if you ever wanted to ask

I had hoped to have something to write today, but again, the words just don’t seem to be coming.

I guess I’ll have to wait until I have something to say.

Until then, if you happen to have a question for me, it would be a great time to ask.

And I’ll do my best to answer. Within reason of course.

We had a Q and A session a few years ago and it was really fun for me. There were some great questions asked. Y’all are some funny peeps.

But the answers were pretty boring though. I think we talked a lot about closets. And crockpots.

So consider yourself forewarned.

I really am a boring person. But I am also pretty much an open book.

So ask away.



  1. I've been wanting to ask and it's probably none of our business, but whatever happened to Zach? I ask because he was part of the family blog for a while and then disappeared and I'm just genuinely concerned.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Is adopting a child a lot like being pregnant and then flying to the country you adopted from a lot like being in labor? Then…….just holding that precious little bundle or hugging him/her for the first time…….Rewards for all your hard work and determination? That's sort of the way I imagine adoption is.

    What is it like when you go out to eat at places other than fast food? What was the high point of needing high chairs. Did you have to call the restaurant and say "Hey, I'll need a tale for 11 and six of those need high chairs" I'd love to sit next to your whole family in a nice restaurant because I always love to see how the parents handle all the commotion. I barely get by with just my two…….on a really good day.

    Do you have a mnemonic to spell the word restaurant …I always EVERY SINGLE TIME spell it wrong and need to use spell check to correct it.

    Do you home school or send them to private or public school. Tell me your best school story.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I too wondered why Zach never shows up in your posts anymore. I am guessing he lives with his dad?

    How did you and your husband meet?

  4. For a long time we were the only family in our church that had adopted a child. I have prayed that God would move on the hearts of some of the other families in our church…and it's finally happened. There's a stirring. He's working on them… I can feel it. It's very exciting to see their hearts warming, their eyes opening to the orphans of the world.
    The problem…they are all coming to me with the same problem…is the cost involved in adopting a child internationally or, in some cases, domestically. How do you encourage people who come to yo with the same concerns? Do you offer suggestions on fundraising, and if so, what do you suggest? Do you have any other thoughts on how some really amazing families can find a way to afford adoption?
    Thanks so much!

  5. Patricia/NYC says:

    OK…here goes…just how difficult ARE the teen years??? lol! I know you've gone through it with 2 of your sweetie pies already.

    From a teacher's perspective, I know how difficult it can be, but from a parent's perspective I'm sure it will be very different! I mean, as a teacher, I sent them home at 3pm!! lol!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow you're brave! Okay, here are a bunch of questions….Wondering how you get time to sleep, blog, read other blogs, and relax? How do go shopping, etc. with everyone – do you do it by yourself and can everyone fit in 1 car? How do you control them from fighting and acting up in public or are they all well-behaved? How do you get everyone fed and ready for school in the morning? How do you keep your house clean? How do you organize and display all your photos? How do you do it all and still remain so positive and beautiful? :) Thanks for answering our questions, Cindy

  7. Suzanne says:

    Ok…since you offered. :)
    Ever since I started reading your blog, I've wondered…"Do you and Chris happen to know a wonderful, godly single man around 40 who is crazy about adoption but just waiting for single gal who loves the Lord and the precious gift God gave her from China?

    Like I said…since you offered. :)

    ~Thank you so much for being willing to share the real deal with all of us. I know I'm better because of the time I spend reading what you feel called to share.


  8. before we adopted, my question would have been how are you able to afford the adoption costs. but after having seen god work in huge ways to provide us with every single penny we needed for our adoption, i'm kind of over that question. if god calls you…god provides. somehow that was not a simple answer for me years ago. it is now.

    now my question is…what do you serve for dinner? how in the world do you feed that many kids? great ideas on cheap, easy meals? plus, i'm just nosey and always wonder what people eat for dinner.

