Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thankful for Every Moment

Yesterday I took my angel upstairs to lay her down for her nap. It was 1:00 like always when we made our way up the stairs to her room. I follow the same routine everyday. I change her diaper, lay her down, and rock beside her bed until she falls asleep. Usually, she goes to sleep very quickly. Not yesterday.. Yesterday, as I sat rocking doing my Bible study in her room that little peanut was sitting up looking me right in the eye and wearing a wide smile as she did it. Yesterday was a battle. I couldn't help, but smile to myself though because she gave me her eyes in those moments. She looked right into me as if to say...I'm not going to sleep.

I wrote this in the margin of my Bible study workbook..
I praise you God for this precious girl. I thank you above all else that it is my eyes that she is staring into right now instead of going to sleep. Thank you Lord that I'm not missing this. Thank you for the gift of these moments..each and every one!

I am so blessed to be home with her. So blessed to be the one to put her down each day even when putting her down for a nap is a battle. I was thinking today that autism has given me this blessed gift..pushed us over the edge of letting go of our American Dream and demanded that I stay home. Autism in that sense has been an incredible blessing as it has given me the desire of my stay at home to care for my family. God has used autism..though it seems like a trial...for good in our family's life already. I know He will continue to do that and much glory will be brought to His name through our Jillian's life.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Registered and Grateful..

Just like He always does..God has shown himself mighty to me through the generosity of others this week. I don't deserve it. I don't even begin to understand it, but God by His sovereignty has led others to overwhelm me with His love because of their generous sacrifice. $100 provided and I am registered for Hearts at Home. Hearts is an amazing mom's conference that happens each year in Normal that this year just seemed a bit out of reach living on one income. I wish I could tell you with adequate words what it means to be so loved by so many in the body of Christ. I simply have no words, but I do have a picture..a picture of Christ' s love for me as I continue to feel the love of so many in our congregation for us.

We are blessed. Blessed to know Him and blessed to be able to live in community with so many others who love us because they love Him. You mean so much to me. You have become as close as family and I am grateful for you-each and every one of you!

Grateful for the way you sneak cards and gifts of encouragement for me in my hubby's office. Grateful for the way that you share with us your time, talents, and love. Grateful for the way you agree to meet around my dining room table for Sunday School because my treasure is uncomfortable in the nursery. Grateful for the way you get up during my prayer to check on the noise in the kitchen (aka my treasure tearing through the drawers). Grateful for the way you pick her up and love her each time you pass. Grateful for the way you bring her light up gifts because you know she will like them. Grateful for the way you take her in your lap and let her shake your water bottle. Grateful for the way you email me throughout the week to keep me connected to the adult world. Grateful for your kind words and that you are always there for me. I am grateful for you all today! Each of you has a different face and God has used you all to meet my many needs in a thousand ways in the last four years that I have been lucky enough to worship with you.

Thank you for reaching out to me this week and showing me God's love. I am bent over in awe of your service to Him! Thanks for being the picture of Christ's love that I needed most this week and always.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Good Day

Today was a good day!

Our play therapy session was incredible.

She was there with us..really there with us!!

She even stayed "with" us for more than twenty minutes.

If you love a child with autism, you know what I mean.

She even had some "language". She said mama as a word several times, which she hasn't done in months, when it was my "turn" to play the accordion. AND she made the swing sounds when she wanted to swing. Her therapist even said the words that this momma clings to each time someone even mentions them...her language may be coming. I lay awake at night praying that I will hear her voice someday. I have found that on this journey, God is teaching me to let go of my dreams for her a little at time so that I can fully embrace her and who He has for her to be. As I have slowly let go of things little by little, I find myself clinging with all my might to the parts that I have left in my heart. Speaking someday..Hearing her calling momma when she needs me..I haven't let it go yet. I petition God on a regular basis to let it break through all those walls in her mind and allow her to speak with clarity. I don't know if it is in His plans for her, but today was a good day and this momma is holding on to hope. Hope that someday she will be just a little less trapped than she is now and enjoy being in relationship with us more. Oh, how I love her and am blessed beyond measure that God has allowed her to be mine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Sister to Love

What could make a little girl smile like that before bedtime?

