The Drop Box, Part 1

An unexpected window of time opened up for me to go see The Drop Box Tuesday night, so I texted several friends and invited them to come along...with 2 hours notice!  

Who says moms of 7 can't be spontaneous?  

Actually, moms of many live a life precariously balanced between spontaneity and intentional order.  But that's another post.

3 of my friends joined me and a fourth, who couldn't be there, asked me to blog my thoughts on the movie.  So, here it is Angela.

I went well-informed of the movie's subject matter, so I came with a purse full of tissues!  But I was surprised that I didn't cry as much as I expected.  That is not to say that the movie was not moving, just this night I did not weep as much as I rejoiced.

Jeremiah 31:13 I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

The movie is actually a documentary on the sacrificial caring of Pastor Lee and his wife for abandoned babies, most of whom have birth defects.  He attracted worldwide attention because, after seeing many babies die of exposure, he built a baby box, a hatch of sorts, in the side of his house in which birth mothers could relinquish their babies anonymously and safely.

The movie addresses not only his motivation and passion to honor and protect the value of every life, but also highlights this highly controversial practice...the Drop Box.  As the film explains, the idea did not originate with him and has actually been used in many countries, including China. 

See this article with video footage: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2595184/Heartbreaking-moments-parents-say-goodbye-sons-daughters.html)

The documentary does not skirt the nay-Sayers of the Drop Box, but gives them voice.  They say it encourages infant abandonment and does not 'protect the child's civil rights'.  I appreciate that the film did not verbally debate these arguments, but rather through images and stories and an explanation of the Korean cultural mores, leaves the viewer to decide whether the box truly encouraged abandonment or merely provided a safe, humane, might I say more loving, way for birth mothers to do the most difficult thing I can imagine. Maybe one day I blog my thoughts on baby hatches...

Until then, here is a clip from The Drop Box

The Drop Box Movie

The film very clearly declares the truth that every life has value.  The life of an orphan, the life of a child with a disability. Everyone.  The movie beautifully portrays that every life has purpose and illustrates this through the story of Pastor Lee's son.

But early on in the movie, they also tell the story of a little girl, Hanna, who was left on the pastor's doorstep and then raised by his family for 6 years until she passed away from her medical challenges.  Her life and death led pastor Lee to make his life work rescuing babies.  He said that when she died, he felt like he wanted to quit, but then felt compelled by the Spirit that not only would he continue, but he would give his very life for these children.

As I listened to him, I thought of Luke.  His life touched so many, he exceeded what many believed he could do.  And when he passed away, I didn't think I could continue any further down this road of adoption.  But then, the Spirit intervened and said He had called me to serve as mama to more children who needed one.  My grief did not negate their need.  Out of Luke's life and death, 2 more now have a Mama.  His life had so much purpose.

Luke and Joshua together...brothers before they (or we) knew they would be!!

And after facing such grave grief in his death, I also realized I had survived it.  I had not been destroyed.  God had carried me through and He would carry me through more if need be.  I became willing to hurt and be hurt if called to again.  So when Sophie's incredibly complex and daunting medical file came to us, with knocking knees, nauseous stomach, and eyes on Jesus...we said yes. With well-informed trembling we said will go deeper, give more, risk again for this one. And for Him and His glory.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Part 2 tomorrow....

In Him,


Stinkin' Adorable!

Treneka at For the Joy Photography took some pics of Miss Sophie, too, that day.  

Sophie & I had been at one of her many doctor's appointments, but when we returned she was ready for the camera!

Honestly, one thing we've learned about this girl is that she is always ready for a camera!  Emma has found it nearly impossible to get a candid shot of this girl.  

She senses the camera's presence!

Isn't she just stinkin' adorable?

In Him,


Cutest 5 Year Olds!

So Sophie has understandably gotten a lot of blog time lately.

A week ago a good friend of mine hung out with us for the morning and because she also happens to be a photographer who got a new camera for Christmas...she asked if she could practice with it using Lily & Joshua as her subjects while I took Sophie to a doctor's appointment.

Hmmm.  How should I answer?

Took me about a milli-second to say...Please! Pretty please! 

Oh...I mean, yes.  Sure.  Of course.  We'd be happy to help out.

And look what she took!

Treneka has her own photography business and blog called For the Joy Photography.  She is super-talented and has been mentoring Emma, as well.  

You've seen her work before around here...she took our family photos back in February 2014.  *All funky collages are by me.*

Check her out on her blog or on Facebook!

In Him,



...was a bit of a blur.  

I chalk it up to jet lag.  And 3 hours of sleep per night for several nights in a row.

 Jet lag is a bear when you totally reverse the days and nights of a 3 year old whose whole life has just been shifted in an unbelievably major way.  

Honestly, Christmas had nothing of the Christmas 'feel' this year.   I think it had a lot to do with being in China and every other time I have been in China it has been the middle of the summer.  Everything was so similar to our other trips that seeing Christmas trees and wreaths and hearing Christmas music just wasn't enough to evoke the typical holiday feelings.  