  9. charlotte says:

    Wondering if you could start a some discussion on best bedtime routines and/or ways you and your family handle bedtime with so many little ones. I'm a loyal follower for many years and noticed recently that you touch on your routine that I found helpful and interesting. Wondering if you would consider compiling a list of best bedtime routines, stories, music, and things to do with the family's most difficult sleepers. Loved hearing the new waking up routine and the suggestions that others gave. Loved your followers responses to the Christmas List and have wondered if you'd considering do the same with bedtime routines. Honestly, we are second time parents, over 50, both working now, and struggle with bedtime routine and find it esp hard to adhere to the same time, same routine etho that so many have instituted to survive parentling. Know others struggle esp with kids from SWI that might have not had adequate nighttime care. BTW, it would be a great topic for No Hands but Ours since so many adopted kids from China struggle with nighttime issues. Just would love to learn more about the best practices that work for others and how kids can learn to adapt. Email me if you need any clarification. LOVE hearing how your struggles, joys and limitations are shared by others. Thanks for your commitment to the rest of us in the adoption community!
    Kathleen – Mom to 2 Daughters from China.

  10. kateri,
    i just read your post after mine posted. i hope my first non-question didn't sound like i was referring to your $ question. it wasn't. and you're right…so many people have a heart for adoption but get stuck on the $ issues and don't move forward. for us, the main thing that spurred us on to follow god's calling on our family to adopt was watching other families go before us and seeing how god worked to make it happen for them. our lives are a testimony and we wouldn't have had the faith to act had it not been for a few other families that had faith and walked before us. we were watching. and honestly, i bet they don't have any idea how much they impacted our lives.

  11. We followed your sister's blog a year or so ago to get her darling son, Cole. How is he doing? Does their family have a blog? I would love to see updated photos of him – he was such a beautiful boy.

  12. Hi , My question is.. did any of your older kids have jealousy or behavior issues once you came home with the 2 younger boys or Vivi? If so, how have you dealt with it. Our 8 yr old still shows issues and our daughter has been home 9 months now.

  13. megadog says:

    How do you answer the question of "How much does adoption cost?" I am always mildly uncomfortable with that question and yet want to answer it honestly to help anyone who might be thinking of adoption. It's a hard one for me. Do you have a good answer?

  14. Learning Together at Home says:

    Life books. Have you delved into these?

  15. Love for Lilly Yin says:

    I have a question: We have adopted one, a five year old from China, she is amazing, and I want to adopt more, BUT I am not sure if we should? I feel really guilty when I can not give them things they want like, baseball lessons, piano lessons, gymnastic lessons, etc, and financially we can not provide all the extras. So I wonder IF we should adopt again. Also our 15 year old is VERY against us adopting again. How do you deal with that? I think he was the baby for so long, that it has affected him negatively. Also do you feel that you should have college money saved for your children? Or will student loans and scholarships suffice?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I do have a question… where are your older kids? You rarely mention them and I never see them in your pictures (except for Sunday Snapshots a couple months ago). Do they live with you?

    I am just a lurker! Hope you don't mind me being all noisy and stuff!


  17. Chinamama says:

    I would love to hear the story of how you and Chris met. What made you decide to adopt? How were the other kids with the idea of adoption the first time, 2nd, 4th, 5th…? I want you to know that I love your blog and thanks for all you do!


  18. So here's mine…I have 3 kids…one adopted from taiwan, he's the youngest. They are 2, 4 and 6. We are bringing our next daughter home hopefully this summer, she is 3. She is also our son's bio sister, Praise the Lord! Anywho…really concerned about the whole sleeping arrangement thing…right now all 3 kids are in their own rooms, but our new daughter will be sharing a room with our 4 year old daughter…would love to hear how you integrate the kids into sharing rooms, tips you have to keep them there and quiet without waking the other ones…

    Also, my hubby is AF too…so family is not close…how do you juggle doctors appointments with all the kids? I guess it will help when the older ones are in school full time and I don't have to bring all of them for one child's appt….


  19. HomeSchool Mommy says:

    What does your husband do for a living?

  20. I would love to hear your discipline strategies that you find sucessful with your crew. I am sure you have some tricks up your sleeve to share :-)

  21. I was wondering what happened to Zach too!! And also when did you decide to adopt?? Did you know from forever or is there a store behind it between you and your husband where you looked at each other and just knew? You may have already answered this on a post somewhere so if so I would love to read that! Thank you!!