Why..her sissy sharing a story with her of course!

You know, I'm not going to sleep now momma!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beware...Ugly Cry Ahead

I just came across this beautiful, young girl's story last night. Oh My Word..IT BLESSED ME!!! She was minutes from aging out of the system when her family brought her home..out of loneliness, pain, hopelessness, and into the arms of her family. She has severe scoliosis and her diagnosis was grim. In fact without a family, this little precious, made in His sight girl would have been left to die. She has never received treatment for her spine and so over the years it continued to curve reducing her lung capacity, ability to walk, and quality of life. Then, this family found her in the niche of time and now she is home with them..mama (mother in Chinese), babba (father in Chinese), and two sisters. She is at this very moment undergoing some heavy and painful surgeries to fix that booboo in her back so that she can "match" everybody else(her words). If you have four minutes and a box of kleenex, watch the video above of this beautiful girl who by God's grace is now home with a christian family teaching her of Him. Her words are powerful and leave me crying out to the Lord...SEND ME AGAIN!!! Let me bring home more!!

Check out her mama's blog here to follow her story. She has a long road ahead of her as far as her back repair goes. Please pray for her. If you feel led, you can also send her a card of encouragement.

Evelyn (Xiaoyun) Willoughby
c/o Kosairs Children’s Hospital
231 E. Chestnut St.Louisville, KY 40202

Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Be Sorry

I spoke with a "special education professional" who handles the paperwork side of therapy for my treasure today. She actually said that she was sorry to hear about Jillian's autism. Maybe I am just way too sensitive today, but there is nothing to be sorry about. There is everything to be JOYFUL about because God created my baby girl just the way she is. He wired her and wove autism into her being. He makes no mistakes. He intended for her to be, think, feel, and react just the way she does. This diagnosis is not a surprise to Him and it is nothing to be sorry about. She is fearfully and wonderfully made and though she may not appear "typical" to most, she is exactly who and how God planned for her to be. There is no reason to be sorry for reason to mourn BUT there is every reason to celebrate His wisdom in creating this little lady to be exactly who she needs to be in order to bring glory to His name. There is even more reason to celebrate because somehow in His wisdom He chose me to parent this special treasure though I am so undeserving. So..don't be sorry. Don't mourn. Celebrate and embrace my baby girl who was created by an all knowing, loving God who has a HUGE plan for her life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

To My Girl..

Dear Jillian,
I just wanted to tell you that as you lay on my chest sleeping last night I was overcome with love for you as I often am. I can't believe that God has chosen me to be your momma and I count it a joy to be able to take care of you everyday. I listened to your breathing as you lay on me in the dark and I felt your heart beating in rhythm and joy just over took my spirit in a way I can't explain. With all of the challenges that life has handed you so far, you are so full of happiness and are responding so well to being a part of our family. I am grateful to God that He gave you to us and that I get to spend the rest of your life walking alongside you as your momma. You have changed me in so many ways and continue to challenge me to reconsider what is most important. You are a feisty little spirit and I love watching you fighting out of the world that you seem so trapped inside of. Each moment that I get to gaze into your eyes or hold you close is such a treasured gift. One day it is my prayer that you will grow to understand and feel just how special you are and how very loved by us you are. Ultimately, I pray each night that this love will lead you to the love of the Heavenly Father and that one day we would all be together for eternity praising the one who made us and gave us the gift of each other.

I love you with all that I am,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It Happened Today

There I was at the library. It's a seemingly safe place, or so I thought, until the over anxious four year old girl visiting the library with her preschool class sat down beside us. She chit chatted for a moment offering way too much personal information about herself. Looking at Jillian and then at me she asked..Did she grow in your tummy? I expected it to come from time to time. I know that a Chinese baby with an American momma is a rarity in my parts and so I knew it would come up...AND here it was. How do you answer that? I simply said no she did not grow in my tummy. Jillian has two momma's and she grew in her birth momma's tummy. I said that I had adopted her and asked her if she knew what that meant. She replied no and so in four year old language, I laid out the process. She then gave me her address, telephone number, and social security number (just kidding) before her preschool teacher started rounding up the children to return them to the center. Really though, I wasn't ready to answer this question. I wasn't sure what to say or how much to say. Luckily, my precious Chinese babe is oblivious at this point to my language and explanation. Although today's has me thinking about the days ahead. What do I say when Jillian is there and can understand? How much do I offer and whose story is it to tell? I really don't know the answers to any of these questions and it seems I have time to figure them out because Jillian isn't much cracked up on conversation at this point. Still, maybe I should avoid the library for a while so I don't have to talk to anymore four year olds. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We Tried

