.  I immediately checked my inbox and found three potential situations from an agency in Utah.  Two were more typical scenarios with expectant mothers due in a month or two.  The third situation was a baby boy who had been born April 13 at 25 weeks gestation, nicknamed The Little Fighter by the nurses.  Noah, as his birth mother had named him, had been matched with a family, but when he arrived early, the family changed their minds.  His birth mother was waiting in Utah, feeling hopeless for a family for this little boy.  We presented our profiles to the other two situations but we just couldn’t close the door on the third.  We continued to receive updates.  We asked questions.  We prayed.  Oh, how we prayed.  Several of our prayer warrior friends stormed Heaven’s gates with us, asking for clarity and direction.  And the answers came, one after the other.

But it wasn’t without battle.  The spiritual attack has been so strong, particularly to me (Cindy), physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  When we could no longer lift our hands in the battle, our friends surrounded us, holding us up as Aaron and Hur lifted Moses’ hands.  We can’t thank them enough.  In the same day, two friends had the same idea, sending messages that said, “Noah must be a world changer.  The fight to get him to you has been a big one!” and “He will amaze and God will use him in significant ways.”  Redeeming a life never comes without battle and pain. Jesus suffered for me, I am willing to do the same for this little fighter.

Noah’s fight is far from over.  Starting life at 1 lb. 13 oz., he’s currently around 1 lb. 10 oz. but tolerating small amounts of food and receiving some oxygen support.  We’ve spoken to one of his NICU nurses who gave us every possible life-threatening situation common to premature infants. We’ve never walked this path before but we know those who have.  We know the risk is great.  We know that his future health is not secure.  We know that we could come home with empty arms.  But after a week of wrestling, we can’t say no.

We know this is crazy.  We know that it makes no earthly sense. Like Noah building a boat on dry land, like David offering to slay a giant, like Peter stepping out onto the water, we're trusting the hand that's leading us onto the red carpet with a tiny, barely 2 pound baby boy on the other end.. Through the years we’ve been learning to put action to our faith and this is just another step of obedience, albeit a large step... 



The past 365 days have taught us a lot more about stepping out of the boat. It's not easy. Some people won't understand. You can't take your eyes off Christ. One year later, I need to reread these words to remind myself of this truth.

It is our prayer that Victor's story has encouraged you to have a radical faith that's willing to take a radical step out of the boat. You won't sink if your eyes remain on the Author and Perfecter of your faith.

On this anniversary I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us and for Victor, all of you who helped out while I was gone, and all of you who continue to support our family.  It's been quite some time since I've given a prayer update so here it is:

Praise God for Victor's good health! His suppressed immune system not only survived its first winter but thrived. He had only a few minor colds, fewer than any of his siblings' first winters!  Go figure. His height and weight have caught up nicely and his reflux is much less severe.

Pray for the final funds to pay off our adoption debt. We are so close! You'll know when this is paid in full as we are planning a big King's Strings concert, inviting anyone who has been a part of this journey.

Pray that Victor's body would learn when it is full and would shut down on its own. For now, I regulate the amount he eats, finding that perfect balance between eating himself sick and being hungry. We did have a dietician visit the home and according to her calculations, my portions were within 20 calories of where they should be. She was pleased and said I shouldn't change a thing. Until the next growth spurt.  :)

Pray for Victor's physical development. It's difficult to determine if his physical lags are due to his prematurity or his blindness. He is sitting on his own, rolling all over the floor, getting himself on all fours, and managing to scoot backward. We're praying that he crawls forward soon!

Pray for sensory issues. He is very resistant to touching certain things. This has probably been the most difficult aspect of his condition for me to accept. Please pray that he continues to mature in this area. As I spent some time in prayer over this yesterday, it was my sense that by his next birthday these issues will have passed. That's a long time to wait and it will be miraculous if it happens. Please join me in this prayer.

Victor's MRI of his optic nerves and pituitary will be on May 21. Please pray that the doctors are amazed by what they find.

