"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."--- Kristi Larson

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Beginnings = New Blog !

With the new year comes new beginnings. So as we start out the year with lots of excitement as we plan to bring home our sweet baby boy , I thought it was only fitting  to change things up here too!

This will be my last post here !

 So please join us as we begin our journey to bring home sweet baby Caden!

 Our new blog is here :          Once upon a time ...

  Be sure to sign in as a follower and let me know what you think! I decided to go with a little different look:)

 Thank you for following along on our journey to Pei ... hope to see you over there!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


There is just something about this little guy of ours .

Maybe it is his story, 

maybe it is that beautiful half smirk that he flashes when someone gets out a camera,

maybe it is those giant kissable lips and cheeks,

maybe it is his eyes that look as if they are saying I know you are coming,

or maybe it is how he can wear boogers and still look like the most dreamy little guy this mommy has ever seen !

And lets face it folks, not everyone can wear boogers well :)

... but somehow Caden does.

Or maybe it is that we have simply fallen head over heals in love with our little guy.

Whatever it is we are all wrapped up around those chubby little fingers and I mean tight!

Wisdom comes with age ,huh?
So this wise, old mama owl will admit defeat now 'cause this one is going to run the show :)
I know, I know  I said that with the last two but trust me when I say there is a new sheriff in town

... and I can not wait!

As we close out this past year, we are looking  forward to all the blessings that 2012 is going to bring .

We will be back with a new blog that is a little less pink ( sorry girls) ... one more fitting for our little Emperor!

Many Blessings to you all and Merry Christmas

Monday, November 28, 2011

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

That's what boys are made of.
With dirt on his nose,
and scrapes on his knees,
the throwing or rocks,
and the climbing of trees,
with pockets of frogs,
and jars full of bugs
makes a sweet little boy
full of kisses and hugs!

We are just your average family of six. We have bills ,cars, a house,pets and kids ,four to be exact. I really used to think that four children was a lot but now that I am the mother of 4 it is merely a number.What makes us unique is how we came to build our family. We chose a road that is often less travelled and I have to say that road has lead us to unmeasurable blessings, the blessing of adoption.
People often think that it is for the super rich, trust me it is not.
People often think that it is never been the right time for them but it is not about our timing but His.
People often say we thought about it but our lives are just to crazy, I can not help but think I really need to invite them over for dinner one night :)
Bret and I knew that we would adopt again ,that was a given.  We had decided that Peyton would be the baby ,always. We also had decided that the next child would be an older girl. I pictured her with dark almond shaped eyes and raven hair. We had already had it all planned out.
So now what ?
 Well we will wait for our plan to be put into action when the time is right ...for us!

November 6th we attended  an amazing Orphan Sunday service at our church, HFBC. As we sat holding our two beautiful adopted daughters, we listened to many families stories of how there lives had been changed. But one speaker got up there and gave his testimony of their journey to adopt their son and daughter from Africa. As Jay described his home it mirrored ours. The "chaos" that centers around bath time and the dinner hour I could swear that  he had been to my house before! But beyond that, he described a loving family whose  lives had been forever changed.
We left there with our hearts full of hope for the many children that are waiting around the world to be loved ,cherished and treasured.
I received an email two days later that caught me completely off guard. An email about a little boy in China that needs a family.I had placed this baby boy on my prayer site just last week. I am looking at his photo  saying he is one of the most beautiful baby boys I have ever seen but he is completely opposite of who I pictured . This light eyed ,light haired beautiful child will never be excepted in his society. He would be an outcast based on the image that he was created in. I find that hard to wrap my head around in this day and time but it is reality.
I had a  quick interruption that reminded me of what the date was. Today was November 8th. This was the same day exactly two years ago that we listened to Pastor Greg speak of how true journey's of faith often have limited sight. On this same day two years ago, we first laid eyes on my daughter ,Pei.

I have to admit this got my attention.

As I read about how this giggling baby has learned to tightly grab on to the nannies shirts when they go to place him back into his crib at the orphanage. For him, this ensures that he could be held a little longer. I went to bed that night with the image of that etched in my head.The image of this 9 month old baby desperately longing for the touch of another human being.

God spoke straight to my heart with that simple image .

It was if that baby boy had taken those same tiny fingers and wrapped them around mine.As I looked at his picture I saw a beautiful baby with Ava's eye and hair color, Pei's beautiful almond shape eyes and Chinese Heritage and all of the blessings that each of my sons have brought to my life.

So over the course of the next couple of days we let go of what our image was and realized that God's image was much better. .

Caden Ryker Han Le Wen

God has blessed us with a child that is a combination of the best qualities of each and every one of my children. He has showed us yet again that everything good comes in his plans for us and on his time.
We can not wait to get our beautiful son home and hold him in our arms. Please join us in praying our beautiful  baby boy  home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. These are just a few reasons why my heart is filled with thankfulness ...

