2 Years!!!

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of Lily's Forever Family Day!

On one hand, I can hardly believe it has been 2 years already. On the other...it seems like I can't remember what is was like for her to not be with us.

Emma has been working since May on a special video of her for her 2 year anniversary.  And it brings tears to my eyes.  She's graciously allowed me to share it here...

My how she has grown!

Lily, we love you more than words could ever express.  You are our promise long-awaited, our doll baby, our chatty girly-girl.  You are amazing and inspiring and we are blessed beyond explanation to be your Forever Family.

Thanking our Great God for His indescribably great gift of Lily...

In Him,


New Leg, New Knee

Lily began getting fitted for a new leg with a new knee back at the end of June.  

The process begins with measurements and plaster casting her leg to get a custom fit on what will become the new socket (top part of the prosthetic that the limb 'sinks' into).   The last two times she was casted, she screamed the entire time.  This time she just watched.  My how she has grown these last 2 years!

Pictures taken on my phone...many by Anna Grace!

After the initial casting, they make a clear plastic-type mold to check the fit an make adjustments on. (I'm sure it isn't really plastic, but I can't remember what it is made of at the moment).  We had had our first fitting with the clear plastic-y leg right before we left for China.  And, there was great news at that appointment!  The new knee we were all praying she would be tall enough to get...was in the leg and would work!  Praise God for a few centimeters in height!

Last week, we returned to do another fitting.  Miss Lily had gotten taller...again...while we were in China!  We knew she'd been eating well there, but WOW!  So, more adjustments were necessary and yesterday we returned for another fitting (all of these pics are from yesterday).  

Last week, she walked on the new knee for the first time, too.  Only Mommy and Mr. Don both forgot that the knee would bend when she stepped on it and put her down for a stroll only to have the knee bend and Lily fall to the floor!  Poor girl!

Let's just say the two of us didn't make that mistake again yesterday!  However, Long-term memory Lily was a little uncertain about walking at first!  She became more willing to try after a little while though.

This last picture shows her with the knee bent.  She was quite interested in bending it herself...with her hand.  With the leg she has now, I have to bend it for her and then as soon as it straightens, it locks.  It was more for kneeling, crawling, practicing locking the knee rather than walking.  

This one is for walking, baby!

If all goes as hoped, the new leg should be all ready this coming Tuesday!  Yippee!

Any guesses as to what the theme of the new socket will be? (Emma, you're not allowed to 'guess'!)

In Him,


All Day Dr. Marathon

Little Man spent all day being driven hither and yon to get checked out.

I knew before we boarded the plane for China that he would need some intensive dental work.   

Our first night with him in China told me I was quite right.

Today, the pediatric dentist confirmed what we already suspected...

This cutie will have to have his dental repairs done under general anesthesia...at the hospital.

Turns out he has 11 cavities with 4 very decayed molars.  Anna Grace or Ally (can't remember who) asked at dinner if he even had that many teeth!  

The good news is, it sounds like they will be able to save all the teeth and be able to do all of the teeth all at the same time.  No date scheduled yet.

Joshua did SOOO well with xrays and the cleaning and examination!  I have been amazed at how compliant and cooperative and calm he has been in every medical situation.  It is obvious he knows the drill.

I could tell that he loved getting mommy all to himself all day.  Quite the cutie and sweetheart today, which was good for my state of mind as well. 

Emma took these when we got home...still wearing his sticker from his dental visit this morning.

After that, we drove over an hour to a physical therapy evaluation.  Again, he did great and loved playing with all of their toys...with no competition.  Thankfully, the regular appointments will be in town.

Lastly, I dropped off some "samples" to see if there are any 'tenants to be evicted' in his digestive tract.  

I'm always amazed at what a joy it is to take one child away alone for a period of time...even if it's for a doctor's appointment or an errand.  Seems like the heart inside gets to emerge when they have mom all to themselves.  

In Him,


Different Perspective

It's been awhile since I posted.  And, (warning) it's probably not the kind of post you would expect at this point.

Being in China has been the easy part of our journey so far.  To call the last 3 weeks pure survival may be a bit of an overstatement...but it's the closest word to it that I can think of.

Let's just say I'm glad I'm not a first time mama.  Joshua has the cute meter pegged and the personality contest wrapped up.

To call him an 'overcomer' is completely accurate.  

To call him 'strong-willed' might not even come close.  The two are inextricably linked.  I don't think he could be the first without also being the latter.  

Let's just say it's a good thing both Kevin & I are strong-willed, too.

I've debated about just what to share on my blog.  Bloggers share what they want to share, feel led to share.  No blogger shares everything.  And sometimes blogs can leave a skewed view of reality.  How to share, yet honor?  How to be encouraging, yet real?  That is the blogging challenge.