And finally, pray for complete healing of Victor's blindness. Amen. So be it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating life


Surrounded by family, we celebrated Mr. Victor's first year of life yesterday with red Converse, of course! Thank you, Mariana, for the wonderful cake!

Listening to the Happy Birthday song
Not interested in touching the cake or the ice cream but boy, was it good!

Fun with his talking Elmo

What a priceless gift from PopPop!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20

I'm always surprised what triggers memories. This week there have been many. And in the midst, celebrations. Last Sunday we celebrated Victor's first birthday. Today we celebrate with family as we also celebrate the anniversary of the email that started it all. We celebrate a date that Eden circled with prayer. It has not gone unnoticed by me that God chose to give us the gift of Easter on this anniversary. For without Easter, there would be no story, nothing out of the ordinary to celebrate today.  Because without Easter, not only would we not have a holiday, we would have no Victor King.

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me

"Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that you've done for me."  But I can't stop there. If I am truly thankful that Jesus took my sin upon Himself, if I believe He died so that I can live forever, and if I proclaim to worship that same risen Lord, then I also must give all of me to all that He asks of me.

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory


As I prayed in those months leading up to April 20, 2013, I had no idea the chaos that was to come. As we joined Eden in her child-like faith, praying for April 20 at 5PM, we could not know how our simple act of faith to adopt again was going to require complete trust in God's goodness. But it did, and it does. And because I've learned to trust God's heart no matter what, my finite heart is feeling, I could sing these words with joy.

How I wish for a world without orphans. How I wish that sexual brokenness didn't bring so many children to this place. How I wish mothers and fathers didn't have to make such choices. How I wish young women didn't have to make the decision to place a child into the arms of the other. How I wish there weren't so many women grieving such loss. God didn't want this, either. It was our human choice and desire for free will that brought us to this place. And it is my human choice and desire for free will that daily bring me to the feet of my Savior who died a horrific death, for me and for every single hurting person on this planet.  Because of His great sacrifice, how could I do anything but give all of myself in total surrender? How could I not trust God's heart even when circumstances don't make sense?

You stood before my failure
And carried the cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what could I say?
And what could I do?
But offer this heart, Oh God
Completely to you


I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
I'll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours**


People often ask us if we're finished adopting. The honest answer is that I don't know. What I do know is this: Whatever my Father asks of me, I will do.  As long as I am able, I will continue to surrender my will in exchange for His. When people in the Bible met Jesus, they were forever and radically changed. They did crazy things like leave their occupations, walk on water, witness in languages they didn't even know, heal the sick, get imprisoned for spreading the Gospel, and even walk to their own martyrdom. And they did so because they met the Author of the book and they knew the end of the story.

So do I.

God sent his son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My Savior lives

Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives

How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Just Because he lives

And then one day
I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death
Gives way to victory
I'll see the lights
Of glory and
I'll know he lives


* This Is Amazing Grace, Phil Wickham
** I'll Stand, Hillsong United
***Because He LivesBill and Gloria Gaither

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Day-Before-Easter

When your father is a pastor, and you are a teen-ager, you have a dilemma on Easter morning. You can get up really early to get your Easter basket before said father goes to the church or you can wait until after church. But then you're usually on your way to visit your grandparents for Easter dinner.

Thankfully, you have a mother who understands such things and who is willing to make this work. Enter "Happy Day-Before-Easter," the day when the members of the King family receive their Easter baskets. Another bonus?  Keeps the emphasis of the real meaning of Easter ON Easter.

So we negotiated a 10AM wake-up time with the teens to start the hunt. We always do something different to send children looking for their baskets; some years it's a collective hunt, some years it's individual hunt, sometimes it's follow-your-string-to-the-end, or whatever comes to mind.

This year, I found several treasure hunts online and thought of having each child complete a different one.  Then I found this Frozen themed scavenger hunt. I knew my girls would love it and my boys would roll their eyes. Perfect!




Each child received the cards in a different order and the hunt had them criss-crossing through the house until finally - the end. Some were more amused than others.



