Thursday, September 3, 2015

8 days......

Eight days until Handsome and The Helper are getting on airplane to get Brooke and Jillian!  I am so glad it is finally here - and yet at the same time, it seems to be too few of days to get them ready.  It is just a busy time of the year.

Today is Raina's 6th birthday! 

We had cupcakes today but are also celebrating on Monday with a combined birthday with The Warrior, who is turning 16.  I have 2 kids getting driver's licenses in just a little over a week....how did that happen?  The day after the party, school starts - 12th, 10th, 9th, 7th, 6th, three 5th graders, and 2 Kindergartners.....wow. 

I must be busy, because it is hard for me to wrap my head around some of these things....like the brain just can't grasp it. 

We are desperately missing Lucy.  She loved Frozen....so what do we see everywhere?  Frozen costumes, Frozen fabric, Frozen on Ice, Frozen yogurt....each time I have to swallow back tears.  Praying God is protecting her and she knows we love her.....

As you read this, could you pray for:

1) Protection and safe travels for Handsome and Liz.
2) That God would be preparing Brooke and Jillian's heart for us and us for them.
3) That God would watch over every detail of the process.
4) That He would provide all that we need for the last of the expenses for travel.

We are praising Him for His faithfulness and for His Hand upon these precious little girls.

Here we go.....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wow....what a week!

We put our beautiful girl on the plane Saturday morning.  She did know that something was happening on Friday night when we took out her suitcase and began to repack it.  We did send most of her favorite new clothes, though I am guessing she will need to just add them to the shared orphanage clothes pile.  We kept her blue dress (seen here at her birthday party) and a few other things so she will have them when she comes home again forever.


We packed some fun new books and toys in a new backpack for the long travel back to the orphanage - about 36 hours worth of travel and waiting...  I had bought a necklace set from another family fundraising for their adoption.  It was a little tiny heart that fit into the bigger heart on the other necklace.  I gave it to her a day or two before she left.  She loved coming up and matching her little heart into my big one - getting a big hug every time.  we sent it with her as well, though I am not sure if she will be allowed to keep it or not.  The agency has said that we will be able to send her care packages and will send out info on that soon.  

But she did know something was going to happen.  On Saturday morning as I held her on my lap, she did begin to cry.  Oh, my heart.  :(  But that was the last of the tears.  Handsome said she was sad and quiet at the airport until he pulled out the photo book we put together for her.  Then she lit up and was showing the chaperone all the pictures of what she had done!   But it was very hard for Handsome to say goodbye...

We tracked her plane until it landed in Houston...then from Houston to Beijing...then waited for an email confirming that she got to the orphanage after the in-country flight.  She did seem well cared for in the orphanage, but it is still not home and family.





As soon as the tears stopped pouring down we started preparing for a social worker coming for a home visit on Sunday.  I was tired as she arrived just after church was over for my gang.  My throat started hurting - I assumed from the smoke blowing into our region from far away wildfires.  But I woke up in the middle of the night with a blazing fever and horrible aches and pains.  Monday I just laid in bed and groaned until it was time to feed the babies and then I would head to bed again.  Thank goodness it was Handsome's day off.  Tuesday was slightly better - tried to at least do the basics.  Wednesday I was still tired but eyeing huge piles growing around me was enough to keep me moving.  Today I got up ready to really get moving when we got an email - TA (Travel Approval) for Brooke and Jillian!  Praise the Lord!

So today we were busy rearranging schedules and sending emails and working on details for Handsome and The Helper to fly out in about two weeks. I had been praying for this for soooo long - but am still amazed it is actually happening.  Praying this morning, I said again that I knew God's plan was best and that I would trust Him....and then He opened the doors to travel.

So many things to ask for prayer for....but too tired tonight to list them out.  So let's just start with praise for His goodness to us and to two little girls so far away.   And of course, prayers for my Lucy girl.