Adoption has been the biggest blessing of my life (being adopted by Christ).  The second biggest blessing is my husband and next my children.  I would never want to discourage anyone from stepping into this blessing called adoption.  It has taught me more than anything else ever has...about how the Father loves and provides for and relates to and sees me.  How inexhaustible His love for me is...and how He moved heaven and earth to have me.  And, I have 3 wonderful children to boot who have added more good to our family and my life than I could ever encapsulate in words.

But when my Lord moved heaven and earth to have me as His daughter...He chose to die, and to die the most excruciating death.  He suffered to bring me to Him.  He denied Himself.  He was separated from fellowship with His Father for a time.  He was utterly alone in order to bring me to Himself.

With Lily's adoption the Lord let me see what it means to be the adopted, fully accepted and loved child of the King of Kings.  I am seeing that this time, He is letting me experience it from a slightly different perspective.  The pain and the isolation it took on Christ's part to bring the resurrection, restorative, life-giving power to His children.  And, how no one understood why He was doing what He did.

Adoption is the greatest blessing...but it is also hard.  It is exhausting, lonely, and some days plain hard.  Well-meaning folks don't get your decisions and often try to talk you out of doing what you know must be done for the sake of the one for whom you are doing it.  And the thing that keeps you going (only by the power of His Spirit) is the knowledge that what you are doing will redeem a life.  You can't look at the present...you must 'fix your eyes on Jesus... who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross...' Hebrews 12:2

Am I rejoicing in this little guy? Absolutely.  Is it easy?  No way.  

But for the joy set before me...I wake up each morning and know that I am one day closer to that joy set before me.

In Him,


2 Weeks Home!

We've been home for a whole 2 weeks as of tonight, so I thought I would come up for air and post pictures of our homecoming.

The flights home were long but vomit-free and also included sleeping two year olds for several hours!!!!

We knew that our kiddos and best buddies would be waiting for us and were so grateful to see them...and to not have to drive home ourselves!

It was very exciting to go through Immigration and see them open the virtually-sacred 'brown envelope' we had received from the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  Joshua was officially a US citizen!  And...we got to keep the brown envelope (not the contents, obviously!) as a souvenir.  When Kevin saw the officer throwing the envelope in the trash, he asked if we could keep it and she agreed.  She seemed to really enjoy this part of her job...welcoming the newest US citizen!

After gathering our luggage, we were reunited with our family!  What joy!

Not sure who this lady was but she was asking what flight we'd been on...Aaron is in the white t-shirt with his back to us.  Thankfully, he talked almost all the way home, helping me to stay awake!

Hugs from Anna Grace...

Joshua taking it all in...

Ally sticking close to daddy and little brother...

Catching up with my sister by heart...
Aaron and Emma catching up in the background.

The whole Geranium St. crew...

So thankful to be home and over jet lag and to be seeing some progress on the adjustment front.

In Him,


Mountains Moved

There has been no doubt that God moved our mountains to make Joshua part of our family.  

His hand has been so evident.

Yet, one of the most mind-blowing mountains He moved, I have not had the opportunity to share until now.

My daughter, Emma, traveled with us to China to adopt Lily almost 2 years ago.  

In front of New Hope Foundation a few weeks ago

The impact of that trip upon her heart has been immense.  She wholeheartedly embraced, supported, advocated for Luke...even calling a local car dealership to see if they would help us get a wheelchair-accessible van ready for him!  She grieved heavily when he went to be with the Lord.  She was cast down, but no destroyed.

 Her heart for the orphan continued to beat...and the Lord led her to Joshua.

And she prayed and prayed that he would become her brother.

And he did.

This is not new information on this blog.

But what I've not shared is that, had the Lord not intervened, she would not have been able to travel to bring Joshua home.  We all wanted so much for her to be able to come knowing her heart for orphans and the Lord's use of her to lead us to Joshua.

Yet, as Travel Approval got closer and closer and ticket prices continued to soar higher and higher, we had to tell her we did not think it was possible for her to come.  

in the trampoline with Joshua's foster brother

We simply had no money.  

No money. No ticket.  It was a very difficult piece of news for me to deliver as my heart longed for her to be able to go.

Once again, she prayed.  And an idea came to her mind:  she could fundraise through babysitting.

We supported the idea 100%, but let her know that the amount of time and the amount of money she would need (Lily's ticket, too, since Lily couldn't be left without one of the three of us) was more than she could raise by babysitting alone in the few weeks we had left.

Then, God moved.  Again.

In the 10 days before we left, God supplied every dollar she and Lily needed to be able to not only fly to China, but to cover the extra expenses they would incur.  

Every. Single. Penny.  Thousands of them. In less than 2 weeks time!

I've never seen anything like it before.  Anonymous donations.  Checks in the mail.  Envelopes of money being handed to us at church.  Anonymous amounts showing up at church.

I am not talking a small amount here.

I had been praying for months that God would supply all we need to  bring Joshua home.  I laid  down my desire for Emma to come, knowing she did not need to come.  

I also knew that money is the easiest thing for the Lord.  After all, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills!  But, I wanted His will.