  22. Nicole A. says:

    Oooh, fun! Let's see …

    How do you fit everyone in bedrooms? Seriously, it's a stupid question, but really it must be logically tough, unless you have almost a dozen bedrooms …! Do homestudy workers allow same-sex, close-in-age kiddos to share a bed? That would help, I suppose.

    How do you rationalize each child having fewer activities and perks and such (especially your older kids) as your family gets larger (or, if that's not the case, how would you, if it were)? That's a tough one for me, because my three kiddos are each in several activities, and that costs so much, and I know that adding more will mean fewer activities for everyone, simply because of time and money. Family is always more important, but still … (Not to sound too materialistic, of course, but things have to change as the family grows…)

    I also wondered about that cutie Cole, your nephew, and how they are doing.

    For first-timers (even those of us who have been in the process forever and are not far along …), do you suggest finding an agency first, and getting logged in, or finding a child (which is hard now because of so few agency lists) on a list, and then choosing the agency the child is with?

    So excited to read all your answers to everyone!

    All the best,
    Nicole A. in OH

  23. Stef,
    How long do the littles have to wear their night braces?? (i.e. time from initial correction post casting). Also, if they get sick, like a yucky virus sick, do they still have to wear them??

  24. I too have a few questions. #1.With any one of your adoptions, did you feel lead to adopt and then later felt hesitation, or a feeling of being scared in anyway, and if so how did you get passed that? #2. Because of all of your adoptions following so close to one another, did you ever have any issues with your adopted children feeling overwhelmed by the new addition to the family? Any behavirol issues? And #3. I know this isn't always considered the most welcomed question from alot of women buuutttt you did say anything. How old are you? Just wondering. : )

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi…I was wondering if you receive any type of disability for your sn adopted children? I actually know of some families who have adopted sn children that do qualify for subsidize disability…sometimes even money… As a parent of two sn children who has never taken this route is just curious if you have….?

  26. Oh Stefanie, I've never had the guts to comment until now, but now that you've asked, I'm just going to jump in with both feet. I'm sure you have some idea of how God is working through you to inspire us, but for me, personally, it's NOT to adopt, which is wierd, because that's why I started reading you in the first place, because I've felt called to adopt from China since childhood. I still think that may be where we're headed, but the good Lord has put a side trip in the adventure for us, and it's your words about LISTENING to his call, whatever it may be, wherever it may take you, that have resonated in my heart through this whole process.

    We're moving from the suburbs of Boston to the suburbs of Chicago this summer and while I am excited for this adventure we never expected, I am also TERRIFIED.

    So my question for you, knowing the mammoth move you made last year to my own dear New England, is how do you make the move a success for you and your husband and the kids? How do you throw yourself into loving your new home and not looking back at the one you left behind? How do you stay brave and strong and cheerful and honest so that the children can look to you for strength and truth when they feel anxious about all the changes? How do you UNPACK?? How do you get to know and love your new community and help your children do the same?

    Okay, I think that's it in a nutshell. 😉 Thanks and God Bless!

  27. Anonymous says:

    How fun! I love questions posts! :) Your family is way too interesting to have no questions!!!

    I was wandering where Zach is these days? I know your oldest is at college, but we never hear, or see Zach!!!

    And do tell us the story behind you and your husband! Your post about him being able to "cut the rug" and that whole dance post got me wandering!!! :) And what does he do? (Just wandering b/c you always mention how much time he is away!)

    And what do you do to keep in such good shape? You always joke around about clothes not fitting you, but seriously, girl, you're ripped!!! I know your husband has a routine (he mentioned something like this on an adoption post), but what about you? I want muscles in my arms like you!!!! :)

    What devotional or study are you currently doing (or recommend)?

    Thanks for letting us all be so nosey!!! God bless your sweet family!

    Jenny L.

  28. Football & Fried Rice says:

    I just want to second the requested update on Cole!! I want to see that little man!!

    Is it scary that I know a lot of the answers to to a lot of the questions? Does that make me an official stalker? Or merely attentive?


