Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Question

Can my eyes be cured...

That was the question waiting for me on Google translate. 

Em was helping to translate for Will as I drove them all to karate. Her face fell as she showed me Will's translated question, her eyes locked with mine as we both soaked in the hope behind this question and fought back tears as the immense-ness of the reality of the moment sunk in . 

We haven't had to use the translator in a while but this question, he wanted to get right. He was excited to ask it and as he sat in the backseat anticipating my reply, I gathered myself yet again and dug deep for a voice that didn't tremble, a voice that held hope but hope that was intertwined with his reality. 

He was waiting and he was listening but so were Em and Lucy and Maggie. My girls, his sweet sisters, knew, but as my answer hung heavy in the moment, the four of us somehow wished that answer could be different. 

How hard it is to watch a heart break, to witness hope diminish. It would be so easy to get stuck here but the Lord steps in. He teaches me so much in the midst of the heartbreak and the hopelessness. He redeems all of it, every single heart break, every single drop of hope lost... 

These kids y'all, how the Lord has used them to mold and shape me, to work on my selfish heart, to understand what it means to love like Jesus and what it means to BE loved BY Jesus. 

While our culture concerns itself over picking just the right schools or which caterer to use for the Christmas party or finding just the right fabric for the drapes in the den or the Acura over the BMW or finding the perfect, matching smocked outfits for the school picture or granite counter tops vs quartz or whether to vacation in Hawaii or Disney this year or maybe we should buy all organic foods...

Meanwhile...

There are millions of children who will never go to school, much less the "right" school.

There are millions of children who will never have a Christmas, much less a catered Christmas party.

There are millions of children who will never have a home to hang drapes in.

There are millions of children who will never even own a car.

There are millions of children who will never have their own clothes, much less perfect smocked outfits.

There are millions of children who would love to be able to live in a real home, regardless of the counter tops, granite or otherwise.

There are millions of children who don't even know what a vacation is.

There are millions of children who are wondering if they will eat today and don't care if it is organic or not. They are STARVING!

I am honestly not trying to condemn or to point fingers or to guilt anyone into anything but our kids, these gifts from God, have served as a wake up call for our family and while we are still very guilty of stressing over worldly things, we are a little more able to see the things that are truly important.

We don't always get it right but we try a little harder now.  Our kids have shown us what true perseverance and trust looks like and we will never look at the world, or our lives, the same again...

At least I hope we don't because the hard that we have stepped into has awakened us from our "American Dream" and has revealed a world in which there is pain but it is from this pain that great joy is born.

Will will likely never see our faces... 


and Lucy will probably never walk with ease... 


and Maggie will possibly always battle her body... 


and Lizzie will never be able to change her beginnings... 


and while all of these realities are hard, they have allowed us to feel, I mean really feel, a down to the depths of our souls kind of feel and oh the conversations we have had and the prayers we have prayed and the transformations that have followed.  

Yep, that question, that one simple but shattering question was difficult to answer...

but I did... 

and I am certain the answer was difficult to hear...

but he did... 

and we both survived and took one more step closer to each other and to Him. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Trusting in the Wait...

Our first adoption was 42 years in the making. No, it didn’t actually take 42 years from start to finish, although, when your arms are aching to hold your baby, it can seem like 42 years. It did, however, take 42 years for my tightly clenched grasp on life to begin to release and to give my life over to Him. 

 Looking back, I see how the Lord was calling to me. I can picture Him watching over me, arms wide open, calling me to Him, ready and willing to take the burden from me, waiting for me to hear Him, run to Him, serve Him, love Him. His still, small voice in the back of my heart, was ever constant, ever present, ever merciful and ever patient. 

At the age of 42, I had 4 beautiful children and was living the “American Dream”, but as that still, small voice began to grow and I began to relax my grip, the Lord began to reveal Himself to me and grant glimpses of the life He had planned for me and it had nothing to do with my "American Dream." 

Our journey to Lizzie began in 2007, after some ups and downs and twists and turns that served to get our hearts back where they needed to be.  We started the process for our first daughter from China believing that we would “save” her, not understanding yet that the Lord was using this precious journey to save us! 


After 42 years of patiently and gently waiting, the Lord had my attention and was beginning to have my heart. After 42 years, I began to understand what was missing. The wait for Lizzie was hard but the Lord used that wait to teach me. The journey with Lizzie was hard but the Lord used that journey to open my eyes and to change my heart and that was just the beginning.