We had told Emma we would know His answer by whether or not there was money for both Lily and Emma to come.

He said, "Yes."

To see a bit of what the Lord was doing in Emma's heart through this last trip, read her blog entry from yesterday. http://justalittlephotgraphy.blogspot.com/2012/08/changed.html

Emma playing basketball with Joshua's foster brothers

I am one thankful mama...thankful for Emma, thankful to the Lord for granting her the desire of her heart, thankful for the work that He alone is doing in her life, thankful for those who heeded His call to love on the orphan by supplying Emma the opportunity to go where He sends her.

In Him,


We are home!

We made it home!  Praise the Lord!

It was a harrowing last 24 hours in China to say the least. 

For those of you who don't already know, shortly after midnight (on the day we were leaving)...so about 8 hours before we were to leave for the airport...Joshua began throwing up.  Then about 2 hours later, Lily began throwing up.

Not kidding.

We quickly started firing off emails to our prayer warrior friends and family!

Somewhere around 3 in the morning, Kevin called to see what it would cost to reschedule our flights.  The thought of flying with two sick 2 year olds on a max of 3 hours of sleep going into 28 hours of traveling sounded less than appealing!

I was praying the the Lord would make it clear what we were to do by the answer to his call. 

The cost?  A mere $3500.  That didn't count changing our flight from Guangzhou to Beijing.

Needless, to say, knowing that the Lord knew what was going on and answers the cries of our hearts, we decided to fly to Beijing and reevaluate once we were there.  

Thankfully, once we were there, we didn't need to take two puking toddlers to the United desk and ask the agent if they would like to sit next to them for 13 hours.  Both of them seemed to be doing well and were keeping down their bananas and steamed rice.  So, onto our flight we went.

And, all thanks be to God, we had an (almost) vomit-free flight.  Poor Emma and the turbulence had a not so nice meeting; but that aside, all went well.  Both Lily and Joshua slept the majority of the flight...HUGE praise...and other than the flight feeling as long as it really was, we survived.  

And we were welcomed home by our kids and best friends!  Who could ask for more?

So thankful to all who have prayed us home and to HIM to Whom all glory, honor, and praise are due!

Satan has lost again.  Joshua is home.  We will declare HIS praises.

In Him,

ps....pictures coming


Getting to know you...

Remember this oh, so sweet picture from yesterday?

Here's what happened in the seconds after it was taken...

"Hey, wait a minute...your hand is on my neck!"

"She's TOUCHING me!!"

He was having some personal space issues with her yesterday!

We decided to see if adding little George
into the mix might help a bit...

 At first it seemed like a go...and Lily was thrilled (she likes George!)

Going, going, going...


Gone....Oh, well.

Today, however, we got a totally unprompted display of brotherly and sisterly bonding... 

Joshua is starting to call to Lily now when he wants to do things together.  The other night on the playground he called her and said, "Nini [Lily], come here!"  His English is growing a bit!  She has really taken to him and tries to comfort him whenever he falls down.  Too cute!

He was giving out kisses to both Emma and I left and right today.  Little Charmer!

Today, we had our Consulate Appointment, which went well.  Joshua is one step closer to becoming a US citizen and we are one step closer to having his visa.  We should receive it tomorrow and be good to go!  We are really praising the Lord for a smooth, timely Consulate Appointment as some other families were having trouble this week and ended up having to stay longer.

Please pray for George's dad (little George was in the picture above).  Last night we all went out to dinner at a restaurant our guide had taken us to before, and he got food poisoning.  Kevin & Emma said they didn't feel great last night either, but I have been fine.  We continue to pray for good health for our last days in China and our return home.

In Him,


No TB!

The morning began with good news...TB test was negative!  Thank you, Lord!  I am thankful for good news on the health front, as Joshua's tummy is still not right, although it isn't slowing him down.  

After naptime, we met our group in the lobby for pictures on the new version of the red couch...the stairs.  Hmmm.  I remain sad that they are moving the adoption community off of Shaiman Island...this is one of the reasons.  Just not the same.

But we did take a family photo...

And a group photo.  The children ranged in age from not quite 1 year old up to 13.  So excited for the 13 year old as she was so close to aging out (she is seated behind Emma).   We have been  blessed with a very easy going and friendly group...and 2 adoptive mamas who spoke fluent Mandarin!  Very helpful!  Everyone has been so kind and willing to assist.  It is exciting to begin to see them return one by one to their families! 

Jie Jie Emma and her littlest siblings...

 The Two-Year-Old Twosome... 

Bright and early tomorrow morning we head to the US Consulate to receive Joshua's visa and take the oath of citizenship on his behalf (he will become a US Citizen as soon as we land in the US!).  This appointment was what our entire trip was scheduled around and it is a big day.  Our final obligation in China.  Hard to believe it is almost time to go home!

Praising Him for a full and memorable trip and for the gift of Joshua!

In Him,