Can I have Chinee?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Grace frequently asks to dance to "Chinee" music. Here is one of her favorite songs, complete with choreography.

Happy Birthday Jadon!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My precious little guy turned 8 on Monday! He had been my "baby" for almost 6 years, until Grace came along. He is such an affectionate and sweet boy. I am grateful to be his Mom. Of all of our children, Jadon has probably experienced the greatest affects of his early years. But, I see the Lord maturing Jadon each year and I am so grateful. A couple of weeks ago, Jadon and I went out for a date. We walked to Qdoba and had the sweetest conversation. At one point he asked me, "Mom, what has God been teaching you lately?" We went on to have a lovely conversation about the things that God has been revealing to us both. We continued to have a beautiful evening together, eating burritos, playing cards, talking and laughing. That night gave me a little glimpse into the sort of young man that Jadon will some day be. I praise God for the wonderful gift of my sweet son!

The big girls, working on some party decorations.

What a precious smile!

It was a lego-loving, star wars sort of party!

Happy Birthday, my 8 year old Jadon!
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More of Him

Monday, March 23, 2009

One thing that I so appreciate about liturgical churches are the seasons of the year. Our church is actually both liturgical and charismatic (I know that there aren't a lot of those out there!), and I am so enjoying this lenten season. God is revealing to me how I find comfort in things, rather than in Him, alone.

I know that for many people, when they hear the word "lent," they think of their Catholic friends who had to "give up" candy when they were kids, or who had to eat fish on Fridays. These practices have a beautiful history and can be extremely meaningful in the right context. But they are certainly not the whole (or even the beginning) of the celebration of lent.

For myself, I realized that I had been gaining too much comfort from things like coffee in the morning, chocolate in the evening, or spending time on the computer. Please understand, I don't think that any of these things are bad. I actually think that they are all pretty wonderful. The problem was my attitude. When I was feeling a little low (perhaps one of the kid's math lessons didn't go so well, or one of my children was having a problem with whining), a piece of chocolate might pick me up, or reading someone's blog might take my mind off of things. Instead of seeking my Father, who loves me and wants to talk to me at any and all times, I was seeking satisfaction in a cup of strong coffee (with a lot of half-n-half). How crazy is this?!

Yet, God always pursues us and He has been speaking to my heart. He wants to fill me with His loving presence and power! He wants me to depend on Him for all things. I want so much more of Him, and and as I resist the temptation to run to momentary diversions for comfort, I end up hungering more and more for Him. Oh, how I pray that this hunger would continue to grow! I must have more of Him! I have been satisfied with crumbs (as a precious sister shared with me), when He has a feast prepared!

So, I revel in this lenten season, this season of seeking Him more deeply. And as we approach the celebartion of His glorious resurrection, I anticipate a greater measure of His presence and grace. What an adventure it is to seek King Jesus! He truly is good!

It's official!

Friday, March 20, 2009

We had our court day today, with Grace. It was so much fun! I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we met up with an orphanage mate of Grace's at her court date. While we were there, we saw Judge Gilmore, who had presided over the proceedings for Lily, Jadon and Yana's court dates. I told him that we had been assigned a different judge for Grace's court date. But, he said that wouldn't do! So, he changed it for us! Now, all of our children have had the same judge for their court proceedings. Judge Gilmore is such a nice man and makes the proceedings a lot of fun for the kids. He said that our family set the record for him, with four adoptions.

Here is Judge Gilmore, signing the official paperwork.
Grace receives her official "Certificate of Adoption." It was fun to see Uncle Morgan again too.
A couple of jurors deliberate over the case...

But, in the end, everything proceeds wonderfully!

Judge Gilmore, with all four kiddos.

The whole family.

A sweet smile, outside the courthouse.

Oh, how I love these five precious gifts from God!

A new gege!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We had such a great time meeting with "our" Chinese student on Sunday. To be honest, I was hoping to be matched with a young woman, since we have five children and I wasn't sure how comfortable a young man would be in relating to them all. But, there was certainly nothing to be concerned about! He asked the kids to call him gege (big brother), and had a lot of fun interacting with all of them.

When Yi got to our house, we got out the atlas and talked about all of the places that we had been in China, where Yi was from and where our three China babies had lived. Then we ate dinner. It was so much fun to talk with Yi and gain some insights into everyday life in China. Afterwards, David, Yi and all of the kids (except Grace) went outside to play soccer. When they came in, Jadon got a book and plopped himself on Yi's lap as if he had known Yi all of his life. Yi didn't mind at all and it was so sweet to see Jadon look up to Yi and enjoy him.