It would be 5 years later that the Lord called us back to China and to Maggie and Lucy. Bringing home two girls with cerebral palsy was not easy and as that American Dream continued to be slowly stripped away, the Lord constantly and faithfully restored my heart. It was a process, a beautiful yet sometimes painful process as parts of my heart were revealed. It was purposeful and equipping and at times we felt woefully inadequate as we let go of “normal” and learned to embrace all that He had for us. 


And now, ten years after our first adoption, we find ourselves newly home with our 14 year old son who is blind and the fruits of that process are affirmed as we maneuver behaviors, feelings and medical needs that would have left us fearful and discouraged had we not learned to release it all to Him. There is joy in this place. A kind of joy that would have been unrecognizable to me 10 years ago, the kind of joy and peace that can only come from the Lord, formed into beauty from the ashes of the struggle. 


The Lord wants us to trust Him in the details, large and small, to trust Him to provide in everything, to turn to Him for our affirmation, not to this world, and to trust Him in the wait. Those challenges that He allows in our lives, the times of waiting, and of perceived silence can ready us to do just that.  

“We share in His suffering so we can share in His glory.” 

I watch my children. 

 I watch as they “maneuver” their lives through their special needs. 

 Yes, they have challenges but they trust and they have joy - because they are loved. 

 Isn’t that the key? 

 He loves us. 

 The Creator of the universe loves us. 

 How could we not be filled with joy and childlike trust, regardless of our circumstances, knowing that He is ever there, watching over us, arms wide open, calling to us, ready to take our burdens. 

I am beginning to know what it means to follow Him, truly follow Him, the blessings and the cost. It can sometimes be hard but the blessings that come from that “hard” are unlike anything “easy” this world has to offer. 

 Through our adoptions the Lord has shown us what it is to love with grace and ­­without expectation. Day by day, bit by bit, I am being transformed into who He created me to be, willing to be led by the promptings of His Holy Spirit and not by the misleadings of a fallen world. 

Ten years ago, as we waited for our “minor need”, two year old, precious daughter from China, I would have never envisioned our lives as the Lord knew they would be. 

 Ten years ago, we adopted Lizzie and we, ourselves, were adopted into the kingdom of heaven! 

 For 42 years, He waited for me and for 42 years He prepared me and while I still have moments of fear and doubt, I am quicker to cast my cares and love courageously for the One whose love is steadfast and unconditional. 

Adoption is such a reflection of His love for us and whether you are in the wait or newly home or home and still struggling, remember: 

He is not done yet. 

He is in control – always. 

He is never taken by surprise. 

He is right beside you, even when you are far away. 

He will equip you because He called you. 

He is unchanging and His promises, eternal. 

Release it all and watch as His strength transforms your fears into a testament to His glory.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

CP SUCKS

Cerebral Palsy just sucks...

and sometimes no matter what we say or try to do...

it just sucks...

not because God somehow messed up but because it is a fallen world where there is pain and hardship and...

disappointment...

Ever since Lucy has been home, she has watched her siblings play soccer.


For years, she has cheered them on and for years...


she has wanted to play soccer, just like 3 of her brothers...


and 2 of her sisters.



At half time, she heads out to the field with her willing siblings and tries so hard to make those legs work, to keep her balance and to run...


sometimes I think that is Lucy's greatest desire...

to be like everyone else and just run.

It can be hard to watch but I have also watched in awe as Lucy's determination inspires those who didn't even realize that they needed inspiring.

We talk about that a lot.

She knows that one day, she will be totally and completely healed in heaven, that she will run into the arms of Jesus when her time in this life is done.

She knows that God is good and that she is "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that the Lord will use all of this for His purposes and His glory.

She knows that He could heal her right now, right here in this life, but she also knows that He may not...

She knows that there is a job for her, a purpose and that the Lord has provided her the strength and courage to be His hands and feet, to inspire others through her joy and her determination.  

She knows that every time she falls down - and - gets - back - up...


she is fulfilling a purpose and showing others what it means to love Jesus and to find her joy in that unimaginable love.

She is also, however, 9 years old and while all these things are tucked away in her heart...

there are times when she just wants to be 9 years old and do "normal" 9 year old stuff...

and soccer was part of the picture of "normal" for her.

Surely as soon as she had a team...

surely as soon as she had a jersey...

surely as soon as she had cleats and shin guards...

surely as soon as she stepped on to that field...

she would be "normal"... just like everyone else... just like her siblings.