Lovable ladybugs!

Beautiful bumblebees!

Sweet sisters :)

The joys of many firsts :)

(Nick's first car)

My furry babies!

and my less furry loves,

And all of the many blessings that are yet to come ;)

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving !

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Idea for Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday is November 6th . It is a time for Christians to be the voice for those who can not speak for themselves. I have grown up going to church all my life and I really did not ever remember one church ever observing this day.
There are approximately 147 million children without families around the world. That number is sobering. Both of my sweet girls were among those numbers but now know the love of a family.
There are so many verses in the bible that reference back to caring for the least of these but yet less than 5 % of Christian families actually step forward to adopt. I truly believe with all of my heart we are all not meant to "physically" adopt but that does not mean that we do not get involved in some way.

There are so many ways to help.

~Advocate for a child
~help a family fund raise for their adoption
~Become a big brother or sister in your community
~Foster a child
~Go to Reese's Rainbow and help a child with their adoption grant
~Pray for a specific child

Over the course of the past few weeks I have been working on a site for our church for Orphan Sunday.


This site was created with the hope that people will be called to get involved. I will be continuing to add waiting children weekly . Please print off a child's photo and pray for them. Some of these children are in such an urgent crisis that I could not imagine turning my back on them.Many of these children are living in a distant land and some are in your own backyard. Regardless they are children in need.
My pastor asked for the congregation to step out and help raise money for funding adoptions for families through Lifesong. In a total of two Sundays they raised $180,000! I am in awe of the spirit of these people that I sit with in church every Sunday .
My hopes are that next year I will get to see one of these precious kids at my church with their new family. If that happen this labor of love will all be worth it.
Please visit here http://www.waitingchildwarriors.com/
Grab the button and spread the word!
Share this site with your church on Orphan Sunday !
Never under estimate what one simple act on your part can do to change someones life!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Change of Seasons

In July, I felt the apprehension building. The count down had begun for school . August was just a few weeks away and big changes were coming.
For the boys, summer was over and it was back to the routine.

Jake entered the third grade. The pain of leaving the xbox and endless snacks was upon him :) But as I expected he rolled with the punches and did not miss a beat!

Nick started his senior year! I am still asking myself am I really this old ! Where did the time go?

He embraced going back ,ready to begin the best year of high school.

So you ask yourself where is the apprehension coming from ? Well, that leaves the littles.

Ava has been home for three years and I knew that peer mentoring was so important for her speech but her need to attach and feel secure trumped all. I felt like it was time. As her momma I knew she was ready. Question is did she know she was ready! And the biggest question was I ready!

Pei has been home for a little over 1 year and the guilt that I felt was over whelming. I truly felt like I was throwing her to the wolves!

After all Ava had three years of my undivided attention.

But I got the courage one day over the summer and signed them up . The deposit was payed and it was done. So I put it out of my mind. You know that little place in your mind where you stick stuff you really do not want to think about . Yep ,that is where all of this went.

A few weeks before school started I had to sit down and write a quick bio on each of the girls to help the teacher know them better.

I felt that tension building again . As I wrote about each of their lives I felt really flooded with urgency. How was I going to explain how each of these little girls lives began so differently from the other little students . When they watch me walk away it is not just the normal separation anxiety it is so much more.

"Will she come back?"

Ava has PTSD. There is just no grey area with her. In her mind everything is black or white. And when that fear is unleashed it takes a grip on her it is paralyzing. As her mom, I am her constant and consistent shelter. But once she walks through those doors I will not be there.

Pei has adjusted so well since being home. But is she ready for such a drastic change?

Before I knew it the date had arrived . School was beginning and there is no turning back.

So together holding hands my two brave little girls began school.

We talked a great deal about what it would be like.

Days filled with singing ,coloring and making new friends

And of course letting them know that when they lay down for nap time ,I am on my way to come and get them :)

I think the simple fact that they are in the same class helps. The sheer presence of your sister brings comfort and there is always a friendly hug available when needed :)

But something so miraculous happened ...

THEY . LOVED . IT !!!!!!

They did not cry .

But I balled like a baby when I got in the car :)

So two days a week I am rediscovering what a little "me time" is all about :)

On a side note, we did a little decorating for Halloween. We carefully selected our pumpkins and thoughtfully decorated them .

But something was working on our display.

So our mysterious pumpkin violator made himself known a few days later...

Well needless to say in 10 minutes flat the Halloween villain was in our house and had been named

Anyone want a bunny ?????????????

And yes now I have a tortoise and a hare!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


~ a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard ; a supporter

A day at the zoo surrounded by all your supporters was just what the doctor ordered!

When I look at these sweet girls I can hardly imagine that each of their lives all began the way they did. Each of their stories share the same beginning . And now their stories have followed the same path again. They each belong to a family in the same hometown.

We do not get together nearly enough but when we do you can just see the connection between these girls.