No candy this year, just books, games, hair accessories, gift cards, jewelry, and -


yeah, we really went there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Motivation

How do you motivate a blind child to move?

Well, if I could definitively answer that question, I would have quite the following.

Alas, I can't answer it. That's why we take photo after photo after photo and never get that perfect shot.

Calling his name will not get him to look.

Singing songs will not get him to lift his head.

Ringing bells or clapping your hands will not get a face to the camera.

Pleading and begging will not motivate him to open his eyes or focus them in the same direction.

The same is true for getting him to crawl. Who wants to move when you can't see where you're going? We've tried all the same noisy tricks to motivate him to want to move forward, to no avail. However, give him a piano and he becomes Tom Hanks in Big.


Wait til Ms. Diane comes for therapy today. We have a lot to show her!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, Victor!

April 13, 2013 was just a typical day in the life of the Kings.

I was working on background checks for the staff of the non-profit for which I am a board member and scheduling homeschool evaluations for the next two months.

We were discussing Annie rehearsals for Eden and HopeAnne.

I was feeling discouraged on the adoption front, knowing that Eden's date of April 20 was approaching but that there had been no recent glimmer of hope.

Jesse was at a camp-out with a group of middle school boys doing what guys do on these things, eating lots of meat, playing with fire, making torches, laughing, etc.

I was in the midst of a discussion with a non-believing friend, continuing to pray for peace, joy, and freedom.

HopeAnne was recovering from what I thought was pink eye and strep but what turned out to be pneumonia.

I was dealing with my own physical symptoms with pain and fear.

So maybe it wasn't just a typical day for the Kings. And maybe that was because there was a beautiful young woman in Utah who was bleeding profusely and who went to the hospital with fear for herself and for her baby. Maybe it was because this young woman was not only dealing with the physical pain of delivering her 25 week old baby but because she was also dealing with the emotional pain of knowing she was going to go home without that baby. Maybe it was because there was a young woman on the other side of the country who was frightened and alone but who was soon to become connected to us through the life of a little boy. That life being a gift that she chose to give to him. Her decision brought her great pain, grief, and fear.

A note to my prayer partners that day brought this response...

"So....are you guys storming the gates of hell or what?  Sounds like the enemy is rather ticked off.  I think it's awesome and I will joyfully join this battle for health ....  This tells me that you are doing something very right in the Kingdom.  XOXOX

Standing with you in prayer.

I released (in the name of Jesus) 400 angels to your home to care for "family matters."


Bless you all and thank you for letting me know.  I will keep praying."

We didn't know, we couldn't know, that those "family matters" included a baby already born who was soon to become our son. 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Victor!

In our joy and celebration, we know that there is a very sweet woman with a void in her life. We know she remembers this day. Please pray that my message to her today is received with the same message of love and hope with which it is sent. Pray for this young woman to know the Savior who loves her and is pleased with her. Pray that she knows that she is loved and valued by us and by her "Noah."

And continue to pray for "Victorious Long Life of Faith in the One True King." Pray for total healing. God said that he would amaze and he is doing just that!



God is good.
 All the time.
 All the time.
God is good.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another basket

Adding another child means adding another basket come Easter time. Victor got textured fabric in his basket, of course.

And we weren't the only ones who added a child this year. A family who had previously purchased an Easter basket for their firstborn decided the second child should have one, too.  I couldn't agree more.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This, I love


I walked in on this scene the other day. Sibling moments like this always make me happy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hitting a moving target

Victor loves to jump. If he feet are touching something, he's jumping. If he's sitting, he's trying to get onto his feet so he can jump. So we knew that getting his first haircut, ridding him of his mullet and shaping his hair up for his first birthday was going to be a bit of a challenge. We knew our dear friend Brenda would not only be up for the challenge but would be thrilled to share in this moment with us. And thanks to her expertise, she left with all 10 fingers and I left with my nose.





What a handsome almost-1-year old!

And we can't forget the brother who also got a haircut. :)