Also today, Children's House International, our agency, got the file of the most beautiful little girl.  She is breath-takingly beautiful!  Her file name is Chelzey.  She is 3 1/2 years old.  She is paralyzed in her arms - they are stiff and she is not able to move them at all.  This also makes it impossible for her to walk due to balance issues.  But she is AMAZING.  She uses her toes and feet to do what she needs to do.  The agency met her and were simply stunned by her.  If you have a place for this little girl who needs a family of her own, please contact Nina at nina.t@chiadopt.org. 



Please pray for this amazing little girl!

Until He comes.......

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hard things....

We have to put this beautiful treasure on an airplane in just a week....


Just not sure how to do that without all our hearts breaking.  Still planning a post on why we hosted, but just not the time yet.  Please pray for her ~ that the Lord will sing over her and comfort her pain.  That His perfect Will will be done.

Please pray, if it is according to His plan, that Handsome and The Helper can travel the week of September 13th to bring Brooke and Jillian home.  If the paperwork is not done, they will have to wait until October and the airfare prices will go up again.

Please pray for wisdom and courage for us to do whatever He asks us to do....

Until He comes....

Friday, August 7, 2015

She's home!

Serenity actually came home Tuesday night, but life has been a bit busy!  It was a last minute decision by the doctors (with the nurses helping).  The nurses felt that she could have gone home the day before, raising all our hopes though we should have known better!  We are veterans to the hospital thing after all, but we made a rookie mistake by hoping before papers were actually signed.  Tuesday morning the cranio team said she needed to stay another night....then the plastics team came in and said she was great and that they would talk to cranio.   Cranio still said, "No."  The nurses were not happy - Serenity is adored, but she is a handful!!!  Finally, we were told that as soon as she could see out of both eyes (they were extremely swollen) that she could go home.  The evening nurse came in and told Serenity to open both eyes and Serenity could just barely do it, but the nurse, (bless her heart!), said she was good! :)

She is definitely swollen - in fact, the kids think she looks like The Grumpy Cat that is all over the Internet.  I couldn't help but laugh!  She is acting a bit like the grumpy cat too.  In fact, she cried when she left the hospital because she is so pampered and adored there.  She has Daddy, Grammy, and big sister to cater to her every whim.  She can eat whatever and whenever she wants to and a constant stream of adoring fans (nurses and doctors) coming through to see her.  What is there not to like?


All joking aside, she is doing very well.  Her courage is amazing.  Her ability to adapt is incredible.  The swelling will go down - today we saw a little more of that right eye.  Just like last time, despite all the stitches and changes, the pain level doesn't seem very high.

We do think however, that we will put off her other hand surgery until next spring.  She was pretty traumatized before the surgery and we don't want to ever do permanent damage to that amazing spirit of hers.  In 3 weeks, she will have a sedated hearing test and that will be it for a while.  It will be a good break for her.  We can just enjoy uninhibited Serenity-joy for a while.  We will also finally get the hearing aids she needs and her glasses.

We have 2 weeks left with our precious Lucy.  So very, very hard to think of sending her away.  I am not a fan of hosting - but I will post our reasons for doing so soon.

We are within about 4 weeks of knowing when Handsome and the Helper will travel to get Brooke and Jillian.  They will either travel ASAP after TA or be delayed until the first week or so in Oct.  Waiting to see what the Lord has in store.  We received videos of them both.  I was so thankful to see that Jillian appeared very healthy and was walking.  Her head is in much better condition than Serenity's when we got her - mostly due to a difference of 2 1/2 years in their ages at adoption.  Her hands will need immediate attention and I am sure a skull surgery will be within the first 6 months - but what a beautiful,, beautiful little girl.  Brooke was full of energy and life!  I am so excited to hold that tiny bit of heaven in my arms.

We have received some amazing gifts from people - we are blown away by the generosity of people, some who have never even met us.  We are praying for the last monies needed for travel.  I cannot believe it is almost here.  Keep praying!

Please also pray for this little man - he is in URGENT need of a family due to heart issues.  For more information on this treasure, please contact Nina at CHI - nina.t@chiadopt.org .  Please lift him up in your prayers.




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Prayers for Serenity, please?

I realized that in all the hustle and bustle,  I did not post here about Serenity's surgery on Friday.  Good grief!