  29. living4him5 says:

    I'm with Sara, why do I know almost all the answers to these questions??? =)

    Here's my question…My son will be 18 in January and I'm already tearful when I think of his leaving my nest. Your thoughts and advice for adopting children is so right on, any advice for when then start to leave?? sniff sniff =(

    Much love,
    Amy <><

  30. I have not posted before, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to ask some questions. I have been greatly inspired and have discovered and learned so much through reading your entries. I admire and appreciate you so much. #1 How long do you have to wait between bringing one child home and starting the adoption of another… is there a set rule or does it vary from agency to agency? We adopted two SN children from China two years apart. Unfortunately we have not had much support. Our families think we're crazy even though we have explained that this is not about us, but about the call God has placed on our lives. I still have a desire to go back to China one more time before we become too old, but my husband does not. I know God can change his heart(as He has in the past) if it be His will, but at the same time it is hard when no one really understands. I often feel so alone and wonder why God has put this burden on my heart, but not on my husband's heart. He has supported me and he is a good dad, but he doesn't have the same burning desire that I have and so even with his support I often feel alone. I draw strength from people like you who have opened their hearts and share the same burden I have. Sometimes though I wonder if I am being selfish and perhaps I should consider other ways of caring for the orphans without binging them home. In the meantime I have asked God to either give my husband the same burden to adopt or to please remove the desire I have to go back. It hurts too much to have such a strong desire for something and not have a husband who shares in that longing or a family that understands. I can deal with the family for the most part, but if my husband is just supporting me to be a good husband, but not really wanting any more children I am left feeling confused as to what God's will truly is. #2 What are your thoughts concerning the struggles I have just shared with you? #3 what does your daily schedule look like…how do you keep everything and everyone together and still have time for God and for yourself?

    I could go on, but I think you'll be busy for awhile with all the questions posed to you. Thank you for allowing us to draw from your experience. God bless you and your sweet family!

  31. I have gathered from your blog that your two older kids were from a previous relationship (marriage?). Were they (and your kids with Chris) always receptive to the idea of adopting?

    And here's a change of pace:

    Do you work out? Seriously, I have two kids and I work part time (from home) and I just joined a gym, but now my house is a mess! One of these days, I'll find a balance. I hope.

  32. Anonymous says:

    We have 3 kids, my husband says we are done. I don't feel that way. I have prayed, and asked God to make the feeling of being incomplete go away. It hasn't. I want peace in my decision. I keep thinking there is a little one waiting for us in China, and if we close the door now it will be too late with the way IA is changing. When do you think the China program will end?
    Thanks :-)

  33. OK, Sara (Football and Fried Rice), I know the answers to a lot of these questions too…..and I was feeling a little stalkerish too! So glad to know I wasn't the only one. Apparently, Stefanie, you have a couple of stalkers! 😉

    Anyway, ok, sort of a random question…..where are the archives? I spent an hour the other day trying to find the series of awesome "my best travel advice" posts you did after Shepherd came home, but to no avail. I knew I'd EVENTUALLY need them. It just seemed an eternity away at the time. Now, I'm almost there and couldn't find them!

    I liked the "lifebook" question. With so many kiddos, I don't know how you'd have time for this, but I second that question.

    Attachment stuff- did you have any issues with this- basically, having done this several times, what are the things you think are absolutely ESSENTIAL for those of us who will be going to China soon (oh, Lord, PLEASE soon) to keep in mind to do. I remember you said once there are a few things you "insist on" when you bring a new child home. I'd be interested to hear all your "insists ons"! :)

    I read on a blog somewhere that Half the Sky was going to be leaving China in a few years as China has announced plan to take over care for ALL their "care needing" populations (elderly, orphans, SN orphans, etc….). Therefore, any outside help organizations were going to have to go. I only read it one obscure place, but the CCAA was quoted in it. Have you heard anything of this sort? I was thinking if you hadn't (considering your involvement with "An Orphans Wish"), it probably is not true.

  34. Desiree' says:

    Sort of a silly question but I get this ALL THE TIME and it drives me crazy. People ask "Are they twins?" Do you ever get that and how do you handle it?? My girls are obviously not twins and I am taking it as very derogitory….maybe I shouldn't but at 3 and 5 they are so different in size and looks…If you get that what do you say?