What fun to have a new big brother to hang out with!

Edited to note: We are sponsoring an international student through our local university (just in case this post didn't make complete sense!). We'll be meeting with Yi on a regular basis, just to be American "friends" to someone who is far away from home.

Prayers for baby Yu

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'd like to ask for your prayers for this sweet baby. Her name is Yu and she is an orphan, living in China. She just had heart surgery through the wonderful organization, Love Without Boundaries. Unfortunately, she is experiencing difficulty with her lungs and has been in ICU much longer than expected.

If you'd like to find out more about this precious little child, go to Click on "sponsor a child" and then "sponsor a child for surgery".

May our merciful Father, pour out His grace and love upon precious Yu!

special phone call

Friday, March 13, 2009

A few days ago, Grace had the opportunity to talk with Quin (a little girl from her orphanage, who was adopted at the same time that Grace was adopted). They had such a sweet conversation.

When Grace first got on the phone, Quin's mama was still on the phone and Grace could hear her voice. "Quin has a mama!" Grace exclaimed.

Now, of course, Grace already knew that Quin had a mama (Grace often points out Quin's mama and baba in pictures). But, I think that the reality really hit her when she heard Quin's mama talking on the phone.

After that revelation, Grace proceeded to ask Quin some very important questions.

Grace: "Do you have a baba?"

Quin: "Yeah."

Grace: "Do you have a doggy?"

Quin: "Yeah."

Grace: "Do you have a toys?"

Quin: "Yeah."
Grace: "Do you have a snack?"

Quin: "Yeah."

Grace: "Do you have a chair?"

Quin: "Yeah."

Grace: "Do you have a...(well, you get the idea!)"

Grace was thrilled that Quin answered "yes" to all of these questions. She seemed to truly understand that Quin was also no longer an orphan, but had a family to love her, plenty of snacks to eat and all sorts of other blessings in her life.

One last note on sweet little Quin. Her mama told me that she regularly picks up things that her family sent to her when she was in the orphanage, and exclaims to her mama, "Thank you, Mama!" Also, when they were oohing and aahing over a baby that they met, Quin threw her arms around her own mama and said proudly, "I have a mama!!"

Now, how sweet is that?!

My Adam

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It would be difficult to clearly express how much joy I get out of this young man. It is such a pleasure to have him as a son. Sometimes, he sort of fades into the background in a group of people, but that is simply because he feels no need to be the center of attention. He is content to enjoy the moment and the inward workings of his mind. He is my sensitive chld, and has always had a heart for anyone who is hurting or in any kind of difficulty. He rarely complains about anything that anyone has done against him, and he defends others if he believes that there is any question about their innocence/guilt. He is unflinchingly honest and will volunteer information about anything that he has done wrong. He also loves the Lord with all of his heart, and is so very receptive to anyone who can teach him about God and the things of the Kingdom.

This picture is a perfect example of his sensitive, loving spirit. It was taken on the day that we visited Grace's orphanage. Adam is in the background, and as you can see, he is deeply moved by the experience. His new sister was crying, and it was breaking his heart! After this picture was taken, I walked outside with Grace. Adam asked me why Grace was crying. I said that I thought that she was worried that we were going to leave her there (she clung to me the whole time we were there). Adam was so upset. "We would never leave her mom!! We would never leave her!" You're right, sweet boy. We would never leave her.

So, now at this point, Grace pretty much has her gege wrapped around her little finger. And he loves every minute of it!! I often hear, "Come Adam!" when she is in a bind. And Adam always hurries to her rescue. Here he is--a willing prisoner.

And here Adam is, helping Grace with her doll's shoes. Playing with dolls may not be Adam's favorite activity, but he sure does love playing with his little sister.

Reading together is aother favorite activity. This is something that they both really enjoy.

Oh, how very grateful I am for the sweet, sweet love of this precious boy!

How we got where we are...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yesterday, a new friend and her sweet children came to our house to visit. She asked the question, "What made you decide to adopt?" As many of you, who have also adopted, know, the answer to this question can be both profoundly simple or very involved. Since Grace was chatting a mile a minute (we do need to teach her not to interrupt!!), I wasn't able to give the involved answer. But, I thought that I'd share a little bit about "what made us decide to adopt" here.

When I was about 10 years old, my parents left me at home with my older brother (who was supposed to be home very soon) in charge. The problem was, my brother did not come home as soon as planned. (Just for the record, this was not a regular occurance. I only remember this happening one time.) I was a very fearful child, and I remember sitting in the living room, terrified, and hoping that my brother would arrive home. I decided to watch television to get my mind off of my fear. I remember the brown and orange flowered chair that I was sitting on and can picture myself there, as if it happened yesterday.