On Friday, Serenity had what should be her last skull surgery.  She had a "front orbital expansion" - meaning that they moved her forehead forward to better protect her eyes.  She will still need surgeries on her face, but this is the last on her skull.

It started out a little rough as she now recognizes that she is at the hospital for another surgery.  Handsome (who is staying with her) said that they had to give her some meds to help her calm down.  That hurts my mama's heart. :(

The surgery took longer than the 5-6 hours estimated because as they opened her skull, the found all kinds of holes in the dura (the membrane that is between the brain and the skull).  It was also twisted in areas that it should not have been.  They repaired it all successfully.  It sounds like this is something that is part of her Apert diagnosis, but it does increase the risk of infection as the dura keeps the spinal fluid from leaking/infection.

Because of the anticipated swelling from the surgery, the doctors stitched her eyelids shut so that, um, the eyes wouldn't pop out due to the swelling.  (My stomach rolls over every time I think about it!)  This has understandably made Serenity absolutely miserable!  We were told at first it would only be for 24 hours....then it changed to 48 hours....now we are looking at 72 hours?  There has been massive swelling.  The doctors still feel that it is within the realm of "normal" - but she is miserable.  She just laid on her Daddy's lap all day yesterday - our little whirlwind that doesn't slow down for a moment.  :(  She is also not eating - the child that is a bottomless pit. :(

Would you please pray for her today?  Pray by His grace that the swelling would recede, that they could take out the stitches, and that she would begin to eat?  She is pretty traumatized - like having to be put into one of the "cage" type beds because she won't stay put.  She has also managed to pull out her catheter (OUCH!!!) and one of her IV lines.  Yeah, not good times.

I am beginning to think we may (after consulting with her doctors) delay her other hand surgery until next spring or summer.  It is probably not worth the trauma right now that it would cause.  Prayers for wisdom with that would be appreciated as well.

I cannot wait until Handsome and Serenity are back at home...for all my babies to be under my wings again where I can comfort and hold and protect them as best I can.

We are praising God that our next round of fees for Brooke and Jillian have been paid.  We are down to the travel costs and fees - which is still a significant amount, but we are trusting Him as always.  (I will do a post soon on how we can "afford" to adopt so many times as I keep getting that question.) 

Mimi is feeling better after her antibiotics for the UTI.  I am anxiously watching for signs that the iron supplements are helping her anemia.  I love that tiny girl so very, very much! 

Finally, we are having such a grand time with Lucy.  She is so amazing and so very sweet.  We were given tickets to the baseball game and Handsome took her to some of the local landmarks - she enjoyed every minute.  Today she has a dentist appointment (Mimi's dentist happens to be Chinese, so he should be able to communicate with her!).  Tomorrow we will take her to the zoo...next week swimming and camping.  I am finding however, that grief over sending her back is starting to taint every thing.  I know it is part of the program - but oh, how it hurts.  Praying for God's grace and leading.

My Savior is so good to me - always hearing my cries and pleas - never letting me drift too far from His side.  It is another time of pruning and redirecting as my stubborn heart wants to go its own way.  He is giving Handsome and I glimpses of what He may ask us to do in the future.  My breath is taken away first of all by His amazing plans - but then second of all by fear.  I cling to Him each day for the strength and grace to do all that is required of me.  He promises His storehouses never run dry - am I able to trust that completely?  Only by His grace...

Until He comes - come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Others can, you cannot....

There are days, like the last few days, that I wrestle with my own desires....my own human plans...my own human dreams.  I make plans in my head all based around me and my tired, weary heart.  I make them for several days, imagining the relief I will have when they come to pass....

Then my precious Savior gently reminds me that I am not my own, that I was bought at an infinite price and that He is not done....

I can only put my hand in His and bow my head, ashamed I have forgotten again that I am not here for me.....even as my emotions rage around this submission.

Today, these are the words rattling around in my heart - bringing comfort, yet also conviction...


If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God’s call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other
people do things which He will not let you do. 

Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.
Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day. 

God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for His coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus and you will not see it until He comes.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul, to Him. 

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven. 

What is your only comfort in life and death?

That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and He has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven. In fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
–Heidelberg Catechism 

Until He comes, may He always break me....