Also, might have had something to do with the absence of Christmas cookies.  Ahem.

That is not to say that my mind was not occupied with the unbelievable truth of what Christmas is.  

God sending His Son to imperfect, human parents to be raised.  God using the miracle of adoption (Joseph of Jesus) to raise the God-King who would in turn die so that I could be adopted and given new life and an inheritance I could never earn, but yet have had lavished upon me.  The I-can't-get-my-mind-around-this truth that before I was created, He had planned for me to be in His family and worked to get me there.  The parallels to what we were walking with Sophie...and have walked with Lily, Luke, and Joshua...were just far too obvious.  

God with us.  with me!

He was so very present.  That is not to say He isn't always present...I've experienced having to trust that when I do not feel Him or see Him as I did for a time after Luke's death.  But, this time...these 2+ weeks, He let me feel His breath and hear His song over me.  He let my heart know Emmanuel.

I read Lynn Austin's Return to Me while I was in China.  It is historical fiction about the prophet Zechariah and the first wave of exiles to return to Jerusalem from Babylon.  I had forgotten the Christmas devotional I wanted to bring (Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift) to keep my heart focused on Christmas those 17 days.  But as I read, a message of Zechariah struck me as perfect for Christmas, perfect for where Jesus and I were together in China.  God with us.

Zechariah 2:10-11
“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

Zechariah 8:23
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

I also couldn't help but be moved that this year, as well as 17 years ago, He gave me the gift of a daughter.  

Emma is my Christmas baby.  17 years ago at 7:00 pm on Christmas Day, Emma Noelle was born.  Every time I say her name, I hear Emmanuel.  This year, I had both Emma Noelle and Sophie Joy to remind me of God's great goodness to me in this month of gifts.

And even as I watched my gifts open their gifts, my sight shifted to Heaven where Luke is in the presence of His Father.  3 years ago on December 26, Luke got the gift of leaving his tent behind and being clothed with the immortal.  I imagine him running, jumping, dancing with Jesus.  And, this year especially, I was able to cherish the gift of knowing how loved Luke was not only by us, but also by those who cared for him in China more of whom we got to meet personally this time in China.

Christmas this year had many of the same trappings:  birthday presents, Christmas gifts, grandparents, coffee cake, pictures, video calls with Aaron and Tiffany and Grandma and Grandpa, Emma singing a solo at church Christmas Eve as we celebrated with friends and family Jesus' birth.  

But in so many other ways, it was totally different.

And, I was blessed by the difference.

In Him,



Late on the evening of Saturday the 20th we arrived home! 

Lily welcoming us!

Mama hugging Lily

I love how Lily is hugging Sophie's foot!

Joshua excited to say hello

Anna Grace

Emma....so blessed to have her littlest sister home!

Ally, who has been such a sweet big sister to Bei Bei

Her first ride in the US

Video of our reunion....

The flight was the smoothest adoption home flight we have experienced thus far...which can only be explained by prayer!  

Bei Bei and Baba as we waited almost an hour for one suitcase to show up!

We had asked so many people to pray that Sophie would do well on the flight home, that her catheter would not need to be changed in flight, and that she would remain fever free.  And the Lord answered, "YES!"  Soooo thankful!  Not only that, but she actually slept most of the freezing cold flight!  Another huge praise!

Sisters, brother, grandparents, and our closest family friends all showed up at the airport to greet Sophie and she took it all in stride...even the car seat on the way home, which is yet another praise considering her significant dislike of airplane seat belts! 

The next several days consisted of getting to know her siblings and pets.  

Sophie Joy Bei Bei surprised us yet again by being cautiously curious about them (the pets...not the siblings!) rather than screechingly terrified like some other children we know! 

She has blended right in with the other kids and she is by far the most popular person in our house.  

Everyone waits with eager anticipation for the moment Sophie is awake and ready to play.  

They want to hold her, feed her, hug her, play with her.  She is usually up for it all.

I just love watching them all together and seeing everyone's instant love for their youngest sister!

In Him,


Final Day

I think that I am the only one in our travel group who feels this way, but I can hardly believe it is time to head home.  I am actually sad to leave China.

The trip has been both long and fast.  
Expected and, oh so, unexpected.

It has been so much more than I could have dared to believe.  

So much that I feared, and then prayed through, has not come to pass...and I have felt carried these days in China.

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4

This country represents so much to me.  It has been here that I have received 4 of the greatest gifts of my life.  It is woven into the fabric of my heart and I pray that I get to return again and again.

But I know that He did not call me to China to stay in China [at least this time].  He has called me to bring our Bei Bei home.  To join her family and to be loved on and played with by a whole host of siblings who can't wait to meet her in person.  

I'll try to share her!

The last few nights, I have lain in bed thanking Him for all who have been praying for us...for the whole host of "Elijahs"...ones we know personally, those who know Sophie Joy Bei Bei personally, and those who only know us by prayer.  We are humbled by the large number of warriors He has called to attention on our family's behalf.  And, once again, I repeat Psalm 126:3...

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!

In Him,