I ended up turning the channel to a television show where people were soliciting funds for children in Africa. The little children, who had distended stomachs and were being swarmed by flies, captured my heart at that very moment. And though I would not have been able to verbalize it at that time, I believe that it was then that God put a call on my life. I wasn't even a believer at the time. But, God knew what would happen later in my life and He was preparing me for how He would reveal Himself to me as I grew to know Him.

During the remainder of my childhood I occasionally encountered others whom I decided needed my "help." I remember putting one little girl on an excercise regimine, because she wasn't very coordinated and she was teased by the other children. God help her and myself!! I hope that I didn't emotionally scar this little girl with my youthful zeal (and great lack of maturity). I did seem to attract those who needed a bit of attention, but getting "help" from a very shy, immature and instrospective child, was probably not particularly "helpful" for some.

But God is gracious, even through our learning and mistakes. I did have a heart for the lost and needy and, in particular, for children who experienced the extreme pain of being without parents. As I grew older, my heart expanded and I began to see these children (at least in part) the way that God saw them. I saw that what they really needed was love. The other thing that happened (by this time, I was a Christian), was that I began to see God's great love for them. He had made these precious children in His image and they were being (quite literally) discarded. I believe that God revealed a portion of His heart to me through the way that He loved these dear children, and I began to know my heavenly Father in a new way that was so very precious to me.

During my first year of graduate school, I ended up having housemates from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Korea. I grew to love the Asian culture, as these wonderful young women taught me things like how to eat rice with chopsticks (they had a lot of good laughs out of this!). Also, at this time, I heard about the plight of Chinese baby girls. I knew that even if I never got married (and I actually was not real interested in getting married, at the time), I would adopt at least one of these little girls.

Three years after David and I got married (I was pretty interested in getting married to this particular man! LOL!), Adam was born. Oh, what a delight! I loved being a mom and we knew that we wanted more children (and soon). God began to reveal to us that now was the time to consider adopting. We knew that we wanted to adopt from China and we simply looked in the phone book to find an adoption agency in the area. We were so blessed to find a wonderful agency 45 minutes from our home. We began praying for our daughter, and have never looked back. We adopted Lily 18 months later and were blessed beyond belief.

After visiting China, we fell more in love with the country and its people. God began revealing His heart to us more and more. I could "see His face" most clearly when praying regarding His love for the orphan. His love is overwhelming at times, and when you see His face that clearly, you can't stop seeking Him for the things that He reveals. So, as you know, God led us to adopt three more treasures, and in the process, He has shown us love abounding!

Our Father's heart is so big. It is so wide. He loves each of us as His own precious son or daughter. We are lovingly made in His image. But, I believe that He has a special heart for the orphan. Through these beautiful children, He can show us His plan for His people. He can show us how to love one another as brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers (regardless of biological connection). He can also show us how He provides for His people as they depend on Him (even when we having nothing to start with). He can show us how love can overcome loneliness and fear, and He can show us that He gives us a new heart as we become His son or daughter. He replaces an orphan spirit, with a spirit of sonship! How great is the love of our heavenly Father.

So that is a bit of how we got where we are. As for the future, I do not know where God will lead us. I do know, however, that if we keep seeking Him, we will be in for a great adventure and will definitely see more of His heart. I am so grateful that He gives each of us a small part to play in His great love story. May we each know our part, as we seek to know the great Giver of our part, more and more.

Four months into forever...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yesterday marked the four month anniversary of sweet Grace joining our family. Here are a few highlights of the past month.

Spending the morning dressed up as queen (compliments of the jie jie's). This included being carried around the house in this chair and being waited on by all four of her servants (uh, I mean siblings).

Grace's first time swimming. She was a little bit afraid, at first. But, eventually, she LOVED it. Good thing, because we do a lot of swimming in the summer.
Having fun with Uncle Morgan. We met with Morgan and one of Grace's orphanage buddies last week. They were finalizing their adoption in our town. I'm not posting a picture of Grace's sweet and adorable friend, because I haven't had a chance to ask their permission yet. But, I knew that Uncle Morgan wouldn't mind! Grace wouldn't even look at Morgan in China, but now she will run up to him and give him a great big hug.

Blowing bubbles is always fun!

This is Grace's newest friend, Rosie. She does all of the things that the other Rosie does. Here, she is waiting to go outside.

Waiting to come in.

And, of course, there was lots of snuggling with the original Rosie (as well as all of the other members of the family. But I'll save those pictures for another day).

We are so grateful for these four months with this precious girl!

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