We tried to eat lunch out today. We have a gift certificate for a local restaurant and so we decided to give it a try.

We had a plan..Arrive early, bring her comfort aides, sit in the back away from the commotion..

She did so much better in a new place than she would have done eight months ago, but she was really uncomfortable. She was able to stay about 20 minutes and eat a little bit of the food that I brought for her from home. She just kept looking up at the ceiling and shaking her little head no, but she made it about 2o minutes. The best part about it all was she never did have a meltdown. When she was too uncomfortable to stay, she simply got off her chair, took momma's hand, and led me down the hall to the door. She communicated calmly that she needed to get out of there. I did have to walk her back to the table to get her coat and she cried and started to panic a bit, but when she understood that momma knew what she needed and we were on our way out..she stopped crying. In fact by the time we reached home, she was "chatting" about the experience from her car seat as I drove. Daddy and I were trying to analyze just what could have made her uncomfortable. We will probably never know, but we have a large gift certificate for this restaurant so..we are going to keep practicing.

Really, she is just so amazing and watching her taking on the world is just a joy. Being able to take care of her and having her trust me is such a tremendous privilege. It is one that puts me right at the center of God's will for my life. Daily I feel God asking me..are you willing to lay down your life for hers? Daily...I say resoundingly YES!! What a special gift she is to us!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Look who moved the chair from the dining room table so she could get to her food cabinet..

Great problem solving if you ask me.

She is constantly checking that cabinet making sure she has food in there. Momma constantly tells her that she will always have food here when she is hungry. She's just checking and using the chair to do it. What a smart little peanut she is and strong. That is one heavy wooden chair but she pushes it right in the kitchen scooting it over the carpet a few steps at a time. She keeps us on our toes that is for sure. Always in to something this girl is.. We love it.

Monday, January 9, 2012


One of my favorite things about Christmas is the long break without school everyday. I love having my big girl home with us. We took our little peanut swimming the last day of break and man did she love having her sissy in the pool with her..

This is probably the longest she was still the entire 90 minutes. :)

Jillian loves her some water.

She runs the perimeter of that pool the entire time we are there.

Taking her swimming is the best $3 I spend all week.

So much joy for one little life I tell ya.
One blessed momma.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Diagnosis

We saw the doctor this morning. He was wonderful, thorough, kind and he took a comprehensive look at our girl and her skills. He decided that an autism diagnosis was appropriate. I'm not going to lie..I cried right there. Cried because I love her so much and I just don't want things to be hard for her. She has had such a burden to carry already in her short little life and honestly if I could just keep her home, safe, and protected forever..I would.

The good news is that she is going to get lots of amazing help. So many programs that are cutting edge, research based, and incredible are available to us right here in our area. God knew that. God knew that here she would get exactly what she needed in our family. Resting in knowing that He is control and that He has a huge plan for this little lady's life. A plan that will bring great glory to His name. Trusting that. Leaning on that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

She Can Do It

Not knowing what to expect when I brought home this little beauty-who couldn't yet walk, eat, or handle being off the bed in our hotel room without a major meltdown-makes how she is changing even more special.

She didn't smile, didn't make any noises, and never even attempted to communicate with us. She didn't touch toys, never looked in our eyes, and was covered in bed sores. She didn't want to be touched, turned away when we tried to hug her, and leaned away when I carried her. It was too much for her to take a bath, go on a walk, or be in any environment she was unfamiliar with...When I think about this, I am blown away by the enormity of it all...There have been days on this journey that I thought these milestones that I am about to report might never come. There have been moments that I thought this little treasure's heart would never heal..and while we have such a long way to go...She has come so far.