There is always great conversations :)

lots of hand holding and hugs

And lots of silliness !

But I believe these girls are more than friends

They are sisters in adoption .

Now that is a lifelong bond and connection that will never break!

Love you sweet girls!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I opened my inbox on Tuesday morning to a wonderful surprise :)

To make a long story short :) there is a waiting child in China , "Jennie" , that has just stolen my heart. Several months ago, I stumbled across a web page of a mission trip to her orphanage. To my surprise there she was back in '08 sending a message to her friend, Mia ,who had been adopted the past year. Despite her orphan status , she was eager to send well wishes to her dear friend and hear all about her new life in the US.

I watched the video and wondered how a child with nothing was not consumed with jealousy but instead showed such excitement for her friend. She had such a sparkle in her eyes . Maybe she was holding out hope that her turn would soon come.That look of hope drew me in and I was determined to advocate for this sweet girl.

I thought several times about contacting Ken Surritte, that had taken the video of Jennie many years ago on this mission trip, but never did. Some time had past and I really thought this sweet girl had got a family. But unfortunately there she was back on the latest shared list. So I decided that I had to email him and he promptly emailed back . He said you are never going to believe this but I have just purchased my ticket to China this morning ,I leave in two days. He said he now had a new agenda to add to his trip :

Meet this precious girl and get new info and photos :)

So on Monday of this week, Ken sat down with the director and Jennie for some tea and great conversation! What a beautiful gem of a girl that said she knows there is a special family that is meant to be hers. Sigh. So my plea here is please pass on this info and pics and help Jennie find her family!

Here are a few things he learned about her:

~She loves school and studies hard, English is her favorite subject

~She is very excited about the possibility of being adopted!

~She likes to eat bananas ,chicken,rice , veggies and lychee fruit

~She likes to sing and play badminton

~She loves to help and care for the other students :)

~She is described as extremely sweet and caring

~ Not to mention she is simply beautiful!

This sweet girl is on the shared list so she can be locked by any agency. Time is of the essence for this sweet girl so please pass on this info. Also take a look at her singing this sweet song about how special a mom is in the post below. SIGH!

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me @nmsettle@yahoo.com

Jennie singing Mama Hoa

jennie movie 2 a video by Xia Ben Pei on Flickr.

Here are the words to this song :

Only mommy is the best in the world.
When a child has a mommy, she feels treasured.
When she gets into mommy's arms,
there is endless happiness to enjoy.
When a child does not have a mommy, she is most worried and anxious.
A child without a mommy is like a weed.
Away from mommy's arms,
where can she find happiness?

Monday, August 22, 2011


Sister :
a female offspring having both parents in common with another offspring ; a female sibling

The definition sister, is direct and to the point but lacking so much.

When we were waiting to travel to China to get Pei , I hoped and prayed that these two girls would be close. That they would share a bond and connection that would run deeper than blood.

Both spending the beginning of their lives somewhat lost and waiting for their forever families.

But as I have watched this sisterhood unfold over the past year, I have no doubt that these two
were not only waiting on their families but in many ways waiting on each other.

This relationship was truly nothing short of heaven sent.

Two girls from such diverse countries and ethnicity's that have forged a bond as if they are twins.

These sisters share so much more than just having the same parents in common. They spend their days filled with :


giggling ... lots of giggling
sharing secrets
sharing kisses
And loving one another like only a real sister can.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Last year at this time we began what seemed like an endless journey.Four planes , one train and countless vehicles and taxi's that spanned a 48 hour period.

Our destination , China.

Little did we know the treasure that waited for us there .

Fast forward to today ,Pei's transition into our family was "seamless".

Not really but as with all "labor pains" they fade and are replaced by sweet smiles and kisses.

I am a stay at home mom so this has helped with our bonding and attachment. We are together everyday,all day ... except one. Ava has a private speech appointment one day of each week.

This day can go from good to bad in a matter of seconds. That beautiful smile is replaced by tears and complete fear brought on by my departure.

I have tried many different scenarios to try to make this easier for her.

The one thing that I do know is that consistency is key .

Consistency brings about predictability and that predictability brings about security.

So each time before I leave I gently take her chin, lift it up for her to look at me and say these words over and over :

"Mama always comes back. Always."

I have said these words even when I thought it was possible that this little girl of mine did not understand or completely believe me.

Our speech teacher was gone for the past couple of weeks. So Pei had a much needed reprieve from any stress filled departures.But this week it was back to business and the dreaded day of the week was upon us yet again.

That evening we gathered around the dinner table for our nightly dinner and family discussion. My husband always asks the kids what they did on that day.

When it came Pei's turn she spoke about Ava's speech appointment @ Ms. K's . She said how it makes her sad when we leave.

But she decided to wrap up her story with something pretty profound for a mere three year old.

"Daddy, Mama always comes back to me . Always."

And this mama always will sweet girl.