So, after a couple of years of searching and even trying to start something ourselves, we found a team.

Lucy was so excited.

I was nervous.

I wanted it to be wonderful, to be everything she had been dreaming of...

but sometimes dreams don't come true, not the way we want them to or think they should.

It was an awesome program.  


Those who were leading it were wonderful and so excited to share what they were doing with Lucy...


but it just wasn't the "normal" she was longing for.


It was a good program but it didn't "fix" her legs.


It was a good program but she still fell down.


It was a good program but her walker got in the way.


It was a good program but she still could not run.


It was a good program but she still had cerebral palsy....


We will go back and she will play again cause that is just Lucy.

This precious child, who only 5 years ago had never heard the name of Jesus, loves Him so completely and so fully that she will continue to get - back - up, with a smile on her face that so beautifully reflects that love.  

Yep, CP sucks and this is hard.  

There is so much emotion and energy poured out onto my kiddos, every single day and there are some days that I look at those around me and I too long for "normal".

I imagine the athlete Lucy would have been.

I imagine the songs Maggie would sing.

I imagine the sights that Will would see.

I imagine healed wounds for Lizzie.

I imagine the family vacations that never were, the earthly possessions that were never purchased and the retirement account that would never have been drained.

Yep, this is hard but it is within those moments of longing that the Lord ministers to me.

What a gift this is.  It is raw and it hurts but what a gift.

So many people don't get to feel this.  So many people have "normal" but they have become numb.

The Lord takes those moments of longing for "normal" and transforms them into moments of longing for Him.  It is within the moments of pain and hurt and struggle and disappointments that God's love for us is the clearest.

So we - keep - getting - up... 

and Lucy inspires us to keep smiling and loving and trusting that one day she will run and Maggie will sing and Will will see and Lizzie will be healed and we will no longer long.

Keep fighting baby girl.

CP sucks but you are not defined by the limitations if your body.

Love this from Joni Erickson Tada


God is working in you and through you sweet one...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Update Complete

Back to our regularly scheduled life!

*grin*

Thank you for your indulgence as I have attempted to update here as it was just too difficult to update during our trip and newly home.

Will continued to amaze us with the ease of his transition.

Not that it has been entirely easy but it has been entirely blessed.

It also doesn't hurt that Will is number 8 kiddo and number 4 adoption.

We have BTDT and have learned to just release it all to the One who knows the beginning, the middle and the end!

In other words, we are much more "chillaxled" this time around, because He has prepared the way and we are resting in that!

New updates to come.

Back to "Normal"

Posted on February 12th



Yeah, not sure Will fully understands just what he has gotten himself into! Bwhahahaha!


We are still doing pretty good! 


Will had a few teary moments yesterday, which is totally expected and understandable. We have been waiting and watching for it. 


I told him that it was ok to feel sad and that he had been through a lot of changes. He went to his room for about 5 minutes, came back down, asked if he could have some potato chips and that was the end of it.


Chips and chocolate were English words learned very quickly in China!


We know more will follow and are ready but for now, we are just thankful for the laughs... 


and the bonding and the ease with which Will lives life.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Welcome Home Will

Posted on February 3rd



Home with the newest US citizen!!! 


15 hour flight with no throwing up! 


Thank you all so much for supporting, donating and praying us there and back!

So many emotions swirling in my heart but so exhausted!

Our boys and some of our precious church family surprised us with the sweetest welcome home at the airport, while Grandmothers and Maggie and Lucy waited at home.





More once I am rested and feelings are processed but I can tell you that Maggie has not left his side!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Goodbye China

Posted on February 2nd.



Here I am asking for prayer again! We are getting ready to leave China! I have such mixed emotions about leaving this time. Will is getting ready to leave the only life he has ever known and I just can't stop thinking about how it should have been for him. He seems so ready but it has to be hard.


Please pray for his transition home and please pray for the 15 hour flight we are getting ready to endure, with no Google translate! Our flight leaves at 1:30 am. Please keep us in your prayers as we fly home! Can't wait to see my kiddos at home and my puppies and my kitties!


These pics are from dinner last night. We found an Irish Pub and it was awesome!




From Lizzie - they have soccer on tv

From Em - they have chicken tenders

From Me - they have salt

From Chris - they have Irish Beer

From Will - they have spaghetti

So ready for home but not ready to say good bye to China.