I use the word miracle so often as I write and talk about her. I hope I haven't overused it so much that you are now numb to the meaning of the word...OUR GIRL IS A MIRACLE!! Truly, I never dreamed that we would be witness to such! God has invited us on this journey as we watch her past, the hard things she has experienced, the loss, heartache..all be redeemed slowly by Him..I am blown away by the beauty of it all. I have never in my short life been able to be a part of something that has connected me so closely with the Lord. I have never had to rely on Him so helplessly as I have journeyed through anything else. What a privilege being a momma to this babe is..a privilege and a miracle..

I just wanted to share with you some of the things that she has mastered in the last month. She is so much less fearful and so much more trusting. I am able to correct her, stretch her, encourage her only as a momma can and she is responding..learning so much..growing into such a wonderful daughter. Learning that this place is safe, forever, and that she belongs in it.

So here goes..

1. She can roll a ball back and forth five or six times with me.
2. She can climb up anything that doesn't move.
3. She will "drink" from a spoon.
4. She sits in my lap during every family meal time.
5. She enjoys listening to the praise music in the sanctuary. She can sit for nearly an hour on my lap listening and clapping.
6. She snuggles up next to me each morning when she wakes often laying in my arms for 30 minutes in a tight hug.
7. She can clap and does it all the time. It was so funny when she discovered she could do it.
8. She can operate her light toys herself by pushing the button that makes them go!
9. She can stand on the stool in the bathroom and "wash" her hands with my help.
10. She can follow simple one step directions like sit down or put it in.
11. She is constantly seeking our attention. She always want in on the action.
12. She is very comfortable with all the people that come in our home and she immediatly interacts with them making her wants known. Usually she wants their water bottle or for them to swing or wrestle her.
13. She is comfortable in crowds as long as she is safe in her momma's arms. She will even get down to walk in a crowd as long as she is holding my hand and is in a familar environment.
14. She loves her daddy and always runs and screams with joy when he comes home.
15. She can wait a few minutes without getting upset.
16. She will hold a crayon in her hand and let momma move it to scribble.
17. She will come if you call her name.
18. She is eating lots of chunkier food and can gum it with the best of them.
19. She has gained a whopping ten pounds in eight months.
20. AND THE BEST NEWS YET...Momma has been working on getting her to feed herself. I have broken it down into small steps allowing her to master each one. Steps like..get comfortable with picking up the spoon, putting the spoon in the bowl, bringing the spoon to her mouth AND I am so thrilled to report that my baby girl is using a spoon to feed herself. Considering she had no clue how to eat, chew, swallow, or even allow a spoon in her mouth just seven months ago..JOY that she is conquering this! Watch her do it!

Please pray for us. There are big changes in the months ahead. She is turning three in just two months. Turning three means new therapists, programs, and we head into the public school for the first time. If I could choose, I wouldn't want her in public school..I must admit. This makes my swallowing it even harder, but I am praying for wisdom as I charter this unknown territory. We also have an important medical appointment tomorrow with a developmental pediatrician. We are hoping this can shed a bit more light on our girl and what we can do to help her.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Busy, Busy

These days my little girl is busy..busy..busy. It is so normal and so good to have her running at full force and grabbing hold of life with both hands. She seems so much more incredibly connected..that it just continues to amaze me. She has come so far. There has been so much progress made in the last month. I have so much to update and so many pictures to load, but she is keeping me so busy that finding the time has been hard..

I have just had the most beautiful day with her and so I am sharing these pictures even though I have many older ones I should share first... I can't help myself. She is just too cute.

Woo Hoo!! That garland is gone and I can climb again!

She's clapping up a storm.

I came around the corner to find her
modeling sissy's size 11 converse.

She got a new sensory bin for Christmas and loves going to town in the beans.

Joy..true joy!

I wonder if she ever felt safe before she came home. I wonder if she ever laughed or smiled. I wonder if she ever felt truly loved the way she seems to feel now. I wonder so much..but as I wonder I just give thanks with an overflowing heart that she is mine and now she is doing all of that and more! God is so good and I am so lucky to have this treasure home.