  35. After reading the above comments, mine is pretty shallow, but none the less, a question- where did you find the cricket cages at the WS? We are hoping for TA any day now and my boys would love one. Thank you! Love, Kim

  36. I do have one thing I've always wondered, but I too felt like it fell into the "not my business" category. Buuuuttt….since you are an open book, here goes. How the heck do you guys afford all your adoptions, and so close together. I know Chris is a military man and so was my hubby so I know that it's not that. Even if he's an officer. Is it from your Tees?? If so, that's great it's so successful. We are barely able to do one and I had to do daycare in our home for 1 1/2 years just to get to this point. Just wondering and feel a little weird even asking. Thanks!

  37. Okay – Really REALLY silly question, but…what kind(s) of diaper bags do you have/recommend? We're expecting our third child in the fall and we'll have three under three and none of them close to being potty trained! So…any ideas for large bags that you can keep organized and cram with a lot of stuff?

  38. Hey Stefanie – Here's my question! We brought our daughter home from China last June and our experience has been AMAZING! We have 3 boys as well. My only issue is everytime we go out, we get stopped. Everytime we go to church people want to hug and kiss on my daughter or take her from me. I get irritated that we can't go out and be normal. We do live in a small town and there are only about 6 internationally adopted children here. My solution is that we should adopt again so our daughter won't be the only one at church, etc…!!!
    Do you get stopped all the time? Do you ever just want to go to the grocery store, school programs, church and NOT be bothered? My daughter is getting terribly spoiled!
    Since we're considering adopting again, I would also like to know how you handle the financial part of adoption! Thanks for your advice!

  39. Being that my full name is Stephanie, I was curious – was there a particular reason your parents named you Stefanie? And why did they choose to spell it with an 'f', instead of 'ph'?

  40. Jen & Rob says:

    How do you find time with so many children to still look absolutely gorgeous! :) Hope you are doing well…wish we'd had a chance to meet but I know life gets busy. Hugs to you all!
    Jenny G. back in Macon.

  41. funny! i think i was part of the initial crew who pressured you into the first QandA!

    i'm wondering how much you talk to the kids about their birthfamilies/country/story/etc? i know some people who pray with their kids for the birthparents every night, some who do special things for them at birthdays, and some who really don;t do much at all. honestly, we don;t do a ton…the only thing that M is interested in about taiwan is that the letters are different than ours!!!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Was wondering how your sister & the little boy she adopted was doing? You haven't mentioned them & she hadn't updated her adoption website last time I checked it, then I lost the link.

  43. a Tonggu Momma says:

    favorite guilty pleasure food

    SAT score (heh – you did it to me)

    if you had not married your husband, who would your celebrity spouse have been? and why?

    what's your FAVORITE thing to do when you have a night to yourself? (if you ever do….)

    what is the strangest thing you have ever done?

    how would you navigate serious attachment issues if/ when you adopt a child that does struggle in such a way? for example, would it effect the timing of future adoptions? why or why not?

    absolutely the worst "adoption comment" you ever received and how you responded to it (and/or how you wished you had responded to it)

    what does the inside of your van look like? (I want pictures!)

    what toothpaste do you use? (because, girlfriend, you've got a seriously killer bright smile)

    what did you want to be when you grew up?

    how did you know that God called you to be a momma of a large family?

    how do you teach your children to pray?

    most embarrassing moment pre-motherhood and post-motherhood

    I could go all day… let me know if you need more… *grin*

  44. Anonymous says:

    I'm fairly new to your blog, but have followed several adoption blogs of kids that were adopted internationally. Being an Arican-American woman, I have yet to find an AA couple who has adopted internationally, especially children from China. Do you know of any AA familes that has adopted children from China or internationally? Also would you consider adopting a child from The 3rd World? I also want to add, that I think your family is absolutely beautiful!

  45. Long time stalker and very occasional poster here.
    Do you color your hair? Do you do it yourself of have it done in a salon?

    And more seriously, do you or have you ever had any sibling rivalry issues (more than just the occasional flare-up)? How do you deal with that?
    I have a 9 year old and a baby, and we have some issues.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever had bonding issues with any of your children from China? If so, how did you overcome them?

  47. Anonymous says:

    How do you afford so many adoptions? Would love to adopt again, but our one cost us nearly our life savings. 2,000 here and 2,000 there…doesn't add up to the 30,000 very well.

  48. Please, please do another one of these! I thoroughly enjoyed it last time when you did it almost 4 years ago. :)

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